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eCommunicatorHeaderfor-storyMarch 21, 2019

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Attention PEF Members:
Help Support PEF’s Legislation Priorities

Contact your local elected Senator & Assembly Member

A message from PEF President Wayne Spence to PEF Leaders and Members: PEF Leader’s and Members, The time is NOW to take action!

PEF Members: Please see the updated PEF budget fightback list.

This includes the most recent Senate and Assembly actions. So far, the Legislature has acted in our favor on many PEF issues, but as you can see, there are some items we need to change their minds on. I am happy to announce that we have been able to have the Cost-Benefit analysis language inserted into the current budget language. We still have a few weeks to go, so keep the pressure on by contacting your local legislators.

Call your Assembly member: 518-455-4100 and ask for your Assemblymember: Find your Assemblymember

Call your Senator: 518-455-2800 and ask for your Senator: Find your Senator

In Unity,
Wayne Spence
PEF President

New Items Added by the Legislature:

Cost/Benefit Analysis (Note: this was not in the proposed budget, but PEF legislative department was able to have the language inserted)

  • PEF Request: Include in the budget
  • Assembly Action: Included  as A.2005-B Part CCC
  • Senate Action: Included  as S.1505-B Part XX

EXPEDITED CLOSURE OF STATE FACILITIES

  • Closure of up to Three State Prisons within 60 Days
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)—Part TT

This proposal would allow the Governor to close up to three Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) facilities provided that 60 days notice is given.  Current law requires 12 months notice so that appropriate planning for inmates, staff and host communities can take place.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S.1505 Part TT
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A. 2005 Part TT               
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part TT


OUTSOURCING OF STATE WORK

  • Continued Reliance on Private Entities for Public Services

This budget continues the disturbing trend of using private for- and not-for-profit entities to do the work which was once done by state employees.  Whether it is OITS, OMH, OPWDD, DOT or one of the many other state agencies, we believe that PEF members are best suited to deliver the public services that the state provides. Continuing to divert services and resources to private entities at the expense of individuals, dependent upon state services, is detrimental to clients, state workers and taxpayers.

  • PEF Request: Increase the financial support for state agencies so that they can once again provide cost effective, high quality services themselves
  • Assembly Action: Maintained staffing at levels proposed by Governor
  • Senate Action:  Maintained staffing at levels proposed by Governor 

  • Design-Build Expansion and Extension

Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (A.2008/S.1508)—Part D 

This bill would expand the provisions of current law to enable the Dormitory Authority, the Urban Development Corporation, the Office of General Services, the Department of Health, the Olympic Regional Development Authority and the SUNY Construction Fund to award a contract to a single entity for both the design and construction (design-build) aspects of a project. The types of capital projects for which design-build contracts can be used would be amended to also included buildings and appurtenant structures.  This bill would also make design-build permanent.

Design-build allows for privatization of public work that has been traditionally performed by state employees. Important capital projects should be performed by state workers since they focus on the safety and well being of our taxpayers instead of corporate profits.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2008./S.1508 Part D
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2008 Part D
  • Senate Action: Amended S.1508 Part D for a two year extension of the existing program with no expansion in scope of projects allowed or eligible agencies to use design build 

  • Makes Permanent the Design/Construct Authority for the Dormitory Authority
    Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (A.2008/S.1508)—Part B

This bill would allow the Dormitory Authority to enter into design/construct agreements with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) permanently.  The current law allowing this is set to expire on April 1, 2019.

  • PEF Request:  Reject A.2008/S.1508 Part B and allow it to expire
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2008 Part B
  • Senate Action: Amended S.1508 Part B for a two year extension of the program

  • Use of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)

Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (A.2008/S.1508)—Part G

This bill would allow the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to enter into agreements with private entities for the maintenance of state owned educational or recreational facilities.  These partnerships are yet another way for the State to skirt civil service issues and use private groups to do the work that should be done by State employees.

  • PEF Request:  Reject A.2008/S.1508 Part G
  • Assembly Action:  Rejected A.2008 Part G
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1508 Part G


STATE RETIREE BENEFITS

  • Retiree Health Care Premium Contributions
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)—Part A

The Governor proposes to increase the percentage of retiree health care costs for State employees hired on or after April 1, 2019.  Retirees’ contributions would be based on years of service. The sliding scale formula would cover 50 % of premiums for those with 10 years of service and increase up to 84% of premiums for those with 30 years of service.

The proposal takes effect on April 1, 2019 and only impacts new employees hired on or after that date.  This proposal creates another reason for potential employees to not enter State service at a time when the State is already facing a recruitment and retention problem with many agencies.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S. 1505 Part A
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part A
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part A

  • End Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) Reimbursement
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)—Part B

Effective January 1, 2020, the State would stop the automatic reimbursement of the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) for Medicare premiums incurred on or after January 1, 2019 for higher income ($85,000 or more) State retirees. Higher-income retirees currently receive a greater subsidy for New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) than the amounts received by lower and middle-income retirees.

The roughly 7,600 impacted retirees stand to lose anywhere from $649 to $3,900 per year.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S.1505 Part B
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part B
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part B          

  • Freeze on Medicare Part B Reimbursement
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)—Part C

This bill would amend section 167-a of the Civil Service Law to provide that, effective April 1, 2019, State reimbursement to eligible retirees and their dependents for the Medicare Part B standard premium shall not exceed $135.50 per month.  While this represents an increase for some, the language provides that any future increases would be subject to negotiations in the state budget, meaning they are far less likely to happen.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S.1505 Part C
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part C
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part C 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS

  • Geriatric Parole
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)—Part II, Subpart P

This proposal would allow for the parole of an inmate age 55 or older who is no longer able to provide self-care within a correctional facility due to a chronic or serious condition, disease, syndrome, or infirmity.  An inmate must have served at least half of his/her sentence in order to be eligible for this special consideration.

This proposal, while compassionate as a concept, would in reality simply allow convicted criminals to be released back into the community well ahead of their scheduled release dates. Financial considerations, such as the lack of Medicaid funding for inmates, should not be the determining factor when parole is considered.  Furthermore, this proposal will only increase the caseload of our already overburdened Parole Officers.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S.1505 Part II, Subpart P
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part II
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part II, Subpart P     

  • Segregated Confinement Reform
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)—Part JJ

This proposal amends the Correction Law to allow New York State to continue to advance special housing unit (SHU) reform in its correctional facilities.  As written, the bill would provide additional infrastructure investments to give incarcerated individuals the opportunity to significantly reduce their time in SHU.  Additionally, new programs would be created to address underlying behavior in individuals while altering their day-to-day living conditions.

While the sponsor memo asserts that this proposal was modeled after a successful program utilized in Colorado, key components of that program do not appear to have made it into this one.  Specifically, in Colorado, formerly violent special housing incarcerated individuals are allowed out of their cells, in restraints, to participate in programs.  Without the restraint component, PEF is concerned for the safety of our many members working in DOCCS facilities.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S.1505 Part JJ
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part JJ
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part JJ (working on a plan to limit solitary confinement outside of the budget)                       

EROSION OF CIVIL SERVICE

  • Non-Competitive and Labor Class to Compete in Promotional Examinations
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)—Part MM

This proposal would circumvent the merit and fitness system to allow someone that did not receive a competitive class appointment to be allowed to be promoted into the competitive class.  PEF has opposed similar proposals in the past.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S.1505 Part MM
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part MM      
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part MM

  • Authorizes Time-Limited Job Try-Outs for Public Assistance Recipients
    Education, Labor and Family Assistance (A.2006/S.1506)—Part N

This section would allow public assistance recipients to work for up to 90 days in anticipation of gaining employment where a vacancy is expected.  This program is to include public sector entities.  While this program is well intentioned, for the state, it could be used to circumvent the merit and fitness qualifications of Civil Service exams.

  • PEF Request: Amend A.2006/S.1506 Part N to ensure that any employment in state service does not happen without the proper Civil Service examination
  • Assembly Action:  Rejected A/2006 Part N
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1506 Part N  


ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS WITH THE EXECUTIVE BUDGET

  • Limiting of Peace Officer Status
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505) Part UU

This bill would repeal portions of the Criminal Procedure Law and replace them with language that would severely limit when those state and local government employees who risk their lives for the safety of others are actually considered peace officers.

This bill endangers both the officers and the communities they serve.  Whether technically on duty or not, peace officers are duty bound to take legal action whenever they witness a crime.  They routinely face dangerous situations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Treating them like any other shift worker is not appropriate.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S.1505 Part UU
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part UU
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part UU

  • Voluntary Jail-based Restoration to Competency Programs

Health and Mental Hygiene—(A.2007/S.1507) Part X

This proposal would amend Section 730.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) to authorize the establishment of jail-based restoration to competency programs, for felony defendants pending judicial hearings, within locally-operated jails, subject to the facility’s consent as a pilot program, in up to two counties.

The proposal calls for the creation of a pilot program of residential mental health units within local jails.  Correctional facilities are not the appropriate locations to rehabilitate individuals requiring mental health services.  State mental health facilities or other well-equipped hospitals or centers are where these individuals should be restored to competency.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2007/S.1507 Part X
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2007 Part X
  • Senate Action: Accepted S.1507 Part X 

  • Proposed Public Employee CBA subject to FOIL
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)— Part BB

This bill would comprehensively reform the State’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). It would include making the proposed terms of a collective bargaining agreement for public employees available to the public when it is sent to union members for ratification. It would also require such proposed agreement to be placed on the website of the Office of Employee Relations for state employee unions.

  • PEF Request: Reject A.2005/S.1505 Part BB
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part BB       
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part BB         

  • Elimination of the SUNY Hospital Subsidy

Last year’s approved budget provided a subsidy of $92 Million for SUNY’s three hospitals (Downstate, Stony Brook and Upstate), in addition to $78.6 Million in capital funding.  This year’s Executive Budget proposal does not include any subsidy for the hospitals, potentially causing a funding shortage.

  • PEF Request: Restore the $78.6 Million subsidy
  • Assembly Action: Proposed eliminating $44 million in debt      
  • Senate Action: No action      

PEF Supports the Following Proposals in the Governor’s Budget and Asks for Their Inclusion:

  • Protection of Private Information of Public Employees
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)— Part E

This bill codifies Executive Order #183 to prohibit the dissemination of the personal home address, personal home phone number, personal cellular phone number or personal email address of any state or local government employee except under limited circumstances when required by a court.

  • PEF Request: Accept A.2005/S.1505 Part E
  • Assembly Action: Accepted A.2005 Part E
  • Senate Action:  Accepted S.1505 Part E         

  • $2 Million OITS Certification Training
    State Operations—A.2000/S.1500 p. 438

This funding allows for up to $2 Million to be spent for training of Office of Information Technology Services (OITS) employees towards achieving specific certifications that are not currently held by employees in sufficient quantity to meet the state’s needs.

  • PEF Request: Accept A.2000/S.1500 p.438
  • Assembly Action: Accepted A.2000 p. 453
  • Senate Action: Accepted S.1500 p. 472          

  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute Subsidy of $102.6 Million
    Aid to Localities (A.2003/S.1503) p. 488 & Capital Projects (A.2004/S.1504) p. 302

This subsidy remains at the same amount as last year.

  • PEF Request: Accept A.2003/S.1503 p.488 & A.2004/S.1504 p. 302
  • Assembly Action: Accepted A.2003 p. 659 & A.2004 p. 364      
  • Senate Action: Accepted S.1503 p. 674 & S. 1504 p. 364      

  • Increases Penalty for Assault on Motor Vehicle Inspectors
    Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (A.2008/S.1508)—Part II

This proposal would increase the penalty for assault on various local and state government employees, including PEF-represented Motor Vehicle Inspectors.

  • PEF Request: Accept A.2008/S.1508 Part II
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2008 Part II
  • Senate Action: Accepted S. 1508 Part II and expanded to include additional workers          

  • Salary Protection for Provisional and Temporary Employees Upon Reclassification or Reallocation
    Public Protection and General Government (A.2005/S.1505)—Part NN

This proposal would provide salary protection for PEF members in non-permanent titles and permanent employees who transfer to other positions.

  • PEF Request: Accept A.2005/S.1505 Part NN
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2005 Part NN
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1505 Part NN

  • Ensure Equal Pay

Education, Labor and Family Assistance (A.2006/S.1506)—Part Q

This section of the budget would prohibit employers from inquiring about salary history and also expand equal pay provisions to cover all protected classes.

  • PEF Request: Accept A.2006/S.1506 Part Q
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2006 Part Q
  • Senate Action: Amended S.1506 Part Q        

  • Increase Protections Against Harassment in the Workplace

Education, Labor and Family Assistance (A.2006/S.1506)—Part V

This proposal would expand recently passed workplace harassment to clarify that harassment does not need to be severe or pervasive.  In addition, it would require all employers to display a sexual harassment prevention poster.

  • PEF Request: Accept A. 2006/S.1506 Part V
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2006 Part V          
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1506 Part V (want to pass stand alone legislation outside of the budget) 

  • Protect Veterans from Financial Exploitation
    Education, Labor and Family Assistance (A.2006/S.1506)—Part W

This portion of the budget helps to prevent “pension poaching” schemes that impact elderly and disabled veterans.  Often, these veterans fall victim to unscrupulous people who charge for services that the veterans are entitled to free of charge and/or charge an unreasonable fee and may seek a certain portion of the pension benefit.

  • PEF Request: Accept A.2006/S.1506 Part W
  • Assembly Action: Rejected A.2006 Part W
  • Senate Action: Amended to remove definition of “veteran”  

  • Ban on Corporate and LLC Contributions

Good Government and Ethics Reform (A.2010/S.1510)—Part F

This section would ban corporate entities and limited liability companies (LLCs) from making campaign contributions.

  • PEF Request: Accept A.2010/S.1510 Part F
  • Assembly Action: No action
  • Senate Action: Rejected S.1510 Part F (LLC loophole already closed via stand alone legislation—will consider additional reforms outside of budget)          

  • Safe Staffing Study

The Governor has indicated that he will direct the Department of Health to examine how staffing enhancements can improve patient safety.

  • PEF Request: Pass any initiative that will lead to the establishment of safe staffing levels in our hospitals and nursing homes
  • Assembly Action: No action
  • Senate Action: No action  

We have until April 1 to take action on all of the above legislation!

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