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Legislative and Political Action

CSEA's Legislative & Political Action Department analyzes proposed legislation for its impact on members, works to advance beneficial legislation and stop harmful legislation and works with members and activists to support the campaigns of elected officials who share our values.
This Week in Albany - June 7, 2024

Session Running Long

1. Legislative Session Continues

Despite a scheduled end date of June 6, both houses of the State Legislature have yet to adjourn for the year. This week, Governor Hochul unexpectedly halted the plan for congestion pricing in New York City that was scheduled to take effect at the end of June. This creates a $1 billion revenue hole that legislators are scrambling to fill. This road bump has delayed progress on other legislative priorities, which in turn has kept the legislature in session for longer than anticipated. Both houses are expected to work late into the night this evening, and there is a possibility that they continue working into the weekend or even next week. However, CSEA-supported bills have made substantial progress in the last few days. We will provide a full report of our successes after the legislature has adjourned.

 

2. Mannion Responds to Criticisms

CSEA-endorsed candidate for Congress John Mannion released a video in response to his opponent’s attacks on his record. CSEA has worked closely with Mannion for years and stands by his solid record fighting for CSEA members, including his support for Tier 6 reform and aid to OPWDD/OMH and SUNY Upstate. Click the video below to see his response.

 

3. Register to Vote!

Primary elections are around the corner, and your vote matters! If you’re not registered, there’s still time. You can register to vote online until June 15. You can also register in person at your local Board of Elections or any state agency on or before June 15. If you want to register by mail, your application must be received by the Board of Elections no later than June 15.

 

4. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news. You can also check out CSEA’s summary of the 2024-2025 Enacted Budget here.

Tier 6 Reform:

 

 

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - May 31, 2024

One week to go! 

1. Final Week of Session

Next week is the final week of the 2024 Legislative Session! With only four days left, both houses will be working to pass all of their end-of-session priorities. Hundreds of bills will pass in these final days. CSEA will be reviewing each of them to determine their impact on members.  

 

2. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

Several CSEA-supported bills made progress this week, including:

  • A.6146 (Buttenschon) / S.5500 (Skoufis): This bill would require that public employees are notified if their personnel records are made public due to a FOIL request. This bill advanced out of committee in the Assembly.
  • A.7341 (Hevesi) / S.6357 (Mannion): This bill would allow child protective services workers to complete certain trainings virtually through distance learning methods freeze. This bill has passed both houses of the legislature.
  • A.9003 (Eachus) / S.4132 (Mannion): This bill would prohibit outsourcing during a hiring freeze. This bill passed the Assembly.
  • A.9349 (Pheffer Amato) / S.8551 (Jackson): This bill would require the Department of Civil Service to review exams every 5 years and update questions as needed. This bill has passed both houses of the legislature.

A full report on our legislative successes will be released after session.

 

3. Double Pension Payments

CSEA retirees may have seen an additional pension payment hit their accounts this week. The State Comptroller released a statement recognizing this error and has said that these payments will be withdrawn by today, May 31.

 

4. Next Week

It’s the final week of session! The State Legislature will convene on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week. The legislature is likely to work well into Friday and possibly the weekend.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news. You can also check out CSEA’s summary of the 2024-2025 Enacted Budget here.

Tier 6 Reform:

 

 

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - May 24, 2024

Only 7 Session Days Remain! 

1. Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, we remember those who have paid the ultimate price in service to our nation. We owe an immense debt of gratitude to the brave few that gave everything to protect our freedoms and way of life. As you gather with friends and family this Memorial Day weekend, please take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of this holiday– to remember the fallen and honor their sacrifice.

 

2. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

Several CSEA-supported bills made progress this week, including:

  • A.7341 (Hevesi) / S.6357 (Mannion): This bill would allow Child Protective Services workers to complete certain required training through distance learning methods. This bill passed the Assembly and advanced out of committee in the Senate.
  • A.9003 (Eachus) / S.4132 (Mannion): This bill prevents outsourcing during a hiring freeze. This bill advanced out of committee in the Assembly.
  • A.9349 (Pheffer Amato) / S.8551 (Jackson): This bill would require the Department of Civil Service to review and update exams every five years. This bill advanced out of committee in the Senate.

CSEA will be working hard to ensure that these bills, and others, cross the finish line before the end of session on June 6.

3. School District Election Results

Nearly all of CSEA’s endorsed candidates for school board were successful in their elections on Tuesday. CSEA also endorsed several school budgets, all of which passed.  Across the state, 97 percent of school budgets passed; for the 3 percent that failed, the districts may put forward an amended budget for a district wide vote on June 18.

Click here to see results of CSEA school endorsements in your region.

4. DOCCS Commissioner Confirmed

The New York State Senate has confirmed Daniel Martuscello III as the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). Martuscello has served as the Acting Commissioner since June 9, 2023.

5. Next Week

The State Legislature will convene on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week. There are seven scheduled session days remaining in the year.

 

6. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news. You can also check out CSEA’s summary of the 2024-2025 Enacted Budget here.

Tier 6 Reform:

 

 

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - May 17, 2024

School Board Elections are on May 21!

1. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

Several CSEA-supported bills made progress this week, including two bills that advanced out of committee:

  • A.7341 (Hevesi) / S.6357 (Mannion): This legislation allows Child Protective Services workers to complete certain required training through distance learning methods.
  • A.9529 (Hevesi) / S.8426 (Skoufis): This legislation would allow OCFS to establish minimum staff-to-child ratios lower than what is allowable in current law for family day care homes, group family day care homes, school age day care programs, and day care centers.

CSEA will be working hard to ensure that these bills, and others, cross the finish line before the end of session on June 6.

 

2. School Board Elections

Elections for School Board and School District Budgets are on May 21! These elections have a huge impact on the thousands of CSEA members across the state employed in schools. CSEA members have endorsed a number of school board candidates through our member driven endorsement process. Use this link to find CSEA-endorsed candidates in your region.

 

3. New Commissioners

The New York State Senate has confirmed two new commissioners this week:

  • Barbara Guinn as Commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)
  • Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden as Commissioner of the state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)

 

 

4. Next Week

The State Legislature will convene on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week. There are 11 scheduled session days remaining in the year.

 

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news. You can also check out CSEA’s summary of the 2024-2025 Enacted Budget here.

Tier 6 Reform:

 

 

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - May 10, 2024

1. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

Now that the budget is done, CSEA has shifted focus to our end-of-session legislative priorities. Several CSEA-supported bills have made progress, including:

  • A.8876 (Pheffer Amato) / S.8216 (Jackson): This legislation authorizes a person who is within one year of the minimum age or education requirements of a civil service position to sit for an examination. The goal of this bill is to recruit younger employees who will be graduates from high school, college, or other career training programs.

CSEA will be working hard to ensure that these bills, and others, cross the finish line before the end of session on June 6.

 

2. New York’s Equal Rights Amendment

In November, your General Election ballot was supposed to include a referendum on New York’s Equal Rights Amendment, which would enshrine the right to an abortion and include protections against gender discrimination in the State Constitution. However, this week, the Supreme Court ruled the amendment “null and void” due to a procedural misstep, removing it from consideration. Democrats are expected to appeal this decision.

 

3. Cooney Appointed Transportation Chair

State Sen. Jeremy Cooney, who represents parts of Monroe County, was selected to serve as the new Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. The committee, formerly led by Tim Kennedy, deals with legislation and programs related to the Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Motor Vehicles (DMV), the New York State Thruway Authority, and various regional transportation authorities and commissions, including the MTA.

 

4. Social Security Trust Fund

This week, the Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. According to the report, the Trust Funds are projected to have enough dedicated revenue to pay all scheduled benefits and associated administrative costs until 2035, one year later than projected last year.

 

5. Next Week

The State Legislature will convene on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week. There are 15 scheduled session days remaining in the year.

 

6. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news. You can also check out CSEA’s summary of the 2024-2025 Enacted Budget here.

Tier 6 Reform:

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - May 3, 2024

Kennedy Wins!

1. Kennedy Wins in Congressional District 26

CSEA-endorsed candidate Tim Kennedy won his House of Representatives race for the 26th Congressional District, defeating challenger Gary Dickens. The 26th Congressional District, which includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls, has been vacant since U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins’ retirement in February. Kennedy will serve the remainder of Higgins’ term and will need to run again in November to be elected for a full two-year term.

CSEA was proud to endorse Kennedy, who has consistently demonstrated his support for union members and the services they provide. As a State Senator, Kennedy has championed Tier 6 reform and fought to keep Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center open.

2. New Secretary of State

Gov. Kathy Hochul has nominated former Assemblymember Walter Mosley to serve as New York’s next Secretary of State. From 2013-2020,  Mosley represented the 57th Assembly District in Brooklyn. The Secretary of State leads the Department of State and plays an important role in overseeing business operations, public safety, and consumer protection across New York. Mosley must be confirmed by the State Senate.

 

3. Next Week

The State Legislature returns to Albany from break next week, with sessions scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Now that the budget is done, lawmakers will shift their focus to their end-of-session legislative priorities. There are only 18 scheduled session days remaining in the year.

 

4. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - April 26, 2024

What’s in the Final Budget? 

1. Final Budget

On Saturday, April 20, a final budget was passed by both houses of the State Legislature. This budget includes a substantial improvement to Tier 6, boosting the pension for Tier 6 members by using an employee’s top 3 consecutive earning years, instead of 5, to calculate their final average salary. The budget also contains several other provisions that will benefit the CSEA workforce, including:

  • Extending a law that excludes overtime earnings when calculating a Tier 6 employee’s contribution rate.
  • Eliminating the 5-day salary withholding program for state employees beginning on July 1, 2024.
  • Stopping the lag payroll for newly hired state employees beginning on July 1, 2025.
  • Creating 200 new inpatient beds in Office of Mental Health facilities.
  • Increasing funding for local governments by $50 million. This is the first increase in several years.
  • Rejecting the Governor’s proposal to remove the state’s “hold harmless” provision, which would have resulted in many school districts receiving less state aid than last year.
  • Increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate for hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living programs.
  • Requiring all counties to pay childcare providers a minimum of 10% more for providing nontraditional hours of care and care to children who are experiencing homelessness.

You can read CSEA’s full summary of the enacted budget here. While this budget was good for CSEA members, unfortunately, the budget also provides the governor with the ability to close up to five Department of Correction and Community Supervision (DOCCS) facilities with only 90 days’ notice. We will work with Governor Hochul to ensure that members in DOCCS are protected and given job opportunities at nearby facilities.

 

2. Early Voting Still Available in CD26

There is still time to vote early in Congressional District 26! Early voting concludes on Sunday, April 28. You can also vote on Election Day, Tuesday, April 30. CSEA has endorsed State Sen. Tim Kennedy, who has been a huge advocate for CSEA and a strong voice for Western New York. Click here for the CSEA profile on Senator Kennedy in The Work Force.

Make a plan to vote! For times and locations, use these helpful links:

Erie County Voter Information

Niagara County Voter Information

 

3. Next Week

The State Legislature is not scheduled to convene until next Monday, May 6. When the legislature returns, there are only 18 scheduled session days remaining in the year.

 

4. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - April 19, 2023

Budget Agreement Reached!

1.  State Budget Progress

This week, a final agreement was reached on the State Budget. Now, the legislature must pass 10 budget bills, which will then head to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk for final approval. As of this publication, four of these bills have passed, including three Article VII bills on Public Protection & General Government; Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation; and Revenue. We are still waiting for Education, Labor, and Family Assistance; Health and Mental Hygiene; and the appropriations bills. The legislature is expected to work late tonight and into the weekend to pass the remaining bills.

2. What’s in the Budget?

While we haven’t seen all of the bills yet, but there are already several wins for CSEA members in this year’s budget, including:

  • A 2-year extension on the exclusion of overtime wages from pension contribution calculations. This ensures that CSEA members don’t have to pay a higher contribution because they worked overtime.
  • A 2.84% Cost-of-Living-Adjustment for OPWDD non-profit providers, which includes a guaranteed 1.7% salary increase for workers.
  • An elimination of the 5-day salary withholding for new state employees.

Unfortunately, the final budget also provides the governor with the authority to close up to five state correctional facilities with only 90-day’s notice.

We are continuing to review the final budget and will provide a full summary in next week’s publication.

 

3. Early Voting Available in CD-26

CSEA-endorsed candidate Senator Tim Kennedy is running in a Special Election for Congressional District 26 (parts of Erie and Niagara Counties). Tim has been a huge advocate for CSEA and a strong voice for Western New York. Click here for The Work Force’s feature on Senator Kennedy

Early Voting for this race begins Saturday and runs through April 28. Make a plan to vote! For times and locations, use these helpful links:

Erie County Voter Information

Niagara County Voter Information

 

4. Next Week

The State Legislature is expected to convene throughout the weekend to finish passing budget bills. Once they finish, they are not scheduled to convene again until May 6.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - April 12, 2024

More Extenders, Still No Budget 

1. “The Beginning of the End”

According to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, budget negotiations have reached what she calls, “the beginning of the end.” We are now 11 days past the April 1 deadline and no agreements on the sticking points of housing, education or Medicaid have been announced.

 

2. More Extenders

Additional extenders were passed this week to ensure that state government remains operational. However, another extender must be passed by Tuesday, April 16, to ensure that members on the institution payroll are paid on time.  

3. We’re Not Done Fighting For Tier 6 Reform

We’re still pushing to ensure that Tier 6 reform is included in the final budget, and we need your help! Send a letter  here and make sure your friends and co-workers do, too!

 

4. Assemblymember Jean-Pierre Not Seeking Re-Election

On Monday, Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre announced she won’t be seeking re-election in November. Jean-Pierre represents parts of Suffolk County and currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs. Jean-Pierre was first elected to the State Assembly in 2014.

 

5. Next Week

The State Legislature will meet on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. State Legislators are scheduled to recess for Passover starting April 18.

 

6. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - April 5, 2024

Another Extender Passed! 

1. Still No Final Budget

Despite a deadline of April 1, there is still no agreement on a final state budget. However, the State Legislature and the governor are reportedly close to a deal on housing, which is one of the primary issues hindering progress. Other issues like Medicaid, education, and revenue are being discussed amongst leadership, with progress unclear.

 

2. Another Budget Extender Passed

On Thursday, the State Legislature approved a budget extender to fund the state through April 8. This extender ensures that CSEA members employed by the Division of Military Affairs will be paid on time. To make sure that CSEA members on the administrative payroll receive a timely paycheck, the state must approve another extender by Monday, April 8 at noon.

 

3. Keep Pushing for Tier 6 Reform!

Each day without a final budget means another day to push for Tier 6 reform! If you’ve already sent a letter, make sure to spread the news and get your friends and co-workers involved as well. Have them send a letter here. Let’s make sure Tier 6 reform is included in the final budget!

 

4. Next Week

The State Assembly will convene Sunday to pass an extender, and then again on Tuesday. The State Senate will be in on Monday and Tuesday.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - March 29, 2024

Budget is Late; Extender Passed!

1. The State Budget Will Be Late

We will not have a final state budget by the April 1 deadline. Legislators left Albany on Thursday and are not set to return until Tuesday, April 2. On budget negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “We’re in the middle of the middle.” The main issues delaying an agreement are Medicaid funding, education funding and affordable housing.

2. Budget Extender Passed

Prior to leaving, the State Legislature passed a budget extender to fund the state through April 4. This means that even though the state budget will be late, CSEA members will get next week’s paycheck on time and there will be no interruptions in state government services. This extension provides additional time for the State Senate, Assembly and the Governor to reach an agreement on a final budget.

3. The Final Push for Tier 6

Though the budget is late, Governor Hochul and leadership in both houses of the state legislature are honing in on a final agreement. There are several issues that are competing for precedence in these negotiations, and we need to ensure Tier 6 reform remains one of them! Keep the pressure on by sending a letter to your legislators. Let’s make sure Tier 6 reform is included in the final budget!

4. Federal Government Shutdown Averted

On Saturday, President Biden signed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan spending package into law, which will fund the federal government through the end of September. We are in the process of reviewing this package to determine its impact on CSEA members in New York State.

5. Next Week

The State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

 

6. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - March 22, 2024

The budget is due April 1!

1. Budget Deadline Approaching

The final state budget is due on April 1. Negotiations are happening around the clock, as leaders in the State Senate and Assembly seek to find agreement with Governor Hochul. However, the pace appears slow and with the Easter holiday, the budget may be adopted after the deadline. It is expected that housing, along with funding for education, Medicaid and hospitals, will be the main sticking points that delay a final agreement.

 

2. Keep the Pressure on to Fix Tier 6!

Now that we are entering the final week of budget negotiations, we need to keep the pressure on to ensure that Tier 6 reforms are included in the final budget. Both the Senate and Assembly included Tier 6 reforms in their one-house budgets, so we need them to prioritize these provisions in negotiations with the governor. Send a letter to your legislators here. Get involved and spread the word to let legislators know that we need Tier 6 reform!

 

3. Federal Budget Progress

This afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan spending package to fund the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and other programs that were not funded in the previous deal enacted on March 8. The package still needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate and signed by President Biden to take effect. This package must be enacted before midnight tonight to avert a partial government shutdown.

 

4. Next Week

The State Legislature will be in session on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - March 15, 2024

One-House Budgets Released! 

1. Senate & Assembly Release Budgets

This week, the State Assembly and Senate released their one-house budgets, which are each house’s response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s Executive Budget. There are several positive elements of the proposals for CSEA members, including fixes to Tier 6, eliminating the salary withholding and deferral programs for state employees, and funding increases to schools, libraries, local governments, and childcare providers. Now, both houses will negotiate with Governor Hochul to hash out a final budget. The final budget is due by April 1.

 

2. Renewed Call to Action: Fix Tier 6!

Since the Senate and Assembly included Tier 6 reforms in their one-house budgets, we need to make sure that legislators continue to fight to ensure that these proposals are in the final budget. We need your help to keep the pressure on! We have a new letter that you can send to your legislators here. Even if you’ve already participated in this campaign, it is important to take action again and let legislators know that we’re seeing this fight through until the end!

3. Government Shutdown Averted

Late on Friday, March 8, President Joe Biden signed a $467.5 billion spending package to fund the Departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development through September 30. Federal lawmakers acted with little time to spare, narrowly avoiding a partial government shutdown that was set to take effect early on March 9. However, funding for all other federal agencies is set to run out on March 22, meaning that lawmakers will need to come to another agreement soon.

4. Next Week

The State Assembly and Senate budget conference committees begin meeting next week. These are the collective bodies that hash out the budgetary disagreements between both houses. This is the next step in the process of reaching agreement on a final budget. The State Legislature will be in session on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - March 8, 2024

Keep the Pressure on to FIX TIER 6! 

1. Continuing the Fight for Tier 6 Reform

On Tuesday at the New York State Capitol, hundreds of union members, allies and lawmakers rallied in support of improving Tier 6 benefits in this year’s state budget. You can contribute to this fight, no matter where you are, by sending a letter to your legislators here, and encouraging other members to get involved with this campaign! We need to keep the pressure on and make sure our legislators know that CSEA members demand improvements to Tier 6.

 

2. Assemblymember Weinstein Retires

Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, who chairs the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has announced that she will be retiring after this term. Weinstein has served in the Assembly for 44 years, representing parts of Brooklyn in the 41st Assembly District. She joins the more than 15 members of the State Legislature who have announced that they will be retiring or not seeking re-election.

3. Government Shutdown Possible

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a $467.5 billion spending package to fund the Departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development through September 30. The spending package cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate this afternoon, but as of this publication, it is unclear if the package will be enacted before midnight, when a partial government shutdown is set to take effect. The deadline for all other federal agencies is quickly approaching–March 22–and lawmakers are reportedly far from an agreement on spending for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the other remaining departments.

4. Next Week

The State Assembly and Senate are expected to release their one-house budgets next week. These budgets are each house’s response to Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget and will set the stage for budget negotiations that will ensue in the coming weeks. The State Legislature will be also be in session on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - March 1, 2024

Tell your legislators to FIX TIER 6! 

1. Fight for Tier 6

We’re calling on the State Legislature to take significant action in this year’s budget to improve our pension benefits. Without changes to Tier 6, the public sector staffing crisis will only get worse, which will lead to more mandatory overtime and the burnout of existing staff. Let’s make sure our legislators know that CSEA members demand improvements to Tier 6. Send a letter to your legislators here, and encourage other members to get involved with this campaign!

2. 2024 Congressional Lines

This week, the State Legislature voted down the Congressional district lines proposed by the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). Shortly after, the legislature released their own maps, which they voted to approve on Wednesday. These maps were signed into law by Governor Hochul. The New York GOP has indicated that they will not challenge these maps in court. Check out the new maps below. An interactive map is also available here.

3. Short-term Funding Deal Reached

On Thursday, Congress passed a short-term spending deal to fund the Departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development through March 8. The deal funds all other departments through March 22. This deal averts a partial government shutdown that would have taken effect today, March 1.

 

4. Legislators Not Seeking Re-election

There will be several open State Senate and Assembly seats this year, as the following legislators have announced that they will not be seeking re-election:

Senate

  • Kevin Thomas, Senate District 6
  • Neil Breslin, Senate District 46
  • John Mannion, Senate District 50 (Running for Congress)
  • Tim Kennedy, Senate District 63 (Running for Congress)

Assembly

  • Fred Thiele, Assembly District 1
  • Taylor Darling, Assembly District 18 (Running for State Senate)
  • Jeffrion Aubry, Assembly District 35
  • Daniel O’Donnell, Assembly District 69
  • Inez Dickens, Assembly District 70
  • Kenneth Zebrowski, Assembly District 96
  • Aileen Gunther, Assembly District 100
  • Patricia Fahy, Assembly District 109 (Running for State Senate)
  • Marjorie Byrnes, Assembly District 133
  • Joseph Giglio, Assembly District 148
  • Andrew Goodell, Assembly District 150

 

5. Next Week

The State Legislature will be in session on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week.

 

6. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - February 23, 2024

It’s the legislature’s week off! 

1. Commissioner Seggos to Step Down

Basil Seggos, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), announced Wednesday that he will be stepping down from the role after the end of budget negotiations. Seggos has led the DEC since October 2015, the longest tenure a commissioner has served in that department.

 

2. Gunther & Goodell Not Seeking Re-election

This week, Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, who represents the 100th Assembly District comprising parts of Sullivan and Orange Counties, and Assemblymember Andy Goodell, who represents the 150th Assembly District comprising all of Chautauqua County, announced that they will not be seeking re-election in November.

Gunther and Goodell have served in the State Assembly for 21 and 14 years, respectively.

 

3. Proposed Congressional Maps

Since last week, when the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) approved a new set of congressional maps, many Democrats have been vocal in their criticisms, urging the State Legislature to reject the IRC’s proposal. The legislature is expected to vote on this proposal next week. If they decide to reject, the legislature will then have the opportunity to draft their own maps.

 

4. Government Shutdown Looms

Congress must act to fund the federal government by March 1, when the first stopgap measure expires, and then on March 8, when funding for the rest of the federal government expires. In January, House Speaker Mike Johnson announced a $1.6 trillion deal with the U.S. Senate to fund the government, though disagreements about where the money should be spent have persisted for several weeks. Now, the House Freedom Caucus is pressuring Speaker Johnson to put forward a year-long stopgap funding bill, which would trigger automatic 1% cuts to government spending. CSEA will be monitoring this situation closely to determine how any developments will impact CSEA members.

 

5. Next Week

The State Legislature is back next week, with session days scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The legislature is expected to vote on the proposed congressional maps.

 

6. REMINDER: PEOPLE Rewards

All PEOPLE contributors should have received an email from AFSCME regarding PEOPLE Rewards. AFSCME is transitioning away from rewards points and they are set to expire March 1, 2024.  To redeem your points prior to the expiration, AFSCME has included detailed instructions on how to login to access the PEOPLE Rewards online store. Click here for instructions.

 

7. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - February 16, 2024

Election results are in!

1. Section 80 Law Goes into Effect

Last year, CSEA was successful in getting a bill passed to provide standardized protections to all Competitive, Non-Competitive, and Labor Class employees during layoffs. Previously, there was no process in place for layoffs of Labor Class employees or Non-Competitive Class employees working in local government, which allowed employers to pick and choose which employees were laid off. The law will go into effect on Monday, February 19. For more information, check out our flyer here.

 

2. Governor’s 30-day Amendments

On Thursday, Governor Hochul provided amendments to her executive budget proposal. CSEA is reviewing these changes to determine their impact, if any, on CSEA members. The legislature will now be reviewing the budget and crafting their one-house budget proposals, which will be released around the second week of March.

 

3. Suozzi Wins in CD-3

CSEA-endorsed candidate Tom Suozzi was successful in his bid for the 3rd Congressional District, defeating challenger Mazi Pilip in a race that garnered national attention. This victory wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated work of CSEA members, who contacted thousands of labor households to encourage them to vote. Suozzi expressed his thanks to CSEA and other labor unions in his victory speech.  

 

4. Dais Wins in AD-77

Landon Dais defeated challenger Norman McGill in the special election for the 77th Assembly District, which encompasses parts of the Bronx. Dais will replace former Assemblymember Latoya Joyner, who resigned in early January after accepting a job in the private sector. CSEA did not endorse in this race.

 

5. Proposed Congressional Maps

On Thursday, the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) approved a new set of congressional maps, which, if approved by the State Legislature, will be used for this year’s congressional elections. These maps are largely unchanged from the current congressional districts with only relatively minor adjustments to three upstate districts.  The new maps give a slight enrollment boost to Democrats in NY-22 (Central NY) and NY-18 (Hudson Valley), while providing a similar enrollment boost to Republicans in NY-19 (Central NY and Hudson Valley). The State Legislature will have the final say on whether these maps will be adopted. If they vote down the IRC’s maps, the legislature will then have the opportunity to draft their own.

 

6. Pension Posts Returns

On Tuesday, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund investments returned an estimated 6.18% in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2024, above the expected return of 5.9%. The estimated value of the fund was $259.9 billion at the end of the quarter.

 

7. Next Week

The State Legislature is on break next week, so there are no session days scheduled. However, members of both houses will be working behind closed doors to develop their respective one-house budget proposals.  

 

8. REMINDER: PEOPLE Rewards

All PEOPLE contributors should have received an email from AFSCME regarding PEOPLE Rewards. AFSCME is transitioning away from rewards points and they are set to expire March 1, 2024.  To redeem your points prior to the expiration, AFSCME has included detailed instructions on how to login to access the PEOPLE Rewards online store. Click here for instructions.

 

9. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - February 9, 2024

Election Day in CD-3 is February 13! 

1. CD-3 Special Election

Election Day for the 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses parts of Nassau County and Queens, is on Tuesday, February 13. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. However, there is still time to take advantage of early voting this Saturday and Sunday. You can find early voting locations and times for Nassau County and Queens County on our website.

The race between Tom Suozzi and Mazi Pilip has garnered national attention, as Republicans in the House of Representatives look to retain their majority in the chamber, which they hold by a slim seven-seat margin. The results of this election are also expected to foreshadow the successes of Republicans and Democrats in elections later this year.

This seat was vacated late last year, after the House voted to remove U.S. Rep. George Santos from office. CSEA has endorsed Tom Suozzi, who has had a long relationship with CSEA, particularly with members in Nassau County. He has always stood with CSEA members and his work in Congress demonstrated his support for public employees.

2. U.S. Rep. Higgins Resigns

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, who represents parts of western New York, including Buffalo and Niagara Falls, formally resigned on Friday, February 2. U.S. Rep. Higgins announced his intentions to retire in late November 2023. Gov. Kathy Hochul has until Monday, February 12, to announce the date of a special election for the open seat. CSEA has proudly endorsed State Sen. Tim Kennedy to replace Higgins.

3. Next Week

The State Legislature will be wrapping up budget hearings next week, with hearings on mental hygiene, taxes, and housing. The legislature will also be in session for three days, meeting on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

The Governor has until Thursday, February 15, to issue her 30-day amendments to her budget proposal. These amendments can be technical in nature or include wholesale additions. We will have a report in next week’s report on what was included.

4. REMINDER: PEOPLE Rewards

All PEOPLE contributors should have received an email from AFSCME regarding PEOPLE Rewards. AFSCME is transitioning away from rewards points and they are set to expire March 1, 2024.  To redeem your points prior to the expiration, AFSCME has included detailed instructions on how to login to access the PEOPLE Rewards online store. Click here for instructions.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - February 2, 2024

CSEA Testifies Before the Legislature! 

1. CSEA Testifies

On Tuesday, CSEA testified at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on Labor and Workforce Development to discuss the provisions of Governor Hochul’s executive budget and other proposals that impact CSEA members. CSEA highlighted the erosion of the public sector workforce and spoke about a number of potential solutions to the recruitment and retention crisis, including fixing Tier 6, eliminating salary withholdings and lag pay for new state employees, and streamlining onboarding processes.

CSEA will be working hard in the upcoming session to advocate for these changes and other proposals to improve recruitment and retention of the public sector workforce. You can read CSEA’s full testimony here and watch the video of our testimony here.

 

2. Breslin Will Not Seek Reelection

State Sen. Neil Breslin, who represents parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Montgomery counties, announced on Wednesday that he will not be seeking reelection in November. Breslin is the longest tenured member of the State Senate, elected in 1996. Breslin chairs the Senate Committees on Insurance, Ethics and Internal Governance, and the Legislative Ethics Commission.

 

3. Federal Budget Progress

On Monday, congressional negotiators reached an agreement on how much money will be allocated to each of the 12 bills Congress must pass to fund the government. This comes after a previous agreement between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Mike Johnson on the overall spending levels for the fiscal year, inching us closer to a final budget deal.

 

4. Early Voting

CSEA-endorsed U.S. House candidate Tom Suozzi is running in a close Special Election in the 3rd Congressional District (parts of Nassau County and Queens). CSEA’s endorsement is based on Tom Suozzi’s history of fighting for CSEA members. As a moderate, he knows how to work with both parties to get things done.  

Early Voting will run from February 3 to 11. Make a plan to vote!

For times and locations, use these helpful links:

Nassau County Early Voting Information

Queens Early Voting Information

 

5. REMINDER: PEOPLE Rewards

All PEOPLE contributors should have received an email from AFSCME regarding PEOPLE Rewards. AFSCME is transitioning away from rewards points and they are set to expire March 1, 2024.  To redeem your points prior to the expiration, AFSCME has included detailed instructions on how to login to access the PEOPLE Rewards online store. Click here for instructions.

 

6. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - January 26, 2024

Legislative budget hearings begin! 

 

1. Budget Hearings

This week, the State Senate and Assembly began budget preparations in earnest, with their first three Joint Legislative Budget Hearings on Health, Transportation, and Public Protection. At these hearings, commissioners of state agencies, advocacy groups, and others testified about the provisions in Governor Hochul’s executive budget. Witnesses had the opportunity to advocate for additional provisions and funding for the organizations and issues they care about, as well as to support the governor’s proposals. These hearings will continue each week through mid-February.

To learn more about Governor Hochul’s executive budget proposal, click here.

 

2. Dickens & Zebrowski Not Seeking Re-election

This week, Assemblymember Inez Dickens, who represents the 70th Assembly District comprising parts of Manhattan, and Assemblymember Ken Zebrowski, who represents the 96th Assembly District comprising parts of Rockland County, announced that they will not be seeking re-election in November.

Dickens took her seat in 2017, while Zebrowski has served for 9 terms, since 2007.

 

3. Next Week

Joint Legislative Budget Hearings continue next week, with hearings on Economic Development & Arts, Workforce Development & Labor, Human Services, and Elementary and Secondary Education. CSEA will be providing testimony at the Workforce Development & Labor hearing on January 30. The legislature will also be in session for three days next week, meeting on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

 

4. REMINDER: PEOPLE Rewards

All PEOPLE contributors should have received an email from AFSCME regarding PEOPLE Rewards. AFSCME is transitioning away from rewards points and they are set to expire March 1, 2024.  To redeem your points prior to the expiration, AFSCME has included detailed instructions on how to login to access the PEOPLE Rewards online store. Click here for instructions.

 

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click the icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - January 19, 2024

Executive Budget Released! 

1. Executive Budget

This week, Governor Hochul released her proposal for the Fiscal Year 2024-25 New York State Budget. CSEA staff have been combing through page-by-page to identify provisions that impact members. There are a number of wins for CSEA members in this proposal, including:

  • Removing the 5-day salary withholding for state employees, which will provide additional money up front for new hires.
  • Creating 125 new inpatient beds, which will be operated by the Office of Mental Health (OMH).
  • Increasing Medicaid funding, which will channel additional funds to our state-operated hospitals.

There are also significant funding increases to the state agencies where our members work, including the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Office of General Services (OGS), Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).

Unfortunately, there are also several proposals in this budget that would harm our members. CSEA will be working diligently to oppose these proposals and ensure that they are not included in the final budget. These proposals include:

  • Allowing the Governor to close up to five DOCCS facilities.
  • Removing the “hold harmless” provision that ensures that our school districts do not get a cut in funding year-over-year.

For more information, we’ve published a summary of the executive budget on the CSEA website. You can access the summary here. CSEA will be presenting our union’s positions on the budget proposal at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Workforce Development and Labor, which will be held on January 30.

 

2. Waiving “Under the Hood” Test for Bus Drivers

On Wednesday, Governor Hochul announced that school bus driver applicants will be exempt from the engine compartment component of the Commercial Driver License (CDL) road test, also called the “under the hood” component. This will make it easier to get a CDL at a time when school bus drivers are desperately needed. During the road test, applicants will still be required to perform the remaining elements of the CDL vehicle inspection skills test. This new CDL classification, which is set to expire November 27, 2024, will restrict licensees to driving only school buses and only in New York State.

 

3. Governor Calls Special Election in AD-77

On Thursday, Governor Hochul announced that a special election will be held to fill the vacancy in the 77th Assembly District, which encompasses parts of the Bronx. The vacancy was created by the resignation of Assemblymember Latoya Joyner, who left office earlier this month. The election will be held on Tuesday, February 13, the same day as the special election to replace George Santos in New York’s 3rd Congressional District.

 

4. Government Shutdown Avoided

On Thursday, Congress passed a short-term funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown that was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, January 20. The measure extends the two-part funding deadlines to March 1 and March 8, continuing the same levels of funding from last year. House Speaker Mike Johnson faces mounting opposition from members of his party, who object to any compromise with Democrats and are demanding significant spending cuts. This short-term spending agreement may put Johnson’s speakership in peril, as a previous short-term spending bill was the catalyst for ousting previous Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

 

5. Next Week

Legislative budget hearings will begin in earnest next week, including hearings on transportation, health, and public protection. The legislature will also be in session for three days next week, meeting on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

6. PEOPLE Rewards Update

All PEOPLE contributors should have received an email from AFSCME regarding PEOPLE Rewards. AFSCME is transitioning away from rewards points and they are set to expire March 1, 2024.  To redeem your points prior to the expiration, AFSCME has included detailed instructions on how to login to access the PEOPLE Rewards online store. Click here for instructions.

 

7. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - January 12, 2024

It’s State of the State Week! 

1. Governor’s State of the State

On Tuesday, Governor Hochul delivered her 2024 State of the State Address, outlining her priorities for the year and providing a glimpse at what will be included in the Executive Budget. In her announcement, the governor outlined nearly 200 policy proposals, with a focus on public safety, mental health, and affordable housing. The governor also included commitments to bolster the public sector workforce, remove barriers to employment in government, recruit and retain health care workers and more. CSEA has been working hard to evaluate all of the proposals and their impact on CSEA members. These proposals will be outlined in more detail upon release of the governor’s Executive Budget on January 16.

 

2. Comptroller Announces Property Tax Cap

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced this week that property tax levy growth for school districts and 10 of the state’s cities will be capped at 2%, the same as last year. The tax cap limits annual tax levy increases to the rate of inflation or 2%, whichever is lower.  The 2% tax cap affects 676 school districts and 10 cities with fiscal years starting July 1, 2024, including the “Big Four” cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.

 

3. CSEA Endorses Tim Kennedy

CSEA has proudly endorsed State Sen. Tim Kennedy in the race for the 26th Congressional District. Kennedy has continually proved his willingness to stand up for CSEA members. Kennedy has been steadfast in his support for Tier 6 reform and has demonstrated support for public employees and the services that they provide. Kennedy is looking to fill the seat currently occupied by U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, who has announced his plans to resign in February.

 

4. Government Shutdown in Limbo

This week, a spending deal was announced between House Speaker Mike Johnson and Congressional Democrats to avert a federal government shutdown. However, in protest, 12 members of the House Freedom Caucus blocked the spending bills. The deal, which would have kept federal spending essentially flat, was not enough for these lawmakers, who have indicated a willingness to shut down the federal government if their demands for steep spending cuts are not met.

There are two upcoming deadlines by which Congress must come to an agreement to avoid a government shutdown: January 19 for agriculture, transportation, and housing programs; February 2 for everything else.

 

5. Next Week

January 16 is the last day for submission of the Executive Budget proposal. This is the kickoff to the budget process, where Governor Hochul will flesh out her spending proposals for the 2024-25 state fiscal year. The legislature will also be in session for two days next week, meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

 

6. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - January 5, 2024

Happy New Year! 

1. New Year, New Legislative Session

The 2024 New York State Legislative Session kicked off this week, with the Senate and Assembly convening on Wednesday to highlight their successes in the past year and to discuss their priorities moving forward. This year, the legislature is expected to focus on the major issues of housing, public safety, and the state’s influx of migrants. The legislature is slated to meet 61 days this session, giving them limited time to address these issues. The legislature will look to make progress as they grapple with the $4 billion budget deficit, which is expected to constrain their efforts. There is also one new member in the legislature this year. Sam Berger, who won a special election in 2023, is entering his first session as representative for the 27th Assembly District. CSEA will be working to to ensure that this session is productive for members.

 

2. Workplace Violence Law Goes into Effect

On Thursday, January 4, a new law went into effect that requires public schools and BOCES to develop and implement workplace violence prevention programs. Implementing workplace violence prevention plans in addition to existing school safety plans will better prepare schools to prevent and address workplace safety, while also ensuring that public school and BOCES employees feel secure and supported in their workplace. CSEA was successful in getting this law enacted in the 2023 Legislative Session.

 

3. Gov. Signs Even-year Elections Bill

At the end of December, Governor Hochul signed a controversial bill into law to move local government elections, which are normally held in odd-numbered years, to even-numbered years, coinciding with state and federal elections. This change does not apply to city or village elections, races for county clerk, sheriff, district attorneys, local judges, New York City elections, and other elections protected in the State Constitution. It is expected that many counties across the state will file suit in opposition to these changes. CSEA also opposed this bill, as our union is concerned that state and federal issues will overshadow important local issues. This law will go into effect in 2025.  

 

4. Next Week

On Tuesday, January 9, Governor Hochul will deliver her State of the State address, which is the annual opportunity for the executive to highlight her policy and budgetary priorities for the year. In the week leading up to the speech, the Governor has released a few snippets, which include funding for K-12 teacher retraining, improving literacy education, eliminating copayments for insulin and for pregnancy-related care, providing Paid Family Leave for prenatal care, making it harder for hospitals to sue patients to collect on medical debts, and more. The legislature will also be in session for two days next week, meeting on Monday and Tuesday.

 

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s 2023 legislative successes. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - December 22, 2023

Happy Holidays!

This is the last issue of “This Week in Albany” in 2023! In this issue, we’ll be highlighting CSEA’s successes over the past year, as well as things to look forward to in 2024!

1. 2023’s Greatest Hits

This year, much was done to improve the lives and working conditions of CSEA members across the state!

What bills got done:

  • Civil Service Exam Announcements, which requires the State Civil Service Department and municipal civil service commissions to provide notice of competitive civil service examinations more broadly.
  • Counting Provisional Time Towards Probation, which requires that any time spent as a provisional employee be counted towards an employee’s probationary term upon receiving a permanent appointment in the same title.

 

Our union achieved several other policy and budgetary victories, including:

  • Continuous Recruitment Exams, which allow the Department of Civil Service to offer more frequent exams for open-competitive positions.
  • Waiving Civil Service Fees, which removes fees for all state civil service exams through Dec. 31, 2025 and allows municipalities to opt into this program.
  • Increasing Medicaid Reimbursements, which helps to supplement revenues for health care facilities by increasing the reimbursement rate to 7.5% for hospitals and 6.5% for nursing homes.
  • Investing in Mental Health, which includes funding for 150 new inpatient psychiatric beds operated by the state Office of Mental Health (OMH).
  • The Child Care Workforce Retention Grant Program, which includes $500 million in funding for grants of up to $2,000 for family-based child care workers.

 

Our union endorsed winning candidates and saw big wins for friends of CSEA, including:

  • Adam Bello, who was successful his re-election bid for Monroe County Executive.
  • Sue Serino, who was victorious in her election for Dutchess County Executive.
  • Nearly all CSEA-endorsed candidates for County Legislature in numerous counties, including Albany, Cayuga, Monroe, Nassau, Onondaga, Schenectady and Suffolk, were successful in their elections.

 

We were also successful in getting important ballot measures approved to support CSEA members’ jobs:

  • The Remove Debt Limit on Small City School Districts Amendment, which increases the cap on borrowing for small-city school districts (cities with fewer than 125,000 inhabitants) from 5% to 10% of all taxable property in the district.
  • The Exclude Indebtedness for Sewage Facilities Amendment, which allows municipalities to issue debt for sewer facilities without limiting their ability to pay for other capital improvements.

 

2. Looking Ahead to 2024

State government will hit the ground running in January, with the following dates to look out for:

  • January 3: The State Senate and Assembly will begin the 2024 Legislative Session.
  • January 9: The Governor will give her annual State of the State address.
  • January 16: The last day for submission of the 2024-25 Executive Budget proposal.

 

2024 is also an important election year! The following offices will be up for election:

  • The President of the United States
  • The U.S. Senate (one seat in New York)
  • All members of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • All State Assemblymembers and State Senators

For more information on 2024 elections, including how to check your voter registration status, visit cseany.org/vote.

 

New Congressional Maps:

After last week’s court decision, the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) must propose new congressional district maps by Feb. 28, 2024. The State Legislature has the final authority to accept, reject or modify the IRC’s proposal. CSEA will be watching carefully to determine the impact of these decisions on district lines and the upcoming elections in 2024.

 

Thank you! The successes of this year wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work, dedication and activism of CSEA members!

This Week in Albany - December 15, 2023

CSEA Endorsement Alert! 

1. CSEA Endorses George Latimer

CSEA has proudly endorsed George Latimer in the Primary Election for the 16th Congressional District. Latimer, a Democrat, will be facing off against incumbent Democrat Jamaal Bowman in June 2024. George Latimer has been a great friend to CSEA throughout his decades in public office, serving in the New York State Assembly, Senate, and as Westchester County Executive. After becoming County Executive, Latimer promptly settled a years-long contract dispute with the Westchester County Unit that preceded Latimer’s time in office.

 

2. Court Rules on Redistricting Case

This week, The New York State Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) must propose new congressional district maps by Feb. 28, 2024. The current maps, which have been in effect since 2022, were created by a neutral, court-appointed actor after a long saga of partisan fighting. This comes as a win for Democrats, as their supermajorities in both houses of the State Legislature provide them with the final authority to accept, reject or modify the IRC’s proposal. Whether Democratic lawmakers draw their own maps or simply accept a plan drawn up by the IRC, the new maps, which will be in effect for the 2024 elections, are likely to be more favorable to Democrats.

This decision is a major blow to Republicans, who in 2022, were able to flip four districts to claim 11 of the state’s 26 House seats due in large part to the more favorable districts provided under the current maps. In 2024, a new set of less-favorable maps in New York is likely to threaten their razor-thin, eight-member-majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

3. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - December 8, 2023

Special Election Announced! 

1. Special Election in CD-3

Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced that a special election will be held on Feb. 13, 2024, to finish the term of former U.S. Rep. George Santos in the 3rd Congressional District. This comes after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to expel Santos from Congress last week. The candidates running in a special election are determined by party leaders in the district, in this case, Nassau and Queens Counties.

As of this email, Democrats are expected to select former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, who held this seat for several terms until 2022. Who the Republican nominee will be remains unclear, though dozens of potential candidates are vying for the spot. The winner of this election would take office immediately and serve until the end of the term on Dec. 31, 2024. This election has profound significance nationally, as it may impact the very slim majority the GOP has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

2. Latimer Announces Candidacy

This week, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced his candidacy for the 16th Congressional District seat, currently occupied by U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Latimer and Bowman, both Democrats, will be facing off in a primary in 2024. The results of the primary election will be significantly influenced by the final drawn boundaries of the district. Currently, the 16th Congressional District comprises parts of Westchester County and the Bronx, though this is subject to change as a battle ensues over redistricting in the New York State Court of Appeals.

 

3. CSEA Submits Comments to HHS

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a rule to require that nursing home residents receive a minimum of three hours of nursing care per day. As proposed, the federal regulation would only include nursing care provided by Registered Nurses (RNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), totally excluding care provided by Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Excluding LPNs from inclusion in this rule would force nursing homes to rely more on existing RNs and CNAs, which will increase mandatory overtime and burnout of CSEA members employed at nursing homes. Due to this, CSEA submitted comments to HHS asking that the proposal be amended to allow care from LPNs to count towards the minimum hours of daily nursing care. You can read our comments on this proposal here.

 

4. Legislative Session Calendar Released

The 2024 Legislative Session calendar has been released. The State Senate and Assembly will begin the session on January 3 and are scheduled to meet 61 days before adjournment on June 6.

The Governor will give her annual State of the State address on January 9 in the State Assembly chamber and has until January 16 to present her Executive Budget proposal.

 

 

 

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - December 1, 2023

CSEA-Supported Bills Signed into Law!

1. Bills Signed into Law

Two critical pieces of legislation were signed into law that are set to make a positive impact on CSEA members!

A.6256 (Pheffer Amato), which provides standardized protections to all Competitive, Non-Competitive, and Labor Class employees during layoffs that is based on seniority. This bill will go into effect on February 19, 2024.

S.1466 (Breslin), which ensures that local government ambulance forces, Emergency Medical Service providers, and other providers of ambulance services represented by CSEA are paid directly by insurance companies even if they are not preferred providers. This bill will go into effect on January 1, 2025.

Check out our legislative victory fliers in the legislative toolkit below for more information!

Of the nearly 900 bills that passed both houses of the legislature this year, Governor Hochul has acted on about 750 of them. There are still about 150 bills that the Governor must either approve or deny before the end of the year.

 

2. Adam Bello and Sue Serino Thank CSEA

CSEA-supported candidates performed well in this year’s elections!  CSEA members worked hard to re-elect Adam Bello as the Monroe County Executive, as well as elect Sue Serino as Dutchess County Executive. Both Adam and Sue are good friends of CSEA. They each issued a thank you video to all of the members who made their successes possible. Check out their videos below!

For Adam Bello’s video, click here.

For Sue Serino’s video, click here.

 

2. U.S. Rep. Santos Removed from Office

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove from office U.S. Rep. George Santos, the embattled Congressman representing parts of Nassau County and Queens. While a previous expulsion vote failed, this vote came on the heels of a House Ethics Committee report, which found evidence that he broke federal laws, stole from his campaign and lied to voters and donors. There were 311 “yes” votes, 114 “no” votes, and 2 abstentions. The entire New York Congressional delegation voted in favor of expulsion, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, and of course, U.S. Rep. George Santos, who voted no. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was not present for the vote. Within 10 days, Governor Hochul will issue a proclamation announcing a special election for the open seat, which will take place within 80 days of the proclamation. Tom Suozzi, who previously represented New York’s third congressional district, is the leading candidate to replace Santos.

 

3. U.S. Rep. Higgins to Resign

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, who represents areas of western New York, including Buffalo and Niagara Falls, has announced that he will be resigning the office in February. This announcement comes after Higgins was appointed as the President and CEO of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. State Sen. Tim Kennedy has already announced his campaign for the vacant seat. Other potential candidates include Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Once Higgins resigns in February, Governor Hochul will issue a proclamation announcing a special election for the open seat, which will take place within 80 days of the proclamation.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our union’s legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Ambulance Direct Payments:

 

 

 

Bumping, Retreating and Rehiring Rights:

 

 

 

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - November 17, 2023

CSEA-Supported Bills Signed Makes Progress! 

1. Bills Delivered to the Governor

This week, a number of CSEA-supported bills were delivered to the Governor. Now, the Governor has the opportunity to sign these bills into law, offer amendments, or veto. These bills include:

A.6256 (Pheffer Amato), which provides standardized protections to all Competitive, Non-Competitive, and Labor Class employees during layoffs that is based on seniority.

This bill is important to CSEA members, as it ensures that all public employees are subject to the same layoff process. Currently, there is no process in place for layoffs of any Labor Class employees, regardless of employer, or for Non-Competitive Class employees working in local government. Without a standardized layoff process, employers have the ability to pick and choose which employees are laid off; and

S.1466 (Breslin), which ensures that providers of ambulance services receive direct payments from insurance companies for services without the need to be a preferred provider.

This bill is important to CSEA members, local governments, and private ambulance providers. When payments go to patients, often, the money never makes its way to ambulance providers. This means that those providers are not paid for their services, creating significant costs for local governments across the state.

CSEA will be watching closely as the Governor makes a final decision on these bills.

 

2. Government Shutdown Avoided

On Thursday, President Biden signed a short-term spending measure that averts a federal government shutdown. This measure provides funding for priorities including military construction, veterans’ affairs, transportation, housing and the Energy Department through January 19. All other departments and initiatives are funded through February 2. The bill extends funding at current levels, but notably does not include additional aid to Ukraine or support for Israel. The measure passed with a vote of 336 to 95 in the U.S. House of Representatives, with New York’s entire Congressional delegation voting in favor. The measure passed the U.S. Senate with a vote of  87 to 11, with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand voting in favor.

 

3. Santos Not Running for Re-election

U.S. Rep. George Santos, the embattled congressman representing parts of Nassau County and Queens, announced this week that he will not be running for re-election in 2024. This announcement came after the U.S. House Ethics Committee released a report that concluded that Santos used campaign funds for personal expenditures. Before this announcement, a number of challengers had already announced their plans to challenge Santos in 2024, including former U.S. Rep. and Gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi, former State Sen. Anna Kaplan, and retired police officer Mike Sapraicone.

 

4. Happy Thanksgiving!

As we approach Thanksgiving, we want to take a moment to express our gratitude to each member of the CSEA family. Your dedication and hard work keep our union strong! Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with well-deserved rest and joyful moments with loved ones. Due to the holiday, there will not be an issue of this publication next week. We’ll catch you up on all of the ongoings in Albany and Washington on December 1.

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - November 10, 2023

CSEA-Endorsed Candidates Win! 

1. General Election Results

CSEA was very successful in getting pro-union candidates elected this year! Some of the highlights are below. For a full list of how all of CSEA’s endorsed candidates fared, visit cseany.com/vote.

  • CSEA-endorsed candidate Adam Bello was successful his reelection bid for Monroe County Executive.
  • CSEA-endorsed candidate Mark Poloncarz was successful in his reelection bid for Erie County Executive.
  • Longtime friend of CSEA Sue Serino was victorious in her election for Dutchess County Executive.
  • CSEA-endorsed candidate Carmella Mantello won her election to become the first woman Mayor of Troy.  
  • CSEA-endorsed candidate Jim Rice won his election for Mayor of Fulton.
  • Nearly all CSEA-endorsed candidates for County Legislature in Suffolk, Nassau, Schenectady, Albany, Onondaga, and Cayuga counties were successful in their elections.  

In addition, the two ballot measures that CSEA supported have been approved with overwhelming support! People across the state voted strongly in favor of improved infrastructure for small-city school districts and increased funds for local governments!

Thank you to all of the members who took time out of their busy schedules to vote in this year’s election. Whether you voted by absentee or in person, on Election Day or early, your vote made a difference in electing local candidates that have a huge impact on the jobs and lives of members.

2. Government Shutdown Looms

Once again, the federal government is at risk of a shutdown. Congress must pass appropriations bills by November 17 to keep the government open. To avoid a shutdown, there must be agreement between House Republicans, Senate Democrats, and President Biden. However, they appear to be at an impasse, with House Republicans opposing additional funding to support Ukraine unless Democrats agree to their demands to bolster border security. CSEA will be monitoring this situation closely as we approach the November 17 deadline.

3. Happy Veterans Day!

Veterans Day is a day to show appreciation to those who have selflessly served our nation in times of peace and war. It’s a day of reflection, gratitude, and unity as we remember and honor the countless sacrifices made by our veterans. Thank you to all that have served!

 

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - November 3, 2023

Get out the vote! 

1. Election Day is November 7!

November 7 is Election Day, when members will have the opportunity to elect candidates to county, city and town offices. These elected leaders make decisions that can affect members’ jobs and the quality of life for residents.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.  on Election Day. Click here to find your polling location.

The polls are still open for early voting through Sunday, November 5. Click here to find your early voting site.

2. Ballot Measures  

On the back of your general election ballot, every New Yorker will have the opportunity to vote on two statewide ballot measures. CSEA is encouraging everyone to vote YES on these measures:

  • Proposal 1, the Remove Debt Limit on Small City School Districts Amendment, is a proposed constitutional amendment to increase the cap on borrowing for small-city school districts (cities with less than 125,000 inhabitants) from 5% to 10% of all taxable property in the district. Small-city school districts are subject to a 5% cap on borrowing, while all other school districts are subject to a 10% cap. This means that small-city schools districts have less money available for building maintenance and other capital expenditures. Small-city school districts, their students, staff, and teachers deserve equal access to high-quality facilities.
  • Proposal 2, the Exclude Indebtedness for Sewage Facilities Amendment, is a proposed constitutional amendment to exclude sewer debts from municipal debt limits until 2034. Excluding sewer debts from municipal debt limits will allow municipalities to issue debt for sewer facilities without limiting their ability to pay for other capital improvements. This would allow for more funding dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of municipal infrastructure, which employs thousands of CSEA members across our state.

3. Local Elections Highlight

This is our final local election highlight before the general election on November 7! Visit cseany.org/vote to see all of the candidates that CSEA has endorsed in your local races.

This week, we want to highlight the Onondaga County Executive Election, where CSEA has proudly endorsed Bill Kinne. The current County Executive, Ryan McMahon, approved layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic without considering alternatives. He also proposed the closure of Jamesville Correctional Facility, while pushing a taxpayer-funded aquarium that few county residents support. We need new leadership in Onondaga County that will prioritize the county’s hardworking employees.

4. Attempt to Remove Santos Fails

On Wednesday, November 1, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a measure to expel Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) from Congress. The measure failed 179-213, allowing Santos to remain in his position. The chart below shows how each of New York’s Congressional Representatives voted on the measure. A “yes” indicates a vote in favor of removing Santos, while a “no” indicates a vote against removal.

        REPRESENTATIVE             VOTE
        Bowman (D-16)             YES
        Clarke (D-9)             YES
        D’Esposito (R-4)             YES
        Espaillat (D-13)             YES
        Garbarino (R-2)             NOT VOTING
        Goldman (D-10)             YES
        Higgins (D-26)             YES
        Jeffries (D-8)             YES
        LaLota (R-1)             YES
        Langworthy (R-23)             YES
        Lawler (R-17)             YES
        Malliotakis (R-11)             NO
        Meeks (D-5)             YES
        Meng (D-6)             YES
        Molinaro (R-19)             YES
        Morelle (D-25)             YES
        Nadler (D-12)             YES
        Ocasio-Cortez (D-14)             YES
        Ryan (D-18)             YES
        Santos (R-3)             NO
        Stefanik (R-21)             NO
        Tenney (R-24)             NO
        Tonko (D-20)             YES
        Torres (D-15)             YES
        Velazquez (D-7)             YES
        Williams (R-22)             YES

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - October 27, 2023

Early Voting Begins Saturday! 

1. Early Voting Begins

Early voting begins October 28 and extends through November 5!  It is important to note that locations and times vary by county, click here to find early voting information for your county. October 28 is also the deadline to register to vote for the General Election. You can still register online by clicking here, or you can register in person at your local Board of Elections.

2. Local Election Highlights

Each week leading to the General Election on November 7, we will be highlighting prominent local government races that have CSEA-endorsed candidates running.

This week, we want to highlight a few local races in the Southern Region, including:

  • The Dutchess County Executive Election, where CSEA has proudly endorsed Sue Serino. During her time in the NYS Senate, Serino was a great partner to CSEA on issues pertaining to OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, veterans & battling the scourge of Lyme Disease; and
  • The City of Kingston Mayoral Election, where CSEA has proudly endorsed Steve Noble for re-election. During his term as Mayor, he has worked with CSEA to settle fair contracts and has increased our workforce.

For more information on CSEA endorsements, click here.

[Correction: Last week, in our Local Election Highlights section, we incorrectly referred to Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin as Don Calvin. Thank you to the vigilant members who noticed our error!]

3. Counting Provisional Time Towards Probation Terms

This year, CSEA was successful in advocating for the passage of a bill to require time spent as a provisional employee to count towards an employee’s probationary term upon receiving a permanent appointment in the same time. This week, the state Department of Civil Service issued guidance on how this new law will apply to members. Click here to learn more about the law and read the newly issued guidance.

4. Speaker of the House Elected

After weeks of uncertainty, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives nominated and elected Mike Johnson (R-LA) as Speaker of the House. This came after the previous three nominees, Tom Emmer (R-MN), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Steve Scalise (R-LA), failed in their bids for the role. Johnson was confirmed in a 220-209 vote, with all Republicans voting in favor. The previous Speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), was ousted in a vote in early October.

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - October 20, 2023

Employees Benefit From Pension Reforms! 

1. Pension Reforms Benefit Employees

On Tuesday, October 17, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released the annual financial report for the Employee Retirement System (ERS). Since CSEA successfully advocated to decrease the pension vesting period from 10 years to five years, 87,000 additional employees have become eligible. Additionally, 46,000 local and 70,000 state employees have benefitted from changes that exclude overtime payments from contribution rate calculations.

2. Local Election Highlights

Each week leading to the general election on November 7, we will be highlighting prominent local government races that have CSEA-endorsed candidates running.

This week, we want to highlight a few local races on Long Island, including:

  • The Town of Hempstead Supervisor Election, where CSEA has proudly endorsed Don Clavin for reelection. Clavin negotiated a fair contract that increased wages and expanded benefits for our members and continues to work with CSEA to improve working conditions and expand services for residents; and
  • The Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Election, where CSEA has proudly endorsed Joe Saladino. More than 1,100 members work tirelessly every day for the Town of Oyster Bay, and Saladino continues to respect and acknowledge their hard work and dedication.

For more information on upcoming elections, click here.

3. Governor Signs Safe Schools by Design Act

On Wednesday, Governor Hochul signed the Safe Schools by Design Act, which requires all school districts to incorporate design principles that will provide a safe, secure, and healthy school environment in their five-year capital facilities plans. This is an important step in ensuring that students, faculty, and staff are protected at school.  

4. U.S. House Speaker Elections Fail

This week, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives chose Jim Jordan (R-OH) as their nominee for Speaker of the House. However, despite three rounds of voting, Jordan was unable to secure the 217 votes necessary for confirmation. Jordan’s nomination by House Republicans comes after their first nominee, Steve Scalise (R-LA) dropped out of the race last week. The previous Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA) was ousted in a vote earlier this month.

5. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - October 13, 2023

CSEA is Working to Improve Recruitment and Retention! 

1. CSEA Testifies on Recruitment & Retention

On Wednesday, October 11, CSEA testified before the New York State Senate Civil Service and Pensions Committee at a hearing to discuss retention and recruitment for civil service jobs in New York State. In our testimony, CSEA highlighted the erosion of the public sector workforce, with local governments losing 28,000 positions since 2012 and state government losing 17,089 in the same time frame. We recommended a number of potential solutions to the recruitment and retention crisis, including fixing Tier 6, eliminating salary withholdings for new state employees, offering virtual civil service examinations, and streamlining onboarding processes. CSEA will be working hard in the upcoming session to advocate for these changes and other proposals to improve recruitment and retention of the public sector workforce. You can read CSEA’s full testimony here.

2. Local Election Highlights

Each week leading to the general election on November 7, we will be highlighting prominent local government races that have CSEA-endorsed candidates running.

This week, we want to highlight a few local races in the Capital Region, including:

  • The City of Troy Mayoral Election, where CSEA has proudly endorsed current City Council President Carmella R. Mantello. Mantello is focused on working with CSEA members on fair contracts, pay, as well as improving management and morale; and
  • The Colonie Town Supervisor Election, where CSEA has proudly endorsed Peter Crummey for re-election. Crummey has a strong record of supporting CSEA and has delivered on his promise of a fair contract.

For more information on upcoming elections, click here.

3. Uncertainty in U.S. House Leadership

This week, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives chose Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) as their nominee for the new Speaker of the House. However, shortly thereafter, Scalise withdrew his name from consideration upon realizing his inability to secure the 217 votes necessary for confirmation. There are currently two other candidates vying for the party’s nomination: Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Austin Scott (R-GA). Republicans are expected to choose a new nominee in the coming hours and have indicated the possibility of a floor vote as soon as this evening. The previous Speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), was ousted in a vote last week after his collaboration with Democrats to pass a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown.

We’ll be providing an additional update next week with any new information.

4. Social Security Benefits Set to Increase

On Thursday, the U.S. Social Security Administration announced a 3.2% increase to Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments in 2024. More than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries will see the adjustment beginning in January 2024. For the approximately 7.5 million people receiving Supplemental Security Income Payments, the adjustment will take effect on December 29, 2023. Additionally, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase from $160,200 to $168,600.

4. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - October 6, 2023

Government Shutdown Averted! 

1. Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Bill

On Saturday night, Congress passed a measure to fund the federal government through Nov. 17, 2023. This agreement was passed just three hours before the October 1 deadline, by a bipartisan vote of 335-51 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This agreement continues existing funding levels for federal programs through November 17, while also including additional funding for disaster relief. Notably, this agreement does not include any additional funding for the war in Ukraine. Unfortunately, we could once again be at risk of a shutdown in mid-November. as Congress must approve a budget or another short-term funding measure by November 17.

2. Speaker McCarthy Ousted

Shortly after the passage of the short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership role. This is the first successful ouster of a sitting Speaker of the House in U.S. history. Speaker McCarthy was voted out by a 216-210 vote, with all 208 Democrats and eight Republicans voting to remove. The vote, led by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), was held in response to McCarthy’s cooperation with House Democrats in passing the short-term funding bill. Now, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) fills in as Interim Speaker as the House of Representatives begins the process of electing a new Speaker. Several Republicans have already announced their intentions to run for the position.

3. Local Election Highlights

Each week leading to the general election on November 7,  we will be highlighting a prominent local government race that has a CSEA-endorsed candidate running. This week, we want to highlight the race for Monroe County Executive, where CSEA-endorsed candidate Adam Bello is running for re-election.

Since taking office with the support of CSEA, Adam Bello has been an incredible partner for members, continually demonstrating that he values the county workforce. Over the past two years, he has committed $8,500 per member in recruitment and retention bonuses, handed out 2% raises out of contract, given everyone five free personal days, and waived civil service testing fees. We are proud to once again endorse Adam Bello for Monroe County Executive in this cycle.

 

4. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - September 29, 2023

DMV Proposed Regulations to Protect CSEA Members! 

1. DMV Proposes New Regulations

CSEA has submitted comments in support of proposed Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations that would increase the point penalty for overtaking or passing a stopped school bus or speeding in a work zone. In New York, more than 50,000 drivers a day illegally pass stopped school buses. Even when red lights are flashing, motorists sometimes pass on the left or right side of the buses that are stopped to load or unload students. Additionally, our state saw more than 400 work zone intrusions in 2022, resulting in three fatalities and more than 50 injuries. The increased penalties serve as a deterrent to these reckless behaviors and work to ensure the safety of CSEA members who work alongside roadways and drive school busses.

2. Federal Budget Negotiations Continue

On Tuesday, September 26, the U.S. Senate passed a short-term measure to fund the federal government through November 17, including $6 billion in funding for the war in Ukraine and another $6 billion for disaster relief. Speaker McCarthy has vowed that Republicans in the House of Representatives will advance their own short-term funding measure in the coming days, which is expected to include border security provisions. Though progress is being made, it is unclear if the two houses will be able to reconcile and pass a short-term funding bill before the October 1 deadline.  

If the federal government shuts down, more than 2 million federal employees will either be furloughed or forced to work without pay, including approximately 50,000 federal employees in New York State. A shutdown would also delay funding for programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Section 8 housing vouchers, and loans to small businesses. If a shutdown persists, these disruptions are likely to have a significant economic impact on the nation and New York State, with potential consequences ranging from a downturn in the stock market to an economic recession.  

3. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - September 22, 2023

Governor Hochul Signs Elections Bills! 

1. Elections Bills Signed

On Wednesday, September 20, Governor Hochul signed a package of bills that affect upcoming elections in New York State, including:

  • A.7690 (Heastie) / S.7550 (Stewart-Cousins), which schedules the presidential primary for April 2, 2024.
  • A.6132 (Caroll) / S.5984-A (Kavanagh), which allows voters to enroll in a political party or register to vote at an early voting location, as long as it is 10 days or more before the election; and
  • A.7632-A (Reyes) / S.7394-A (Gianaris), which provides all voters with the option to vote early by mail. This law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

Double-check that you are registered to vote here, or register to vote online here! The General Election will be held on November 7, 2023.

2. Federal Shutdown Looming

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have struggled to reach an inter-party agreement on a short-term funding bill. The most recent proposal includes an 8% cut to agency budgets, excluding the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs. Even if an agreement is reached, it is unlikely that the House proposal will be accepted by the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate. An agreement must be passed by both houses and signed by President Biden by October 1 to avoid a shutdown.

3. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click to icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - September 15, 2023

Make sure you’re registered to vote! 

1. Voter Registration Deadline

On November 7, New York voters will have the opportunity to elect candidates to county, city, town, and village offices. These elected leaders make important policy and budgetary decisions that directly impact your quality of life every day.

Make sure you’re registered to vote! Check your registration status, here, or register to vote online, here. Here are some important deadlines that voters should be aware of:

  • Mail voter registration applications must be received by a board of elections no later than October 28 to be eligible to vote in the General Election.
  • In-person voter registration applications must be received no later than October 28 to be eligible to vote in the General Election.
  • Notices of change of address from registered voters received by October 23 by a county board of elections must be processed and entered in the records in time for the General Election.

You can also check out CSEA’s endorsements in your local races at cseany.org/vote.

2. Assembly Special Election

On Tuesday, a special election was held to replace Daniel Rosenthal in Assembly District 27, who resigned in August. Democrat Sam Berger defeated Republican David Hirsch by a margin of 11 percentage points, or about 500 votes. This race was watched closely, as both Republicans and Democrats sought to determine how the influx of asylum seekers to New York would impact election results.

3. Federal Shutdown

Congress is negotiating a budget extender to keep the federal government operating. This short-term funding bill must be passed by October 1 to avoid a federal government shutdown. However, a coalition of House Republicans are threatening to vote against a short-term funding bill unless certain provisions are included, which include limiting funding for Ukraine and addressing their claims that federal law enforcement agencies are politically motivated. CSEA is watching these negotiations carefully and working with our elected representatives to avoid a government shutdown.

4. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Click on icons below for informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Civil Service Exam Announcements:

 

 

 

School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:

 

 

 

Counting Provisional Time Toward Probation:

This Week in Albany - September 8, 2023

Several CSEA-supported bills were signed into law! 

1. CSEA-Supported Bills Signed into Law

This week, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a handful of CSEA-supported bills, including

  • S.5486 (Jackson) / A.6855 (Pheffer Amato), which requires that the State Civil Service Department (DCS) and municipal civil service commissions to provide notice of competitive civil service examinations to BOCES, school districts, public colleges and universities, local social services districts, and job training programs. This law went into effect on September 7, 2023.
  • S.5494 (Jackson) / A.7155 (Pheffer Amato), which requires that any time spent as a provisional employee be counted towards an employee’s probationary term upon receiving a permanent appointment in the same title. This law went into effect on September 7, 2023.
  • S.1746 (Ramos) / A.1120 (Joyner), which requires public schools and BOCES to develop and implement workplace violence prevention programs. This law goes into effect on January 4, 2024.
  • S.4982 (Ramos) / A.6604 (Reyes), which prevents employers from disciplining or retaliating against employees for refusing to participate in captive audience meetings, where employers presenting their own political ideologies, religious beliefs, or opinions on personal matters like joining political parties, civic or fraternal organizations, and labor unions.

There are still several CSEA-supported bills that are awaiting action by the Governor. CSEA will be monitoring these bills closely and providing updates as progress is made.

2. CSEA Legislative Toolkit

We’re encouraging members to get the word out about our legislative successes this year. Starting in this issue, we’ll be providing informational documents that you can print, share, and post on social media to spread the news!

Click the links below for materials on some of the bills mentioned in this issue:

  Civil Service Exam Announcements:   School Workplace Violence Prevention Programs:   Counting Provisional Time Towards Probation:
 

 

   

 

3. President Biden Seeks Short-Term Funding Bill

In lieu of an agreement on the federal budget, President Biden has asked Congress to pass a budget extender to keep the federal government operating. In the short-term funding bill, the President is seeking additional adjustments to avoid possible disruptions to food aid for women, infants, and children. Republicans in the House of Representatives have indicated a willingness to pass a short-term funding bill, though the details of the bill remain unclear. Congress must act by October 1 to avoid a federal government shutdown.

This Week in Albany - August 25, 2023

Happy Labor Day!

1. Pension Fund Posts Returns

Last week, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced that New York’s pension fund has posted a 3.08% return for the first quarter of the fiscal year ending June 30. The fund’s balance is estimated at $254.1 billion. Due to the leadership of Comptroller DiNapoli, the New York State Common Retirement Fund remains one of the best funded and managed retirement systems in the country.

2. Federal Budget Talks Stall

Congress is set to return from their August recess on September 5, giving representatives less than a month to either approve a budget or pass a budget extender to prevent a federal government shutdown. Last week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy indicated that budget talks have stalled, and a short-term government funding bill is likely. The U.S. House and Senate are still at odds over funding, with House Republicans looking to slash federal spending below the levels agreed upon in the debt ceiling negotiations. CSEA will be monitoring ongoing negotiations as we approach the October 1 deadline.

3. Labor Day

This will be the last “This Week In Albany” publication before Labor Day. With the holiday right around the corner, CSEA is excited to celebrate the labor movement’s achievements over the last century. Labor Day is a time to recognize the sacrifices that have been made to improve working conditions, wages, and the rights of workers across our nation. However, it is also a moment to acknowledge that our journey is far from over. By standing together, we will continue to improve the lives of working people everywhere. Happy Labor Day!

This Week in Albany -- August 11, 2023

Federal Shutdown on the Horizon? 

1. Redistricting in New York

In July, a New York court ordered the state’s congressional district maps to be redrawn. If this decision is upheld by the state’s Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York State, the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission will be responsible for redrawing the maps. However, if the commission fails to reach an agreement, the responsibility for the redrawing will fall to the state legislature, where Democrats have supermajorities in both houses. New maps that favor Democratic candidates could claw back some of the seats lost to Republicans in the 2022 elections. This could have national implications, as Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives by a razor-thin, 9-seat-margin.

2. SNAP Provisions in the FARM Bill

Every five years, Congress passes legislation that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry policy, commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill.” CSEA has been working to oppose proposed inclusions in the bill that would allow states to privatize the administration of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — work that is done by CSEA members in New York. Rather than outsource this work, CSEA is advocating for an increase in the administrative match for SNAP from 50% to 75%, which will ensure competitive wages, provide adequate training and support to workers, and improve consumers’ access to needed benefits. CSEA will be monitoring ongoing negotiations on this bill.

3. A Federal Government Shutdown Looms

While Congress is currently in recess, one overarching issue is looming: the possibility of a federal government shutdown. Congress has until October 1 to either pass appropriations bills for next year’s budget or pass a budget extender to keep the federal government operating. The U.S. Senate has already passed appropriations bills, however, progress has stalled in the U.S. House, as Congressional Republicans want to spend less than the funding levels agreed upon in the debt ceiling negotiations in June. As such, Republicans in the House are looking to pass different versions of the appropriation bills, which include provisions to regulate abortion and other measures that are unlikely to pass the Senate. If the government shuts down, federal agencies must cease all non-essential functions and the federal funding that supports CSEA jobs and functions in New York will dry up.

This Week in Albany - July 28, 2023

CSEA endorses John Mannion in NY-22

1. John Mannion Enters the Race for NY-22

CSEA is proud to endorse John Mannion for Congress. Last week, State Sen. John Mannion announced his candidacy for New York’s 22nd Congressional District seat. John was first elected to the State Senate in 2020 after 30 years as a biology teacher and union president. During his time in the State Senate, John has been a great ally to CSEA, working to increase staffing in state agencies and fighting to prevent the outsourcing of members’ jobs.

2. 2024 Property Tax Cap

Last week, NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced that property tax levy growth will be capped at 2% for local governments in 2024. This cap is the limit on how much a local government can increase property taxes year-over-year, with certain exceptions to allow municipalities to override the cap. This tax cap applies to all counties and cities except those within NYC; all towns, villages, and fire districts; and all school districts outside of the cities of New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers. The tax cap also applies to certain special districts, which include sewer, water, library, fire protection and other districts that independently levy taxes.

3. Governor Begins Signing Bills

Since the end of the 2023 Legislative Session, Governor Hochul has begun acting on the nearly 900 bills that passed both houses of the legislature. So far, the Governor has signed several bills to extend counties’ ability to impose sales tax, mortgage recording taxes, and personal income taxes. CSEA is continuing to work to get our supported bills signed and enacted. We anticipate that the Governor will begin signing bills in earnest after Labor Day.

This Week in Albany - July 14, 2023

CSEA remains opposed to the New York Health Act! 

1. New York Health Act Reintroduced

This week, a new version of the New York Health Act (NYHA), S.7590 (Rivera) was introduced. CSEA is continuing to oppose this bill as we have done in the past, because we are concerned that NYHA could push health care providers out of state, increase wait times for health care services, and increase health care costs for individuals and employers. CSEA members and millions of other employees across our state already have high-quality health insurance at reasonable cost. Upending a system that works for the vast majority of individuals and families in our state is not a viable strategy. We’ll be watching this bill closely as we approach the 2024 legislative session.

2. CSEA Victory in New Windsor

In the Town of New Windsor mayoral primary, CSEA-endorsed candidate Steve Bedetti edged out his challenger, former NYS Assemblymember Colin Schmitt, by three votes. With such tight margins, this race is proof that every vote counts, particularly in local elections. Mr. Bedetti will be a great advocate for CSEA members, as he was a member himself, even serving as Town of  New Windsor Unit President for many years. He is employed as an emergency dispatcher with the town. In May, he  retired from the Town of Cornwall, where he has served as a village police officer for over 20 years.

3. Pension Fund Posts Returns

NYS Comptroller  Tom DiNapoli announced last week the New York State Pension Fund’s investment return was -4.14% for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023. The market has been rocky over the past few months, contributing to these losses. However, thanks to the state pension fund’s diverse investments, members, retirees and beneficiaries can rest assured their pensions are secure. The pension fund is still in good shape, especially compared to other state funds across the country.

This Week in Albany - June 30, 2023

Happy Independence Day! 

1. Primary Results

Polls closed on June 25 for local primary races. Many CSEA-endorsed candidates succeeded in their elections, including Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, Kingston Mayor Steve Noble, and Rose Bonnick, who defeated incumbent and Monroe County Legislature President Sabrina LaMar in Legislative District 27, likely flipping the majority in the County Legislature.

Unfortunately, some CSEA-endorsed candidates were unsuccessful. Rome Mayor Jackie Izzo lost her mayorship to challenger Jeff Lanigan, though Jeff has ties to CSEA and we look forward to working with him.

For more information on these results and additional races with CSEA endorsed candidates, visit cseany.org/vote.

2. Civil Service Fee Waiver

Beginning July 1, the Department of Civil Service will begin waiving fees for all state civil service examinations. This will remove a financial hurdle to entering the public sector workforce and is intended to bolster recruitment by expanding the pool of potential applicants for public sector jobs. These fees will be waived until December 31, 2025.

Local governments have the option to waive civil service exam fees but are not required. So far, Clinton, Genesee, Monroe, Oswego, Schenectady, and Ulster counties have opted to remove their fees.

3. Session Statistics

With the state legislative session over, let’s look back at the year:

  • CSEA PAF reviewed each of the 15,000 bills that the Assembly and Senate introduced in the 2023 Legislative Session.
  • Of those bills, 1,648 passed the Senate, 1,026 passed the Assembly, and 896 made it passed both houses of the legislature.
  • Of the 896 bills that passed both houses, 135 of them were CSEA-supported bills that benefit our members, including counting provisional time towards the probationary period for new employees, providing bump and retreat benefits for labor and non-competitive class employees, and requiring an independent hearing officer in all disciplinary proceedings.
  • CSEA also killed 204 bills that would have hurt union members, including repealing the Triborough Amendment, reducing pension benefits in retirement, and outsourcing CSEA members’ work to the private sector.

Now, many of the bills we worked to get passed both houses await the Governor’s signature. We’ll be working in the coming months to get these bills passed the finish line! For more information on our legislative victories, visit cseany.org/issues.

4. Happy Independence Day!

July 4 is right around the corner! This special day commemorates the spirit of independence and reminds us of the values that make our nation great. Be sure to take a moment to reflect on the significance of this day and the freedoms we enjoy. Happy Independence Day to you and your loved ones!

5. Summer TWIA Schedule

With summer upon us, “This Week in Albany” will be distributed every other Friday at 5 PM. The next edition will be released on July 14.

This Week in Albany - June 23, 2023

The NYS Assembly has adjourned, closing the 2023 Legislative Session! 

1. NYS Assembly Adjourns

The New York State Assembly returned to Albany on June 20 for two days to wrap up some unfinished business. The Assembly’s adjournment on Wednesday, June 21, marks the definitive end to the 2023 Legislative Session. Now, CSEA will be working to get the bills we supported this session signed into law by Governor Hochul. For more information on the bills we worked on this year, visit cseany.org/issues.

2. June Primary Elections

Early voting for the June Primary is open now! You can vote early through Sunday, June 25. Voting locations and times vary by county – visit this webpage to find your county’s election information. Make sure to check the status of your voter registration and ensure that your address is up-to-date here.

As we get closer to elections, you can stay up-to-date on important deadlines and CSEA’s endorsed candidates at cseany.org/vote.

3. CSEA Endorsement Highlight

In the cities of Kingston & Poughkeepsie, CSEA has endorsed both incumbent Mayors in their respective primaries. Both Steve Noble in Kingston and Marc Nelson in Poughkeepsie have worked with CSEA to improve employee benefits, salaries and quality of life.

In the Town of New Windsor, CSEA has endorsed Steve Bedetti over his challenger, former NYS Assemblymember Colin Schmitt. Mr. Bedetti served as the CSEA New Windsor Unit President for multiple terms. He is employed as an emergency dispatcher with the town. In May, he retired from the Town of Cornwall, where he has served as a village police officer for more than 20 years.

4. Next Week

Next week, early voting comes to a close and we’ll shift our attention to getting out the vote on Election Day.

This Week in Albany - June 16, 2023

CSEA was successful in the 2023 Legislative Session!

1. End of Session Wrap-Up

The New York State Senate and Assembly headed home this past weekend, tentatively adjourning the 2023 Legislative Session. However, the Assembly is scheduled to return to Albany on June 20 for two days to wrap up some unfinished business. CSEA was successful in getting several important pieces of legislation passed this year. Check out our union’s successes below:

Counting Provisional Time Towards Probation

S.5494 (Jackson) / A.7155 (Pheffer Amato)

This legislation requires that any time spent as a provisional employee be counted towards an employee’s probationary term upon receiving a permanent appointment in the same title. Currently, employees may spend months or even years as a provisional employee until a test is offered. During their time as a provisional employee, they have no disciplinary rights and can be terminated at any time. Upon successfully becoming a permanent employee in the same title, they are then required to go through a probationary period, where they again have no disciplinary rights.

Public Sector Arbitration Reform

S.6491 (Hoylman-Sigal) / A.6866 (Lavine)

This bill closes a loophole in the public sector arbitration process that allows unsuccessful parties to delay compliance with an award without penalty. During public sector arbitration, under current law, if a state agency or local government does not comply with the award decided upon by the arbitrator within 90 days, CSEA must make a motion to confirm the award, which requires us to file in court, pay the filing fees, and request for judicial intervention fees. However, the state agency or local government can then simply move to modify or vacate the award at this point, offering them an additional 90-day period without any penalty. This legislation closes this loophole and ensures that any application to vacate or modify a public sector arbitration award is made within 90 days.

Civil Service Exam Announcements

S.5486 (Jackson) / A.6855 (Pheffer Amato)

This legislation requires the State Civil Service Department (DCS) and municipal civil service commissions to issue announcements of competitive civil service examinations more broadly. Under this bill, DCS and municipal civil service commissions will have to announce competitive civil service examinations to BOCES, high schools, colleges, universities, local social services districts, and job training programs that are located within the same geographic area as the civil service commission. This will expand notice of testing opportunities and increase participation in the public sector workforce.

Section 80 Reform

S.5487 (Jackson) / A.6856 (Pheffer Amato)

This legislation creates a statewide standard for bumping, retreating, and rehiring rights for non-competitive and labor class employees in state and local governments. In the event of the need to reduce positions, Section 80 of the New York State Civil Service Law provides a system of reduction in force that affects permanently appointed employees occupying positions in the competitive class and non-competitive class positions in the State Executive Branch only.

There are no statutory provisions that provide this protection to employees in the Labor Class. This bill sets up the current reduction in force and recall procedure for non-competitive and labor class employees who work for the State Executive Branch or a local government employer.

Continued NYSHIP Coverage for Surviving Spouses

S.5495 (Jackson) / A.6806 (Pheffer Amato)

This legislation ensures that un-remarried spouses and dependents have access to health insurance after the death of a former public sector employee. Under current law, NYSHIP allows the state and local government participants to continue offering health insurance coverage to un-remarried spouses and dependents of a former employee who had at least 10 years of service (local government employers must opt into this provision). However, some employees are forced to retire due to a disability incurred on the job with less than 10 years of service, leading to their spouse and dependents being unable to maintain NYSHIP coverage upon their death. This legislation would amend this law to waive the 10-year requirement and allow an un-remarried spouse and dependents to retain their NYSHIP coverage going forward.

Independent Hearing Officer

S.1039-A (Jackson) / A.3748-A (Pheffer Amato)

This legislation requires the appointment of an independent hearing officer in disciplinary actions involving dismissal from service brought against a public employee by an appointing authority. Under the present provisions of Section 75 of the Civil Service Law, individuals who have attained permanent appointment as employees under the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Law may be removed from their positions or have other disciplinary actions taken (i.e., suspension without pay, demotion from grade and title) after a hearing held before the officer or body who has brought the charges. The employing officer or body therefore becomes both the prosecutor and the judge of the permanent employee’s actions. This bill ensures that disciplinary hearings against individual employees are held by an independent hearing officer.

Workplace Violence Prevention Plans for Schools

S.1746 (Ramos) / A.1120 (Joyner)

This legislation would add schools and BOCES to employers who are required to follow the state’s “Workplace Violence Prevention Act.” Currently, public schools and BOCES are required to have school safety plans, which are different than workplace violence prevention plans. If signed into law, this legislation would create additional safety measures for employees of school districts and BOCES.

Direct Payments to Ambulance Providers

S.1466 (Breslin) / A.250-A (Magnarelli)

This legislation would require insurance companies that provide payments for ambulance services to pay all ambulance providers directly for services rendered. Currently, health insurance providers only pay an ambulance provider if they are a preferred provider. If the ambulance is not a preferred provider, the insurance company will remit the funds to the patient, forcing the ambulance provider to bill the patient and try to recoup the payment. This system causes many ambulance providers, including those operated by local governments, to lose millions of dollars per year. This legislation would streamline this process and ensure that ambulance providers are able to be paid for their services in a more timely and predictable manner.

Captive Audience Meetings

S.4982 (Ramos) / A.6604 (Reyes)

This legislation would prevent employers from disciplining or retaliating against their employees for refusing to participate in captive audience meetings. Many of these meetings are held by employers to oppose union organizing drives or present their personal political ideologies. This legislation would protect workers from discipline or retaliation for their refusing to attend one of these meetings.

 

Workers’ Compensation Hearings

S.5867 (Ramos) / A.6208 (Joyner)

This bill requires that the Workers’ Compensation Board use a stenographic verbatim reporter in every hearing and also requires that the board index every claim and hold a hearing in every case within 60 days of the case being indexed.

Over the coming months, CSEA will be working to ensure that the bills are signed by Governor Hochul. For more information on what we’ve been working on, visit cseany.org/issues

2. Early Voting – June Primary Elections

Early Voting for the June Primary will take place from Saturday, June 17 to Sunday, June 25. Voting locations and times vary by county – visit this webpage to find your county’s election information. Make sure to check the status of your voter registration and ensure that your address is up-to-date here.

As we get closer to elections, you can stay up-to-date on important deadlines and CSEA’s endorsed candidates at cseany.org/vote.

3. CSEA Endorsement Highlight

CSEA has made several endorsements ahead of this year’s elections. This week, we’re highlighting our union’s support for Rose Bonnick, candidate for Monroe County Legislature’s 27th District. CSEA is proud to support Rose Bonnick in the primary as she takes on incumbent Sabrina LaMar. Bonnick has pledged to work with Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and advance initiatives that are important to CSEA and organized labor. If you’re a constituent of Monroe County’s 27th District, get out the vote on June 27! You can check your registration status and find your polling place here.

This Week in Albany - June 9, 2023

That’s a wrap on the 2023 legislative session! 

1. The (almost) End of Session

As of this email, the Assembly and Senate remain in session, but we expect them to adjourn for the year sometime this weekend. CSEA was successful in getting several important pieces of legislation passed this year. We will have a detailed list of these bills in next week’s This Week in Albany. Over the coming months, CSEA will be working to ensure that the bills are signed by Governor Hochul. For more information on what we’ve been working on, visit cseany.org/issues.

2. Early Voting – June Primary Elections

Early Voting for the June Primary will take place from Saturday, June 17 to Sunday, June 25. Voting locations and times vary by county – visit this webpage to find your county’s election information. Make sure to check the status of your voter registration and ensure that your address is up to date, here.

As we get closer to elections, you can stay up to date on important deadlines and CSEA’s endorsed candidates at cseany.org/vote.

3. National Default Avoided

Late last Friday, President Biden signed into law an agreement on the debt ceiling, which suspends the U.S. borrowing limit until January 1, 2025, while keeping federal spending for non-defense and non-veteran programs roughly flat in 2024, with a 1% increase in 2025. This means that the U.S. has narrowly avoided a national default and the economic turmoil that would have ensued if agreement had not been reached. This agreement will ensure that the U.S. Government has money to pay its debts through 2025 and will not have to renegotiate until after the 2024 federal elections. To find out more about the key provisions of the agreement, click here.

4. Thank you, Jessie and Kaleb!

As we conclude this legislative session, we want to thank our legislative interns,  Jessie and Kaleb. During the legislative session, they learned the ins and outs of New York State government and CSEA. Kaleb and Jessie sat through endless hours of public hearings, committee meetings, and legislative sessions to ensure that we had up-to-date and vital information that allowed us to successfully advocate for CSEA members.

Thank you, Jessie and Kaleb, for your efforts and work throughout this year. Best of luck on your next steps!

This Week in Albany - June 2, 2023

Register to Vote! 

1.   June Primary Elections

On June 27, primaries for municipal elections will be held across the state. To qualify to vote in these elections, you must be registered by June 17. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so online or by mail here. Even if you believe you’re already registered, make sure to check the status of your voter registration and ensure that your address is up-to-date here. As we get closer to elections, you can stay up-to-date on important deadlines and CSEA’s endorsed candidates at cseany.org/vote.

2.   Agreement Reached on Debt Ceiling

This week, President Biden and Congressional leaders came to an agreement on a debt ceiling bill, which suspends the U.S. borrowing limit, while also including spending caps and other policy provisions. This comes as the U.S. Treasury announced that the country will default on June 5 unless action is taken, a change from the previous prediction of June 1.

Notably, this bill suspends the U.S. borrowing limit until January 1, 2025, while keeping federal spending for non-defense and non-veteran programs roughly flat in 2024, with a 1% increase in 2025.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday in a 314-117 vote, though New York’s Congressional delegation was split (16-10), with Santos (R-3), Meng (D-6), Velázquez (D-7), Clark (D-9), Goldman (D-10), Nadler (D-12), Espaillat (D-13), Ocasio-Cortez (D-14), Torres (D-15), and Bowman (D-16) voting against. The bill now awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate, where Majority Leader Schumer has expressed readiness to extend the Senate session into the weekend to ensure the bill’s passage before the June 5 deadline. To find out more about the key provisions of the agreement, click here.

3.   CSEA-Supported Bills Pass

CSEA was successful in getting two pieces of legislation passed through both houses of the state legislature:

S.5494/A.7155 (Senator Jackson/Assemblymember Pheffer Amato), which requires that any time spent as a provisional employee be counted towards an employees’ probationary term upon receiving a permanent appointment in the same title HAS PASSED BOTH HOUSES.

S.5486/A.6855 (Senator Jackson/Assemblymember Pheffer Amato), which requires the state Department of Civil Service and municipal civil service commissions to announce competitive civil service examinations to BOCES, high schools, colleges, universities, local social services districts, and job training programs that are located within the same geographic area as the civil service commission HAS PASSED BOTH HOUSES.

These bills will be sent to the Governor in the coming months for final action. While CSEA is excited about these successes, there is still work to be done in the final days of the legislative session. You can see some of the other bills we are working on here.

4.    Next Week

The 2023 legislative session is scheduled to end on June 8! However, the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly may extend the session if necessary. CSEA will be working to the end to get our priority bills passed.

This Week in Albany - May 26, 2023

Happy Memorial Day! 

1.   Threat of Default Looms

Congressional Republicans and President Biden have yet to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling, as the estimated default date of June 1 draws near. Although ongoing negotiations have been described as productive, significant hurdles remain, particularly regarding federal spending cuts. If a decision is not made soon, a leading credit rating agency has indicated its intention to downgrade the U.S. debt rating, which would have dramatic impacts on the economy. CSEA is still advocating for the passage of a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling, without spending cuts or additional policy provisions. You can join our campaign by sending a letter to your federal representatives here.

2.   CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

Several CSEA-supported bills made progress this week, including:

S.5494/A.7155 (Senator Jackson/Assemblymember Pheffer Amato), which requires that any time spent as a provisional employee be counted towards an employees’ probationary term upon receiving a permanent appointment in the same title – PASSED IN THE ASSEMBLY.

S.5486/A.6855 (Senator Jackson/Assemblymember Pheffer Amato), which requires the state Department of Civil Service and municipal civil service commissions to announce competitive civil service examinations to BOCES, high schools, colleges, universities, local social services districts, and job training programs that are located within the same geographic area as the civil service commission – PASSED IN THE SENATE.

CSEA will be working over the remaining weeks of the legislative session to get these, and numerous other bills passed by the Senate and Assembly. You can see some of the bills we are working on here.

3.   Happy Memorial Day!

On Memorial Day, we pause to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. As we gather with loved ones and enjoy the long weekend, let us take a moment to appreciate the true meaning of this occasion.

4.       Next Week

There are two weeks left in the 2023 legislative session. CSEA will be working hard to get our priorities passed before the June 8 end date.

This Week in Albany - May 19, 2023

It’s Member Appreciation Month! Thank you for all that you do!

1. It’s Member Appreciation Month!

“Today – Friday May 19, we celebrate our union’s third annual CSEA Member Appreciation Day. Our union members work hard every day, and all year long. A day or even a month of appreciation doesn’t quite seem like enough to adequately express my gratitude for your commitment and dedication. Please watch this video, which highlights the variety of the work CSEA members do on behalf of all New Yorkers. Enjoy and share it with your fellow CSEA members, friends and families. Thank you for All You Do!”

– Mary E. Sullivan, CSEA President

2. School Board Elections and Budget Vote

On Tuesday, May 16, school districts across New York State held elections for school board and approval of budgets. CSEA endorsed candidates running for school board were overwhelmingly successful in their elections. In addition, 99% of school district budgets were approved by voters. To learn more about election outcomes or other upcoming local government election information, click here.

3. Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue

On Tuesday, May 16, President Biden and congressional leaders met formally to hash out their disagreements on how to proceed with raising the debt ceiling. While no agreements have been made, President Biden has cut short his diplomatic trip in Asia to continue negotiations in earnest. Democrats have indicated a willingness to budge on their commitment to a clean debt ceiling bill, with Democratic leaders in both houses emphasizing the need for a bipartisan solution. CSEA is still supportive of a clean debt ceiling bill, and we need your support! Click here to send a letter to your federal representatives and let them know that a clean debt ceiling bill is the best solution for CSEA members and New York State.

4. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

Several CSEA-supported bills were passed through their respective legislative committees this week. These bills include:

S.5494/A.7155 (Senator Jackson/Assemblymember Pheffer Amato), which requires that any time spent as a provisional employee be counted towards an employees’ probationary term upon receiving a permanent appointment in the same title; and

S.1039/A.3748 (Senator Jackson/Assemblymember Pheffer Amato), which requires an independent hearing officer to act as an impartial arbitrator in disciplinary actions brought against a public employee; and

S.5486/A.6855 (Senator Jackson/Assemblymember Pheffer Amato), which requires the state Department of Civil Service and municipal civil service commissions to announce competitive civil service examinations to BOCES, high schools, colleges, universities, local social services districts, and job training programs that are located within the same geographic area as the civil service commission.

CSEA will be working over the remaining weeks of the legislative session to get these and numerous other bills passed by the Senate and Assembly.

3. Next Week

The State Legislature is back in session for three days next week. The legislative session is scheduled to end on June 8.

This Week in Albany - May 12, 2023

School Board Elections and Budget Votes on May 16!

1. School Board Elections and Budget Vote

This coming Tuesday, May 16, New Yorkers will vote on school budgets and candidates for local boards of education across the state. These elections are vital for CSEA members working in schools statewide. Make a plan to vote on May 16! To learn more about CSEA’s endorsed candidates for school board races, click here. For polling location information, visit your local school district’s website.

2. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

Several CSEA-supported bills were passed through their respective legislative committees this week. These bills include:

S.1746/A.1120 (Senator Ramos/Assemblymember Joyner), which requires schools across the state to develop workplace violence plans to protect staff and students; and

S.3118/A.9566 (Senator Mannion/Assemblymember Cruz), which requires OPWDD to create an emergency plan for staffing shortages.

CSEA will be working over the remaining weeks of the legislative session to get these, and numerous other bills passed by the Senate and Assembly.

3. Debt Ceiling Remains in Limbo

Top congressional leaders met with President Biden this week to discuss the ongoing standoff on the debt ceiling. Republicans continue to push for deep spending cuts to be included in any plan to raise the debt ceiling, while Democrats are committed to an increase without additional provisions. New data released this week shows just how harmful a default on the nation’s debt could be for New York, including:

192,100 people in New York could lose their jobs.

2,458,200 households could miss their monthly Social Security check.

CSEA is continuing to fight for a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling and avoid these negative impacts.

3. Next Week

The State Legislature is back in session for four days next week. The legislative session is scheduled to end on June 8.

This Week in Albany - May 5, 2023

We have a budget! 

1. Final Budget Passed

Late Tuesday evening, a final budget was passed by both houses of the State Legislature. The budget is a positive for CSEA members – it does not include any layoffs, facility closures, inpatient bed reductions, or service reductions. The budget also contains funding that will allow the state to continue to hire staff in nearly all state agencies in the coming fiscal year. In addition, the enacted budget includes numerous provisions that will benefit the CSEA workforce, including:

  • Allowing the Department of Civil Service to offer continuous recruitment exams for open-competitive positions, which allows exams to be offered more frequently and keeps hiring lists up to date.
  • Waiving fees for all state civil service exams from July 1, 2023, through December 31, 2025, and allowing municipalities to opt-in to this program.
  • Increasing Medicaid rates for hospitals and nursing homes
  • Increasing state-operated mental health beds by 150
  • Increasing funding for subsidized childcare programs, including CSEA/VOICE members
  • Increasing the minimum wage and tying it to inflation beginning in 2027
  • A 4% cost-of-living-adjustment for not-for-profit human service workers
  • Fully funding foundation aid and increasing education aid by 10%

In the end, the State Senate, Assembly, and the Governor came to agreement on the most contentious issues, including:

  • Restoring judicial discretion for setting bail by removing the “least restrictive means” standard, which will allow judges to impose any restrictions they deem necessary to ensure a defendant returns to court.
  • Excluding the Governor’s proposal to create 800,000 new housing units over the next 10 years.

You can read CSEA’s full summary of the enacted budget here. While this budget was good for CSEA members, there is still work to do. As we approach the end of this year’s legislative session, CSEA will be continuing to fight for our legislative priorities. Check out our priority issues here.

2. Debt Ceiling Deadline Draws Near

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the U.S. would run out of money, and possibly default on its debt, by June 1 if the debt ceiling is not raised. This adds pressure on federal lawmakers to either pass a clean debt ceiling bill or come to consensus on the proposed spending cuts included in the House Republican’s plan. CSEA is monitoring this situation closely and continues to support a clean debt ceiling bill.

3. Next Week

The State Legislature is back in session for three days next week. Now that the budget is done, legislators will shift their attention to passing their legislative priorities before session concludes on June 8.

This Week in Albany - April 28, 2023

There is a conceptual agreement on the state budget! 

1. Conceptual Agreement Reached on Budget

Though the details are still being ironed out, Governor Hochul announced a conceptual agreement for a final budget on Thursday. The agreement, totaling $229 billion, includes large investments in mental health care, education, child care, and public safety, including the Governor’s proposed bail reform provisions. Now, the State Senate, Assembly, and the Governor will hash out the details of this agreement  and prepare budget bills for a vote in both houses. CSEA will be monitoring their progress as we inch closer to a final budget. According to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, another extender or the final budget must be passed by Tuesday, May 2, at noon to ensure that the state workforce is paid on time.

2. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

Several CSEA-supported bills were passed through their respective legislative committees this week. These bills include S.4077/A.2864 (Senator Brisport/Assemblymember Hevesi), which limits the caseloads of CPS workers and S.4132/A.382 (Senator Mannion/Assemblymember Joyner), which prohibits state agencies from outsourcing state employee work during a hiring freeze. CSEA will be working over the remaining six weeks of the legislative session to get these, and numerous other bills passed by the Senate and Assembly.

3. House Passes Republican Debt Ceiling Plan

On Wednesday, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed their proposal to raise the debt ceiling, which includes $130 billion in federal spending cuts. New York’s state and local governments will all be impacted by these cuts, which reduce spending on veterans’ health care, child care, education, environmental protection, housing, transportation programs and more. New York’s Congressional delegation voted along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against. Both the U.S. Senate and President Biden have stated that this proposal is “dead on arrival.” President Biden and Senate Democrats have remained firm in their opposition to anything other than a “clean” extension of the debt limit, without spending cuts or other provisions.

4. DOL Nominee Advances

On Wednesday. the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee advanced Julie Su’s nomination for U.S. Secretary of Labor in a 11-10 party-line vote. Su is currently the Acting Secretary of Labor and previously served as the Deputy Secretary of Labor. Her nomination will now move to the full Senate for a vote. CSEA is supporting her nomination.

6. Next Week

The State Legislature is back in session for three days next week. Now that there is a conceptual agreement, it is likely that we will see the passage of a final budget in the coming days.

This Week in Albany - April 21, 2023

It’s National Work Zone Awareness Week! CSEA is fighting to protect our transportation workers

1. Legislature Continues Passing Budget Extenders

There is still no agreement on the state budget and there is no end in sight. In lieu of a final agreement, the Governor, Senate, and Assembly continue to pass short-term funding bills. The current extender funds the government until Monday, April 24. CSEA will continue to fight to make sure that state employees are paid on time in absences of a final budget.

2. New Chief Judge is Confirmed

Judge Rowan Wilson was confirmed as Chief Judge of the State Court of Appeals on Tuesday. The vote to confirm passed the state Senate mostly along party lines, ending an ongoing fight between Governor Hochul and Senate Democrats. Judge Rowan Wilson’s previous position, Associate Judge on the State Court of Appeals, has been filled by Judge Caitlin Halligan, who was also confirmed by the state Senate this week.

3. National Work Zone Awareness Week

April 17-21 is National Work Zone Awareness Week, aimed at highlighting the importance of safe driving practices in reducing the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities that occur in and around work zones each year. In 2021, CSEA championed legislation to install new speed violation monitoring systems along New York State highways in active work zones. The program went live this week, ensuring safety and accountability in work zones across our state. This year, we’re working to protect highway workers further by supporting legislation to increase penalties for assaulting highway workers. You can find out more about that proposal by visiting the CSEA website.

3. New Proposal on the Debt Ceiling

This week, Speaker McCarthy unveiled the House Republican’s debt ceiling plan. Rather than pass a “clean” proposal, which would simply raise the ceiling and allow the Federal government to pay its debts, this proposal includes $130 billion in federal spending cuts. The proposed cuts impact programs that are crucial to state and local governments, including funding for CSEA members’ jobs. If Congress cannot come to agreement, the nation could default on its’ debts, resulting in catastrophic economic effects. For these reasons, CSEA supports passing a clean debt ceiling bill.

4. Next Week

The State Legislature is back in session for three days next week.

This Week in Albany - April 14, 2023

New Chief Justice nominee and another one-week budget extender

1. Another Budget Extender Passed

The Senate, Assembly, and Governor have still not come to a final agreement on the state budget. On Monday, they passed another one-week extender, providing funding through April 17. The extender included funds to pay state employee salaries. The year’s budget is now the state’s latest budget since 2010. Without a full-year budget in place, lawmakers will have to pass another extender by noon on Tuesday to pay state employees and keep state government operating. The Governor and legislative leaders continue to say that they are making progress on issues such as bail and housing, however, at this time there are no final budget bills in print and when we will have a final budget is up in the air.

 

2. Hochul’s New Pick for Chief Judge

Governor Hochul nominated Associate Judge Rowan Wilson to serve as Chief Judge of the State Court of Appeals. This nomination comes after Hochul’s previous pick, Judge Hector LaSalle, was rejected by the State Senate. The confirmation process now begins again, with hearings scheduled to take place next week. Wilson is expected to face a much easier path to confirmation, as top lawmakers in the Senate have already announced their support for the nomination.

 

3. Next Week

The State Legislature is back in session for two days next week (or longer if they reach an agreement on budget). The week will be full of legislative committee meetings and budget negotiations. CSEA continues to advocate for our priorities in the state budget.

This Week in Albany - April 7, 2023

A one-week budget extender passed this week, with no final budget in sight

 
1. Budget Extender Passed
As expected, the state budget is late, and negotiations have continued well past the original April 1 deadline. In lieu of a final budget, a one-week budget extender bill was passed, which allows the state to keep the lights on until April 10. This extender included funds to pay state employee salaries.
 
2. Another Deadline Looms
Come Monday, lawmakers will once again be faced with a deadline: pass the final budget or another extender. Due to the holidays, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a final budget by Monday, with Governor Hochul indicating that budget talks will continue into next week.
 
3. Budget Talks Continue
The Governor, Senate, and Assembly appear to be making some progress towards consensus on the most contentious issues in the budget: bail reform, housing, and minimum wage. However, not enough ground has been covered to finalize an agreement by Monday. As negotiations continue, CSEA will be working to ensure that our priorities are included in the final budget.
This Week in Albany - March 31, 2023

By the time you read this, the budget is most likely late

1. Budget will “Definitely” be Late

On Thursday, Governor Hochul confirmed that the state budget will not be completed by the April 1 deadline. While the Governor has avoided speculating on when the budget will be done, high-profile issues like bail reform, housing, and MTA funding have slowed progress in negotiations.

In lieu of a final budget being in place, a budget extender bill (also called a “paybill”) must be passed by Monday, April 3, to ensure the state’s ability to pay state employees. CSEA will be monitoring all developments in this area and will work to ensure that this extender is done on time.

2. CSEA Members Act on Legislative Priorities

Last week, we launched two action campaigns. One is to urge the State Legislature to make critical investments in the child care workforce and the other campaign urge lawmakers to increase penalties for assaults against transportation workers and DMV employees. Since then, nearly 2,000 members have sent letters to their state legislators, urging them to include these priorities in the final budget.

It’s not over yet! As negotiations continue, we need to make sure that our legislators know that these issues are a top priority for CSEA members. If you haven’t done so already, click the links above and make your voice heard!

3. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

This week, two CSEA-supported bills were reported from State Senate committees.

S.4079 (Brisport)/A.1734 (Clark): This legislation increases the rate paid to child care providers who offer non-traditional hours of care and care for homeless families.

S.3118 (Mannion)/A.134 (Cruz): This proposal would require OPWDD to develop an emergency staffing plan when regional fill levels are below 90%.

We will continue to push for the passage of these and numerous other bills that benefit CSEA members until the end of the legislative session in June.

4. Next Week

Due to the lack of a final budget, the Legislature will be back in session next week. However, at this time, we do not know how many days they will be here or whether they can get a final budget done before the beginning of Passover at sundown on Wednesday evening, or before the Easter holiday next weekend.

This Week in Albany - March 24, 2023

Spring has sprung, but the budget has not yet bloomed

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Highway Workers

On Tuesday, the State Senate unanimously passed bill S.4647 (Kennedy), which increases penalties for the endangerment of highway workers and creates a work zone safety fund. This legislation will ensure that people who endanger highway workers are held accountable, while directing funds into a new program to help prevent future accidents. This bill now heads to the State Assembly, where CSEA will continue to fight for its passage.

 

Joint Budget Subcommittees Meet

On Tuesday, Joint Budget Subcommittee meetings began, where legislators from the State Senate and Assembly joined together to discuss the budget priorities of each respective house. These subcommittee meetings allowed legislators to voice their concerns about what is included—or what was omitted—in the one-house budgets. These meetings also mark the beginning of negotiations between the two houses, which will continue this week, in addition to negotiations with the Governor ahead of the April 1 deadline.

Support Critical Investments in the Childcare Workforce

On Wednesday, CSEA launched an action campaign to urge the State Legislature to make critical investments in the child care workforce. Specifically, we’re working to ensure that the final budget includes:

1.     A 15% rate differential paid to providers for non-traditional hours of care and care for homeless families.

2.     A new payment model for providers that is based on the true cost of care and not a percentage of the market rate.

3.     A shift from “pay for attendance” to “pay for enrollment” to ensure that providers have stable funding.

We need your help to ensure that this is top-of-mind for our legislators. Let them know that CSEA members care about this issue by sending an email here.

Take Action to Prevent Violence Against Public Employees

Also on Wednesday, we launched an action campaign to have tougher penalties for assaulting transportation workers and DMV employees included in the state budget. We’re supporting the language proposed in the Executive Budget and the Senate one-house, which would make these attacks a Class D Felony. By increasing penalties for this type of behavior, we can send a clear message that violence on public employees will not be tolerated.

Next Week

On April 1, the FY 2024 state budget is due. This means that on or before that date, both houses of the State Legislature and the Governor need to come to an agreement. We’ll be making the final push next week to ensure that CSEA priorities are included.

This Week in Albany - March 17, 2023

One House Budgets Are Released – Now the Work Begins

NYS Senate and Assembly Release One-House Budgets

On Tuesday, the Senate and Assembly released their one-house budgets, which serve as a response to Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget and a starting point for negotiations moving forward. Here are some of the highlights on issues that are important to our members:

Civil Service

  • The NYS Senate accepted the Governor’s proposal to allow the Department of Civil Service to offer continuous examinations for open-competitive positions.
  • The NYS Assembly included a proposal to waive state civil service exam fees and authorize local civil service commissions to waive them too.
  • Both houses included funding for:
    • A public outreach campaign to recruit people into public sector employment.
    • New Centers for Careers in Government, which will improve access to public sector employment opportunities.
    • The development of a job evaluation system to review the civil service structure for all job titles, which will help to ensure that our system is providing fair compensation to employees.

Health care

  • The Senate included $1 billion for financially distressed and safety-net hospitals and $187 million for safe staffing in nursing homes.
  • The Assembly included $850 million for distressed and safety-net hospitals, $100 million for financially distressed nursing homes and increases the Medicaid reimbursement rate for hospitals and nursing homes.

Child care

  • The Senate provides $500 million for a child care workforce retention grant program and $600 million to expand access to child care subsidies.
  • The Assembly expands the child care provider wage enhancement proposal included in the Governor’s budget to include other expenses like rent, personnel, and facility maintenance.

Other Items

  • The Senate included the Governor’s proposal to increase criminal penalties for assaulting DMV employees and highway workers employed at all levels of government.

The One-House Budgets have provided a few proposals for CSEA members, but there is still a lot of work to do. In the coming weeks, we’ll be continuing the fight to have our priorities included in the final budget. You can learn all about CSEA’s budget priorities and take actions of issues here.

Next Week

Now that the One-House Budgets have been released, the Assembly, Senate, and Governor need to hash out their differences and settle on a final budget by April 1. The next week will be jam-packed with meetings and negotiations as legislators fight to have their priorities included in the final budget.

This Week in Albany - March 10, 2023

A federal budget, give or take a trillion

1. Biden Releases Federal Budget Plan

On Wednesday, President Biden released a $6.8 trillion federal budget plan that outlines his spending priorities, including proposals to increase military spending, establish new social programs, and reduce the national debt by $3 trillion over the next decade. Congressional Republicans have already condemned the plan and have emphasized the need for deep federal spending cuts. We will have additional details on how the proposal impacts CSEA members in the coming weeks.

Reality Check …

The President submits his budget request and spending priorities to Congress, but only Congress can appropriate federal funds.

2. CSEA-Supported Bills Make Progress

 

CSEA-supported bills made progress this week, landing on the agenda for the NYS Assembly Children and Families Committee.

  • A.2807 (Assemblymember Hevesi) increases the state reimbursement rate for Child Protective Services to 75%. Current reimbursement is only 65%.
  • A.1734 (Assemblymember Clark) increases payments to child care providers by 15% if they care for a child whose family is experiencing homelessness or a child that requires nontraditional hours of care, such as overnight and weekend hours.
Action by a legislative committee is the first step to getting these bills signed into law. Follow the CSEA Issues page for ways that you can advocate for these and other bills.

3. Next Week

Next week, the NYS Assembly and Senate will release their “one-house” budget bills, which outline the state spending priorities for each house of the Legislature. Once they are released, negotiations between the Assembly, Senate, and the Governor officially begin as they attempt to hash out a final budget by April 1. You can learn all about CSEA’s budget priorities here.

 

This Week in Albany - March 3, 2023

Recruitment and Retention Takes Center Stage!

 

1. CSEA Testifies Before the State Legislature on Workforce Issues

CSEA provided testimony at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on Workforce Development. The testimony focused on proposals to improve recruitment and retention of public employees, including reforms to the Civil Service system and fixes to Tier 6. CSEA is advocating for more frequent Civil Service exams, the removal of prohibitive exam fees and better promotion of public sector opportunities across the state. We also support building upon last year’s changes to Tier 6 in order to make the pension serve as a recruitment and retention tool for employees. Our full testimony can be found here.

 

2. Biden Nominates Julie Su as U.S. Labor Secretary 

President Biden announced that he would be nominating Julie Su, the U.S. Deputy Labor Secretary, to the top role. Su has an excellent pro-union history. As California Secretary of Labor, she successfully took on employers who were cheating workers of wages and fought to make workplaces safer. AFSCME, the AFL-CIO and other national unions are supporting the nomination.

 

3. CSEA Endorses Adam Bello and Sue Serino

This past week, CSEA announced the endorsements of Adam Bello for Monroe County Executive and Sue Serino for Dutchess County Executive. Adam Bello has been an exceptional ally to CSEA, providing recruitment and retention bonuses to members, granting raises out of contract, increasing funding for child care providers, and waiving civil service testing fees. Sue Serino has been a longtime friend of CSEA from her time in the State Senate and has been a leader on issues pertaining to OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, veterans, and the scourge of Lyme Disease.

 

4. Next Week

The State Legislature wrapped up their final round of budget hearings this week. Next week, the legislature is in session on Wednesday and Thursday due to a Jewish holiday early in the week. You can expect budget negotiations to intensify over the next few weeks as we approach the April 1 deadline.

 

This Week in Albany - February 24, 2023

Court Rules on Senate Confirmation Process

 

1. Decision in Chief Judge Court Case

 

As we have written about over the previous few weeks, Governor Hochul had nominated Judge Hector LaSalle for Chief Justice of the State Court of Appeals but was voted down in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate had then refused to hold a full vote on the judge. A month after the committee vote, State Sen. Anthony Palumbo filed a lawsuit in an attempt to force a full Senate vote on the LaSalle nomination. Prior to a court hearing, the Senate put the nomination up for a full vote on February 15, and the nomination failed 20-39.

Despite this vote taking place, a Suffolk County judge ruled in favor of Senator Palumbo, stating that the State Constitution requires that a Governor’s nomination be put in front of the Senate for a full vote. Senate Democrats are now considering whether to appeal.

Regardless, the nomination of Judge LaSalle is over, and it is now up to the Commission on Judicial Appointments to provide the Governor with a new list of potential candidates.

 

2. CSEA to Testify Before the State Legislature on Workforce Issues

The Legislature is in session 3 days next week and will wrap up budget hearings on Wednesday, when CSEA provides testimony at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on Workforce Development to discuss strategies to improve recruitment and retention of public employees.

 

3. Little Progress Made on Debt Ceiling Negotiations

In January, the United States hit the debt limit set in federal law. Without an increase, the federal government could default on its debt in the spring or early summer. To avoid this, Congress must act to increase this limit, though leaders in Washington have made little headway in negotiations up to this point. House Republicans are insisting on spending cuts, including to programs that fund CSEA members’ jobs in New York, before they are willing to extend the debt ceiling.

This Week in Albany - February 17, 2023

Historic Judicial Vote Takes Place!

1. Judge LaSalle Rejected in Senate Floor Vote

Last week, Senate Republicans filed suit to force a full Senate vote on the nomination of Judge Hector LaSalle to Chief Judge of the state Court of Appeals. Rather than face a pending court challenge, Senate Democrats held a surprise floor vote on Wednesday, ending in the rejection of the judge mostly along party lines, 39-20. Senate Democrats claim that this action renders the legal challenge as moot, but Governor Hochul and Senate Republicans disagree, contending that the lawsuit should move forward.

 

2. Local Government Leaders Head to Albany for “Tin Cup Day”

On Wednesday, local government leaders gathered in Albany to speak at the Joint Budget Hearing on Local Government Officials and General Government. The day, colloquially known as “Tin Cup Day,” offers local government leaders the chance to lobby for funding and communicate their priorities and concerns in the coming year. The largest concern for local governments this year is the state’s proposed recoupment of Medicaid savings, which is poised to cost counties more than $280 million. You can watch the full hearing or read testimony relevant to your region here.

 

3. State Pension Posts Returns

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced that the State Pension Fund’s investment return was 4.51% for the three-month period ending Dec. 31, 2022. The fund’s value is now $242.3 billion.

 

4. Next Week

There are no legislative sessions scheduled next week and legislators will be working in their districts. They’ll be back the following week for more budget hearings, including a workforce development hearing where CSEA will provide testimony.

This Week in Albany - February 10, 2023

State Budget Released!

 

1. Budget Season Kicks into Gear

As the budget season starts, public hearings were held on education, public protection, taxes, and economic development. The education hearing focused on the Governor’s proposed 10% increase in school aid (you can see the proposed amount for your district here) and her proposal to allow for an expansion of charter schools in New York City. The Public Protection hearing revolved around criminal justice reform, including judicial discretion in setting cash bail as well as the operations of the state’s court system.

2. State Senate GOP Files Lawsuit

 

State Senator Anthony Palumbo, a Republican from the East End of Long Island, has filed a lawsuit with a goal of forcing the full senate to vote on the nomination of Judge Hector LaSalle. Senator Palumbo argues that the Senate violated the State Constitution by not requiring a full vote of the Senate.

 

3. State of the Union Address

President Biden delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday. The President focused on his accomplishments including bipartisan infrastructure investments and the Inflation Reduction Act. He also advocated for the PRO Act, which would help level the playing field for workers who want to organize a union and to continue strengthening the middle class.

Reality Check: While the President laid out a promising agenda, he is dealing with a Democratic Senate and a Republican House for the next two years, which will make it difficult to accomplish these goals.

This Week in Albany - February 3, 2023

State Budget Released!

1. Governor Hochul Releases FY2024 Budget

On Wednesday, Governor Hochul released her proposed budget for FY 2024. For the first time in years, the Governor recognizes how shortstaffed the state and municipal workforces are and provides funding to implement new policies to increase hiring, including to:

  • Allow for continuous recruitment and testing of candidates for positions throughout government.
  • Create Centers for Careers in Government that allow people to meet with representatives of civil service, learn about open positions, and take exams on site.
  • Implement a marketing campaign promoting public sector jobs.
  • Examine the pay structure of civil service jobs to ensure they are competitive with the private sector.

CSEA’s main priority in this budget is to give state and municipal governments the funding and other tools necessary to recruit and retain a strong workforce to ensure that New Yorkers receive the services that they need.

In addition to workforce initiatives, the Governor proposes massive financial investments in public schools, new funding for SUNY campuses and SUNY hospitals, an increase in the Medicaid reimbursement rate, expanded inpatient service opportunities in the Office of Mental Health, and increased funds for CSEA-represented childcare providers.

A complete summary of the budget as it relates to CSEA members can be found on the CSEA website.

Why the State Budget Matters: For starters, the state budget impacts nearly every CSEA-represented job in the entire state – from state agencies, local governments, schools, and even the private sector.

The Executive budget proposal is the first step in the state budget process. Legislative budget hearings begin next week, and the Senate and Assembly will each present their own budget in mid-March before final negotiates begin with the Governor. The State’s fiscal year begins on April 1.

2. A Look Ahead to Next Week

The Senate and Assembly are in session next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Budget hearings will take place Monday (Transportation), Tuesday (Public Protection), Wednesday (Elementary and Secondary Education), and Thursday (Economic Development and Taxes). CSEA will testify at the Workforce Development hearing on March 1.
This Week in Albany - January 27, 2023

Final Week Before the State Budget! 

1. Legislature Passes Equal Rights Amendment – Voters Have Final Say

The State Senate and Assembly passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which would amend the State Constitution to add ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression as protected classes under section 11 of the State Constitution.

What’s Next: Amending the State Constitution begins by the State Senate and Assembly passing the amendment during two separate but consecutive legislatures. This amendment was first passed in 2022 and was repassed this week. After the second passage, the proposal is put forward to voters during a general election. For this proposed amendment, voters will have the final say in the November 2024 election. If more than 50% of voters are in support of the amendment it will become part of the State Constitution.

2. Child Care Crisis – CSEA Testifies in Senate Hearing

The Senate Committee on Children and Families held a hearing to examine the child care crisis in New York State. Experts, advocates, unions, and providers testified at the hearing to discuss the challenges that providers are facing, including inadequate reimbursements, low pay, and inability to recruit staff.

Why it matters: CSEA represents 10,000 home-based child care providers. These providers receive reimbursements that do not cover their expenses, lack the ability to pay their staff a living wage or benefits, and cannot expand their programs any further to care for more children.

What’s Next: CSEA will be working with the Governor and Legislature to make new investments in this sector during the state budget process. These investments will help working New Yorkers and CSEA members who offer child care in their homes.

 

3. Court Contract Passed by Legislature

The collective bargaining agreement between CSEA and the Office of Court Administration (OCA) was passed by the Senate and Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. CSEA members who work for the OCA previously ratified the agreement.

4. Next Week

The Senate and Assembly are in session next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Importantly, the Governor will be issuing her FY 2024 budget on Wednesday at noon. We will provide you with a summary of important provisions in next week’s edition of This Week in Albany.

This Week in Albany - January 20, 2023

Drama Abounds in Albany! 

1. Senate Committee Rejects Hochul Chief Judge Pick

The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Governor Hochul’s nominee for Chief Justice of the State Court of Appeals. Judge Hector LaSalle, currently appointed as a judge to the Appellate Division – Second Judicial Department – of the State Supreme Court, was rejected by the Senate by a vote of 10-9, with three Democrats and six Republicans voting to move his nomination to the full floor for a vote. This rejection, an uncommon occurrence in Albany, will undoubtedly cause tension between the Governor and the Senate moving forward.

In the days leading up to the hearing, CSEA issued a letter calling for a fair hearing and for his confirmation by the full Senate. This support was based on the strong working relationship that CSEA members within the Unified Court System have developed with him during his time on the court.

What’s next: It is not clear what the Governor will do next. She has hinted that she may file a lawsuit to compel the full Senate to vote on this nomination. However, there is no guarantee that she would be successful. If she does not pursue this, the next step would be for the Judicial Nominating Commission to meet, produce a list of names of qualified judges for the Governor to select from, and then restart the nomination process.

2. State Comptroller Projects Higher Than Expected Revenue

The Comptroller announced that the state is on track to collect $7 billion more in revenue than originally projected. While not guaranteed, this projection is a positive for the state and will help ensure that we have adequate resources to fund public services throughout the state.

3. Federal Debt Ceiling Hit

On Thursday, the United States government hit the nation’s debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is a cap on the total amount of money that the federal government is authorized to borrow to fulfil its financial obligations.

Since the debt limit has been hit, the Treasury Department is now using “extraordinary measures” to continue paying the government’s obligations, including financial tools that enable the country to continue paying providers in the Medicare system and federal employee salaries.

What’s next: The use of “extraordinary measures” gives the government until June to raise the debt ceiling. Any increase must be passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, Republicans in the House of Representatives have said that they will not vote to increase the debt ceiling without massive cuts to spending, including funding that helps maintain services provided by CSEA members.

What’s the (potential) impact: Failure to increase the debt ceiling could cause the U.S. Government to default on its debt, which would be devastating to world financial markets and cause a cascade of financial problems both here and abroad.

4. What’s Happening Next Week

The State Senate and Assembly are in session for three days next week. We expect the Executive Budget proposal to be released the week of January 30.

This Week in Albany - January 13, 2023

Legislative session, full speed ahead! 

 

1. Governor Lays Out 2023 Priorities

Delivering the State of the State address to a full crowd in the State Assembly chamber, Governor Hochul laid out her agenda for the 2023 legislative session. The Governor focused on increasing the state’s housing stock, allowing more judicial discretion for setting bail, and strengthening the economy, all while declaring that she will not increase income taxes.

 

Specific to CSEA, the Governor laid out proposals that would:

  • Rebuild the public sector by holding civil service exams on an ongoing basis, modernize the civil service pay structure, and create “Centers for Careers in Government,” where job seekers can meet with civil service specialists and find out about careers in New York State government
  • Add 150 inpatient beds at state operated mental health hospitals
  • Index the state’s minimum wage to inflation
  • Increase K-12 foundation aid by an additional $2.7 billion, an increase of 13%, to a total of $24 billion
  • Raise income limits for subsidized child care, potentially leading to 113,000 more children being eligible for a subsidy
  • Require counties to reimburse CSEA/VOICE represented child care providers for up to 80 child absences annually.

What Does This Mean: While all of this looks good on paper, the devil is in the details. The Governor is required to submit her Executive Budget proposal no later than February 1. At that time, CSEA will review these and all other proposals to determine the potential impact on union members.

 

Why It Matters: The structure of the budget process in New York gives most of the power to the Governor. While the Legislature can push back against items they do not like, or fight for additional funding in programs, most of the Governor’s proposals will be included in a final budget, likely in modified forms.

 

2. Hearing on New Chief Judge Drawing Closer

After the Governor nominated Judge Hector LaSalle as the state’s top judge, the clock began ticking for Senate action. The Senate had 30 days to accept or reject this nomination. We learned late this week that the Senate Judiciary Committee is planning on holding a hearing on this nomination on Wednesday, January 18, four days before the deadline. At this point, it is not clear whether he has the votes to the confirmed.

 

Why It Matters: The Governor having their pick for chief judge (or any other nomination, for that matter) rejected is extremely rare in Albany. If the Senate does not confirm Judge LaSalle, it could create hostilities between the Governor and Senate that could drag out through the entire legislative session.

 

3. Congressman Santos – But for How Long?

Leaders of the State and Nassau County Republican parties called on Congressman George Santos to resign for his alleged lies and fabrications about his resume, personal and campaign finances, resume and family heritage. Congressman Santos rejected any calls to resign. Party leaders have no authority to remove him from office.

 

Why It Matters: With a slim majority in the House of Representatives, Republicans cannot afford to lose any seats, especially in districts that were previously held by Democrats. The loss of any of these seats could make Speaker McCarthy’s hold on the Speakership even more tenuous.

 

4. At a Glance

The Legislature will not meet on Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. observance. They will be in session on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This Week in Albany - January 6, 2023

Welcome to 2023! 

1 Big Thing: State Legislators are Back

On Wednesday, State Senators and Assemblymembers gaveled in for the start of the 2023 session. Members met in each chamber to be sworn in, elect leadership, and adopt the rules of each house.

Next Steps: Legislation always moves slowly at the beginning of a new term and the budget takes up most available time from late January through April 1. Expect heavier legislative action in the coming months.

2. New Year, New Fights 

With a full four-year term secured, Governor Hochul has turned to governing. In late December, the Governor nominated Hector D. LaSalle as the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. This nomination has not have gone according to plan. Judge LaSalle, currently a justice in State Supreme Court, immediately faced opposition in the Senate due to decisions he issued regarding abortion and workers rights. At this time, it is not clear whether his nomination will make it through the Senate.

Why it matters: The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals rules on court cases that can directly impact CSEA members. In addition, the presiding judge sets policies and procedures for the thousands of CSEA members who work for the court system.

3. New Faces in Important Legislative Roles

With a significant number of incumbent Senators and Assemblymembers either choosing not to run for re-election or losing their election in 2022, there has been a significant shakeup of committee chairs in both chambers.

In the Assembly, the Governmental Employees committee (which handles all civil service and pension legislation) will see a new chair, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (Queens) and the Assembly Health Committee chair, now Amy Paulin (Westchester), has changed for the first time in 35 years.

A full list of committee chairs and leadership in each house can be found on the Assembly and Senate websites.

The Big Picture: Committee chairs hold significant power in moving or stopping legislation within their committee’s jurisdiction.

4. U.S. Senate is in Session. The House of Representatives — Not so Much

This week marked the start of the new legislative sessions for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. While the Senate has begun working this week, the House of Representatives has not yet officially begun due to their failure to elect a Speaker of the House.

What’s Happening: Republicans in the House won a majority of seats in November’s election. However, as of this email, no candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives has received a majority of the votes cast. Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who was hoping to become the next speaker, is facing opposition from 20 conservative members of the Republican House caucus.

Why it matters: Without a Speaker of the House, the chamber is not technically in session. Members cannot be sworn in and seated, and no legislative action can take place.

5.  At a Glance

The Governor will issue her State of the State address to the State Senate and Assembly on Tuesday, January 10. Expect new insight regarding the Governor’s priorities for the coming year.

The Legislature will be in session next Monday and Tuesday.