October 25, 2019

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In the News – State

Governor To PSC: Identify Grounds to Revoke National Grid’s License

Questions Public Service Commission’s Oversight of 

Downstate’s Energy Capacity

Governor Andrew Cuomo railed against National Grid and its regulator, the State Public Service Commission (PSC), this week, calling National Grid’s downstate service termination “obnoxious hostile actions to customers” and questioning the PSC’s failure to “adequately anticipate, respond, or prevent this harm.”

In a letter to PSC Chairman John Rhodes, the Governor directed the PSC to identify grounds to revoke National Grid’s license and to appoint a monitor to oversee National Grid.


“I also want to know when and how we eliminate an abusive utility from the state to protect consumers,” Governor Cuomo wrote.  “To that end, I want the specific explanation of potential grounds for revocation of National Grid’s license and its liability for the damage that has already been incurred and future damages which will be incurred over the following 12 to 18 months as development is delayed for additional projects is needed. I would also like the specifics necessary to appoint a monitor to oversee National Grids operation on an intense and constant basis to guarantee consumer protection.”


In May, National Grid said it would not process new applications for gas service in downstate New York until Williams Company Inc’s $1 billion Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York receives the necessary state approvals.   Following an order from the PSC, the company began reinstating service to 1,200 customers in New York City and Long Island. However, the company asserted that future service was limited due to significant capacity issues. At a PSC meeting last week, Commissioners echoed the capacity issues.

Governor Cuomo criticized the PSC for its oversight of the company in relation to the energy needs of the area.

According to published reports, the PSC has indicated that it has immediately begun to address the Governor’s request.

“The PSC chair shares Governor Cuomo’s concerns about the seriousness of this issue,” a PSC Spokesman said.   “We are collecting the requested data and will be responding quickly. The PSC will take any justified steps to punish and remedy National Grid’s failure.”


Chapters of the Laws of 2019

Chapter 378 Sponsored by M of A Ortiz / Senator Parker — Relates to creating mental illness and chemical dependence initiative. 

Chapter 379 Sponsored by M of A Rosenthal D / Senator Comrie — Requires pharmacies to make reasonable attempts to notify patients of certain drug recalls. 

Chapter 380 Sponsored by Senator Montgomery / M of A Crespo — Provides an excuse or postponement from jury duty for breastfeeding women. 

Chapter 382 Sponsored by M of A Joyner / Senator Gounardes — Relates to increasing certain special accidental death benefits. 

Chapter 383 Sponsored by M of A Seawright / Senator Serrano — Relates to the management of the Roosevelt Island operating corporation. 

Chapter 384 Sponsored by M of A Paulin / Senator Kavanagh — Authorizes shareholders to attend meetings via remote communication and to be deemed present for voting purposes.

Chapter 385 Sponsored by M of A Peoples-Stokes / Senator Sanders — Establishes the department of corrections shall provide an inmate, upon his or her discharge, with educational information about the prevention of HIV. 

Chapter 386 Sponsored by M of A Hunter / Senator Martinez — Incorporates resource conservation, energy efficiency, green technologies, and alternative and renewable energy measures of project applicants into a uniform tax exemption policy.

Chapter 388 Sponsored by M of A Zebrowski / Senator Kaplan — Decreases the amount of alcohol in a person’s system necessary to be considered to be intoxicated while hunting. 

Chapter 388 Sponsored by M of A Zebrowski / Senator Kaplan — Decreases the amount of alcohol in a person’s system necessary to be considered to be intoxicated while hunting. 

Chapter 390 Sponsored by M of A Hyndman / Senator Parker — Relates to registered dental assisting. 

Chapter 391 Sponsored by M of A Hevesi / Senator Savino — Relates to mandating training of direct care workers in adverse childhood experiences.

Chapter 392 Sponsored by M of A Dinowitz / Senator Hoylman — Requires the inclusion of instruction in ethical business practices and recent legal matters in the continuing education requirements for real estate licensees.

Chapter 393 Sponsored by M of A Cusick / Senator Lanza — Extends, until December 31, 2020, the authorization of residential property owners in high risk brush fire areas on Staten Island to cut and remove reeds. 

Chapter 397 Sponsored by Senator Kavanagh / M of A Niou — Permits New York city department of social services to participate in proceedings in housing part of civil court. 

Chapter 399 Sponsored by Senator Savino / M of A Jaffee — Relates to services for relative and non-relative kinship caregivers.

Chapter 407 Sponsored by Senator Krueger / M of A Paulin — Restricts certain corporations from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. 

Chapter 408 Sponsored by Senator Breslin / M of A Magnarelli — Relates to increasing insurance limits for certain for-hire vehicles.

Chapter 409 – Sponsored by M of A Buchwald / Senator Myrie — Relates to ballot proposals 

Chapter 410 Sponsored by M of A Rosenthal L / Senator Sanders — Requires a system to allow the posting of candidate and contest information contained on each ballot style on the board of elections website.

Chapter 411 Sponsored by Senator Kavanagh / M of A Lavine — Enacts the voter friendly ballot act.


In the News – City

NYC Announces New Strategies to Address Serious Mental Illness

 City adopts recommendations from the NYC Crisis Prevention and Response Task Force and announces new strategies to ensure those with serious needs stay connected to treatment

The de Blasio Administration and City Council announced new mental health programming to close gaps in services for New Yorkers with serious mental illness, including a 911 response program that pairs New York City police officers with mental health clinicians.

The programming will begin in two “high-need” precincts:  the 25th in East Harlem and the 47th Bronx.  Four Co-Response Teams, composed of two police officers and one mental health clinician, will be formed to assist in the response to emergency 911 mental health calls. 


According to the Mayor, this work will first be piloted in one of the precincts to develop operational protocols and then move to the second precinct.   This will be the first time mental health professionals are part of the City’s response to 911. Currently, the only 911 deployment options are police and EMS. 


In addition to the co-response teams, these areas will also see four additional Health Engagement Assessment Teams (HEAT), composed of one clinician and one peer (a person who has previously experienced a mental health challenge) to proactively engage people with the most frequent 911 contact.  The teams will work to connect them to care and other stabilizing support. In addition, the areas will develop a community-based mental health safety net of local organizations to provide wrap-around services to help stabilize people following psychiatric hospitalizations.


City-wide the initiative will add four HEAT teams and six Mobile Crisis teams composed of clinicians, case managers and peers to ensure better rapid response time to urgent situations. Mobile Crisis Teams are deployed to people’s homes, provide crisis intervention, and connect people to appropriate services.

The City is investing $37 million in these initiatives.  Implementation begins immediately.

The initiatives will be overseen by the ThriveNYC program.


Comptroller Stringer Releases Report Showing Domestic Violence is the Leading Driver of Homelessness

In FY 2018, domestic violence accounted for 41 percent of the family population entering shelter

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer this week released a new report on the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness, showing that domestic violence has become the leading driver of homelessness in New York City.

The Comptroller found that in FY 2018, domestic violence accounted for 41 percent of the family population entering homeless shelters – an increase of 44 percent in five years. The Comptroller’s report also found that the use of commercial hotels for families entering shelter due to domestic violence increased between FY 2014 and FY 2018, with 21 percent of families placed in hotels, up from only 0.1 percent.

The analysis found:

  • In FY 2018, domestic violence accounted for 41 percent of the family population entering the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter system, and the number of families entering each year rose 44 percent from FY 2014.


  • In FY 2018, 12,541 people entered a DHS shelter due to domestic violence. That includes more than 4,500 women and 7,000 children, more than half (56 percent) of whom were under 6 years of age.


  • In FY2018, 923 families were placed in hotels due to domestic violence, compared to only two in FY 2014. In FY2014 0.1 percent of all families were placed in hotels due to domestic, while in FY2018 21 percent were placed.


  • Neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brooklyn accounted for the most DHS shelter entries due to domestic violence between FY 2014 and FY 2018, with 38 percent of survivors having previously resided in the Bronx and 30 percent entering shelter from Brooklyn. More survivors entered shelter from the Hunts Point, Longwood and Melrose neighborhood in the Bronx than any other community, followed by Belmont, Crotona Park East, East Tremont, Bedford Park, Fordham North, and Norwood, also in the Bronx.

The Comptroller’s report reveals that the highest number of domestic violence survivors in the DHS shelters are from the Bronx community, mostly women and children,” State Senator Alessandra Biaggi said.  “Bronx residents suffering from domestic abuse must have more options than choosing to remain with an abuser or enter into a shelter. It is critical that New York City and State work together to create financial and legislative investment, and expand avenues for domestic violence survivors to access safe housing and residential services.”

Comptroller Stringer’s reform recommendations included enactment of two statewide measures:

  • Recently passed legislation (A4267A/S4281A) introduced by Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi would reform New York’s early lease termination law so survivors do not need to obtain a court order, alert their abuser, or be current on rent to leave an unsafe home.
  • Legislation (S2375/A1620) proposed by Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi to create a new statewide rent supplement, Home Stability Support, for vulnerable populations including domestic violence survivors.


2020-2021 Executive Budget Will Hold to a 2% Spending Cap 

Agencies Directed to Submit 2021 Budget Requests at Zero Growth for FY

Division of Budget Director Robert Mujica released the 2020-2021 Budget Call letter to State Commissioners, directing the agency heads to submit their plans by November 6, 2019.   

The policies and budget action in Washington are directly targeting New York, cutting critical health care and public assistance funding, dramatically increasing the taxes New Yorkers pay to the Federal Government, and trade wars are stoking economic headwinds…

To continue to confront this assault, we must ensure our fiscal house remains in order. As such, the FY 2021 Executive Budget will once again hold spending growth to 2percent

Agencies are directed to submit budget requests for FY 2021 State Operations and Aid to Localities that assume zero growth from FY 2020 cash ceilings (excluding School Aid and Medicaid, which are subject to statutory caps, and Federal funds)


2020 Census Recruitment Campaign Begins

  The United States Census Bureau has announced that it will be seeking to hire 500,000 people as census takers throughout the country to conduct the 2020 Census. Recent high school graduates, veterans, retirees, seasonal workers and bilingual speakers are encouraged to apply. The Census Bureau has also committed to hiring local census takers.

 The Agency has currently set up 3,376 recruiting events to foster these recruitments. These events are across the country with most throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Southern states.

  These temporary jobs are expected to last several weeks during the spring of 2020. These jobs will pay hourly wages and will end once the locations has been accounted for by the Census. In New York City the job is up to $25.00 per hour, $21.00 per hour on Long Island and in Westchester and Putnam Counties and no more than $17.00 per hour upstate

Governor Cuomo Appoints Commission to Oversee Creation of New Mother Cabrini Statue

State Will Commit up to $750,000 for New Statue Honoring Mother Cabrini

Governor Andrew Cuomo this week appointed 19 members to a new commission that will oversee the creation of a statue honoring Mother Cabrini. The members will include Angelo Vivolo of the Columbus Heritage Coalition and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese. The Governor announced the State will commit up to $750,000 for the project and issued requests for proposals for the design of the new statue


MTA Selects Tech Firm to Design Congestion Pricing Tolling Infrastructure

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Tennessee-based technology company TransCore has been selected for a $507 million, seven-year contract to “design, build, operate and maintain” the tolling infrastructure that will enforce the city’s congestion pricing system.

The tolling system is scheduled to begin in January 2021.  The MTA will set the pricing schedule no earlier than November 15, 2020. TransCore’s technology will track every vehicle entering Manhattan south of 61st St. Cars driving on the West Side Highway and FDR Drive will not be tolled.

TransCore’s car-taxing technology will be hung on existing street poles along the congestion zone.


Governor Hosting Panel Discussion on Red Flag Law

Governor Andrew Cuomo is hosting a panel discussion on Saturday October 26th at noon to discuss the recently passed Red Flag Law. The panel will be held at The Educational Alliance at 197 East Broadway, New York, New York. This is the second of three conferences discussing the new law as well as how to file an Extreme Risk Protection O


Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Make Election Ballots Easier to Read and Require Boards of Election to Better Inform Voters 

Early Voting Starts Saturday, October 26th

Governor Andrew Cuomo this week signed a package of bills to make election ballots easier to read and to allow voters to be better informed about the content of ballots. Chapter 411 enacts the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, which requires boards of election to create a ballot layout that is straightforward and simple to read. Chapter 409 makes it a requirement to better inform voters when a ballot is two-sided. Chapter 410 requires boards of election to post sample ballots on their websites prior to each election as soon as the relevant information becomes available. 

Also, on Saturday, October 26th, early voting will go into effect for the first time, making it easier for New York voters to participate in elections without logistical burdens.  You can find your polling place here:  https://www.voteearlyny.org/.

The early voting schedule is:

  • Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 28, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, Oct, 29, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 31, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 1, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. 
  • Saturday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


2020 Legislative Session 

The 2020 Legislative Session convenes Wednesday, January 8th and is scheduled to close on Tuesday, June 2nd.  A pdf of the calendar is available here.

Coming Up

New York State

Monday October 28st 

Implementation of Discovery Reform (S1509-Part LLL)

Senate Standing Committee on Codes 

Van Buren Hearing Room A, Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor, Albany, 10 a.m.

Examination of the cost of public higher education and its effect on student financial aid programs, state support, TAP/GAP, student borrowing and other challenges to affordability and accessibility

Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education

SUNT New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, 1 p.m.

A Discussion about Eating Disorders, Treatment and Recovery

Clarkstown Town Hall, Second Floor, 10 Maple Avenue, New City, 10 a.m. 


Tuesday October 29th  

Youth Tackle Football

Assembly Standing Committee on Health

Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, 19th Floor, New York, 10 a.m.

Wednesday October 30th 

Examination of the cost of public higher education and its effect on student financial aid programs, state support, TAP/GAP, student borrowing and other challenges to affordability and accessibility

Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education 

SUNY Buffalo, 12 Campen Hall, Buffalo, 1 p.m.

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