October 15, 2009

Legislative Update: 2009 End-of-Session

Source: NYSUT Legislative Department

Following is a list of NYSUT's program bills and other legislative accomplishments. Bills listed have passed both the Senate and the Assembly. Check back for updates.

Injunctive Relief Extender

S-1407/Savino
A-3427/Abbate
SIGNED 5/12 - CHAPTER 29

Extends for two years the applicability of injunctive relief in public employment improper practice cases.

Health Insurance Moratorium Extender

S-2342/Savino
A-4628/Weinstein
SIGNED 5/12 - CHAPTER 30

Extends the provisions of chapter 724 of 1994 which prohibit school district employers from unilaterally diminishing the health insurance benefits of retirees until May 15, 2010.

Retirement Benefits Extender

S-2312/Savino
A-5808/Abbate
SIGNED 7/1/09 - CHAPTER 79

Extends certain temporary benefits and supplementation programs for certain current members (disability presumptions) and maintains benefit structures for new hires in the Tier IV defined benefit plan.

Buffalo Control Board

S-5073/Thompson
A-8374/Peoples
VETOED 7/12/09 MEMO # 21

Clarifies the determination of an advisory period by the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority (BFSA) and clarifies that the wage freeze is not authority assistance for determining the end of a control period and the beginning of an advisory period. In addition, it would ensure that the City's three consecutive fiscal years with surpluses greater than the BFSA assistance received are acknowledged.

Conform State Law to IDEA

S-5884/Oppenheimer
A-8894/Nolan

SIGNED 7/11/09 - CHAPTER 206

This bill would conform the Education Law to the IDEA by extending amendments to align state requirements with IDEA for three years. Failure to conform provisions of education law to the reauthorized IDEA would result in a conflict between New York law and federal law and regulations that could expose both the state and school districts to legal challenge and possible loss of federal funds (approx 800 billion) and would deny students with disabilities, parents and school districts the benefits they are intended to receive from the reforms made by IDEA.

NCLB Extension

A-8135/Nolan
S-5638/Oppenheimer
SIGNED 7/11/09 - CHAPTER 158

Extends the effectiveness of NCLB provisions relating to supplemental educational services, unsafe school choice and compliance with the Gun Free Schools Act until June 30, 2010. Relates to the suspension of pupils who bring a firearm to or possess a firearm at a school and the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Compliance is required to secure Title I funds (approx.1.2 billion) and other federal funding under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The title I funding Critical to the ability of school critical to the ability of school districts and Title I charter schools with concentrations of students in poverty to meet state academic performance standards.

Timothy's Law

A-8611/Morelle
S-5672/Huntly
SIGNED 7/11/09 – CHAPTER 181

This bill would make permanent Chapter 748 of the Laws of2006 (Timothy's Law). Timothy's Law, which: requires group health insurance policies to provide a minimum of 30 inpatient days and 20 outpatient visits for the treatment of mental health conditions ("30/20 benefit") and; requires large group health insurance policies (more than 50 employees or members) to provide coverage for adults and children diagnosed with biologically based mental illness (BBMI) and children diagnosed with serious emotional disturbances (SED) on par with coverage provided for other health conditions.

Safe Patient Handling Extender

S-5897/Krueger
A-8866/Farrell
SIGNED 7/11/09 – CHAPTER 153

Extends for an additional two years the demonstration program to research the effect of safe patient handling programs in health care facilities across New York State.

NYC Sales Tax

S-5897/Krueger
A-8866/Farrell
SIGNED 7/11/09 – CHAPTER 200

Increases certain sales and compensating use taxes in New York City from four percent to four and one-half percent.

Yonkers PIT Surcharge

S-3335/Stewart-Cousins
A-7530/Pretlow
SIGNED 7/11/09 – CHAPTER 141

Extends the expiration date of the personal income tax surcharge for the city of Yonkers.

Yonkers Mortgage Recording Tax Surcharge

S-3334/Stewart-Cousins
A-7531/Pretlow
SIGNED 7/11/09 – CHAPTER 142

Extends the expiration of the mortgage recording tax imposed by the city of Yonkers.

Conditional Appointments

S-5765/ Oppenheimer
A-8564/Nolan
SIGNED 7/11/09 – CHAPTER 179

Extends the ability of school districts, charter schools, and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to make conditional appointments of prospective employees under certain necessary conditions and to limit the duration of a conditional appointment.

New York City Transitional Finance Authority

S-4940/Kruger
A-8614/Farrell
SIGNED 7/11/09 – CHAPTER 182

Amends the public authority’s law, in relation to bonds issued by the New York city transitional finance authority allow the City more efficient and cost effective access to financial markets.

853 and Special Act Fund Balance bill

A-8245-A Nolan
S-5446-A/Oppenheimer
VETOED 9/16/09 MEMO # 75

Provides that special act school districts and Chapter 853 schools may maintain a fund balance of up to 4% of the school's annual allowable and reimbursable costs.

The high need level associated with this population results in significant costs to operate these schools. Under current law however, these schools and school districts are not authorized to maintain any fund balance at the end of their fiscal year. Therefore, even if these districts achieve efficiencies, they are left with no funds to reinvest in their programs. Further, because the schools operated off of borrowed funds, repaid when they receive their tuition; their lack of resources can make it more difficult to acquire the financing they need to sustain their operations.

Nursing Quality Care Protection Act

A-1752-A/Gottfried
S-3527/Duane
SIGNED 9/16/09 - CHAPTER 422

Requires hospitals to disclose the number of RN's, LPN's and unlicensed personnel who provide direct patient care.

As a result of pressure to cut costs, many hospitals are decreasing the numbers of registered and licensed practical nurse on staff and replacing them with unlicensed personnel. In addition to compromising patient care, this situation confuses patients, who cannot be sure if the person in a white lab coat attending to them is an RN or LPN, or an unlicensed attendant. This bill will help combat these problems by requiring hospitals to disclose information on the numbers of RNs, LPNs and unlicensed staff utilized to provide direct patient care.

Green Jobs

S-5888/Aubertine
A-8901/Silver
SIGNED 10/9/09 - CHAPTER 487

This legislation amends the Public Authorities law establish the "Green Jobs/Green New York" program to be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The intent of the act is to make 1,000,000 homes, businesses, and not-for-profit institutions in New York state more energy efficient while creating thousands of new green jobs and training the workers to fill those jobs.

Green Jobs Chapter Amendment

S-6032/Aubertine
A-9031/Cahill
SIGNED 10/9/09 - CHAPTER 488

This legislation makes necessary technical amendments to a chapter of the laws of 2009 amending the public authorities law relating to the establishment of the "Green Jobs-Green New York Act of 2009." The bill also amends the state finance law relating to establishment of the Green Jobs-Green New York Fund, as proposed in legislative bill numbers S-5888 and A-8901, and the public authorities law, in relation to the Green Jobs-Green New York fund.