Legislation

2018 End of Session Report


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         Mario Cilento
Terrence Melvin
Mike Neidl
        PresidentSecretary-TreasurerLegislative Director

             

The legislature adjourned for the 2018 session leaving many key issues unfinished, including several labor related issues. Since there was no numerical majority by either party in the Senate the usual flurry of activity on the major issues was more subdued however, many bills still passed both houses. Outlined below are several issues the NYS AFL-CIO worked on which were passed, as well as some key unfinished issues we will continue to pursue into next year. This is only a list of bills that moved in the final weeks of session. A full session breakdown will be coming later in the year.

 

The following bills passed both houses of the legislature.

Bereavement Leave Included in Paid Family leave (S8380A – Funke / A10639A – Morelle)
This bill includes bereavement leave for an immediate family member eligible for New York’s Paid Family Leave law. When fully phased in, the benefit will include up to 12 weeks of leave at 2/3 of the individual’s pay, capped at 2/3 of the state’s average weekly wage.

Cost Benefit Analysis for State Contracts (A2022 – Bronson / S383 – Robach)
This bill requires state agencies to conduct a study if the state is considering contracting out various consultant related services in an amount of $750,00 or more. The study would be used to determine if existing state employees could be utilized to perform the services at a lower cost to the state.

Transportation Network Drivers - Injury Coverage (S8929 – Golden / A10970 – Cahill)
This bill removes the expiration date and other qualifiers to ensure that drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft have basic coverage for injuries through the Black Car Operator’s Injury Compensation Fund in the event they are injured at work.

OMH Closures (S7207 – Ortt / A9563A – Gunther)
Current law requires one-year notification to local communities and employees of facilities operated by the Office of Mental Health(OMH) before a facility may be downsized or closed. This law clarifies that if the closure does not occur within one year and one month, a new notification period would be required.

9/11 Workers Compensation and Disability Registry Extender (S7797A – Golden / A10499 – Niou)
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 registries and two different open periods.  Subsequent reopening legislation has continued the inconsistencies with respect to registration deadlines. This bill would open filing periods for both registries through September 11, 2022.

9/11 Sick Leave Clarifications (A7901A – Abbate / S6398A – Golden)
This bill makes conforming changes to last year’s law to ensure that those with qualifying illness or injuries related to their participation in rescue, recovery and clean-up operations at the World Trade Center are eligible for sick leave for treatment and recovery if they work for a public employer outside of New York City.

Impact Statement and Temporary Exemption for Nursing Bachelor’s Degree (S7320 – Flanagan / A8952 – Morelle)
This bill amends last year’s law requiring nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree, by allowing temporary exemption for a licensee if there is a lack of access to a program. The bill also requires an impact study on changing the required time frame to obtain the degree.

BOCES Capital Funding Not Subject to Tax Cap (S7730 – Murphy / A9825 – Galef)
This bill provides that a school district’s share of capital costs for BOCES programs are not subject to the property tax cap.  

School District Charter Funding Reimbursement (A7966C - Peoples-Stokes / S6551C – Jacobs)
This bill requires the state to reimburse school districts for their supplemental basic tuition contribution to charter schools in the current year, rather than the following year.

SUNY Hospital State Funding Maintenance of Effort (S7259A – LaValle / A10620 – Glick)
This bill requires the state to appropriate adequate levels of funding for collective bargaining agreements and other associated employee costs for SUNY and the SUNY hospitals.

Discipline Rights for Labor Class Employees (S8973 – Golden / A11223 – Abbate)
This bill grants Section 75 disciplinary rights for Labor Class employees in the public sector, who currently have no disciplinary rights outside of their collective bargaining agreements.

Public Sector Wage Disparity Study (A2549 – Lifton / S3262 – Parker)
This bill requires the Department of Civil Service to conduct a study and evaluate wage disparities between positions of comparable worth amongst public employers and make recommendations about the need for wage adjustments based on any disparities determined to exist.

Adequate Training for Fire Chiefs (A8057B – Abbate / S 6242B – Akshar)
This bill ensures that in fire districts that utilize combined volunteer and professional firefighters, fire chiefs complete the same basic safety and training that is required of professional firefighters as determined by the NYS Fire Administrator.

Transportation System Funding Lockbox (A8511 – Dinowitz / S6807 – Golden)
This bill provides that the funds of any public transportation authority system may not be diverted for purposes other than the transportation costs of that system unless state legislation is passed and an impact statement on the system is included as part of that legislation.

Optional Disability Coverage for Probation Officers (A9667 – Paulin / S7554 – Gallivan)
This bill creates a county option to provide Section 207-c health and wage replacement coverage for probation officers injured during the performance of their duties.

Reform of Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) (A10670 – Hooper / S8805 – Rules)
This bill would clarify that step increases of employees of Nassau County would not be included in a wage freeze if the county’s 4-year budget plan has been certified and approved and the authority has certified the appropriate revenue estimates for the county.

MRSA Presumption for Police and Firefighters (A8164B – Brindisi / S3770B – Akshar)
This bill creates a presumption that a firefighter or police officer that contracts MRSA or a staph infection will have incurred such illness as part of their job duties and be eligible for an accidental disability retirement.

Fair Promotions of EMT Supervisory Personnel (S5118B – Golden / A6990A- Abbate)
This bill requires that supervisory personnel of emergency medical service providers in the public sector be based on merit and fitness by including appropriate civil service examinations and consideration of seniority.

Removal of Overtime Cap on Tier 6 Transit System Employees (S5731A – Parker / A7599A – Alcantara)
This bill removes the Tier 6 cap on pensionable overtime for transit system workers employed by the MTA, currently set at $15,00 annually.  

County Correction Officers 20-year Retirement (S7134 – Ortt / A10950 – Abbate)
This bill authorizes counties the option of adopting a 20-year at half-pay retirement benefit for county correction officers.

Automatic Enrollment for BERs (S8844A – Savino / A10935A – Perry)
This bill provides that future hires that are eligible to opt-in to the NYC BERS system will from now on be automatically enrolled as a member of the system unless they choose to opt out.

State Workforce Injury Reduction Act (S6464A – Addabo / A4933B – Weprin)
This bill requires each state agency to produce an annual report about worksite injuries as well as a plan to reduce injuries in the coming year.

Required Notice for Changes to Public Sector Retiree Health Insurance (S8118 – Tedisco / A10337 – Abinati)
This bill requires local governments to provide 30 days notification to retired public employees about changes in their health insurance benefits or costs prior to making such changes.

Acupuncturists Included as Authorized Workers Compensation Providers (S6666 – Amedore / A2023A – Bronson)
This bill would include acupuncture as a reimbursable treatment for the purposes of worker’s compensation and provide that acupuncturists cannot be used as independent medical examiners.

 

Unfinished Business

Public Works Reform (A5498A – Bronson / S2975A – Murphy)
This bill would restore the original intent of the Constitution by making sure all projects performed by government entities are covered by Article 8 of the Labor Law which requires prevailing rate, apprenticeship and other basic labor standards apply. All levels of government and quasi- government entities such as authorities, IDAs and LDCs, as well as entities receiving tax breaks and assistance from the government would be covered by these provisions.  

Teacher Evaluation (APPR) Reform (A10475 – Nolan / S8301 – Marcellino)
This bill would fix the flawed and unfair annual professional performance review (APPR) for teachers and principals. The bill would eliminate the use of state assessments to determine a teacher or principal’s evaluation and authorize the selection of alternative assessments through collective bargaining.

Right of Publicity (A8155B – Morelle / S5857B – Savino)
This bill would establish post-mortem rights that would require the permission of families and/or estates before the images, voices or persona, including digital reproductions of an individual could be used for commercial, profit making purposes. The bill does not include the use of such material for news, biographical or satire purposes and in the event a contract or will provides for other terms.

School Safety and Security
No agreement was reached on numerous proposals that would have required enhanced safety measures for schools, including hiring school resource and/or safety officers. Various gun safety proposals also became linked with the school safety issue.

Sports Gaming
Legislation implementing a recent Supreme Court decision that would have allowed gambling on sports in the state did not pass the Legislature.  

Recreational Marijuana
Legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana as well as the growing and dispensing of marijuana did not pass.