This Week in Albany

Week ending January 10, 2020

State of the State

This week, Governor Cuomo gave his 10th “State of the State” address.

The Governor’s speech focused on proposals to:

  • Lower prescription drug prices by: 1) establishing a commission to study the importation of prescription drugs from Canada; and 2) capping co-payments for insulin;
  • Establish a statewide system of paid sick leave, although the details are uncertain at this time;
  • Cut taxes for businesses;
  • Propose a $3 billion environmental bond act to fund environmental projects;
  • Legalize adult-use recreational marijuana;
  • Require automatic manual recounts in close elections;
  • Ban single-use Styrofoam food containers;
  • Make the “New York Buy American” Act Permanent. The current law requires that all structural steel and iron used in state road and bridge construction projects worth more than $1 million to be made in America; and
  • Develop a new strategy to bring high speed rail to New York State.

The Governor did not specify how the state’s $6 billion deficit will be addressed.

Additional proposals will be presented during his budget presentation later in January.

Kolb Out As Minority Leader

New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Ontario County) resigned his leadership post late last week following a New Year’s Eve arrest for suspected DWI. Kolb had served as the leader of the Republican conference since 2009.

This week, Assembly Republicans selected Will Barclay (R-Oswego County) to replace Kolb as leader. CSEA endorsed Barclay during his last run for his 120th District seat in 2018.

Ken LaValle to Retire

Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) became the latest state senator to announce that he will not seek re-election later this year. LaValle was the long-time chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, and supported CSEA on many issues over the years.

LaValle, who is 80, is the longest serving member of the Senate. We wish him the best of luck in retirement.

At a Glance

The legislature will be in session for three days next week in Albany. Governor Cuomo’s 2020-21 Executive Budget proposal is due by January 21.

Census Fact of the Week

According to the NYS Complete Count Commission, nearly 5 million New Yorkers have been estimated to be part of a hard-to-count community. As labor and community leaders, it is critical that CSEA members help make sure that all New Yorkers are counted this year!