Thursday, February 4, 2016

Monday got off to a quick start with a League priority bill. The single June primary bill appeared before the Election’s Committee which was to be called off the floor, in the Speakers Conference Room, during session. We attended that Committee meeting where the bill passed with the minority in the negative and the bill moving immediately into Rules Committee.  A note of clarification- bills that are considered to not be addressed by the other house are often taken up and pushed off the calendar early in the session. Unfortunately, the single primary bill is one of those bills where it is assumed that the Senate will not take up this legislation, therefore the Assembly wanted to take it up and be done with it. Even with League’s vigorous attempts at lobbying this legislation four years ago it is clear that the Senate will not address this bill in an election year. On Tuesday the bill passed the Assembly and was delivered to the Senate where interestingly it was refer to the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. Only the Senate could refer a voting bill to a committee on veteran’s affairs.  

Tuesday was another busy day for the League. Marian Bott, our issue specialist on Education Finance, testified before the Joint Budget Hearing on Taxation. This is the second testimony from Marian during this budget cycle. Her full testimony can be found here. As budget testimony continues, Barbara Thomas, our issue specialist on Women’s Issues, participated in the Paid Family Leave lobby day. Paid Family Leave legislation passed the Assembly but will have an uphill climb for passage in the Senate. Between Barbara, Marian, Jennifer and myself, the League was very visible in the legislature that day.

Earlier on Tuesday the League also attended the Assembly Education Committee where Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia again talked about her education priorities for this year.
We started our Wednesday with a fabulous breakfast and budget briefing by the Fiscal Policy Institute. FPI presents their analysis of the Governor’s budget every year and they never fail to impress us with their in-depth analyses.  After the briefing, the League was able to submit testimony to the Workforce Development budget hearing on minimum wage and paid family leave. You can read the full testimony here.

Thursday Barbara finished the budget testimony week with our testimony before Public Protection, expressing the League’s concerns and recommendations on the State Board of Elections and the budgetary ramifications of the coming election year. In total the League has testified or submitted testimony for 5 budget hearings.

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