This Week in Albany

Week ending June 9, 2017

Legislative Update

Several of CSEA’s legislative priorities were passed by at least one house in the legislature this week, including the following bills. The bills that passed only one house still need to pass in the other house before getting sent to the Governor’s desk.

S.4574A – Marchione / A. 6903A – Brindisi (Passed Both Houses)

This legislation would require an annual study from the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to report on the ratio of non-administrative staff to residents at OCFS facilities, the total number of workers who are on workers’ compensation leave, and the number of staff involved in any incident involving the alleged misconduct of a resident.

S.4630 – Gallivan / A.6505 – Kearns (Passed Senate)

This legislation would stop the relocation of Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center.

A.6416A – Abbate / S.5877A – Golden (Passed Assembly)

This legislation would grant all honorably discharged military veterans the ability to use additional veterans points on civil service examinations. The current law limits this to only those that fought in certain combat time periods. As you may remember, this same situation applied to buying back pension time for military veterans until we successfully lobbied the state to change this law last year. This bill would bring parity for all military veterans.

S.2516 – Gallivan / A.473 – Paulin (Passed Senate)

This legislation would allow county probation officers the ability to receive 100% of their salary if they are unable to work due to an on the job injury. Counties would be required to opt-in to this provision.

S.2728 – Griffo / A.2136 – Brindisi (Passed Senate)

This legislation would impose a Class D felony against anyone who assaults an employee of OCFS secure and limited secure residential facilities in the performance of his or her duties.

S.2836 – Ortt / A.2229 – Gunther (Passed Senate)

This legislation would require that notices of closure of Office of Mental Health (OMH) facilities expire after one year and one month of being issued. Currently, the state can issue a one year notice of closure or downsizing and not close a facility during that year. The notice of closure then stays in effect in perpetuity, creating uncertainty for employees and patients.

S.4324 – Tedisco / A. 5210 – Abinanti (Passed Senate)

This legislation would require local governments to give retirees 45 days of notice prior to changing a health insurance contract that covers retirees. Current law does not require any notice be given.

These bills are only a few of CSEA’s legislative priorities for the remainder of the 2017 session. The Legislative & Political Action will provide updates on other legislation when available.

Economic Development Report

Despite massive spending on job creation initiatives, New York State has failed to meet its goals of creating new jobs according to a report released this week.

The report by USA Today Network and others found that New York spends at least $8 billion a year on economic development programs, more than any state in the nation and three times as much as the next three largest states combined.

The investigation found many problems with the state’s economic-development efforts, ranging from under-performing programs to a lack of transparency and accountability in how taxpayers’ money is spent. For example, the START-UP NY program, which provides tax-free zones to businesses, spent nearly $6 million in tax breaks and another $53 million for advertising. The program was supposed to create 3,324 jobs, but only created a third of that as of the end of 2016. To make matters worse, the final 2017-18 state budget removed detailed reporting requirements for the program.

CSEA has long argued for more transparency and oversight of how taxpayer money is spent on these “job creation” programs, and supports legislation to do so.

At a Glance

The state legislature will be in session for four days next week. There are only 7 scheduled session days remaining this year.