April 13, 2018
IT’S TIME FOR ACTION!

In 2015 the budget included a bill that granted tenured teachers with positive evaluations the right to move from one district to another and serve a three year probationary period not a four year probationary period.  The bill specifically mentioned teachers.   In all probability it was an oversight not to include administrators and supervisors.   To gain equity with the teachers, CAS wrote a bill to include administrators and supervisors.

Our bill S-6090 was sponsored by Senator Marcellino and co-sponsored by Senator Golden.  On Thursday, March 29th this bill was passed by the Senate. We have a corresponding bill in the Assembly A-8108 sponsored by Assemblyperson Peter Abbate and co-sponsored by Assemblypeople Sepulveda and McDonough.  It is imperative that every member of CAS send an email to the Assembly Education Committee requesting that the bill be moved out of committee to the Assembly for passage. Attached is a list of the Assembly Education Committee members with their email addresses.  Please encourage family members and friends to send a letter.  We need everyone to participate.

Bob Ungar, our lobbyist and I, have spent countless hours meeting with legislators to assist them in understanding that we are requesting nothing more than equity with the teachers.  It is now incumbent upon each of our 1400 members to make their voices heard.  Attached is a sample letter to send. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Tony
Anthony C. Laurino
CAS Legislative Liaison

Letter to Honorable Catherine Nolan

Email Addresses to Education Committee


 

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. YOU DID IT!

Congratulations!  Your energy and dedication to defeat ConCon certainly was a huge success.  The CAS family accepted the task of defeating ConCon and revealed its power.  Thank you for your diligence and perseverance.


Yesterday Newsday devoted the front page to the increase in pension premium cost for educators over the next two years.  It is interesting that Newsday would cover this information on pages one, two and three the day before the vote.  We are in their sights and they are rallying the voters to vote yes for a Constitutional Convention, Proposition #1.  The Newsday’s November 6th editorial urges all readers to vote yes.

Today is the day to call your contacts and explain that a yes vote could change the laws of New York State for the next 20 years.  We have elected legislators to make changes.  If New Yorkers elect to have a Constitutional Convention today special interest groups such as the Koch brothers and Robert and Rebekah Mercer could use their money and influences to get people elected as delegates and dictate a convention’s agenda.

YOUR WAY OF LIFE IS IN THE BALANCE.  YOUR FUTURE IS AT STAKE.

VOTE NO FOR PROPOSITION #1.  IT IS ON THE BACK OF THE BALLOT.

Thank you for your patience over the last few months.

Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


If New York State has an affirmative vote on a Constitutional Convention, the deep pocket corporate interests will spend big money next year to stack the convention delegates in November 2018.  These delegates could submit amendments that reduce your pension and/or eliminate collective bargaining.  Parents respect and admire the work we do.  However, if one or both of these items are on the ballot in 2018, parents could vote to cut school taxes.

This evening review your contact list and call to remind people to vote NO for a Constitutional Convention tomorrow.  It is Proposition #1 on the BACK of the Ballot. (Constitutional Convention).

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


Four days remain to election day and the Constitutional Convention vote.  Review your contact list to assure you have encouraged your family, friends and community to vote NO on Proposition #1.

If the voters elect to have a Constitutional Convention special interest groups will spend an inordinate amount of money to have their delegates elected in November 2018.  Mike Fabricante, vice president of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) said, “Many people both on Wall Street and off see pensions as a weight on their purse and those folks will fill, or their money will fill, the convention.”

The families we serve appreciate our dedication.  However, a growing number feel they pay too much in school taxes.  Special interest groups would have delegates elected to the CON CON for the purpose of:

–Changing or eliminating the Triborough
Amendment
–Reduce our pensions

We have to get out the NO vote!

THE VOTE IS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH.  The CON CON is Proposition #1 on the BACK of the ballot.

Let’s get out the NO vote!

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


There are six days left before election day, November 7th.  Have you urged your family, friends, and community leaders to vote NO for Proposition #1.  Money from outside the state is urging a Yes vote for personal gains.  According to a Sienna College poll released in September 45 percent of the registered voters are in favor of a CON CON, 33 percent are opposed and 22 percent are undecided.  It is imperative that we spread the word to vote NO.

At Stake:
-Future pensions could be reduced.
-Retirees living on their pension could have their pension
reduced.
-Collective bargaining could be eliminated.

We need the 22 percent undecided to vote NO.  Don’t be the person who opens the paper on November 8th and discovers we HAVE A CON CON because you didn’t contact people.

THE VOTE IS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH.  The CON CON is Proposition #1 on the BACK of the ballot.

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION – VOTE NO!

Your way of life would change drastically if we have a Constitutional Convention.  You could lose:

  *Your retirement pension.
*Your right to an enforceable contract.
*Protections if you are injured or lose
your job.
*Your right to collectively bargain.

The cost of a ConCon is estimated upwards of 300 million dollars of your tax dollars.

Speak with your family, friends, neighbors and community leaders and urge them to vote “NO” on Tuesday, November 7th.  This is Proposition #1 on the BACK of the Ballot.

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


Vote Nol  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!   Vote No!

Vote No!  Vote Nol  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!  Vote No!   Vote No!

November 7, 2017 Constitutional Convention Ballot Question:

Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend same?”

A ”yes” vote for the Constitutional Convention means you could LOSE:

  • Retirement Security
  • Your right to collectively bargain.
  • Your job.
  • Your right to a free public education.
  • Social welfare needs.
  • State budget spending caps.
  • Workers’ compensation.
  • Environmental protections.
  • Your right to have a union.
  • Public schools, libraries, colleges and universities
 
Even if you oppose one or two of the above is it worth risking all the other rights?

On Tuesday, November 7th vote “NO” on the Constitutional Convention

THE PROPOSITION IS ON THE BACK OF THE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH BALLOT!  Talk with your family, friends and neighbors about why it should be voted down.

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


Who Wants a Constitutional Convention

There are many special internet groups intent on having a Con-Con.

  1.  Those who would allow fracking, lumbering, mining in the Adirondacks, and Catskills.
  1.  Charter Schools and voucher proponents.
  1. People who want our pension benefits reduced to save them taxes.
  1. Prohibition on gambling lifted to allow more casinos in the State.

These groups are spending huge amounts of money to bring the Yes vote.  We have to get out the no vote the old fashioned way — word of mouth.  We have to spread the word to vote NO!

THE PROPOSITION IS ON THE BACK OF THE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH BALLOT!

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


October 17, 2017

Vote NO For a Constitutional Convention

In the 1950’s and early 60’s teachers fought long and hard to unionize for better working conditions and fair wages.  It took strikes and the breakup of many longtime friends to win the fight.

Educators finally had a place at the table to negotiate a contract.  Eventually the Triborough discussion was passed.

On Tuesday, November 7th the voters in New York State will decide whether or not to have a Constitutional Convention.  Should they vote YES many of our long fought rights will be eliminated.  Special inter3st, money groups, are spending millions to promote a Yes vote.  The cost of a Con-Con is over 300 million dollars.  That’s 300 million dollars from next year’s budget.  How much of that 300 million dollars from the Education budget?

It is important that we urge our friends, relatives and co-workers to vote NO for a Constitutional Convention.  Remind everyone that the proposition is on the BACK of the Ballot.

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


October 12, 2017

Protect Your Rights as an Educator

A number of special interest groups are promoting a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con). If one comes about the amendments they will push will cost money.  Where will the money come from?  A significant amount could be purchased at your expense.  Proponents of a con-con are promoting campaign finance, restructuring the judiciary, legalizing marijuana, pro-abortion, con abortion, gun rights, and restructuring the state legislature.  These groups will work together to produce a yes vote on November 7, 2017.

They are counting on a yes vote and using your tax dollars for their programs.  If we have a yes vote it could mean:

  1. Eliminating or restricting our right to organize and bargain collectively.
  1. Amending the pension laws for past and future retirees.
  1. Change or eliminate the Triborough Amendment.
  1. Enact an even more stringent Tax Cap.
  1. School vouchers and/or state aid to religious schools could affect public education.

The cost of a convention will be upward of 300 million dollars of taxpayers’ money.  Each delegate to the convention would receive a minimum of $80,000.   Each delegate will hire a staff.  Another expense.

Changes to the Constitution, if needed, can be changed through the normal process.  This would be accomplished by the passage of the amendment(s) through two session of the legislature and approval by the voters in a November election.  This mechanism for change does not take tax dollars from the budget.

Make sure your family and friends understand that the high jacking of our values is at stake.  Encourage your family and friends to vote NO.

THE PROPOSITION WILL BE ON THE BACK OF THE BALLOT ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH.

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


October 5, 2017

Proposed Constitutional Convention Fact Sheet

The last convention held in 1967 cost $150 million dollars; the estimate for 2017 is over $300 million dollars.

The delegates each get the salary of NYS assembly person ($79,500), their staff gets paid (friends and relatives?), they get meals, transportation, and an expense account.  They get the salary regardless of how many days they had to work.

There is a rental cost for the meeting hall and the WIFI for the meeting (number of days undetermined).

What are some of the major changes that might affect the way we live today? 

A. “Forever wild” provisions could be changed to allow fracking, lumbering, mining in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and other wild areas.

B.  A guaranteed right to a free public education could be changed to allow for more charter schools and vouchers in the state, and tax caps could become mandatory.

C.  Pension benefits that “cannot be diminished or impaired” could be changed to allow for diminishment in the form of paying state income taxes on the pension, and non-reimbursement of Medicare Part B.  It would also open to door to future changes in the amount of a pensions system, thereby destabilizing it.  This has happened in other states.

D.  Voting changes could be enacted, like making an absentee ballot not available unless you will be physically out of state.  This would affect many senior citizens, college students, and those who are without a means of transportation to get to the polls or who are working during the hours that the polls are open or who can’t get there in time.

E.  Collective bargaining and workers’ rights to unionize could become restricted as has happened in other states.  The hard fought rights of educations, such as the Triborough Decision, could be altered or eliminated.

F.  Age discrimination in housing and jobs could be enacted which is important because of 2020 31% of people between 65-75 will still be working.

G.  Worker protections such as minimum wage, workers compensation, child labor regulations, 8-hour day, and how overtime is treated could be changed.

H.  Social welfare and public relief benefits and oversight and protections for nursing homes could be changed.

I.  A bi-cameral legislature could be changed, making the legislature one house.

J.  NYS could be divided into two states, upstate and downstate, as the organization Divide NYS Caucus would like.

K.  A prohibition on gambling could be lifted, which could mean more casinos all around the state.

Please share this information with family and friends.  Urge them to vote NO on the November 7th ballot.  The proposition is on the back of the ballot form.   If you do not vote NO it will be considered as though you do not care.

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


September 25, 2017

Proponents for a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con)

The coming months will be filled with media coverage urging voters to vote for Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) on November 7, 2017.  Many self interest groups are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to promote a successful ‘Yes” vote.  If the voters approve a convention, delegates would be elected in 2018 with the convention held in 2019.  Advocates of a convention contend that the New York State Constitution is long overdue for a change.

Upstate interests support three autonomous regions, each with its own magistrate (Governor) and its own legislature.  Upstate interests have for many years felt that downstate excessive business regulations and unfunded mandates have produced excessive harm for them.

Another change being promoted is the elimination of the present Assembly and Senate.  This view holds that one house and the Governor is the simplest and most effective way to run the State.

Various political, and vested interest groups, are advancing changes in the administration of elections, campaign finance, the structure of the judiciary, marijuana legalization, pro and con abortion, gun rights advocates, and environmental legislation.  Each group will view a Con-Con as an opportunity to enhance their agenda and vote “Yes” for a Con-Con.  The alliance of these groups will be a formidable “Yes” vote.

It is almost certain that questions on tenure, contracts, pensions, and working conditions for educators will be a priority.  Special interest groups will advocate the saving of taxpayer dollars by the elimination of one or more of our protections and rights.

The cost of a Constitutional Convention will be approximately 300 million dollars of your tax dollars.  Each delegate will receive $80,000 plus the cost of their staff.
New York State Constitution grants our duly elected legislators and the Governor the same rights as the delegates of a Constitutional Convention without a 300 million dollar price tag..

It is necessary that each CAS (ESSAA) member promote a “No” vote on November 7, 2017.  Presently the vote on whether or not to have a Constitutional Convention is on the back of the ballot.   However, there is discussion to place it on the front of the ballot.  Look on both sides of the ballot.

Continue to discuss the need of a no votes with your family and friends. We can win this – but we need your constant assistance.

Thank you,
Tony Laurino
Legislative Liaison


September 6, 2017

Constitutional Convention

This is the first in a series of occasional articles that will outline what a Constitutional Convention is; how it functions and the affect it can have on your working conditions and pension.

Every 20 years, New Yorkers have an opportunity to vote whether or not to have a Constitutional Convention to alter, amend or change in any way the State Constitution.

On Election Day, November 7, 2017, New York voters will be asked whether their state’s constitution should be redrafted.  If New Yorkers vote no, the status quo remains.  If the voters vote yes New Yorkers will elect delegates to the Constitutional Convention on Election Day, November 6, 2018.   In this case each of the 63 Senatorial districts will vote for three delegates from that district.  At the same election fifteen delegates-at-large will be elected.

On April 2, 2018 the elected delegates convene to discuss proposed amendment(s).  A majority vote of all the delegates is necessary to submit an amendment to the voters.

New Yorkers will have an opportunity to vote on each proposed amendment in the November 2019 election.

Why do we have to vote “NO” on November 7, 2017?

1.  Civil service employees could have their terms of employment, working conditions and pensions changed.
2.  The Triborough Amendment could be eliminated or changed.
3.   Pension laws for past and future retirees could be altered.

It is not too early to discuss with family and friends the need to vote “NO” onNovember 7, 2017.

Thank you,
Anthony C. Laurino
Legislative Liaison


 

NYS Legislative Update June 20, 2017

The 2015 education legislation granted tenured teachers who move from one school district to another the right to serve a three year probation instead of four years.   Administrators and supervisors were not included in this legislation. For the past year we have been lobbying for equity.  Last week the Senate passed our bill 60-0.  The bill has been sent to the Assembly where it is being sponsored by Assemblyman Peter Abbate (Bill A-8108).

Please send the following email to your Assemblyperson:

Honorable ____________:

The education legislation of 2015 provided a three year probation period for tenured teachers who move from one school district to another.  The bill did not include administrators and supervisors.  Assemblyperson Peter Abbate’s bill A-8108 rectified the inequity.  I urge you to vote for this bill when it comes before the assembly.

Sincerely,
NAME
ADDRESS

Reminder to Members:

Your PAC donations afford us greater opportunities to meet with legislators and discuss our education agenda.  Please give serious consideration to contribute when you receive PAC information in August.

Thank you,

Sincerely,
Tony
Anthony C. Laurino
CAS Legislative Liaison


NYS Legislative Update June 5, 2017

We now have an Assembly sponsor for our tenured administrators and supervisors bills.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate sponsored bill A8108 which relates to tenured administrator and supervisors who move from one district to another to serve a three year probationary period instead of four.  This bill will be on the Assembly Education committee agenda soon.  It is incumbent upon each member to send the following email to the members of the Assembly Education Committee.  We need 1400 emails if we want this to happen.

Honorable Catherine Nolan,

The education legislation of 2015 granted a three year probationary period to tenured teachers who more from one school district to another.  Since the legislation did not specifically identify administrators and supervisors they have not been included.

Bill A8108 rectifies this.  I urge you vote this bill to the full Assembly for a vote since it establishes Administrator & Supervisors’ equity with the teachers.

Thank you for your consideration.

Your Name

Send same email to each Education Committee Member:

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Education Committee
Email: NolanC@nyassembly.gov

The following are members of the committee:

Carman E. Arroyo
Email:  ArroyoC@nyassembly.gov

Michael Benedetto
Email:  benedettom@nyassembly.gov

Anthony Brindisi
Email:  brindisia@nyassembly.gov

Steve Englebright
Email:  EngleS@nyassembly.gov

Al Graf
Email:  grafa@nyassembly.gov

Earlene Hooper
Email:  hoopere@nyassembly.gov

Ellen Jaffee
Email:  JaffeeE@nyassembly.gov

Ron Kim
Email:  kimR@nyassembly.gov

Peter Lawrence
Email:  lawrencep@nyassembly.gov

Barbara Lifton
Email:  LiftonB@nyassembly.gov

Peter D. Lopez
Email:  LopezP@nyassembly.gov

William B. Magnarelli8
Email:  MagnarW@nyassembly.gov

Shelly Mayer
Email:  MayerS@nyassembly.gov

David G. McDonough
Email: mcdonough@nyassembly.gov

Steven F. McLauglin
Email:  mclaughlins@nyassembly.gov

Michael Miller
Email:  MillerMG@nyassembly.gov

Walter T. Mosley
Email:  MosleyW@nyassembly.gov

Dean Murray
Email:  murrayd@nyassembly.gov

Daniel J. O’Donnell
Email:  OdonnellD@nyassembly.gov

Steven Otis
Email:  OtisS@nyassembly.gov

Amy Paulin
Email:  PaulinA@nyassembly.gov

Edward P. Ra
Email:  Rae@nyassembly.gov

Phil Ramos
Email:  ramosp@nyassembly.gov

Linda B. Rosenthal
Email:  RosentL@nyassembly.gov

Sean Ryan
Email:  RyanS@nyassembly.gov

Rebecca A. Seawright
Email:  SeawrightR@nyassembly.gov

Fred W. Thiele, Jr.
Email:  ThieleF@nyassembly.gov

Matthew Titone
Email:  TitoneM@nyassembly.gov

Michele R. Titus
Email:  TitusM@nyassembly.gov

Mary Beth Walsh
Email:  walshm@nyassembly.gov

Thank you,

Sincerely,
Tony
Anthony C. Laurino
CAS Legislative Liaison


NYS Legislative Update May 5, 2017

Bob Ungar, Kristin Curran, and I were in the Capital when the legislators returned on Monday, April 24th.  We had scheduled meetings with legislators to discuss the administrators’ tenure legislation, the impending legislation on students’ code of conduct and suspensions, and the Constitutional Convention.

Administrators Tenure

The 2015 education legislation allows a tenured teacher who takes employment in another school district to serve three years’ probation.  The legislation is silent on administrators hence administrators must serve a four year probation.  Since the summer we have had meetings with Senator Carl Marcellino, Senate Education Chair, to advance legislation granting administrators the same rights as teachers.  At our meeting last week legislation was put into draft form.  We are now waiting for a bill number after which it will move to the Senate Education Committee.  Senator Martin Golden, Civil Service and Pension Chair, will co-sponsor the bill.  When the bill goes to the Education Committee, you will be directed to contact Senate members in your district and request that they move the bill out of committee to the Senate floor.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Civil Service and Pension Chair, will sponsor the bill in the Assembly.  When it moves to the Assembly Education Committee, you will be requested to contact Assembly people in your district and ask that they move the bill to the floor of the Assembly.  It is not usual for a bill to be fast tracked as this is.  We need your assistance in contacting legislators when the time comes.  We will send an eblast with the names and contact numbers of members on each of the education committees.

Student Code of Conduct and Suspension Bill

We met with Assembly and Senate legislators to discuss bills (A3873-S3036).  Both bills are based on a New York City restorative justice movement.  The legislators we spoke with had no knowledge of the bills.  After we explained a few of the bills problems such as, removing the authority of the Board of Education; not permitting a student to be removed from class or school activities in response to tardiness, unexcused absence from class or school, leaving school without permission, insubordinate behavior including, but not limited to the use of inappropriate language or gestures, lack of identification upon request or a violation of school dress code; requiring school districts to establish a committee of parents, teachers, students, security personnel, and representatives of all school organizations to write a NEW code of conduct.    When this has been accomplished a public hearing about the proposed code of conduct must be held before its adoption. There was unanimous agreement among legislators we met with that the bills would not go anywhere.

Constitutional Convention

Aside from a few legislators, there wasn’t a compulsion to push for a constitutional convention.  It was widely agreed upon that this is being pushed by people outside the Capital.

We have agreed with other municipal labor unions to stay in contact with our members urging them to impress upon family and friends the need to vote no for a Constitutional Convention in November.  The legislature can accomplish through legislation anything a Constitutional Convention can.  EXCEPT – change pension laws.  Only a con-con can change pension laws.  A Constitutional Convention makes us vulnerable in terms of working conditions and pension.  Presently the legislature has no designs on either, but other money people do.  A few legislators researched the cost of a con-con, and the numbers are now in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

We will continue to monitor these initiatives in Albany and keep you informed!

Very truly yours,
Tony
Anthony C. Laurino
CAS Legislative Liaison


April 11, 2017

The 2017-2018 budget was agreed upon this weekend.  This budget, as previous budgets, included non-budget policy items.  This was one of the issues, but not the only one, that held up an agreement.  Senator John DeFrancisco has suggested the legislature move on a constitution amendment.  Senator DeFrancisco is from the Syracuse area.  Members from that area should phone, email, and/or fax the Senator.  A Constitutional Convention will add millions to the budget while taking funds from other categories such as education.  Legislators have left Albany for a two week vacation.

Education Budget Highlights:

  • Foundation aid increase of $700 million, for a total school aid increase roughly $1.1 billion;
  • Extends contracts for excellence until all schools with the district are in “good standing”;
  • Requires the chancellor of NYC to notify students about the opportunity to attend a specialized high school;
  • Non-public schools- Allows non-publics to access smart school bond funding for connectivity projects, provides grants for STEM teachers, provides reimbursements for state mandated immunizations;
  • Charter schools- Increases facilities funding for schools in NYC and provides a supplemental tuition;
  • Pre-kindergarten- Allows parents of pre-kindergarten programs to serve on community district education councils in New York City, consolidates five of the six programs into a single program over multiple years, requires districts to adopt quality indicators, requires SED to adopt a new tuition methodology for pre-school special education integrated classes;
  • Allows districts to enter into ten year contracts for educating Native American children;
  • Increases the threshold for school districts to purchase food from farm collectives directly from $25K to $50K

Very truly yours,
Tony
Anthony C. Laurino
CAS Legislative Liaison


February 16, 2017

New York State Constitutional Convention

What is a Constitutional Convention?

Every twenty years New York State voters are afforded the opportunity to vote on whether or not to convene a Constitutional Convention.  This year the vote will take place on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7th.  If passed, the Constitutional vote will be held in April 2019.

How are delegates selected to represent

the voters at the Constitutional Convention?

Each of the 63 Senate districts is allotted three (3) members with fifteen (15) at large delegates.  The delegates meet in Albany and have the ability to amend any section of the state constitution.  Upon agreement of a majority of the delegates, the amendment will then go before the voters for approval.

Is it possible for CAS members to be affected? 

All civil service employees could be faced with drastic changes in working conditions and pensions.  Under the present constitution, our terms of employment are protected.  Delegates to the convention could put on the ballot a change or elimination to the Triborough Amendment.  Delegates could also amend the pension laws for past and future retirees.  The very structure of working conditions along with your employment and pension benefits will be in the hands of political appointees.

Is there a better way?

Crucial changes to the New York State Constitution can be passed through legislation with the exception of pension reductions.  It is not necessary to open the entire constitution to make changes.

What can you do to help?

Our concern is that the anti-union sentiment pervasive in our current political system will attract a great deal of out of state money that will be devoted solely to weakening public sector unions through the diminishment of benefits. Speak with your family and friends and request they contact their state legislators to tell them there are better ways to make changes.  Let the state legislators stand behind their legislation with a yes or no vote.

Finally, become active and involved in your local association and stand willing to assist CAS and its efforts on your behalf to insure we maintain our hard-fought rights and benefits.

FACT:  The 1967 New York State Constitutional Convention cost taxpayers roughly $6.5 million.  In 2017 numbers, that’s close to $50 million that could be put to better use.

Sincerely,
Tony
Anthony C. Laurino
CAS Legislative Liaison


January 24, 2017

The New York State Constitution requires the election of state legislators every two years.  Between Election Day in November and the end of December, the outgoing legislators may vote for a salary increase for the incoming legislators.

Representatives of the Assembly and Senate met with independent gubernatorial appointees in December to discuss the raise.  State lawmakers have not had a raise since 1999.  In addition to the raise, the Governor’s appointees added ethics reform, affordable housing, and lower property taxes to the agenda.  This lead to a stalemate.

Assemblyman Mike DenDekker stated that the failure of the independent gubernatorial appointees to act of their own accord might well be illegal and the appointees may have violated sections of the “Public Officers Law.”

On December 27, 2016 the Governor announced plans to hold six State of the State messages in different areas of the state instead of the traditional one address before the numbers of the Assembly, Senate, and taxpayers.  The State Constitution requires the Governor to communicate to legislators the condition of the State and make recommendations for the new session.  Governor Cuomo’s office said this year’s events are aimed at delivery the governor’s message directly to the people, not the power players.  The leadership of the Assembly and the Senate announced they would not attend any of the Governor’s six addresses.

On this note, the 2017 session begins.  As previously reported Bob Ungar and I have been meeting with legislators for the past several months to garner support for our 2017 legislative program.
We identified three key topics of importance to our members:

Tax Cap – The reality of eliminating the Tax Cap is unrealistic since it is one of the Governor’s signature pieces of legislation.  The tax cap for the 2017-2018 school year is projected to be under 1% this year as it was for the last two years.  School districts will be forced to cut programs, staff, and services to accommodate the cap or, pierce the cap and hope for an approval of 60% from the taxpayer.  At this time we have the support from a core group of legislators for a real 2% Tax Cap that would not be tied to the cost of living or any other mechanism that would lower it.

A recent report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found local governments in New York continue to struggle with little, or no, revenue growth.

Jarema Credit – Included within the 2015 Educational Transformation Act was the expansion of the probationary period for all teachers and administrators from three (3) to four (4) years.  The legislation continued the so-called “Jarema Credit” which shortens the probationary period to three (3) years for teachers who had received tenure in another district. However, this does not extend to administrators and only applies to teachers.  Tenured administrators who move to another district would be subject to serving another four (4) year probationary period.  We have met with Senator Marcellino, and other legislators who agree that this legislation is partial to teachers and inexplicably inequitable.  There exists no common sense or logical reason to distinguish between teachers and administrators in this area.  Bob and I will work with Senator Marcellino, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, to draft a change to this piece of legislation.

APPR – Bob and I will continue to work with legislators regarding the smoke and mirrors of APPR.  Realistically, there is not an evaluation system that will improve our schools.  Each student enters school with a different set of variables, i.e. home life, real economic circumstances, home value of education, language barriers, social promotion, education readiness, etc.  Self-serving private sectors posit that failing schools are the result of poorly performing teachers and administrators who are protected by the unions.  We need to remain steadfast in our goal to expose the myths of the private sector.

Governor Cuomo’s State of the State preliminary education proposals include:

Create 22,000 after school slots in the 16 Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative Areas

Expand high-quality Pre-K

Create additional early college high schools to provide opportunities in tech sector

Create additional early college high schools to provide opportunities in tech sector

Expand NYS Maser Teacher Program: computer science teachers

Extend Empire State Excellence in Teaching Awards

The Governor proposed an increase of $75.3 million dollars for Long Island’s public schools.  The total Nassau, Suffolk proposal for 2017-2018 is $2.7 billion.  This year the allowable tax-levy increase is 1.26 percent.  Nothing is written in stone.  We will have to wait on the March discussions among the Assembly and Senate leaders with the Governor.

To these ends, I ask for a CAS/PAC donation of $50 from every CAS member.  Click here for a dues deduction form. You can also donate via PayPal through our website at http://casliny.com/legislation/caspac-contributions/

During the course of the year, in addition to your PAC contributions, I will likely ask for your support by making telephone calls and sending emails to your legislators.

Sincerely,
Tony
Anthony C. Laurino
CAS Legislative Liaison