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Legislative Bulletin: Priority Legislation Moves as Lawmakers Return to Albany

TBI-DD Integration Bill Advances to Senate Floor Calendar

With budget season and a two-week recess officially in the books, the Legislature returned to Albany on Monday for the second half of session. Lawmakers quickly got back to work introducing and debating various pieces of legislation, including A.1425 (Jenne)/S.517 (Young), one of LeadingAge NY’s priority bills that would enable individuals with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained after the age of 21 to access developmental disabilities (DD) services. We are pleased to report that the bill advanced from the Senate Finance Committee to the Senate Floor Calendar on Tuesday and ask that you encourage your Senators’ support for it when it comes up for a vote.

Other key legislation related to the role of the nurse in adult care facilities (ACFs), an increase in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) State supplement, mandated staffing ratios, and Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) revitalization remained stagnant this week. LeadingAge NY continues to closely monitor the committee agendas and will keep members apprised of any updates. As we reported last week, preparations are currently underway for our May 8th CCRC Advocacy Day, which will be held in Albany and revolve around the CCRC Revitalization Act and cybersecurity regulations exemption bill. In addition, LeadingAge NY and a coalition of housing organizations and advocates have issued a letter urging members of the Assembly Housing Committee to co-sponsor our Affordable Independent Senior Housing Assistance Program legislation. We encourage you to fill in your Assembly representatives’ contact information and share it with them as well.

Key Special Elections Set for Tuesday

This coming Tuesday, special elections will be held across the state to fill 11 vacancies in the Legislature. Of particular significance are the elections in the 32nd and 37th Senate Districts, which could tip the balance of power in the Senate and State government as a whole to the Democrats. To regain a numerical majority, the newly unified Senate Democratic Conference is looking to win both races and, with assistance from the Governor, persuade Senator Simcha Felder to end his longstanding alliance with the Republicans.

In the 32nd Senate District, Democratic Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, Republican Patrick Delices, and Reform Party candidate Pamela Stewart-Martinez are facing off for the seat formerly held by Ruben Diaz, who was elected to the New York City Council last year. In the 37th District, Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer and Republican Julie Killian are vying to fill the seat previously held by George Latimer, who in January became Westchester County Executive.

Governor Cuomo Restores Voting Rights for Parolees

On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order restoring the right to vote for an estimated 35,000 New Yorkers on parole. Per the Governor’s press announcement, the move will bring New York in line with 14 other states and the District of Columbia that allow parolee voting rights as well as “reduce disenfranchisement” and “help restore justice and fairness to our democratic process.”

The measure drew praise from criminal justice reform advocates and a number of Democratic lawmakers, though some on both sides of the aisle expressed uneasiness about the Governor circumventing the Legislature.

Assemblyman Frank Skartados Dies at 62

Finally, it was reported earlier this week that Assemblyman Frank Skartados had passed away following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 62 and had been serving his fourth term in the Assembly.

Upon the news of the Assemblyman's passing, several state and federal lawmakers issued statements honoring his legacy of service. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie remembered him as a "devoted public servant" who "embodied all of the qualities that make New York a great place to call home," while Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) called him "a fighter for the people he loved and a voice for many who had none."

Contacts:

Ami Schnauber, aschnauber@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8854

Jeff Diamond, jdiamond@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8821