Legislative Activity June 7, 2010

The Senate Democratic Majority passed legislation to maintain essential services used to support health, public safety, transportation, and education related programs, while making significant spending reductions to close the state’s budget gap. Additionally, the Senate passed key legislation to make health insurance more affordable for individuals and small businesses, and reforms to presidential elections.
Maintaining Services & Operations
S8089/ S8090: This bill enacts 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 13, 2010, absent the enactment of the SFY 2010-11 budget.  The legislation also enacts health-related agency and program consolidation and elimination.
“Senate Democrats are working to give New Yorkers a fair and responsible budget that meets taxpayers’ needs. We will control spending, protect jobs, provide tax relief, and preserve our investment in critical services,” said Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson.
This legislation includes $55.9 billion in All Funds appropriation, and $12.4 billion in General Funds appropriation, including but not limited to:

  • $30 million spending reduction for state employee contributions to Medicaid Part B.
    $775 million in gap closing actions for Public Health and Medicaid.
    $50.07 billion for providers participating in the Medical Assistance Program.
    $491 million for mandated payments for Excess Cost Aid for the ’09-’10 school year.
    $221 million for non-state funded transportation capital projects.
    $200 million for capital spending by all state agencies.
    $204.9 million for the Social Security Contribution Fund.
    $195 million for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.
    $164.67 million for state employees including troopers, guardsmen, corrections officers, nurses and social service workers.
    $50.4 million for the health insurance fund.
    $34.2 million to families and OMRDD not-for-profit providers to support residential and other services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
    $27.3 million for the Employee Benefit Fund programs.

These bills passed 32-26 and 32-27, respectively.

Prior Approval Legislation to Reduce Health Coverage Costs
S8088 (Breslin): As health care costs skyrocket and wages remain stagnant, this legislation continues the Senate Democratic Majority’s efforts on behalf of working families to make health insurance more affordable for individuals, families, and small businesses. Additionally, the bill will enhance government oversight of the insurance industry, and implement structural safeguards to protect consumers.
The bill passed 58-0.
Reforming Presidential Elections through National Popular Vote Legislation
S2286A (Parker): Allows the State of New York to enter an interstate agreement to elect the U.S. President by national popular vote, bolstering turnout and bringing an end to an arcane electoral system in which the overwhelming majority of states and their voters are regularly ignored by presidential candidates.
Because of the concentration of states considered “toss-ups”, in 2004 presidential candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits to just five states. Additionally, over 80-percent of resources were spent in nine states; and over 99-percent of all funds in just 16 states.
The bill passed 51-7.
Additional Legislation
S6987A (Schneiderman): Increases penalties for conduct involving the intentional impeding or impairing of another person's breathing or circulation, including circumstances where these actions lead to unconsciousness for any period of time or any other physical injury or impairment. By substantially increasing penalties for this conduct, these offenses once thought to be un-prosecutable may now be submitted for either class A misdemeanor or violent felony prosecution.
The bill passed 58-0.
S5710A (Kruger): Excludes attorneys, public accountants, and certified public accountants and firms thereof from the definition of "tax return preparer" for purposes of registration of tax preparers.
The bill passed 58-0.
S5207 (Hassell-Thompson): Requires that notice be provided to any officer or employee of the Department or Correctional Services whose personal information is the subject of a subpoena. This proposed legislation would not in any way limit the authority of the Commissioner to issue subpoenas. Rather, it ensures that an employee or officer whose personal information is the subject of a subpoena receives minimal notice to the issuance of the subpoena.
The bill passed 58-0.
S5531A (Foley): Requires certain signs and notices relating to pesticides for commercial or residential lawn applications be printed in the Spanish language in areas with a significant number of Spanish speaking residents.
The bill passed 41-17.
S6699 (Foley): Provides certainty, stability and predictability in the check cashing industry by extending the sunset date on the Laws of 2001, currently scheduled to expire on August 1, 2010.
The bill passed 58-0.
S7656 (Aubertine): Amends the Agriculture and Markets law, in relation to the dumping of certain agricultural products to streamline the existing law in a manner better equipped to preventing the introduction of plant viruses and other diseases without adversely affecting businesses that already employ well-established and regulated cull disposal systems.
The bill passed 58-0.
S7422 (Espada): Provides a mechanism for the orderly and efficient tax-exempt, private activity bond allocation process for state and local issuers by extending for an additional year to January 1, 2011 the current allocation system. This bill is necessary to sustain construction activity and jobs and continue the development of affordable housing through the use of Private Activity Bonds.
The bill passed 58-0.
S1901 (Klein): Ensures that occupants of a multiple family dwelling are  properly notified prior to the commercial lawn application of a pesticide.
The bill passed 58-0.
S6307B (Stavisky): This bill promotes uniformity in state CPA licensing laws by allowing out-of-state accountants who have a valid license in good standing in another state where the education, examination, and experience qualifications are substantially similar to New York, to perform accounting services.
The bill passed 58-0.
S6864  (Thompson): Provides a time limitation within which complainants can institute a court action after dismissal of their complaints for administrative convenience by the state Division of Human Rights.
The bill passed 32-24.
S1083A  (Dilan): Ensures that public assistance applicants receive adequate monetary emergency needs assistance or care by requiring a local social services official to inform public assistance applicants both verbally and in writing of the availability of grants for emergency needs assistance or care including pre-investigation grants and to make a determination at the same time as to whether the applicant has an immediate need.
The bill passed 39-19.
S629A (Fuschillo): Requires information be provided to patients seeking information on primary and secondary lymphedema. This legislation also requires the Department of Health to post links to the National Lymphedema and Lymphatic disease organizations websites.
The bill passed 58-0.