UPDATED
March 16, 2021

 

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POLITICAL ISSUES

March 16, 2021                                        CURRENT LEGISLATIVE ACTION IN ALBANY

From Lou Hollander keystonecop1@verizon.net as received from NYS RPA

RPA LEGISLATIVE CORNER REPORT:
March / April 2021  Report

 LEGISLATIVE REPORT:

2021-2022 Alliance Legislative Bill Agenda:  Note...Two of these Senate bills have been re-numbered and the rest are being re-submitted. You can use the two new bill numbers and the other expired bill numbers for reference to research the print version of each bill on-line:

This is our " FORGOTTEN VETERAN'S BILL "

NEW BILL # S5110-2021  /  Veterans Supplementation Bill  /  Senator Brooks
In Civil Service and Pensions Committee 

A6452-2019  /  Veterans Supplementation Bill / Assemblywoman Barrett
Being re-submitted
NEW BILL # S5030-2021 /  Health Protection Bill  /  Senator Lanza
In Civil Service and Pensions Committee

A4203-2019  /  Heath Protection Bill  /  Assemblyman Weprin
Being re-submitted

S5901E-2019  /  COLA Bill ( Increase surviving spouse 50% to 100%  /  Senator Gounardes
Amended EFFECTIVE DATE CHANGE TO NOW BE SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 !!
Being re-submitted

S5902-2019  /  COLA Bill ( Provide COLA - age 55 retired 5 yrs)  /  Senator Gounardes
Amended EFFECTIVE DATE CHANGE TO NOW BE SEPTEMBER 1, 2020 and RAISED THE AGE FROM 52 TO 55 !
Being re-submitted

S5835-2019  /  COLA Bill ( raise base calculation from 18K to 21K )  /  Senator Breslin
Being re-submitted

A7413-2019  /  COLA Bill ( raise base calculation from 18K to 21K )  /  Assemblyman Steck
Being re-submitted
________________________________________________________________________________________

COVID-19 and GOV. CUOMO's EXECUTIVE ORDERS GRIDLOCK LEGISLATIVE SESSION:

As of January 1, 2021 which is the start of the new 2021-2022 Legislative Session, all visitors were suspended access to the Legislative Office Building, including  being able to see our Legislators by appointment in their offices indefinitely.  Additionally, all Lobby Day functions were also suspended indefinitely. This  suspended access was done by Gov. Cuomo's edit.

So as you can see the only method of contact we are left with is telephone calls and/or emails to our Legislators.  This would be fine if our Legislator's office staff would answer the telephones, instead of all calls going to voice mail and then you have no choice but to leave a message requesting a call back.  I can't begin to relate to you how many very specific "voice messages" I have left with the old bill number (2019-2020) requesting a call back with regards to resubmitting those bills for the 2021-2022 Legislative session. As a back-up procedure I also call each Legislator's District Office and guess what...no one answers the telephone and you are instructed to leave a "voice message" !  I leave the very same detailed voice message requesting a call back, all to no avail. This is truly amazing since all the Legislators are collecting their full, uninterrupted salaries, health Insurance benefits, holiday pay, per diem pay and committee pay, as well as all their staff members are still being paid and get their benefits !

The frustrating part of this is it takes a lot of procedural time to re-submit any bill every two years.  Every bill has to be redrafted, sent to the New York State Comptroller's Office for a new Actuary cost report, before the Senator can submit the bill first to get a new number assigned to each bill.  Then the Senator has to work with a selected Assemblyman, who has to go through the same procedure to resubmit and get a new bill number assigned to the Assembly companion bill.

Generally speaking in a normal legislative session we have all our bills resubmitted and new bill numbers completed by the end of January or the latest of mid February. I regret to report that as of this report, not even one of our bills has been resubmitted or assigned new bill numbers.  It's not for a lack of trying.

I do however have encouraging news to report...as of late today I finally did receive a call back from Senator Brooks office and Senator Brooks is starting the process of resubmitting our " FORGOTTEN VETERAN'S BILL " finally. You may recall that Senator Brooks successfully got this bill passed in the Senate during the last session.

I also received a call back today from Assemblywoman Barrett's Legislative Director, confirming that as soon as Senator Brooks receives our new bill number, Assemblywoman Barrett's office will then resubmit our " FORGOTTEN VETERAN'S BILL " in the Assembly.

This is the first positive news for our 2021 Legislative Agenda and hopefully all our other bills will follow soon.  As soon as I receive the new bill numbers I will send out a NEWS FLASH to all our member organizations, request Memorandums of Support from each organization and request each organization to have all their members contact their Legislators requesting that they sign on as Co-Sponsors to each bill and push the Legislators to move the bills forward.

The following information is provided to give all New York State Retirees the oversight to see the truth about what's really going on behind the scenes in Albany and effecting all of us negatively, impacting our lives and our ability to sustain a quality retirement in a life style we all worked so hard for in our chosen careers, as New York State Public Service Employees, to be able to live comfortably in retirement.

What's happening in the Legislature and New York State overall is caused by two common denominators...Covid-19 and Gov. Cuomo's restrictions and mandates by his continued abuse of using Emergency Executive Authority, to do anything he wants without any oversight or accountability. A while ago the New York State Legislature made it known that they wanted Gov. Cuomo to cease using this Emergency Executive Authority and return to normal operations of Legislative oversight. As most of you know that never happened and Gov. Cuomo hasn't stopped using and abusing such authority almost daily. Until we restore the system of checks and balances in New York State and get back to normal operations, we will remain subject to the whims of a dictatorship. No matter what New York State Public Service Retirees and senior citizens political affiliations are, it's a fact that all New York State Public Service Retirees and senior citizens in New York State are being treated poorly and unfairly. A classic example is when Gov. Cuomo ordered Covid-19 vaccinations given to DRUG ADDICTS, HOMELESS PEOPLE and PRISIONERS FIRST, before New York State Retirees and senior citizens, especially those with compromised immune systems !  This is egregious and unconscionable that Gov. Cuomo display such a total disregard for the health and welfare of all tax-paying retirees and senior citizens of New York State.

The latest resistance by Gov. Cuomo was just released yesterday, February 10, 2021, by the Empire Center (please look this up at info@empirecenter.org) which is titled:   Cuomo Administration Releases FOIL - Requested Nursing Home Data. This is 6 months after the FOIL was submitted, 5 months after the Empire Center had to file a lawsuit for not receiving the FOIL and just one week after Justice Kimberly O'Connor ordered the FOIL data released but it lacked full compliance with the court order ! Although the data does not fully account for about 600 deaths, it did reveal an increase of the death toll from about 9,000 residents to almost 15,000 residents died needlessly as a result of Gov. Cuomo's order ! This is an astounding, unconscionable increase of deaths and far worse than the Cuomo administration previously portrayed it to be. The Government Justice Center provided legal representation and New York State Senator James Tedesco filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the lawsuit.

NEWS FLASH...THIS IS ARBITRARY, CAPRICIOUS AND APPALLING TO SAY THE LEAST TO ALL GUN OWNERS IN NEW YORK STATE AND YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS !

I want to make all New York State Retirees and their family members aware of the most recent potential violation of your 2nd Amendment Rights and violation of your HIPPA Rights:
A September 22, 2020 press release by Northwell Health (https://www.northwell.edu/center-for-gun-violence-prevention/news/the-latest/northwell-receives-1-4m-nih-grant-to-establish-gun-violence-prevention-screening) titled:   NORTHWELL RECEIVES $1.4M NIH GRANT TO ESTABLISH GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION SCREENING.  A condensed explanation is as follows: Northwell Health is the largest health system and largest private employer in New York State announced a research study called " WE ASK EVERYONE.  FIREARM SAFETY IS A HEALTH ISSUE." The project will require, as part of routine screening of emergency room patients, asking questions about firearm ownership and guns in the home. Implementation of this screening will begin at three Northwell hospitals initially (two on Long Island and one on Staten Island), with plans to expand the program to include "inpatient and ambulatory settings" across all its facilities. Northwell Health has reportedly refused to disclose what the questions will be, although the responses will be "scored and embedded into the patient's electronic health record" and used to "establish next steps for care." Resident of New York State need to understand how "WE ASK EVERYONE" dovetails with an existing law on mandatory mental-health reporting and disarming gun owners. Under GOV. CUOMO'S SAFE ACT of 2013, the drastic control legislation passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an amendment to the State Mental Hygiene Law created a mandatory reporting requirement for mental health professionals. The short of it is... that if a Physician, psychologist, registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers providing treatment services are now required to report any client who, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, the treatment provider considers "likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others."  If a local government official agrees with the report, the report must be shared with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice to disarm persons in possession of a state firearms license and guns. The law confines the use of the report exclusively to the question of the person's ability to own or possess firearms; it is not used for treatment or to safeguard other persons who may be at risk.  Persons who have been reported do not have access to the report or the name of the reporting treatment provider.  There is no due process, hearing, adjudication of mental illness or determination of dangerousness, or a requirement for a court order. Once the Division of Criminal Justice Services is notified, if the person has a firearm license or has applied for one, the license is automatically revoked, and that person must surrender the license and all firearms, or the firearms will be confiscated by law enforcement. THE WHOLE SCHEME RESTS ON AN ASSERTION BY A TREATMENT PROVIDER THAT CAN NOT BE CHALLENGED BY THE PERSON AFFECTED !  Under the Northwell project, regardless of the reason a person presents themselves at an emergency room --- food poisoning, car accident, slip and fall or Covid-19 --- the patient will face questioning about guns. 

BEWARE AS THIS IS GOV. CUOMO'S GUN CONFISCATION AGENDA MOVING FORWARD." UNITED WE WILL PREVAIL...DIVIDED WE WILL FAIL

Legislative Report respectfully submitted by,
Bryant Kolner, RPA Legislative Representative
President of the Alliance of Public Retiree Organizations of New York

June 20, 2018                                                     VSF BILLS DEFEATED IN ALBANY

Despite the never ending efforts of Legislative Chairman Tony Piazza and his staff with John Rini and John Giangrasso, The VSF bills never got out of committe as the City of NY entered a last minute addditon of requiring a Home Rule Message. Because of that, the bills became "dead in the water."

November 15, 2015              BRIEF HISTORY OF THE VSF STRUGGLE

From Legislation ChairmanTony Piazza, and members John Giangrasso and John Rini:

Please click on the following link for the history and information on the ongoing legislative fight for the Variabe Supplement Fund as compiled by our Legislative Committe of Tony Piazza, John Giangrasso and John Rini.

VSF Information