This Week in Albany

Week ending June 21, 2019

Legislative Update

The 2019 legislative session came to and end this week. Many important pieces of legislation passed both houses, including the majority of CSEA’s priority bills. The bills that passed included:

  • S.5291 – Gounardes / A.7248 – Abbate: This bill would create a statewide standard for bumping, retreating, and rehiring rights for non-competitive and labor class employees in the state and local governments.
  • A.7199 – Gunther / S.5315 – Carlucci: This bill would require the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to give 90-days notice prior to suspending services at a State-operated individualized residential alternative (IRA).
  • A.7611 – Gunther / S.5941 – Carlucci: This bill would require the Office of Mental Health (OMH) to provide monthly reports of community based service investments and the impact on OMH hospital inpatient census.
  • S.5705 – Mayer / A.7538A – Benedetto: This bill would require school bus drivers and monitors to be included in district-wide and building-level school safety teams.
  • S.1720 – Ramos / A.6157 – Titus: This bill would include public schools within the definition of employers required to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence. Currently, public schools are exempt from this requirement.
  • A.1093B – Paulin / S.5285A – Brooks: This bill would grant local government employees that are combat veterans with additional leave time for health services relating to their military service. State employees received this benefit in April 2019.
  • A.8419 – Nolan / S.6578 – Ramos: This bill provides fair labor practices for farm workers including the right to collectively bargain, mandated rest time, overtime compensation, and unemployment insurance.
  • A.7476 – Magnarelli / S.5445 – Skoufis: This bill would expand the oversight authority of the Office of the State Comptroller to include private organizations controlled by local government entities. This would increase transparency and accountability for entities like local development corporations (LDCs) that local governments are increasingly using to finance their day-to-day operations.
  • S.4915A – Akshar / A.7696A – Friend: This bill would name a portion of the state highway system as the “Dennis ‘Matt’ Howe Memorial Highway.” Matt Howe was a CSEA-represented Department of Transportation (DOT) worker that lost his life from injuries sustained when a vehicle collided with a DOT truck in an active work zone. While this legislation can’t ease the pain of Matt’s loss to his family, loved ones, and co-workers, it provides recognition of his dedication to public service. It will help make sure that he is not forgotten, and help raise awareness of the need to protect all our transportation workers who put their lives at risk just by doing their jobs.
  • A.264B – Cahill / S.3171A – Krueger: This bill would establish protections against excessive hospital emergency charges.
  • Additional funding over what was included in the 2019-20 state budget, including an additional $65 million for local roads and bridges through the CHIPS program for winter recovery and an additional $20 million in library construction aid.

What Didn’t Get Done

  • S.5205 – Gounardes / A.7624 – Abbate: This bill would require the appointment of an independent hearing officer in Section 75 disciplinary actions. Passed Senate / Died on Assembly Floor
  • Legalizing recreational marijuana
  • Expanding the definition of public works

Additionally, CSEA-supported legislation to improve work zone safety, establish caseload standards for child protective service workers, and bills to improve pension benefits were not able to pass this session. CSEA will continue to advocate for these bills and will re-up our efforts in 2020.

Primary Elections

New York State enacted a series of Election Law reforms earlier this year which included moving the Primary election date from its traditional date in September to June 25th. CSEA has endorsed in several primary races throughout the state. Call your Region Office to find out about races in your community that CSEA have made endorsements in and how you can help Get Out The Vote (GOTV).

Be advised, In New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, and Erie, POLLS OPEN at 6 AM and CLOSE at 9 PM. In all other counties, POLLS OPEN at 12 NOON and CLOSE at 9 PM. Visit www.elections.ny.gov for more information.