Advocacy Update: 2019 Session Comes to a Close
June 21, 2019
Earlier today, the Senate (around 1:00 am) followed by the Assembly (just after 7:00 am) completed their work for the 2019 regular legislative session.
Despite concerns about what this session would look like, overall this was a pretty good year for school districts. After a series of priority accomplishments being included in the budget, including the increase in the BOCES DS salary cap and authorization to establish TRS reserves, the session ended with a number of positive developments for schools.
After a hard fought campaign, which included a lot of school district grassroots efforts, the session ended without the approval of a damaging proposal that would have required school districts to use mutually selected independent hearing officers for all section 75 disciplinary cases, while also prohibiting unpaid suspension for civil service employees. The Assembly left without taking action on this bill, which passed the Senate. Thank you to all of you who responded to our calls to action on this bill.
Unfortunately, the legislature also left town without taking action on a NYSSBA priority bill that would reform the newly enacted mandate on paid leave to vote, by restoring the qualifier that only those employees without 4 hours off outside of work while the polls are open are entitled to this time off.
Some other key items that the legislature took action on in the recent weeks:
- Approval of the workplace violence prevention program
- Enactment of legislation to eliminate the religious exemption from mandated exemptions to attend school
- Approval of reforms to industrial development agencies and payments in lieu of taxes to improve transparency and fiscal stabilization, including postponing mid-year PILOT changes that result from assessment challenges until the next school year
- Approval of changes to rules governing small city school districts that bring their requirements more in line with other districts, including a change in the calculation of the debt limit
- Approval of nearly 2 dozen local aid forgiveness bills and local insurance reserve funds
- Approval of an increase in the salary a retiree can earn without penalty from $30,000 to $35,000
- Rejection of large changes to the MWBE and prevailing wage laws that would have costly repercussions for school districts
- Approval of a number of extenders for BOCES operations, including the authorization to provide services to out of state schools and enter into 20 year leases.
NYSSBA Governmental Relations is putting together a thorough analysis of the legislative action of the year, and will share that as soon as it is complete. In the interim, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Thank you again to everyone who took action.
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