2016 End Of Session Report

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2016 End of Session Report

Mario Cilento        Terrence Melvin             Mike Neidl

              President        Secretary-Treasurer       Legislative Director

The following is a brief breakdown of the flurry of legislative activity that happened at the end of the 2016 legislative session.  This report does not contain a full session breakdown or every issue that we worked on with our affiliates.  It is intended to cover issues that affect the labor movement as a whole or broad sectors of the labor movement.  A more comprehensive session report will be coming at the end of the year.

Bills that Passed Both Houses

The following bills passed both houses of the legislature.  Most are pending the Governor’s approval or veto. We have indicated which bills were opposed by the NYS AFL-CIO.


Military Service Credit ActChapter 41 of the Laws of 2016
S7160 – Larkin / A9531 – Paulin

This law allows all public employees to purchase up to three years of pension credit for military service, without regard to when or where such service was performed.   Prior to this, credit was only allowed for veterans who served in combat roles during specific periods of conflict.   This has been a long-term goal of the NYS AFL-CIO and after two vetoes, enactment of this law is a tremendous victory for veterans.
Effective Date:  5/31/16

Pension ForfeitureDelivered to Secretary Of State 8/12/16
S8163 – Croci / A10739A – Rules

The pension forfeiture resolution to amend the constitution passed both houses of the legislature.  The exact same resolution will need to pass in the next legislative session in order to then appear on a statewide ballot for voter approval.  If passed by the voters it would then take effect.

The bill will allow the pensions of a narrowly defined set of “public officials” to be reduced or revoked if they are convicted of a felony committed in direct connection with their service as a public officer while they are in service.  The forfeiture would be based on the severity of the crime and allows the court to take into consideration the needs of innocent family members or dependents of the public official.

This would apply to statewide officeholders, state legislators, appointees of the governor, mayors, county, municipal and local administrators or managers, judges, the heads of various state and local agencies, chief fiscal officers of the above mentioned governments and various other government employees in policy making, rulemaking, or legislative and judicial decision making capacities.   The vast majority of public employees will still be protected by the Constitutional prohibition on diminishing pensions.

Independent Expenditure Reform-Chapter 286 of the Laws of 2016
S8160 – Flanagan / A10742 – Rules

This bill more clearly defines coordination between independent expenditure committees (IECs) and political action committees (PACs) as well as the interaction with candidates for public office.  The bill prohibits individuals from working on PAC operations and IECs simultaneously if the individual has had strategic campaign conversations with a candidate who is benefitting from the IE’s operations.   The bill will lead to strict oversight of IEC operations and creates financial and criminal penalties for violating the provisions of the act.  Effective Date:  8/24/16

Extension of Registries for World Trade Center Workers Clean up and Recovery-
Chapter 326 of the Laws of 2016
S5745C – Golden / A7958C – Abbate

This bill extends the registration and filing periods for workers to file a Workers’ Compensation claim or register for presumptive eligibility for disability retirement if they worked at or near Ground Zero during the rescue, recovery and cleanup of September 11, 2001.   The original laws establishing the registration periods created two separate registries with two different open periods.  Subsequent reopening legislation continued the inconsistencies.  This bill would open filing periods for both registries through September 11, 2018. Effective Date: 9/11/2016

Enhanced Breast Cancer Screening and Awareness -Chapter 74 of the Laws of 2016
S8093 – Flanagan / A10679 – Rules

This bill prohibits insurers from charging copays or deductibles for mammograms, breast ultrasound or other diagnostic imaging and screenings.  The bill also requires hospitals and their affiliated clinics to offer extended hours in the early morning, evenings and weekends for breast cancer screenings.  The bill also includes employees of New York City in a statewide law that requires public employers to grant up to 4 hours of annual leave for breast cancer screening.  Effective Date:  6/27/16

Budget Clean-Up – Minimum Wage Clean-Up, Mayoral Control, Employee Protection, NYRA and New York City School Reporting – Chapter 73 of the Laws of 2016
S8159 – Flanagan / A10741 – Rules

This bill clarifies that home care workers in New York City would be entitled to the accelerated rate of the $15 minimum wage that applies to all other workers in New York City.  The bill also included language protecting employees who are assigned to work on the newly created Design and Construction Corporation in the Dormitory Authority, extends for one year the current NYRA board and Mayoral control of NYC Schools.  Finally, the bill includes new detailed reporting requirements for the Mayor of New York City regarding New York City school funding.
Effective Date:  6/23/16

Employee Protection Plans for NYC School Bus Drivers
A8019C – O’Donnell / S5984C – Golden

This bill clarifies that school bus transportation contracts may implement and use employee protection plans, which ensure that the most highly qualified and trained bus drivers are hired and retained by contractors.

Collective Bargaining Protection – Health Insurance Buyouts
A9715 – Abbate / S7120 – Golden

This bill clarifies that a participating employer in NYSHIP is allowed to have a health insurance buyout program with its employees through collective bargaining and prohibits the Commissioner of Civil Service from invalidating a buyout program or establishing any rules or policies that would prohibit health insurance buyouts.

Study on Availability on Child Care
S1422 – Carlucci / A1083 – Paulin

This bill requires the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to conduct a comprehensive report on the availability of child care across the state and identify policies that would increase of child care availability.

Child Protective Services Worker Caseloads
S2691 – Golden / A10506 – Lupardo

This bill requires OCFS to establish regulations that cap the number of caseloads for county child protective service workers (CPS) at 15 active cases per month per CPS worker.

Worker Protection for Possessing Gravity Knife / Switchblade
A9042A – Quart / S6483A – Savino

This bill removes gravity blades used as box-cutters or in construction and various other occupations from the definition of switchblade to allow workers to carry the tools legally.

Adequate Notice of Closure of the Office of Mental Health Facilities
S7627 – Ortt / A10557 – Gunther

This bill stipulates that the required 12-month minimum notification for closure of a state operated mental health hospital no longer applies after one year and one month.    Currently, the state’s notice of closure can last in perpetuity making such notification for the families that need services, local communities and affected workers useless.  

Enhanced Safety Net Hospital Rates
S6948A – Hannon / 9476A – Gottfried

This bill requires the Commissioner of Health to establish a supplemental rate of Medicaid assistance to hospitals that serve disproportionally large numbers of Medicaid recipients or uninsured.   

Employees in New York City Provisional Appointments
A10445 – Abbate / S7944 – Golden

This bill extends for one year provisions which ensure that the large number of provisional appointments in the New York City workforce are transitioned into permanent positions without disrupting services or displacing workers.

Non-Contributory 20-year Plan for Police and Fire
S7023 – Young / A9702 – Abbate

This bill allows local governments the ability to offer the 20-year retirement plan for police and firefighters on a non-contributory basis.  

Disability Retirement for New York City Firefighters and Fire Officers-Chapter 298 of the Laws of 2016
S8015 – Golden / A10567A – Abbate

This bill restores the three-quarter accidental disability retirement and makes various other negotiated changes to the ordinary and accidental disability plans for New York City firefighters and NYC fire officers. Effective Date: 9/8/2016

Notice of Changes in Health Insurance for Retirees
S2448A – Farley / A639A – Abinati

This bill requires the governing board of a public corporation to provide 90-days’ notice prior to the adoption of a contract for health insurance or to any amendments to an existing contract for health insurance for retired employees.

State Workforce Injury Reduction Act
S2842A – Addabo / A2905A – Weprin

This bill requires specific workforce injury reduction plans to be submitted to the Commissioner by state agencies for inclusion in a report to the legislature and the collective bargaining representatives of those agencies employees.

Medical and Wage Replacement for Injured Parole Officers
A7784 – Skoufis / S5762 – Robach

This bill requires that parole officers and related titles who are injured or become sick as a result of their duties are entitled to full medical coverage and full salary while recovering from such injury or illness.

Optional 20-year Retirement Plan for County Correction Officers
S4001B – Ortt / A6612B – Abbate

This bill authorizes counties the option of offering a 20-year retirement plan for county correction officers.

New Counties Included in Empire State Film Credit
S6987 – Amedore / A9415 – Gunther

This bill includes 12 new counties as eligible for the Empire State Film Credit if qualifying productions are produced within their borders.

Age 65 Mandatory Retirement Age for Police Officers
S7387 – Hannon / A9851 – Abbate

This bill changes from 62 to 65 the mandatory retirement age for police officers.

Elimination of Restrictions on Transfer Between Retirement Systems
S7386A – Savino / A10003A – Abbate

This bill eliminates administrative requirements, including service credit limits and notification requirements that apply to members who are otherwise eligible to transfer their service credit between retirement systems.

Workers’ Compensation – Physical Therapist Assistant Services
S2718A – Griffo / A2116A – Zebrowski

This bill ensures that physical therapist assistants (PTAs) may provide services to injured workers and be reimbursed for those services as long as proper protocol and oversight is provided.

Workers’ Compensation – Acupuncture Services
S7431A – Martins / A2462A – Bronson

This bill allows acupuncturists to become authorized providers and receive reimbursement for care to injured workers.  

Newspaper Delivery Personnel Carved out of Worker Protections *** NYS AFL-CIO Oppose ***
S6469A – Amedore / A9110A – Morelli

This bill stipulates that newspaper delivery workers are independent contractors and not covered by minimum wage, unemployment or workers’ compensation protections.  The NYS AFL-CIO opposed this bill along with the Teamsters.  The bill was vetoed last year and the NYS AFL-CIO will urge a veto again.

Workers’ Compensation – Musician Owners Allowed to Opt out of Coverage *** NYS AFL-CIO Oppose***
S7709 – Martins / A10283A -Titone

This bill allows musicians, who are the executive officer or owner of their own corporation that has no other employees, to opt out of workers’ compensation coverage.  The bill has a sunset date of three years after it takes effect.   A similar version of this bill was vetoed last year.  

Increased Penalties for Assaults on Utility Workers-Chapter 267 of the Laws of 2016
S2251A – Larkin / A4738A – Moya

This bill increases the penalty for assault on a utility worker to a Class D felony.   Effective Date:  11/1/16

Increased Penalties for Assaults on Transit Workers-Chapter 281 of the Laws of 2016
S8104A – Parker/ A10048B – Richardson

This bill increases the penalty for assaults on station cleaners or terminal cleaners employed by transit agencies to a Class D Felony.
Effective Date:  11/1/16

Employment Hiring Agencies Accountability and Job Seeker Rights
S8102 – Klein / A10672 – Rules

This bill creates new protections for job applicants seeking to be hired through employment hiring agencies. Those protections include language barrier and access assurances, protections from abusive use of criminal history records, and new notification requirements of applicants’ rights.   New penalties for agencies that violate these provisions are also established.

Performance of Duty Disability Retirement for DMNA Firefighters
S8071 – Murphy / A 10614 – Rules

This bill creates a three-quarters performance of duty disability retirement presumption for firefighters employed by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs for various heart, lung and cancer diseases.

Inclusion of NYC Employees in Prostate Screening Leave Time-Chapter 96 of the laws of 2016
S8107 – Hannon / A409B – Dinowitz

This bill includes employees of the City of New York in provisions requiring employers to grant up to 4 hours of annual leave for prostate cancer screening.  Effective Date:  7/21/16

Sanitation Vehicles Included in Move-Over Law Chapter 293 of the Laws of 2016
S426B – Marcellino / A7763N – Dendekker

This bill includes sani-vans and waste collection vehicles within coverage of the move-over law to require drivers to approach with appropriate reduced speed when the workers on the echoes are performing their duties.  Effective Date:  11/1/16

Reigning in Illegal Hotels in New York City
A8704C – Rosenthal / S6340A – Lanza

This bill makes it unlawful to advertise the occupancy or use of dwelling units in a class A multiple dwelling for purposes other than permanent residence.  This will help stop illegal hotel operators such as Air B-n-B from eroding affordable housing and prevent the loss of good paying jobs in the legitimate New York City hotel industry.

NYRA Privatization
S7918A –  Bonacic/ A10429 – Woerner

This bill creates a new board to oversee NYRA operations and return NYRA to private control after a state takeover several years ago.  At this time the Governor has not agreed to this bill and a separate measure to extend NYRA’s current structure for one year was approved as part of a budget clean-up measure.

 


 

Issues Not Addressed or left Unfinished

 

Mayoral Control and NYRA Extensions

The legislature passed a one-year extension of Mayoral control of New York City Schools and of NYRA’s current structure, but a bill to allow a longer term for Mayoral control was not acted on.  The Legislature passed S7918A/A10429 to return NYRA to private operation, but since the Governor has not agreed to the bill it appears it will be vetoed.

Staffing Ratios for Quality Health Care

A8580A – Gunther / S782 – Hannon – Passed Assembly/Not Senate
This bill passed the Assembly for the first time in 2016 and was a major step forward for this issue.  Working with our health care affiliates, the NYS AFL-CIO will continue to make this issue a priority moving forward.   The bill would require hospitals and nursing homes to establish nurse to patient rations based on patient need and service required.  

421-a Tax Break – Did Not Pass

The legislature did not agree on a bill to reestablish the 421-a affordable housing tax credit that expired last year.  The issue of how to incorporate prevailing rate language remains at the center of this issue. The NYS AFL-CIO will continue working with the NYC Building and Construction Trades to ensure that any new 421-a agreement includes prevailing rate.

Transportation Network Companies (TNC) Upstate – Did Not Pass

The legislature did not reach an agreement on a bill to allow Uber and other TNC companies to operate upstate.

NYC Design/ Build – Did Not Pass

Despite several late amendments to increase employee protection, authorization for NYC to utilize design/build and best value contracting was not approved.   It is anticipated that this issue will be part of budget negotiations in 2017 as the current law authorizing various state agencies to use design/build expires and must be renewed.