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PEF Accomplishes Historic Legislative Session – Wrap Up of PEF 2016 Wins!

PEF Accomplishes An Historic Legislative Session in 2016 – Wrap Up of PEF 2016 Wins! PEF Members: This has been an historical year of wins for PEF legislation with a number of “firsts” for us to celebrate. It has been quite some time since Senators and Assemblymembers in New York State have responded to PEF’s request to address issues affecting our worksites.  Our re-established relationships within the Legislature have paid dividends for our members in all titles and you can be proud of your voice in Albany.

Please take the time to review this year’s legislative session.  Although the session only runs from January thru June, we must take into consideration that January thru April are tied up with the budget battle and legislative session is typically on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. This left twenty-seven (27)  days for PEF legislative staff to accomplish such a large amount of legislation.

  • Veterans Buyback Bill (S.5937/Larkin A.8174/Paulin)
    After vetoing this bill two times in recent years, the Veterans Buyback Bill was signed into law by Governor Cuomo.  This law will allow honorably discharged service members with five years of existing public pension credit to purchase three years of credit for their military service. Current state law allows veterans who served in only certain conflicts to purchase pension credits.
  • Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act for Nurses (A.8580-A/Gunther S.782/Hannon)
    Passed by the Assembly, this bill establishes minimum direct care nurse to patient ratios in health care facilities.
  • PEF “Paybill” (A.10653/Abbate S.8070/Amedore)
    Provides for the 2% increase in PS&T contract, as agreed upon. Upon ratification of the collective bargaining agreement, PEF legislative staff analyzed and had this bill introduced and passed through the Senate and Assembly in record time.
  •  Cost Benefit Analysis (A.2499-A/Bronson S.6810-A/Robach)
    In previous years there was a struggle in having the legislature introduce the PEF Cost-Benefit analysis for New York State personal service contracts legislation. This year, we not only had sponsors in both the Senate and Assembly, our legislative department was able to secure passage in the Assembly.  This legislation would require a cost benefit analysis for any contract $750,000 or more and requires an in-depth business plan by agency and a review by the Comptroller.
  • OMH, OPWDD, OCFS Facility Closures (A.10464/Gunther S.7495/Akshar)
    This bill would require legislative approval before the closure of certain Office of Mental Health, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities or Office for Children and Family Services facilities and institutions and was passed in the Senate.
  • Parole Parity Bill (A.7784/Skoufis S.5899a /Robach)
    Passed in both the Senate and the Assembly, this bill would allow parole officers to have salary and medical expenses covered if injured on the job, similar to other statewide law enforcement officers and now awaits Governor Cuomo’s signature.
  • IT (S.8145/Amedore A.10738/Abbate)
    This legislation would award a 2% lump sum payment for IT professionals that complete an approved training course of study, while also providing that any permanent employee qualified for the position would take precedence over any term position appointment.
  • Justice Center Task Force  (S.7468 /Ortt )
    This historic legislation passed the Senate and would establish a task force to examine and evaluate the operations of the justice center and our members complaints of heavy-handed investigations.
  • Psych Evaluations (S..6993 Ortt  A.10454 Gunther)
    In accordance with a 2015 PEF Constitutional mandate, this legislation would require a payment by the state for certain costs associated with the psychiatric examination of defendants to determine mental fitness.
  • Parole Officer Job Duty Clarification (A.10190-A/O’Donnell S.7862/Gallivan)
    This bill would require that certain job duties performed by Parole Officers can only be performed by Parole Officers.  Passed in the Senate and Assembly.
  • Safety Net Hospitals (S..6948 Hannon  A.9476 Gottfried)
    Both the Senate and Assembly passed this PEF bill that would establish a hospital supplemental reimbursement rate for enhanced safety net hospitals. The bill would require safety net hospitals be public hospitals that are federally designated as critical access or sole community hospitals.

Too often, we contact legislators only when we oppose legislation. With that being said, I encourage each of you to contact the legislators that sponsored PEF legislation (above) and thank them for addressing our concerns. If you need contact information for the Assembly – click here.   If you need contact information for the Senate- click here.

I want to thank each and every one of you who wrote letters, sent emails, made phone calls and voted in the recent contract ratification vote.  New York State legislators now know that PEF is a real force and one political voice.  These successes are proof that when we work together, we can make great things happen.

In harmony,
Wayne Spence,
PEF President