December 15, 2023

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In the News-New York State

New York’s Top Court Orders New Congressional Lines in Redistricting Case

The New York State Court of Appeals ruled, 4-3, that New York’s congressional maps should be drawn by the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) and ordered the Commission to submit a new map “on the earliest possible date” but no later than February 28th.

“In 2014, the voters of New York amended our Constitution to provide that legislative districts be drawn by an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC),” Chief Judge Rowan Wilson wrote in the majority opinion.  

“The Constitution demands that process, not districts drawn by courts,” he continued. “Nevertheless, the IRC failed to discharge its constitutional duty. That dereliction is undisputed. The Appellate Division concluded that the IRC can be compelled to reconvene to fulfill that duty; we agree. There is no reason the Constitution should be disregarded.”

In 2022, the bipartisan IRC failed to reach a consensus on the congressional lines.  Then the Legislature’s attempt to draw the maps failed a legal challenge and ultimately led to a court-appointed special master drawing New York’s congressional maps. 

The Court of Appeals, at that time, ruled that the Legislature did not follow the proper procedure.  The Court then called upon the special master to draw the maps for the 2022 midterm elections.   This week’s court decision essentially ruled that the 2022 decision was a temporary fix and ordered new corrective action. 

Chapters of the Laws of 2023

Chapter 685 — Sponsored by AM Pheffer Amato/Senator Jackson — Provides accidental disability retirement for uniformed court officers and peace officers who are injured as the result of a physical assault by an assailant employed in the unified court system.

Chapter 688 — Sponsored by AM Pheffer Amato/Senator Jackson — Provides the option for an accidental disability retirement benefit of 75% of the final average salary for deputy sheriffs employed by Nassau County. 

Chapter 689Sponsored by AM Pheffer Amato/Senator Jackson — Relates to reopening the age 55 improved benefit retirement program and the 25-year early retirement program to active and retired members and staff of the NYC council.

Chapter 691Sponsored by AM Hevesi/Senator Brisport — Relates to the sealing and expungement of records in persons in need of supervision cases in family court.

Chapter 693Sponsored by AM Pheffer Amato/Senator Jackson — Eliminates the age 50 qualifier in the 20 Year/Age 50 Retirement Plan for tier 4 and tier 6 members of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.

Chapter 698Sponsored by Senator Hinchey/AM Clark — Requires housing owners to provide records when requested by a municipality or designee as part of a study to determine vacancy rates and provides for data to be collected.

Chapter 702Sponsored by Senator Webb/AM Clark— Requires that Health Equity Impact Assessments consider the availability and provision of reproductive health services and maternal health care before the Department of Health can approve any proposed construction, establishment, mergers, acquisitions, closures, or reductions in hospital/health-related services.

Chapter 703Sponsored by Senator Gounardes/AM Solages — Requires New York State health benefit plan hospital pricing report.

Chapter 706 — Sponsored by Senator Gounardes/AM Pheffer Amato — Creates parity in continuing healthcare coverage for the spouses and domestic partners of New York City firefighters.

Chapter 708 — Sponsored by Senator Goundardes/AM Pheffer Amato — Amends the Retirement and Social Security to exempt certain members from making physically taxing additional member contributions.

Chapter 710 — Sponsored by Senator Jackson/ AM Pheffer Amato — Provides a child care leave credit for New York City uniformed correction/sanitation revised plan members.

Chapter 715 — Sponsored by Senator Gounardes/AM Pheffer Amato — Includes thyroid cancer in the list of cancers presumed to be incurred in the performance of duty for purposes of disability retirement.

Chapter 719 — Sponsored by Senator Sanders/AM Bichotte Hermelyn — Increases the City’s discretionary spending threshold to $1.5 million for non-competitive contracts and includes construction.

Chapter 722 — Sponsored by AM Thiele/Senator Thomas — Decreases the number of prior suspensions imposed for moving violations needed to qualify for aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree.

Chapter 723 — Sponsored by AM Paulin/Senator Cooney — Requires sellers to clearly post the price of a credit card surcharge.

Chapter 725 — Sponsored by Senator Salazar/AM Reyes — Adds medicine to the list of goods and services that can be classified as possibly being subject to price gouging.

Chapter 726 — Sponsored by Senator Addabbo/AM Glick — Prohibits the slaughter of horses for human or animal consumption.

Chapter 727Sponsored by Senator Rivera/AM Paulin — Prohibits medical debt from being collected by a consumer reporting agency or included in a consumer report.

Chapter 728 — Sponsored by Senator Kavanagh/AM Paulin — Requires businesses to notify consumers of an upcoming automatic renewal or continuous service charge forty-five days prior to the charge.

Bills Vetoed by the Governor

Veto 84 — Sponsored by AM Pheffer Amato/Jackson — Establishes a twenty year retirement plan for regional state park police, environmental conservation officers, forest rangers, and university police officers.

Veto 85 — Sponsored by AM McDonald/Senator Kennedy — Relates to public employees’ supervision, examination, review, and determination of acceptability of public works projects performed by contractors.

Veto 91 — Sponsored by AM Joyner/Senator Ramos — Provides that either party to a workers compensation claim can request a hearing.

Veto 97 — Sponsored by AM Septimo/Senator Sanders — Relates to reciprocity between the State and New York City for businesses that are certified as minority and women-owned business enterprises.

Veto 98 — Sponsored by Senator Comrie/AM Jackson — Relates to requiring agencies to provide unsuccessful bidders that are certified minority and women-owned business enterprises with a written statement articulating the reasons for rejection.

Veto 102 — Sponsored by Senator Gianaris/AM McDonald — Requires disclosing activities related to the lobbying for or against the confirmation or nomination of persons to state office.

Veto 107Sponsored by Senator Brisport/AM Joyner — Establishes procedures regarding orders of post-termination visitation and/or contact between a child and such child’s parent.

Governor Hochul Announces $10 Billion Partnership to Bring Next-Generation Research and Development Center to NY CREATES’ Albany Nanotech Complex

 Governor Kathy Hochul this week announced a $10 billion partnership with leaders from the semiconductor industry such as IBM, Micron, Applied Materials, and Tokyo Electron to establish a next-generation semiconductor research and development center at NY CREATES’ Albany NanoTech Complex.

The partnership will fund the construction of a Center – the first and only publicly owned High NA EUV Center in North America – that will support semiconductor research and development.   It will make New York State home to the nation’s most advanced, publicly owned semiconductor R&D infrastructure, support the long-term growth of New York’s tech economy, and create and retain thousands of direct, indirect, and union construction jobs, according to the Governor.

To support this project, New York State is investing $1 billion to expand the Albany NanoTech Complex with the establishment of the High NA EUV Center through the purchase of ASML’s EXE:5200 High NA EUV scanner, as well as the construction of NanoFab Reflection, with more than 50,000 sq. ft. of cleanroom space.  The project will create an estimated peak of 500 to 600 union construction jobs at prevailing wage during the two-year construction phase.

Under this new initiative, NY CREATES will acquire and install a High NA EUV lithography tool at its Albany NanoTech Complex.  Industry partners including Micron, IBM, Applied Materials, and Tokyo Electron will have access to the tool. 

In addition, this partnership, according to the Governor, will enhance New York State’s position as a leading candidate to secure anchor hub status under the federal National Semiconductor Technology Center, a designation with the potential to unlock more than $11 billion in federal CHIPS and Science Act funding.

 In the News-New York City    

NYC Council Economic & Tax Revenue Forecast Shows City Economy is Stable, but Slowing Growth is Creating Budget Pressures

Despite expectation that City will experience decline in tax revenue for FY ‘24, Council projection estimates $1.2B more revenue than Mayor’s budget office

The New York City Council this week released its Economic and Tax Revenue Forecast for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 November Plan in which the Council projects the City to be entering a two-year period of slower fiscal growth due to inflation and higher interest rates.   However, it still estimates     $1.2 billion more in tax revenue for FY 2024 than the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projected.

The Council Forecast projects the City will have a budget surplus of $2.6 billion for FY 2024, with outyear budget gaps remaining over $5.3 billion in FY 2025, $3.65 billion in FY 2026, and $2.49 billion in FY 2027.  This forecast is based upon the City utilizing the $1.45 billion of in-year reserves currently budgeted in each fiscal year. 

In addition, the Council anticipates the Federal Reserve will begin to reduce interest rates in Fiscal 2025, leading to healthier growth and tax revenue levels the following year.  However, remaining uncertainties in the economy warrant caution.  The Council’s full report is available here.

“Despite the resilience and durability of our economy, signs of expected slower growth will present fiscal challenges to closing gaps in the coming years’ budgets,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams and Finance Chair Justin Brannan. “The Council’s economists, who have consistently provided realistic forecasts, still project $1.2 billion more in FY 2024 revenue than the Mayor’s budget office, leaving room for flexibility to avert some cuts when paired with the $1.45 billion of in-year reserves. To close budget gaps in the years ahead, it is imperative that the City takes a different approach that prioritizes its investments in essential services, rather than making overly broad cuts, and seeks additional revenue to protect critical programs that support the health of New Yorkers. Our city’s economy will rebound from this challenging period, but it will require strategic and responsible management to ensure New Yorkers persevere without being harmed.”

The Council’s forecast shows New York City’s economy to be strong with employment reaching its pre-pandemic levels, despite a lower city population.  Certain sectors – such as retail, leisure and hospitality – have not fully recovered. The city’s employment forecast is stronger than in May, but there are early signs of softening labor demand and wage growth that project flattening employment growth.  This is not expected to rebound until 2026. 

Additionally, commercial real estate vacancies remain a concern and weaker residential housing sales are resulting from high mortgage rates. Unstable Federal fiscal policy, unexpected changes in consumer sentiment, and other external factors also remain as outstanding risks, which could exert negative or positive impacts on the economy.


NYS Releases Request for Proposals for a Cell and Gene Therapy Hub on Long Island

Governor Kathy Hochul this week announced that New York will establish a Cell and Gene Therapy Innovation Hub in Nassau County and an associated incubator to catalyze cell therapy research, development, clinical manufacturing, and commercialization across the State.

Empire State Development (ESD) has issued a Request for Proposals seeking developers to build and operate this facility, at approximately 200,000 square feet, with opportunity for future expansion on the 15-acre site where the Hub will be situated. ESD will invest up to $150 million toward development of this facility, and this funding may be complemented by additional financial support from other economic development programs. The deadline for submissions is March 12, 2024.

Additionally, the Long Island Hub will include a dedicated business incubation space to further enhance the facility’s success by supporting early-stage therapeutic developers.  The incubator will assist promising early-stage businesses in this field by offering use of the facility and its services such as networking and mentorship and fostering connections with venture capital firms and other investors.

NY to Participate in Holiday Season “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Enforcement Initiative

The New York State Police is participating in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which began Wednesday, December 13th, and runs through Monday, January 1st.

In addition to the DWI checkpoints and patrols, Troopers will be watching for distracted drivers, vehicle occupants who are not properly buckled up, and drivers violating the “Move Over Law,” which requires motorists to exercise extreme caution when passing emergency vehicles that are stopped in or on the side of the road. State Police will also conduct underage drinker enforcement details statewide.

During the enforcement campaign, Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of the operation.

NYSERDA Launches New $45 Million Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship Clean Energy Training Initiative

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced a new $45 million Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship Clean Energy Training Initiative to expand the capacity of labor organizations to offer training as a pathway to clean energy careers. 

Through this initiative, $15 million is now available to support projects that develop a pipeline of skilled talent to meet projected workforce needs in a variety of clean energy sectors.  According to Governor Kathy Hochul, this initiative advances a just transition to a clean energy workforce and the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act).

New York State labor organizations, labor management committees and training centers affiliated with New York State labor organizations, and active New York State Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Programs and Direct Entry Pre-Apprenticeship Programs affiliated with New York State labor organizations are eligible to apply.

Proposed projects must address projected workforce needs and prepare pre-apprentices, apprentices, and journey workers for employment in at least one of the following clean energy technology areas: building electrification and energy efficiency technologies; renewable energy generation, interconnection, transmission, distribution, and storage; and electric vehicle charging station installation and repair.  

Eligible training initiatives include:

  • clean energy technical training for pre-apprentices, apprentices, and/or journey workers;
  • curriculum development and expansion;
  • train-the-trainer programs;
  • equipment purchases for hands-on training, virtual reality training, and mobile labs;
  • wrap-around services such as childcare and transportation to ensure an individual is positioned for success in a clean energy career; and
  • K-12 career awareness and outreach activities.

Round 1 applications are due at 3:00 p.m. on February 7, 2024, with additional submission opportunities and deadlines throughout the year. Any unallocated funds from this initial offering will be made available in subsequent rounds over the next two years.

Speaker Adrienne Adams & Mayor Eric Adams Celebrate Signing of Fair Housing Framework Legislation

Speaker Adrienne Adams this week joined Mayor Eric Adams for the signing of her Fair Housing Framework legislation into law. The bill would require the City to establish targeted housing production goals for each Community District to ensure each New York City neighborhood plays an equitable role in addressing the city’s housing crisis, while accounting for unique community needs. 

Under the law, the City will produce an assessment of long-term citywide housing needs, five-year housing production targets for each local community district, and a report on the obstacles and strategies to achieve them. The plan would also focus on the production and preservation of affordable housing, anti-displacement resources, and neighborhood investments for under-served communities.

“For far too long, government has let restrictive laws and zoning rules keep us from building the housing New Yorkers need,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “I am proud to stand side-by-side with Speaker Adams to fight the factors that have contributed to housing discrimination and inequality — together with our ‘City of Yes’ plan, the Fair Housing Framework will help right some of the great wrongs of our city’s history. I look forward to our continued partnership with Speaker Adams and the City Council to fight the city’s untenable housing and affordability crisis.”

Mayor Adams & DSNY Commissioner Tisch Announce Next-Generation Technology To Enhance Snow Operations 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner Jessica Tisch this week unveiled new technology to modernize and enhance DSNY’s snow cleanup operations. The system, known as BladeRunner 2.0, centralizes the deployment and real-time tracking of snowplows, salt spreaders, and brining vehicles, and replaces outdated technology first launched in 2015. 

According to Mayor Adams, Bladerunner 2.0 has been deployed ahead of this year’s snow season, which forecasters predict will be heavier than last year’s. The system will also be used to track DSNY collection and cleaning operations year-round times.

In addition to this new technology, the Mayor explained, DSNY is heading into snow season with its highest headcount in 20 years. This, in addition to a nearly $500 million investment in new trucks in the past two years, means DSNY is better equipped than ever to clear snow on the city’s 19,000 lane-miles of roadway. 

As a result of this investment and other operational changes, streets will no longer be categorized as “primary, secondary, and tertiary.” Every street in New York City is on a plow and salt route, and every route will be dispatched when conditions warrant, Commissioner Tisch said.

Coming Up

New York State

Monday, December 18th 

Assessing the Various Housing Needs across New York State

Assembly Committees on Housing & Cities 

Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, 10 a.m.

Charitable Gaming

Assembly Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering

Roosevelt Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building,2nd Floor, Albany, 10 a.m.

Tuesday, December 19th 

Health Care Workforce

Assembly Committees on Health, Mental Health, People with Disabilities, Higher Education & Labor 

West Building, Hunter College, 904 Lexington Avenue, New York, 10 a.m.

Meeting the Needs of New York’s Homeless Veterans

Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Social Services & Veterans

Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, 10 a.m.

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