The Senate Democratic Majority passed legislation today maintaining the services and operations of government, including funding for troopers, Medicaid services, and infrastructure projects, as well as bills which protect residents of public housing from sexual predators, and legislation mandating new standards of accountability of the Higher Education Services Corporation.
Maintaining Services & Operations
S7777: This bill enacts an emergency spending plan enabling various state agencies and departments to continue payments to preserve essential functions of government for the period April 1, 2010 through May 2, 2010.
"We were not going to allow government to be shutdown" said Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson. “We will continue to protect the least, last, and lost by maintaining the critical services they need to survive. Though there are substantial legal issues with the Executive’s plan to reduce hours for workers under a collectively bargained contract, we will not jeopardize the health, safety, and livelihood of millions of New Yorkers by stopping government.”
Appropriations include, but are not limited to:
- $1.45 billion for Medicaid payments to Medicaid including nursing home services and hospital inpatient services, among others.
- $195 million for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.
- $160.41 million for employees including troopers, guardsmen, corrections officers, nurses and social service workers who care for veterans, homeless, and disabled.
- $90 million for capital transportation projects funded through ARRA (additional $10 million added to the appropriation in the first five extenders to make payments on the Federal share of liabilities incurred for ARRA capital infrastructure projects) including:
- $60 million for non-ARRA transportation capital construction projects that are 100% federally funded and do not have any State share of funding.
- $60 million for Social Security Insurance for eligible aged, blind and disabled.
- $40 million for the Child Health Plus (CHP) program.
- $20 million for emergency health and safety projects to ensure the safety of citizens across the state isn’t put in jeopardy by needless delays to capital improvements.
- $15.67 million for the Social Security Contribution Fund for payroll taxes.
- $2 million for Medicaid payments for family-based providers of Family Care Services.
The bill passed 32-29.
Protecting Families in Public Housing from Sexual Predators
S2490D (Klein): Provides notice to public housing authorities whenever a sex offender is released to public housing. This bill addresses the apparent lack of communication between local law enforcement and public housing authorities by adding subsidized public housing projects to the list of vulnerable organizations that are notified whenever a level two or level three sex offender moves into the community.
The bill passed 58-3.
New Standards of Accountability for HESC
S3603C (Stavisky) / A6391B (Glick): Requires a report by the higher education services corporation to be submitted on February 15th of each year. The passing of this bill will allow for the legislature and the governor to have access to the TAP information. It will allow for an analysis of the program and give the state the ability to see how the recipients of TAP are utilizing the funding they receive. Today it is most necessary to know how the funding for such a vital program as TAP is being used.
The bill passed 61-0.
Protecting Potential Homeowners
S5896D (Klein): Amends the real property law in relation to distressed property consultants advertisements. This bill requires that all companies that offer distressed property consulting services as defined by law, must include a statement that alerts consumers that the services that they provide can often be provided for free through housing counselors funded by New York state and that they should consult an attorney before signing such a contract.
The bill passed 57-4.
S6691 (C. Johnson) / A9815 (Schimminger): Amends the record-keeping requirements for liquor and wine brand owners registered with the state liquor authority or the alcohol and tobacco tax and trade bureau. The purpose of this bill is to create an audit trail and inventory control process in order to significantly reduce or eliminate tax avoidance. An economic analysis of a primary source law estimates the state could gain up to $39 million annually in state sales and excise taxes. Additionally, a primary source law would give the state the ability to completely audit the wine and liquor sales chain to accurately track any unpaid taxes.
The bill passed 60-1.
S1230A (Thompson) / A1016A (DelMonte): Allows for the president of the Niagara Falls branch of the NAACP to be appointed to the membership of the Niagara county industrial development agency. This measure expands minority representation on the NCIDA board by requiring appointment of the President of the Niagara Falls Chapter of the NAACP to the NCIDA. This allows for a representative board to address the needs of the Niagara Region which includes a variety of minority business.
The bill passed 44-17.