This Week in Albany

Week ending December 8, 2017

Legislative Update

All of CSEA’s outstanding priority bills were sent to the Governor this week, along with a total of 98 bills sent to the Governor’s desk.

CSEA sent letters in support of several bills to the Governor’s office (links below).

There are now only seven bills that passed both houses and have not been sent to the Governor.

Among the bills sent were:

  • A.7891 – Hooper / S.6788 – Rules: This bill would allow employees of Nassau County to receive a step increase if a wage freeze is ordered by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA).
  • S.5681 – Ortt / A.7399-A – Gunther: This bill would codify existing community based programs that are operated by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
  • S.2836 – Ortt / A.2229 – Gunther: This bill would limit the length of time that a notice of closure or significant service reduction at state-operated hospitals operated by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) remains in effect.
  • S.3146 – Golden / A.4049 – Lupardo: This bill would require the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to promulgate regulations relating to workload standards for child protective services (CPS) workers.
  • S.6529 – Murphy / A.8326 – Abbate: This bill would create a performance of duty disability retirement for airport firefighters employed by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) who contract various ailments of the heart, lung or cancer and can no longer perform their duty.
  • A.6903-A – Brindisi / S.4574A – Marchione: This bill would require OCFS to annually report the ratio of non-administrative staff to facility residents. In addition, this report must detail the number of employees who are out of work on workers’ compensation.
  • S.1596-A – LaValle / A.934A – Glick: This bill would clarify that the State University Health Science Centers are included in the SUNY maintenance of effort provision. It would also require the State to pay for all mandatory costs relating to collective bargaining agreements like it does for all other State agencies.
  • S.5661-B – Little / A.7763 – Gottfried: This bill would create a new category of safety-net hospitals to better focus payments on the hospitals that provide indigent care.
  • S.5929-A – Avella / A.7726A – Jaffee: The bill would establish a Child Care Availability Taskforce. This taskforce would evaluate the cost, accessibility, availability, quality, and impact of childcare subsidies.
  • A.8427-A – Morelle / S.6639A – Robach: This bill would require that all contracts over $1 million for construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, maintenance, or improvement of any surface roads or bridges contain a provision that iron and steel be produced or made in the United States.

The Governor has until the end of the day on December 18 to act on these bills.

State of the State

One year after foregoing the traditional “State of the State” address in Albany in favor of a series of regional speeches, Governor Cuomo has announced that he will return to the traditional one-speech format for 2018. The Governor’s address is scheduled for January 3, 2018 at 1:00pm. Governor Cuomo has not yet indicated any policy proposals that will be part of his 2018 agenda.

Federal Update

Taxes

By a vote of 51-49, the U.S. Senate passed its version of tax reform legislation late last week. Under the Senate’s bill, the richest 1% would get 62% of the tax breaks, while millions of working families would see their taxes go up. The Senate bill would also rollback deductions for state and local taxes and would cause 13 million people to lose their health insurance by eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate”. All Democrats voted against the bill, as did Republican Bob Corker (R-TN).

The Senate and House of Representatives will now attempt to reconcile the differences between their two bills through the conference committee process.

Government Shutdown Temporarily Averted

Congress has passed a short-term spending bill that will keep the federal government funded through December 22. Leaders and the White House now have a few weeks to negotiate a longer-term agreement to fund the government.