This Week in Albany

Legislative Update

Governor Cuomo has acted on CSEA’s remaining priority bills.

Signed Into Law:

  • 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). Chapter 491
  • 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. Chapter 493
  • 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 U.S. Chapter 451


  • 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). The Governor vetoed this bill because of the precedent it would set by amending a control board. Veto #243
  • S.2836 – Ortt / A.2229 – Gunther: This bill would limit the length of time that a notice of closure or significant service reduction at an Office of Mental Health (OMH) facility is in effect. The Governor vetoed this bill over concerns it would hinder the ability of OMH to reduce beds. The Governor also vetoed this bill in 2016. Veto #218
  • 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. The Governor vetoed this bill due to lack of funding and concerns about a “one-size-fits-all” caseload standard. The Governor also vetoed this bill in 2016. Veto #220
  • 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. The Governor vetoed this bill because of cost concerns. The Governor also vetoed this bill in 2016. Veto #246
  • 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. The Governor vetoed this bill because of funding concerns and concern that the study would be “unlikely to provide meaningful information.” Veto #211
  • A.934A – Glick / S.1596-A – LaValle: This bill would clarify that the State University Health Science Centers are included in the SUNY maintenance of effort provision. The Governor vetoed this bill in a package with other education and higher education bills because of cost concerns. Veto #204
  • 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. The Governor vetoed this bill because of funding concerns. Veto #229

In 2018, we will continue to work on many of the vetoed bills to address the concerns raised where possible.

Federal Update

Tax Reform

Congressional Republicans passed their tax reform legislation this week. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 51-48, with all Democrats voting against it. In the House, the bill passed by a vote of 227 to 203. All New York Democrats voted against the bill, as did Republican Reps. Zeldin (NY-1), King (NY-2), Donovan (NY-11), Faso (NY-19), and Stefanik (NY-21). Despite phone calls and other efforts from CSEA members and activists, Representatives Tenney (NY-22), Reed (NY-23), Katko (NY-24), and Collins (NY-27) voted for the bill.

While some New Yorkers may see their taxes cut, many will not. To make matter worse, the tax bill will put added pressure on the state and local governments by making it much more difficult to maintain tax revenues that support public services. The reform will also add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, take health care away from 13 million people, increase health insurance premiums, and force draconian cuts to important programs like Medicare and Medicaid to pay for the tax cuts. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has already signaled that he intends to push for cuts to “entitlement” programs like Medicare.

Spending Bill

Congress passed a stopgap spending bill to extend federal government funding through January 19th. The bill also provides a temporary extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Year in Review

This will be the last installment of “This Week in Albany” for 2017, so we would like to take this opportunity to review some of the great things CSEA members accomplished both legislatively and politically this year.

  1. Defeated the Constitutional Convention. CSEA members joined together with over 2.7 million New Yorkers to thoroughly defeat Proposal Number One on November 7th, protecting their pensions and other constitutional rights. This overwhelming victory showed the clear strength that organized labor has when we stand together.
  2. Secured victories in the State Budget. CSEA stopped proposals to increase health insurance costs for retirees, blunted a proposal to force government consolidation and service elimination, secured funding for new State-operated community-based programs for the developmentally disabled, protected public employees against outsourcing, and more. Our full budget summary can be found on our website.
  3. Achieved major legislative victories. CSEA successfully advocated for dozens of bills that passed both houses of the legislature. While some will need more work in 2018 to get signed into law, many bills were signed by the Governor. Check our website for a full summary of CSEA’s priority legislation.
  4. Stopped harmful legislation. As important as getting good bills passed was stopping bad legislation that would have hurt CSEA members. These bills include health insurance and prescription drug cost increases, outsourcing / privatization efforts, attempts to weaken civil service protections, and more.

Thank you to all the CSEA members who read our email every week. It is thanks to the activism and engagement of members like you that we can achieve great things. We look forward to continuing this progress in 2018.

“This Week in Albany” will return on January 5th with news on the Governor’s State of the State speech, the start of the legislative session, and more.

Have a safe and happy holiday season and new year.