Legislative Activity For June 14, 2010: Senate Passes Legislation To Keep Government Working, Reduce Spending And More

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The Senate Democratic Majority passed legislation to keep government working, preserving essential services used to support employment, health, public safety, transportation, and education related programs, while achieving nearly $330 million spending reductions to close the budget gap. Additionally, the Senate passed key legislation to protect tenants from housing discrimination based on income, require an economically feasible reuse plan for prisons slated for closure and prevent accidents in child care by requiring at least one employee of any child day care facility to be trained and certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid.
 
Maintaining Services & Operations
S8167/S8169: These bills enact an emergency spending plan enabling various state agencies and departments to continue payments to preserve essential programs and functions of government for the period of April 1 to June 20, 2010, absent the enactment of the SFY 2010-11 budget.  The legislation also enacts spending reductions associated with Human Services and Mental Hygiene.
 
“We are keeping government working for all New Yorkers. Senate Democrats are making substantial progress on a fair and final budget that meets taxpayers’ needs. We will control spending, protect jobs, provide tax relief, and preserve our investment in health care and education,” said Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson.
 
This legislation includes $12.95 billion in All Funds appropriation, and $3.45 billion in General Funds appropriation, including but not limited to:

  • $175.4 million saving for the Human Services.
  • $149 million in Mental Hygiene  agencies.
  • $2.096 billion for state employees including troopers, guardsmen, corrections officers, nurses and social service workers.
  • $261 million for non-State transportation capital projects.
  • $140.3 million in overall transit aid.
  • $204.9 million for the Social Security Contribution Fund.
  • $200 million in federal funds for projects approved during the SFY 2009-10.
  • $195 million for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.
  • $30 million for emergency health and safety capital construction projects.

The bills both passed 34-27.
 
Protecting Against Housing Discrimination
S7613A (Squadron): Prevents housing discrimination based upon the source of income of individuals. Landlords often reject tenants with rental subsidies, but this legislation would make discrimination by landlords based on a tenant's source of income illegal under New York State Human Rights Law.
The bill passed 34-27
 
Caring for our Children in Day Care
S3644 (Montgomery): Requires at least one employee of any child day care facility to be trained and certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid. Accidents are the leading cause of death among infants. This bill may save lives and prevent cases of brain damage. It is imperative that those who watch over our children are trained to respond when a crisis arises.
The bill passed 61-0
 
Ensuring Evacuation Safety for New Yorkers with Disability
S5926 (Parker): Requires counties to maintain a registry of people of all ages with disabilities for evacuation and sheltering during disasters. This bill will greatly aid localities in preparing for and responding to disasters. It will also help protect persons of all ages with disabilities.
The bill passed 36-25
 
Saving Jobs by Requiring a Reuse Plan for Closing Prisons
S7068 (Hassell-Thompson): Current law requires the commissioner of the department of correctional services (DOCS) to provide at least twelve months notice of a prison closure to all local governments. This bill makes clear that local government officials as well as other relevant agencies and authorities must be consulted.
The bill passed 61-0
 
Improving Voter Participation of College Students
S2003 (Oppenheimer): Improves voter participation among younger voters at college by providing for polling sites to be located on college campuses when the majority of eligible voters in that election district live on-campus.
The bill passed 32-29
 
Other Legislation
S5501 (Valesky): Amends an existing property tax exemption for reinvestment in orchards and vineyards by establishing a more streamlined process to implement the exemption. This bill would amend this administration process so that farms would only need to file a soil group worksheet once with an assessor. Every year thereafter, the farmer would simply need to notify the assessor of new acreage planted and eligible for the program.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S5977 (Stavisky): Requires evening court hours be expanded to contest parking violations, allowing those who work during the normal business day the opportunity to contest parking tickets in person without having to take time off from work.
The bill passed 58-3
 
S4199 (Stavisky): Eliminates the requirement that the community college student member appointed by the Governor to the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation's (HESC) Board of Trustees be confirmed by the Senate.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S7806A (Schneiderman): Authorizes pilot programs permitting use of facsimile transmission or electronic means to commence an action or special proceeding. 
The bill passed 61-0
 
S5753A (Klein): Allows the New York state Education Department's Professional Assistance Program for impaired professionals to accept people into the program in appropriate situations without having to surrender their license. This will make the Professional Assistance Program more effective in helping impaired professionals and that, in turn, will benefit the public.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S1180A (Oppenheimer): Amends the tax law, in seeking authority to impose a 3% daily room tax hotel, motel, or similar place of public non-property tax revenues to support municipal expenses in the Village of Rye Brook.
The bill passed 32-29
 
S7162 (Adams): Authorizes limited liability companies (LLCs) to hold racing licenses. The value of LLCs in today's business climate is that they can limit potential liability to the company's principals and have certain tax benefits. This bill would allow a LLC to apply for and obtain its own racing license without creating either another corporate subsidiary or holding company.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S7827 (Duane): Increases newborn infant hearing screening rates and improves the completeness and accuracy of newborn infant hearing screening data. Without early identification and intervention, children with hearing loss may experience delays in the development of language and cognitive and social skills that may prevent success in academic and occupational achievement.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S5963  (Schneiderman): Amends the criminal procedure law, in relation to the filing of a probation report for certain misdemeanor cases. In the vast majority of cases involving misdemeanors, the cases are resolved by a plea bargain that includes an agreed-upon sentence. As it currently stands, if the court intends to sentence the defendant to between three and six months in jail, it requires at least one additional court appearance, and sometimes several, while a presentence report is prepared and filed.
The bill passed 60-1
 
S2993B (Klein): Ensures that new scientific knowledge is considered by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) concerning environmental impact. There may be certain governmental actions that can create environmental conditions that adversely affect sensitive populations, such as children, in a manner that is more pronounced than its effect on the general public.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S4103 (Aubertine): Establishes a Strategic Network Partnership Program to coordinate the delivery of services from a variety of agencies to clusters of manufacturing industries and to other clusters of producers of goods and services. Many of these remaining industries are experiencing increasingly stiff international competition and must remain innovative and productive if they are to survive.  The bill is based on the premise that economic development policy should be focused on building cooperative linkages among groupings of firms which work together in networks or which are concentrated in regions as sectors or clusters, linked by similar products, shared technologies or common constraints.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S4498 (Duane): Ensures that patients diagnosed with terminal illness or condition receive information about options for palliative and end-of-life care. Patient often do not know what options for palliative care and pain management are clinically and legally available to them at the end of life. The patient is then empowered to control his or her own medical care decisions with full information.
The bill passed 42-19
 
S5113 (Foley): Amends the environmental conservation law, in relation to providing reimbursements to fire companies for costs associated with responding to releases of hazardous materials. Many small municipal and volunteer fire companies accumulate significant
costs in responding to hazardous materials spills. The current law does not provide a mechanism to allow these companies to allow for recovery of these costs.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S6102A (Adams): Consolidates the police officer and peace officer registries, and clarifies minimum training requirements for peace officers.  The bill would eliminate a significant unfunded mandate currently borne by many county governments. Thus, the new training requirements would apply only to peace officers appointed on or after the effective date. Peace officers appointed prior to the effective date would continue to be subject to the training requirements in place at the time of their appointment.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S6203 (Klein): Provides Economic Development financing for transportation projects to facilitate delivery of New York farm products from farmers and associations of farmers to institutional food service purchasers such as restaurants, schools and other food service operations. In addition, businesses and consumers in urban and suburban communities would benefit from the fresher, nutritious, quality food and meals available because of these projects.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S7838 (Kruger): Amends the local finance law, in relation to the refunding of bonds. Under existing law, refunding bonds must comply with the fifty percent rule or have level or declining debt service. Targeted refundings are an essential tool to address the issue of bank-held bonds that not only revert to higher rates increasing the City's debt service expenses, but often trigger "term-out" provisions that require accelerated repayment of those bonds.
The bill passed 61-0
 
S3573A (Perkins): Requires utility companies to post notification of date and place of proposed hearings concerning rate hikes on the monthly bills. Utility rate hikes over the years have been the subject of tremendous controversy. This bill provides for is a more appropriate method of notifying consumers so that they may plan to attend the hearing or submit comments.
The bill passed 49-12