This Week in Albany

Week ending April 13, 2018

Governor Signs Janus Legislation

This week, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will help CSEA remain strong regardless of the decision in the Janus v AFSCME Supreme Court case.

CSEA President Danny Donohue said, “Governor Cuomo gave his word that he would protect us from these assaults and he keeps his word today. On behalf of the hardworking members of CSEA, I thank the governor for standing with us to sign this legislation that ensures fairness and allows CSEA to represent all of our members to the best of our ability.”

For a summary of provisions of the legislation, please see our enacted budget summary.

Senate Shake-Up

Late last week, Governor Cuomo and Democratic leadership in the Senate announced that the Independent Democratic Conference(IDC) will dissolve and reunite with the mainline Democratic Conference.

Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) founded the IDC in 2011 as a group of four breakaway Democrats that would go on to work closely with Republicans. After it looked like Democrats had gained a numerical majority in the Senate following the 2012 elections, the IDC struck a power sharing agreement with Republicans, making Senator Klein co-majority leader. The group eventually grew to eight members who became committee chairs and received an increased voice in budget talks.

As a result of the unification, the now former IDC members have been stripped of their committee chairmanships and replaced with Republican counterparts. Fred Akshar will replace Marisol Alcantara as Chair of Labor, Pam Helming will replace Tony Avella as chair of Children and Families, Chris Jacobs will replace David Carlucci as chair of Consumer Protection, and Elaine Phillips will replace Jesse Hamilton as chair of Banks. Andrea Stewart-Cousins will remain Senate Democratic Leader with Senator Jeff Klein assuming the role of Deputy Minority Leader. Republican John Flanagan will continue as Temporary President and Senate Majority Leader.

All of this comes two weeks away from special elections for two Senate seats. If the Democrats win both seats it would give them a total of 31, while the Republicans would also have 31. Senator Simcha Felder, a Democrat who currently caucuses with the Republicans, has said that he will wait until after the elections to decide who he will caucus with.

Speaker Ryan Retiring

This week, House Speaker Paul Ryan(R-Wisconsin) announced that he will not be seeking re-election in the fall. Ryan has served at in the House since 1998, and became House Speaker in 2015. At this point it is unclear who will be the next speaker. The House Majority is expected to face a tough challenge in the 2018 midterm elections.

At a glance

The state Legislature will return to Albany next week and be in session for three days. There are 30 days remaining in the 2018 legislative session.

Never Quit Fact of the week

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings of union workers are 20% higher than the median weekly earnings of nonunion workers