We are happy to report that everything turned out the way we wanted it to. I stayed in Albany into the early hours of Saturday morning when the Assembly finally adjourned. It's important that the legislators knew we were there watching all that was going on.
We lobbied persistently with letters and visits to key legislators to kill the Court Consolidation bill, A9401/S8424 Lavine/Hoylman. As I had previously stated once the Judges voted to have the Senate Lines re-drawn anything from the Courts would be dead on arrival. Judge DeFiore was dealt a loss despite her efforts with hiring a lobbying firm and enlisting big firms to join her. Well her attempts failed. Our letters to every member of the Judicial Committee in both the Senate and the Assembly put them on notice. So the Court Merger is dead for this year and we will see what they try next year.
Also as I had stated in the June email the Senate left and the Single-payer legislation died in the Senate Health Committee, A6058 Gottfried. However, with the Assembly still in session, we needed to make sure the bill did not come out of the Ways and Means Committee which it did not. Once again I believe our Memos in Opposition and visits to the legislators made our point loud and clear that we were opposed to the Single Payer Legislation. I even had conversations with Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Chair of Ways and Means to inform her of our strong opposition So the Single Payer Legislation has been defeated once again however I do not doubt that it will resurface next year. Even though Assemblyman Gottfried will be gone someone else will most likely pick it up in the Assembly.
Our 3/4 Disability Bill passed the Senate on 05/16 by a vote in the Senate of 61-0. Senate Bill S8399 by Senator Robert Jackson, the new Chair of Civil Service & Pensions. Assembly Bill 6365 by Assemblyman Peter Abbate passed the Assembly on 06/01 by a vote of 147 to 2. Initially, the bill was laid aside by the Assembly Republicans for debate and consideration. It was also being held up in Ways and Means Committee in the Assembly however I was able to get it out of Ways and Means and then met with the Republican Minority leader Will Barclay and requested he not lay it aside for fear it would not then get passed before the Assembly adjourned. The bill moved out of Ways and Means and into Rules and then was passed. I have already prepared a letter to the Governor and will be requesting to meet with her and her staff to convince them that this is an equity bill and not a pension enhancement like the former Governor always vetoed stating it was a pension enhancement.
S9119 Gounardes This bill passed. Relates to extending the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) benefit for public employee's death benefit.
S9466 Hoylman This bill passed. It expands the number of Judges in certain Judicial Districts and Family courts. The actual bill breaks down where the increases will occur.
Peter D. Meringolo