In the News-New York State
They’ll Be Back
Assembly Returns Next Week to Complete Unfinished Business
The Senate and Assembly worked up to and into last weekend to complete the work of the 2023 session. The Senate completed its slate of bills early Saturday morning. The Assembly, however, recessed Saturday afternoon with a number of issues outstanding and will return next week (June 20th-June 21st). Whether next week will be the conclusion of session remains to be seen.
Controversy involving legislation related to extending the Seneca Nation Compact could push the final session to later in the year. The Nation’s current compact, signed in 2002, is set to expire December 9th.
Prior to recessing, the Senate passed Senator Tim Kennedy’s legislation (S7579) to allow the Governor to agree to the compact extension. The Assembly did not and, according to published reports, the bill remained in the Ways and Means Committee following disclosure that the compact negotiations between the Hochul Administration and the Senecas included the possibility of a Seneca-run casino in Rochester. Negotiations now continue between the Rochester area representatives and the Governor’s office.
Meanwhile, the State fiscal picture clouded last week. New York’s FY2024 Financial Plan, released last Friday, brought news of increased budget gaps due to “additional downward revisions in projected tax receipts.” The gaps in the outyears are now projected at $9.1 billion in FY 2025, $13.9 billion in FY 2026, and $13.4 billion in FY 2027. When the budget was enacted the projection for FY25 was $5.1 billion.
The new projections have fiscal conservatives referencing the gaps faced by former Governors David Paterson (2009 and 2010) and Andrew Cuomo (2012) which resulted in significant budget cuts.
During next week’s two-day Assembly session, Members will be shepherding their local initiatives, while lobbyists and stakeholders will be pushing for passage of end-of-session commitments. Everyone is hoping that no one will be left behind.
Bills Passed by Both Houses of the Legislature (June 10th)
A1029C Sponsored by AM Cruz/Senator Myrie — Relates to the automatic sealing of certain convictions.
A1297B Sponsored by AM Bichotte Hermelyn/Senator Brouk — Requires a healthcare provider to inform the patient of the options for treatment following confirmation of fetal demise.
A1721B Sponsored by AM Cunningham/Senator Parker — Relates to establishing electric vehicle charging station reliability reporting and standards.
A3301A Sponsored by AM Rajkumar/Senator Cooney — Establishes the New York Asian American and Pacific Islander commission.
A7768 Sponsored by AM Colton/Senator Kavanagh — Declares Asian Lunar New Year a school holiday.
A7769 Sponsored by AM Rajkumar/Senator Addabbo — Establishes Diwali as a school holiday in public schools in the city of New York.
S350 Sponsored by Senator Jackson/AM Walker – Requires that constitutional challenges to the election law may only be filed in the following courts: New York County, Westchester County, Albany County or Erie County.
S818 Sponsored by Senator Myrie/AM Walker — Relates to the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York.
S1783A Sponsored by Senator Hoylman-Sigal — Establishes the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and people living with HIV long-term care facility residents’ bill of rights.
S2574 Sponsored by Senator Gounardes/Septimo — Relates to orders from the workers’ compensation board as proof of disability for purposes of real property tax exemptions.
S3539 Sponsored by Senator Breslin/AM Hunter — Relates to payment and retainage in construction contracts.
S4862 Sponsored by Senator Comrie/AM Anderson — Establishes a captive insurance program for commuter vans that are engaged in the business of carrying or transporting eight to twenty-four passengers for hire and establishes a commuter van trust fund.
S5026 Sponsored by Senator Gounardes/AM Bronson — Relates to protections for freelance workers.
S5129A Sponsored by Senator Webb/AM Zebrowski — Requires an operator of a motor vehicle to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a vehicle which is parked, stopped, or standing on the shoulder of a parkway or controlled-access highway.
S5430 Sponsored by Senator Mattera/AM Stern — Requires towers to clean up any debris in the surrounding area resulting from the vehicles they are towing.
S7211 Sponsored by Senator Cleare/AM Kim — Relates to the reporting and resolution of issues at residential health care facilities.
S7289A Sponsored by Senator Gounardes/AMPheffer Amato — Includes thyroid cancer in the list of cancers presumed to be incurred in the performance of duty for purposes of disability retirement.
S7295A Sponsored by Senator Hinchey/AM Lupardo — Authorizes conditional adult-use cultivator and processor licensees to sell tested, packaged, and sealed cannabis products and cannabis to a cannabis dispensing facility licensed by a tribal nation for retail.
S7394A Sponsored by Senator Gianaris/Reyes — Establishes the “New York Early Mail Voter Act.”
S7564 Sponsored by Senator Myrie/AM Walker — Relates to public campaign financing.
In the News-New York City
Adams Administration Reaches Tentative Contract Agreement with Uniformed Officers Coalition
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Office of Labor Relations (OLR) Commissioner Renee Campion yesterday announced a five-year tentative contract agreement with the Uniformed Officers Coalition (UOC), a coalition of uniformed unions representing more than 32,000 city employees. The agreement includes wage increases ranging from 3.25 percent to 4.00 percent over the contract period. The agreement must be ratified by each union’s membership.
UOC represents 11 unions across all four uniformed city agencies: the Detectives Endowment Association (DEA), the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), the Lieutenants Benevolent Association (LBA), the Captains Endowment Association (CEA), the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA), the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA), the Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA), the Correction Captains Association (CCA), the Assistant Deputy Wardens (ADW), the Sanitation Officers Association (SOA), and the Uniformed Sanitation Chiefs Association (USCA).
The total cost of the tentative agreement is approximately $4 billion through Fiscal Year 2027. It is fully covered by funding set aside in the Labor Reserve as of the Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget.
Members of the unions covered under this agreement will receive the following compounded and retroactive wage increases, with start and end dates varying based on when their contract from the last round of bargaining expired: 3.25% on first day of Year 1; 3.25% on first day of Year 2; 3.50% on first day of Year 3; 3.50% on first day of Year 4; and 4.00% on first day of Year 5.
In addition, each union within the coalition will have an opportunity to bargain on issues specific to their bargaining unit, within the same overall economic framework. There is also funding available for unit bargaining to address recruitment and retention issues.
Adams Administration Releases “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick this week unveiled “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity,” a proposal that would change zoning citywide and revise regulations to support new and growing small businesses and create jobs for New Yorkers.
City of Yes for Economic Opportunity focuses on four areas: revitalizing commercial corridors, filling vacant storefronts, investing in key growth industries, and modernizing use regulations. It includes 18 policy changes that would expand options for businesses to locate near their customers, support growing industries and sectors, foster commercial corridors, and provide businesses more certainty and clarity with updated zoning rules.
Specifics of the proposal are:
- Clean Manufacturing: Implement the largest expansion in 60 years of space available for small-scale, clean manufacturing, allowing small producers like microbreweries, apparel makers, and ceramic shops to open and grow in commercial corridors in all five boroughs for the first time.
- Corner Stores: Create a process to allow new corner stores in residential areas (currently 265,000 New Yorkers live in areas where a new corner store could not be located within a quarter mile of their home).
- Industrial Business Expansion: Create new zoning tools allowing the more than 17,000 businesses in industrial areas that are currently prevented from adding space under existing zoning to grow their businesses.
- Building Use: Expand the number of businesses able to open in ground- and upper-floor spaces.
- Entertainment: Eliminate rules that prohibit dancing, comedy, and music in restaurants and venues in commercial areas and update rules that limit where amusements are allowed.
- Laboratories & Agriculture: Modernize how zoning regulates laboratories so life sciences research can flourish in offices and near universities and hospitals and remove impediments for indoor urban agriculture, including indoor cannabis growing for businesses with the appropriate state and city licenses.
- Casinos: Working with the City Council in New York state’s siting process.
- Vacant Storefronts: Fill vacant storefronts by amending rules that ban businesses from setting up in certain, long-term vacant storefronts.
- Home businesses: Amend regulations to allow a wider range of businesses, including barbers and interior designers, to be based in homes.
Governor Hochul Announces Expansion of Fully Paid Parental Leave Program, Covering More Than 150,000 New York State Employees
Governor Kathy Hochul this week announced expansion of New York’s initiative to offer 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave benefits to more than 80 percent of the state workforce.
The Hochul Administration has reached an agreement with the three largest State unions to expand paid parental leave, including a signed agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association to expand paid parental leave to more than more 52,000 state employees and pending contract agreements with the Public Employees Federation and the United University Professions. If ratified, workers will be eligible to receive 12 weeks of fully paid leave to use for bonding with a newborn, fostered, or adopted child.
In addition, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) will develop and launch a statewide paternity leave awareness campaign. The campaign will aim to “normalize” paternity leave by raising awareness about the benefits available to new and expectant fathers and highlighting how paternity leave can positively impact families and the career and salary prospects of women earners.
NYS Department of Financial Services Releases of Report on Long Term Care Insurance Market
The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) this week released its analysis of the long term care (LTC) insurance market to identify the issues that have contributed to the national market crisis. According to DFS, the crisis is due to historical mispricing, which has led to “ever-increasing” premium rates and insurers leaving the market. In response to the findings, DFS will review and reform premium rate approval methodologies.
According to the report, since LTC insurance first became available in New York State in 1988 the market has struggled. Approximately 394,000 New Yorkers have policies as of 2020, compared to 754,000 in 2002. Only a fraction of the insurers that sold LTC policies in New York still do so today, and several of those that remain face financial instability.
The report specifies that DFS will review and reform premium rate approval methodologies; establish affordability measures to help consumers manage rate increases; and promote the adoption of LTC insurance offerings in New York State.
The recently enacted state budget includes the establishment of a Health Guaranty Fund, a basic safety net used to protect consumers when and if their insurer becomes insolvent.
Governor Hochul Releases Findings of Statewide Listening Tour Detailing Steps to Address Youth Mental Health Crisis
Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday released the summary report of the State’s Youth Listening Tour, held in counties statewide earlier this spring, outlining both findings and recommendations on how to best address the youth mental health crisis.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new data that showed suicide rates among the 10-24 age group reached a 20-year-high in 2021. Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued its Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which found alarming mental health trends among school-aged youth between 2011 and 2021. Nearly a third of teen girls seriously considered attempting suicide in 2021, an increase from 19 percent the prior decade.
The findings in the Youth Listening Tour summary report included:
- Youth keenly understand the benefits and risks of social media and potential strategies to support healthy use.
- Developing positive peer relationships and social skills is challenging, and youth are calling for multiple school and community-based approaches to assist in the development of interpersonal skills and friendships.
- Youth prefer mental health interactions with adults who they identify with (age, demographics) and reported an overall perception of a lack of empathy and cultural sensitivity in adults.
Based on the findings from the Youth Listening Tour, recommendations include:
- Investing in community-based resources for recreation and mental wellness promotion.
- Youth-vetted training on navigating social media.
- Increased mental health resources that are free/low-cost, confidential, respectful, and culturally competent.
City of New York Deems Medicare Advantage Contract Registered
The New York City Office of Labor Relations, under the Adams administration, yesterday announced that it has deemed the Medicare Advantage contract registered, allowing implementation of the plan to move forward effective September 1st of this year.
According to the Administration, this step was taken after the agencies informed the New York City Comptroller’s Office that they did not have any statutory basis for declining to register the contract, as required under the City Charter. In addition, the Administration asserted that failing to register the contract only increases confusion and misinformation among retirees regarding Medicare Advantage.
“As we’ve said repeatedly, this Medicare Advantage plan improves retirees’ current plans, including offering a lower deductible, a cap on out-of-pocket expenses, and new benefits, like transportation, fitness programs, and wellness incentives,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “We are clearly within our authority under the charter to deem this contract registered, and we look forward to working with Aetna to ensure a smooth transition to the plan for our city’s eligible retirees and their dependents come September 1st.”
NYC Mayor Signs Gender-Affirming Health Care Executive Order
New York City Mayor Eric Adams this week signed Executive Order 32 to protect access to gender-affirming health care in New York City.
The Executive Order prevents the use of city resources to detain any individual who is providing or receiving gender-affirming health care services in New York City. Additionally, the Executive Order denies the use of resources by the City of New York to cooperate with any prosecution or investigation by another state of an individual for providing or receiving gender-affirming care.
Mayor Adams and UFT Announce Tentative Contract Agreement
New York City Mayor Eric Adams this week announced that the City of New York has reached a tentative five-plus-year contract agreement with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). This agreement will cover approximately 120,000 municipal employees and cost $6.4 bill through FY27.
The tentative agreement is retroactive, beginning on September 14, 2022, and expires on November 28, 2027. It includes wage increases of three percent for each of the first three years of the contract, 3.25 percent in the fourth year, and 3.50 percent in the fifth year. The agreement also includes a $3,000 lump sum ratification bonus for all UFT members and an annual retention payment to be paid in May of each year, beginning with $400 in 2024, $700 in 2025, and $1,000 in 2026 and every year thereafter.
The tentative agreement must be ratified by UFT’s membership, and would apply to teachers, paraprofessionals, school secretaries, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, staff nurses, and supervisors of school security.
Teamsters Vote By 97 Percent to Strike If UPS Fails to Deliver Strong Contract
UPS Teamsters have voted overwhelmingly, 97 percent, to authorize a strike if no agreement is reached with UPS by the time the current contract expires on July 31st.
“This vote shows that hundreds of thousands of Teamsters are united and determined to get the best contract in our history at UPS. If this multibillion-dollar corporation fails to deliver on the contract that our hardworking members deserve, UPS will be striking itself,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “The strongest leverage our members have is their labor and they are prepared to withhold it to ensure UPS acts accordingly.”
National negotiations between the Teamsters and UPS began April 17th.
New York State
Tuesday, June 20th
Assembly Session, New York State Capitol Building, Assembly Chamber, Albany, 11 a.m.
Wednesday, June 21st
Assembly Session, New York State Capitol Building, Assembly Chamber, Albany, 9 a.m.
New York City
Tuesday, June 20th
Joint – Committee on Public Safety & Oversight and Investigations, Council Chambers, 10 a.m.
Oversight – Examining the Impact of the NYPD Erie Basin Storage Facility Fire.
Committee on Civil Service and Labor & Consumer and Worker Protection, Council Chambers, 1 p.m.
Oversight – Safe and Sick Time.
Wednesday, June 21st
Joint – Committee on Immigration & General Welfare, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.
Oversight – Emergency Shelters and Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers in NYC.
Committee on Education, Committee Room – City Hall, 1 p.m.
Thursday, June 22nd
City Council, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1:30 p.m.
Friday, June 23rd
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m.
Oversight – Electric Vehicle Infrastructure.
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