The Governor’ office released the Preliminary Report on Mandate Relief on Tuesday. The Roadmap to Reform included a) Stop the Proliferation of Mandates; b) Address Cost-Driver to Provide Meaningful Mandate Relief; c) Address the Current Unsustainable Burden of State Mandates. This Redesign Team will continue to work for the next 18 months, so be prepared to hear much more about mandate relief.
Aside from budget issues most of the early week activity centered around legislation which would affect NYC only that deals with an education proposal by Mayor Bloomberg, on which the League has no position, but provided some legislative theater. The measure, named LIFO (last in, first out), deals with teacher layoff. The lobbying around this issue was furious and it culminated with a debate on the Senate floor that was interesting to say the least. The measure did pass the Senate by a vote of 33-27 when two of the “IDC” voted with the Republicans to garner enough votes for passage. This was a one house bill since the Assembly has said it doesn’t think it will take up this particular legislation.
Wednesday was a busy day with seventeen people being arrested while protesting the health and human services budget cuts. Wednesday was also the day that the federally mandated “MOVE” bill (Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment) expeditiously passed Assembly (A.5698) and Senate (S.3500) Elections Committee’s and went immediately to the floor. This is a bill that the Governor will sign quickly. The MOVE legislation will ensure that military personnel serving abroad will have their vote counted in any special election. A special election will take place seventy to eighty days from the day the Governor formally proclaims a Special Election rather than 30 to forty days which is currently New York law. Once the Governor signs this legislation he is expected to call a Special Election in the vacant Western New York district.
The Health Care/Medicaid Budget Hearing was held on Thursday, wrapping up the budget hearings. Notable is that the Governor’s 30 day budget amendments were released late on Thursday, they included the Medicaid Redesign Team’s 97 recommendations which were unanimously approved, but also included a two-year Medicaid and school aid funding proposal. This two-year proposal is being used by the Governor’s office as a planning tool to be used by the legislature in planning for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 state budget. Mr. Cuomo’s Medicaid appropriation would go from $15.1 billion for 2011-12 to $15.7 billion in 2012-13, that includes only the state’s share of Medicaid. Also included in this 30 day amendment is the two-year education funding plan which would go from $19.4 billion to $20.2 billion in 2012-13. In the coming month there will likely be more protests over Mr. Cuomo’s budget, but now the focus switches to the Legislature who must develop their own budget plan and move toward joint conference committees and a hoped for on time budget.
Another week in Albany.