This Week in Albany

Week ending May 10, 2019

Legislative Update – School Bus Safety

It was announced this week that the Senate, Assembly, and Governor Cuomo reached an agreement on a demonstration program allowing for school bus safety cameras.

Under the proposal, school districts could enter into agreements with participating municipalities (counties, cities, towns, villages) to establish a program for the use of cameras to capture vehicles that illegally pass a stopped school bus. Violators would be fined $250 for a first violation, up to $300 for a third violation within 18 months.

This bill is a common-sense solution that will have an out-sized impact on the safety of children, school bus drivers and monitors, and the general public. The bill is expected to be passed by the legislature as soon as next week.

Click here to read CSEA’s memo in support of this legislation.

Additionally, CSEA is strongly advocating for legislation (A.7538 – Benedetto) that will require school bus drivers and monitors to be included in district-wide and building level school safety teams. This bill would ensure that drivers and monitors have their voices heard in the development of school safety plans.

Single Payer Public Hearing

On May 28, the Senate and Assembly Health Committees will be holding a public hearing on the “New York Health Act,” which would establish a single-payer healthcare system in New York. CSEA will be testifying in opposition to this proposal.

CSEA has supported universal healthcare for decades, and continues to believe that every person in our country should have access to quality health care services without fear of going bankrupt or being denied access to critical services. However this legislation leaves too many questions unanswered, especially how much employees would have to pay. Under this legislation, employees would be responsible for 20% of a payroll tax to fund the program. However, the total cost of the program is unknown. Estimates range anywhere from $92 billion to $226 billion.

Stay tuned for more information on CSEA’s testimony.

At a Glance

The legislature will be in session for three days next week. There are 19 scheduled session days remaining in the 2019 legislative session.

The deadline to register to vote in the June 25 Primary Election is May 31. You can register to vote or update your registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles website.