This Week in Albany

Week ending August 9, 2019


Legislative Update

Governor Cuomo has signed the following bills into law:

  • S.4915A – Akshar / A.7696A – Friend: This bill names 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.CSEA President Danny Donohue said, “When Matt Howe died, our union family suffered a horrible loss. On behalf of the thousands of CSEA members working in transportation, we appreciate this recognition to honor his sacrifice. As we dedicate the highway in his memory, we will rededicate our union to working with state officials to make sure our brave men and women working along our highways and roadways are as safe as possible, given the dangerous work they do. Matt and his family deserve nothing less.”
  • S.4950B – Magnarelli / A.4524B – Kennedy: This bill establishes a demonstration program for the use of school bus safety cameras to capture drivers that illegally pass a stopped school bus. CSEA strongly supports this legislation.
  • A.3425 – Dilan / S.4901 – Mayer: This bill extends anti-discrimination protections under the Human Rights Law to include public schools.
  • S.101A – Kaminsky / A.1715A – Griffin: This bill prohibits school employees, other than security personnel, from carrying a firearm on school grounds.
  • S.3971B – Savino / A.1746C – Vanel: This bill creates a temporary state commission to study artificial intelligence and automation, including the potential impact on employment.
  • S.6579A – Bailey / A.8420A – Peoples-Stokes: This bill lowers fines for unlawful possession of marijuana, allows for the possession of one ounce of marijuana, and seals any records for previous convictions of marijuana possession.

Queens DA Race Update

Six weeks after Election Day, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was officially declared the winner of the Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney. Tiffany Cabán had declared victory on election night when she had a lead of about 1,100 votes but after all valid ballots were counted, Katz won by 55 votes.

Federal Update

President Trump has signed H.R. 1327, the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) Act, into law. The legislation makes permanent the September 11 victims’ fund that provides assistance to the firefighters, police officers and other first responders who were hurt and families of those killed as the result of the 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as those involved in the cleanup operations. All members of the New York Congressional delegation voted in favor of this legislation.

AFSCME Hosts Presidential Forum

On Saturday, August 3, AFSCME hosted a forum for candidates for President of the United States in Las Vegas. Every person running for President in 2020, including President Trump, was invited to participate. Nineteen candidates accepted the invitation and faced questions about their commitment to protecting public services and the working men and women who dedicate their lives to their communities.

Highlights and full videos from the event can be found at