This Week in Albany

Week Ending June 30, 2017

End of Session, Part Two

The Governor and legislature did not waste much time in returning to Albany to finish outstanding business. Only a week after the regularly scheduled session ended, Governor Cuomo issued a proclamation calling the legislature back to Albany for an extraordinary session to find an agreement on extending mayoral control of New York City schools and extending taxing authority for municipalities.

The agreement that was passed by both houses included a two year extender of mayoral control, three year extensions of municipal sales and other taxes, funds to help upstate communities deal with flooding and to assist the struggling Vernon Downs racetrack/casino, and a renaming of the new Tappan Zee Bridge for former Governor Mario Cuomo.

With these issues taken care of, there is no expectation that the legislature will return to Albany before next January unless called to do so to respond to federal spending cuts.

 

Health Care Vote Delayed in Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would not take a vote on their health care reform legislation this week. He had previously wanted a vote prior to the July 4 recess.

The vote was scrapped after at least nine Republican Senators stated that they would not vote for the legislation in its current form. With a united Democratic opposition, only two Republican Senators can vote against this legislation and have it pass.

The opposition to this legislation stems from the recent Congressional Budget Office’s analysis that over 20 million Americans would lose their insurance due to this legislation. In addition, several Republican Senators are opposing this legislation because their state has expanded the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, which would be severely curtailed under this legislation.

As discussed last week, this legislation would cost New York State and its local governments billions of dollars annually and would lead to reductions in available services.

The Senate will not be in session during the week of July 3rd. However, it is expected that Senator McConnell will release an amended version of this legislation prior to the July 4 holiday in order to try to get a vote on the bill prior to adjourning for the August recess.

 

Happy Independence Day

Happy 4th of July from the Legislative & Political Action Department.

As you celebrate our nation’s independence with friends and family, remember to support your union brothers and sisters by shopping for union-made products for your barbeques. Have a safe and happy holiday.