This Week in Albany

Week ending December 21, 2018

Legislative Update

All outstanding bills that passed both houses have been sent to the Governor. This includes several bills supported by CSEA:

  • S.8633 – Ortt / A.10951 – Lentol: This bill would require that 85% of proceeds from the sale of property owned by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) be reinvested into state-operated OPWDD services.
  • S.8118 – Tedisco / A.10337 – Abinanti: This legislation would require municipalities to notify retirees at least 30 days prior to making substantial changes to their health benefits.
  • S.7259A – LaValle / A.10620 – Glick: This bill would include SUNY hospitals in the SUNY maintenance of effort provisions and require the state to provide General Fund support to cover all mandatory costs of collective bargaining agreements for SUNY.
  • S.7730 – Murphy / A.9825 – Galef: This bill would exempt BOCES capital expenditures from a school district’s tax cap.
  • S.8293 – Phillips / A.10695 – Abbate: This bill would create a performance of duty disability for Nassau County fire marshalls.
  • S.8380A – Funke / A.10639A – Morelle: This bill would grant paid family leave for bereavement.
  • S.8066 – Golden / A.10415 – Abbate: This bill would allow employers to provide an accidental disability benefit of 3/4 of final average salary for deputy sheriffs.

The Governor must either sign or veto these bills before the end of the year. Stay tuned to future editions of “This Week in Albany” or check our website for updates as they become available.

Assembly Leadership Changes

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) was named Assembly Majority Leader by Speaker Carl Heastie this week. She becomes the first woman and first African American to hold that post.

In addition, there was shakeup among committee chairs in the Assembly, including:

  • Education committee Chair Catherine Nolan (D-Queens) was promoted to Deputy Speaker. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx) was named as her replacement.
  • David Gantt (D-Rochester) will no longer chair the Transportation committee. Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) will take over.
  • Fred Thiele (D-Suffolk County) will take over for Magnarelli as chair of the Local Governments committee.
  • Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) will take over as Chair of the Labor committee.
  • The other committees that will have new chairs include: Aging, Agriculture, Cities, Consumer Affairs, Governmental Operations, Libraries, Investigations, Small Business, and Veterans Affairs.

Governor Cuomo’s “First 100 Day” Agenda

This week, Governor Cuomo gave a speech outlining his priorities for the 2019 legislative session.

Items of importance to CSEA members include:

  • Protecting the personal information of local government employees from third parties;
  • Making the property tax cap permanent;
  • Maintaining the state’s “Millionaire’s Tax”;
  • Codifying the state’s health insurance exchange;
  • Increased infrastructure spending; and
  • Changing education funding to better allocate resources to needier schools.

In addition, the Governor has prioritized:

  • Legalizing recreational marijuana;
  • Election reforms;
  • Gun safety measures;
  • Restructuring the MTA and ensuring proper funding;
  • DREAM Act;
  • A “Green New Deal”;
  • Criminal justice reform and the Child Victims Act; and
  • Reforming rent regulations.

Many of these issues should be taken up in the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal, which is due to be released before February 1.

Federal Shutdown?

With funding for several federal departments set to run out at midnight on Friday, a partial federal government shutdown appears likely.

Congress appeared to have reached an agreement to fund the government into February before President Trump stepped in to say that he would veto any agreement that did not include $5 billion to build a wall on the U.S. – Mexico border. At the time of this email, such a proposal does not appear to have enough support in the Senate.

Happy Holidays

“This Week in Albany” will take a break next week and will return in early January. Have a safe and happy holiday and New Year.