RoAnn M. Destito - Chair
The Honorable Sheldon Silver
Dear Speaker Silver,
As Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Governmental Operations, I respectfully submit to you the 2005 Annual Report. I have outlined the Committee’s significant legislation and our outlook for the 2006 session.
The Committee had a number of accomplishments this year. The Lobbying Law was strengthened to capture procurement contracts and tribal-state compacts. The Freedom of Information Law was strengthened by requiring the government to provide public information faster to those who make requests. In addition, a loophole was removed from the State Ethics Law making public officials and employees more accountable for their actions. These three accomplishments will significantly reform how the State conducts business.
The agenda for 2006 will continue the Committee’s focus on improving the state’s procurement process and on strengthening existing laws promoting minority- and women-owned business enterprises. Government reform will remain a focus of discussion in 2006. The Committee will continue to be active participants in this process.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Speaker and the Committee members for their continued support. This past year had been a productive one, but much still remains to be done. I look forward to meeting the challenges ahead in the 2006 Legislative Session.
MEMBERS OF THE NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
STANDING COMMITTEE ON
RoAnn M. Destito, Chair
Sandra R. Galef
Margaret M. Markey
Patricia A. Eddington
Robert P. Reilly
George S. Latimer
Crystal D. Peoples
Louis A. Mosiello,
Ranking Minority Member
Joanne Barker, Legislative Coordinator
Cheryl L. Couser, Principal Policy Analyst
Elizabeth Hogan, Counsel
Nichole Hedglin, Committee Assistant
Anne Sconiers, Committee Clerk
Kathleen Quackenbush, Secretary
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
The Governmental Operations Committee’s jurisdiction encompasses a broad spectrum of legislative issues. The Committee’s subject areas include: governmental reform, lobbying laws, crime victims, human rights, the Executive Law, the rights of the physically challenged, state procurement, Indian affairs, the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Laws, public lands and buildings, and the organization and operation of the executive and legislative branches of State government. The Committee also acts on legislation referred to it by the Assembly Ethics and Guidance Committee, the Assembly Committee on Oversight, Analysis, and Investigation, the Administrative Regulation Review Commission, and the Legislative Commission on Government Administration.
II. LEGISLATION AFFECTING MILITARY PERSONNEL
III. CRIME VICTIMS
The Governmental Operations Committee considers legislation addressing the Crime Victims Board, the agency charged with advocating for and compensating eligible crime victims. The Committee’s interest and commitment to the concerns of crime victims goes beyond issues directly relating to the Board itself. The Committee developed a legislative package to improve the responsiveness of the criminal justice system to crime victims and to improve the structure of the Board.
IV. DIVISION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The State Division of Human Rights is the agency charged with enforcement of the State’s Human Rights Law, which protects the citizens of New York from discrimination based on race, sex, marital status, and other protected categories.
V. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND OPEN MEETINGS LAWS
The Freedom of Information Law extends the public’s right to know the process of governmental decision-making by allowing citizens to review documents that form the bases of governmental decisions and actions. The Open Meetings Law ensures that citizens are fully aware of and can observe the performance of public officials by attending and listening to the deliberation and decisions that go into the making of public policy. Both these laws ensure the government’s accountability to the people.
VI. GOVERNMENTAL REFORM
The Governmental Operations Committee has jurisdiction over the Public Officers Law, which regulates many of the actions of public employees. Some of these regulated actions deal with interactions between individuals and state agencies and address professional ethics, while others deal with protection for public employees. In many cases these laws are an important demonstration to the public of government’s desire to have an open and ethical system of government.
VII. GOVERNMENTAL ADMINISTRATION
VIII. REGULATORY REFORM
The Governmental Operations Committee has jurisdiction over the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA), which governs the conduct of state administrative hearings and proceedings. Regulations are promulgated by agencies in order to carry out their missions and to implement laws. In many cases, regulations issued by State agencies have as much impact on the health, safety, and welfare of citizens as do the laws of the State.
IX. LEGISLATION AFFECTING PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
X. DISASTER PREPAREDNESS, FIRE AND SAFETY
The Governmental Operations Committee considers legislation concerning the four entities charged with the delivery of emergency services in the State. These agencies are the Office of Fire Prevention and Control in the Department of State, the Bureau of Emergency Services in the Department of Health, the State Emergency Management Office within the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, and the Office of Homeland Security.
XI. OFFICE OF GENERAL SERVICES
Procurement Stewardship Act
On September 27, 2005, the Committee held a hearing to examine the effectiveness of the State’s Procurement Stewardship Act (PSA). The PSA is set to expire on June 30, 2006. In 1995, the Procurement Stewardship Act (State Finance Law, Article 11) was enacted in order to consolidate, codify, and update the procurement laws of New York State. Recognizing that the law would need to be periodically reevaluated, the Legislature enacted an original sunset date of 2000 for the law. At that time it was renewed for an additional five years. This year, a one-year extender was enacted in the budget, providing additional time for a reevaluation of New York State’s procurement law.
When the Stewardship Act was renewed in 2000, a number of significant changes were made to the State Finance Law. This hearing will obtain information in order to review the impact of those changes. It also seeks comment on a number of issues that have a significant impact on the State procurement laws and bills that have been introduced to improve the State’s procurement process. Many entities, including the State Comptroller, the Office of General Services, and Industries for the Blind testified.
Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs)
The Committee of Governmental Operations continued its review and oversight on the implementation of Article 15-A of the Executive law which was designed to promote a level playing field for minority- and women -owned business enterprises to compete for state contracts. In doing so, the Committee convened a hearing on March 3, 2005, in New York City to assess State agency compliance with Article 15-A. In addition, the Committee convened a hearing in Syracuse, New York, on October 25, 2005, to obtain constituent feedback regarding the implementation of this law.
In addition to assessing compliance and obtaining feedback with regards to Article 15-A, the Committee also participated in a hearing, on April 14, 2005, to review MWBE access to surety bonding. Access to capital, insurance, and bonding are often impediments to MWBE owners to compete for state contracts. This hearing examined the surety business and avenues to increase access to necessary financial tools.
The Exercise of Eminent Domain in New York State
The Committee has jointly held hearings in Albany and New York City with the Judiciary Committee, the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee, and the Committee on Local Government to review New York State laws governing the use of Eminent Domain in the State. In light of a recent Supreme Court decision that addressed a Connecticut statute governing the taking of property for economic development purposes, the Committees are acting to ensure that any proposal to take property affords a property owner every available safeguard and the ability to be heard regarding the proposed taking.
The Committee on Governmental Operations continued its oversight of the State’s preparedness efforts by holding a series of hearings in New York City and Long Island. The New York City hearings on September 29, 2005 and October 31, 2005, examined New York City’s emergency response and evacuation plans in the event of a weather-related emergency. The hearing on Long Island on December 13, 2005, focused on disaster coordination between units of government.
Regulation of Social Security Numbers and Personal Identifying Information
On September 15, 2005, the Committee on Governmental Operations and the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection held a hearing to examine federal and state law regulating the use of social security numbers (SSNs) and other personal identifying information and how such use affects consumers, particularly whether such use increases the risk of identity theft. A number of bills have been introduced in the Committee on Consumer Affairs and the Committee on Governmental Operations seeking to regulate the use of SSNs and personal identifying information by businesses and state agencies. Issues of federal pre-emption, alternative identifiers, and state actions regarding this issue were also reviewed.
Budget Implementation Hearings
One of the responsibilities of each Assembly Standing Committee is to examine the impact of the State Budget on programs within its jurisdiction. The Committee on Governmental Operations held budget implementation hearings on November 16, 2005, and December 5, 2005, in Albany, New York. The hearings were useful to assess the implementation of policy and to plan for the upcoming budget cycle.
On November 16, 2005, the Committee received testimony from the Office of Homeland Security, the Division of State Police, the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the Crime Victims Board, the Division of Human Rights, the Office for Technology and the Temporary State Commission on Lobbying. On December, 5, 2005, the Committee held a joint hearing with the Committee on Local Governments to review the budget of the Department of State. The Committees also received testimony from the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, the Firemen"s Association of the State of New York and the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York.
Considerations for the 2006 Legislative Session
The Committee will focus on improving the state’s procurement process in conjunction with the renewal of the Stewardship Act, which expires on June 30, 2006. We will continue our oversight of the implementation of Article 15-A of the Executive Law dealing with minority and women business enterprise access to state contracts.
The Committee will also continue to focus on strengthening the State’s Open Meetings Laws and Freedom of Information Law and ensuring that adequate measures are taken to secure the State and its communities against terrorist attack and the consequences of natural disasters.
SUMMARY OF ACTION ON ALL BILLS
REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON
|BILLS REPORTED WITH OR WITHOUT AMENDMENT|
|BILLS HAVING COMMITTEE REFERENCE CHANGED|
|SENATE BILLS SUBSTITUTED OR RECALLED|
|BILLS DEFEATED IN COMMITTEE||0||0||0|
|BILLS NEVER REPORTED, HELD IN COMMITTEE||398||36||434|
|BILLS NEVER REPORTED, DIED IN COMMITTEE||0||0||0|
|BILLS HAVING ENACTING CLAUSES STRICKEN||3||0||3|
|MOTIONS TO DISCHARGE LOST||0||0||0|
|TOTAL BILLS IN COMMITTEE||531||47||578|
|TOTAL NUMBER OF COMMITTEE MEETINGS HELD||15|
|Appendix B: Chapters of 2005|
|A.714-B||Pheffer||Enhances victim awareness of and participation in judicial proceedings and the parole process by increasing notification to the crime victim of his or her rights. Chapter 186 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.2947||Morelle||Requires the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in multiple dwellings constructed or offered for sale. Chapter 438 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.3107||Sweeney||Protects individuals from employment discrimination based on genetic profiling. Chapter 75 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.3469||Brodsky||Authorizes the appointment of Assembly and Senate historians. Chapter 398 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.4186||Diaz, R.||Streamlines and simplifies the rulemaking process. Chapter 441 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.4189||Diaz, R.||Makes technical amendments to Chapter 730 of the laws of 2004, which provides the public access to agency guidance documents. Chapter 253 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.4254||Brennan||Ensures that consumers will be notified if access to their personal information is compromised due to an unauthorized breach of a government or corporate computer system. Chapter 442 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.4257-A||Brennan||Eliminates unnecessary reporting requirements, modifies frequency of other reports, and enhances quality of reports. Chapter 524 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.4466-A||DiNapoli||Eliminates the $100,000 homestead value limitation for the purposes of determining "financial hardship" for crime victim compensation. Chapter 322 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.4762||Bing||Clarifies rules and regulations that relate to the posting of application forms of state agencies on the internet. Chapter 65 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.4975-A||Destito||Extends the authority of the State Ethics Commission to pursue action against an individual for one year after they have held public employment or run for public office. Chapter 165 of the laws of 2005.|
|A5830-C||Perry||Designates November 30th of every year as "Shirley Chisholm Day," a day of commemoration in recognition of Shirley Chisholm’s accomplishments. Chapter 445 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.6096||Destito||Includes certain rivers and creeks within the Tug Hill region in the definition of "inland waterways" in order to be able to participate in waterfront revitalization programs. Chapter 560 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.6595-B||Jacobs||Extends the authorization of the Department of State to administer the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) through the year 2006. Chapter 329 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.6714||Destito||Clarifies aspects of the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for both the requesters of information and State agencies that respond to FOIL requests. Chapter 22 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.6717||Paulin||Strengthens crime victims’ rights by expanding coverage for certain out-of-pocket losses and by requiring written notice to crime victims of their rights during the claim process. Chapter 408 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.6761-B||DiNapoli||Provides for fiscal audits of school districts, boards of cooperative educational services, and charter schools to reduce fiscal abuses. Chapter 267 of the laws of 2005|
|A.6853||Errigo||Allows the code enforcement officer and building inspector for the village of Honeoye Falls, Monroe County, to live in Monroe County or an adjacent county within New York State. Chapter 81 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.7055||McEneny||Requires that any state office located in a building that is owned or leased by the State conduct at least two evacuation drills annually. Chapter 207 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.7516||McEneny||Protects the privacy of veterans by limiting the disclosure of honorable discharge certificates. Chapter 298 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.7517||Destito||Extends for another year the provisions of the Patriot Plan that suspended public retirement loan repayment obligations to members of the military. Chapter 150 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.8312||Magnarelli||Requires the Division of Criminal Justice Services to make ongoing outreach efforts to assist in the implementation and operation of Amber Alert plans. Chapter 348 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.8367||Silver||Requires the special administration of any licensing examination that occurs on a day of religious observance. Chapter 422 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.8411||Destito||Provides for the training and certification of persons employed in the manufactured home industry, as well as a dispute resolution mechanism in the manufactured home industry. Chapter 729 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.8526||Weinstein||Authorizes the Crime Victims Board to award up to $2,500 in relocation expenses to victims when necessary for the safety or health of the claimant. Chapter 377 of the laws of 2005|
|A.8545||Reilly||Allows the transfer of certain mainframe computing functions from the Division of State Police to the Office of Technology. Chapter 539 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.8614-A||O’Mara||Allows the deputy sheriff of Schuyler County to live in Schuyler County or a county that is contiguous to Schuyler County. Chapter 388 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.8746||Latimer||Extends full indemnification protection to directors, officers, and employees of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) in the course of their performance of EFC’s activities. Chapter 488 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.8945||Sayward||Assists residents in Essex and Warren Counties whose property suffered flooding damage by allowing a special reduction in assessments for certain properties affected by the June 2005 floods. Chapter 222 of the laws of 2005.|
|A.8964||Silver||Regulates certain interactions between lobbyists and public officials. Chapter 1 of the laws of 2005.|
|Appendix C: Vetoes of 2005|
|A.3454-A||Bing||Would amend provisions relating to prompt contracting for state contracts with not-for-profit organizations. Veto memo # 25.|
|A.5616||Weisenberg||Would require the use of certain language or terminology in legislation when referring to individuals with disabilities. Veto memo # 60.|
|A.5866-A||Gianaris||Would establish the Astoria Residential Emergency Economic Relief Program in order to assist residents recovering from flooding due to a water main break on or about February 16, 2005. Veto memo # 4.|
|A.6333||Christensen||Would require that rule-making agencies provide an easily understandable small business guide, informing small businesses owners what they must do to be in compliance with state regulations. Veto memo # 102.|
|A.7061-A||Christensen||Would assist small businesses and local governments by enabling them to make installment payments for civil penalties owed to State agencies. Veto memo # 4|
|A.8072||Galef||Would establish a statewide first responder building mapping information system task force. Veto memo #112|
BILLS THAT PASSED THE ASSEMBLY
|A.9-C||Silver||Would regulate the interactions between lobbyists and government officials in order to increase public confidence in state and local government.|
|A.35||Sanders||Would change reporting requirements for the Crime Victims Board regarding restitution and fair treatment standards from annual to biannual.|
|A.90||Sanders||Would provide for open meetings to be photographed, broadcast, and recorded by audio or video means.|
|A.147||Destito||Would require that surplus state personal property be offered to municipalities prior to public sales of such property.|
|A.257||Destito||Would grant a court discretion to direct that a portion of any fine or penalty paid by an adjudicated violator of the State’s Antitrust Law be paid to the Crime Victims Board.|
|A.282||Christensen||Would direct the Division of Human Rights to institute rules of practice for the consolidation of complaints when appropriate.|
|A.815||Stringer||Would require that public bodies make reasonable efforts to have qualified interpreters for the hearing-impaired at public meetings.|
|A.1235||Dinowitz||Would permit the awarding of reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and exemplary damages in court actions for unlawful discriminatory practices.|
|A.1236||Dinowitz||Would require that the Crime Victims Board issue awards in accordance with the State Administrative Procedure Act.|
|A.1258||John||Would strengthen the open meetings law by providing alternative judicial remedies to the courts when any aspect of a meeting is closed in violation of the Open Meetings Law.|
|A.1259||John||Would establish conditions for when a state agency shall enter into a contract for personal services.|
|A.1348||Morelle||Would prohibit the practice of state agencies extending loans to employees.|
|A.1675||Grannis||Would allow for the reimbursement of attorney and litigation fees in wrongful denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law.|
|A.1678-A||Gunther||Would establish the Orange and Sullivan County Residential and Small Business Economic Relief Program to assist residents and businesses recover from storms that occurred.|
|A.2213||Koon||Would increase the tools available to law enforcement by expanding the information entered into the databank to include shell casings and projectiles.|
|A.2159||Lifton||Would waive the immunity of the State and its subdivisions for actions resulting from violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.|
|A.2413||Wright||Would grant the Attorney General jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute police misconduct.|
|A.2531||Hoyt||Would require that the Executive maintain specified public and private records, as well as establish protocols for control of the records following the governor's term in office.|
|A.2825||DiNapoli||Would prohibit the practice of compensating employees of different sexes differently for work of comparable value.|
|A.2941||Diaz, R.||Would include within compensable losses lost wages of the parent or guardian of a minor who is hospitalized as the result of a crime in crime victims’ compensation awards.|
|A.3032||Pretlow||Would require that public bodies make a reasonable effort to hold meetings in a location that will accommodate all members of the public who wish to attend.|
|A.3173||Gottfried||Would relate to the amendment of legislation containing future effective dates or sunset dates.|
|A.3256||DiNapoli||Would relate to the filing of financial disclosure documents.|
|A.3257||DiNapoli||Would require the FBI to provide to the Division of Criminal Justice Services criminal history report on individuals seeking employment as caregivers to the prospective employers.|
|A.3577||DiNapoli||Would establish an advocate for crime victims in State government.|
|A.3690||Destito||Would establish a victims’ assistance program within the Crime Victims Board.|
|A.3691||Destito||Would require the development and implementation of uniform procedures to be used to notify crime victims of their rights.|
|A.4133||Morelle||Would relate to the hearing of complaints by the Division of Human Rights.|
|A.4194||DiNapoli||Would provide a health care provider to the Crime Victims Board.|
|A.4195||DiNapoli||Would expedite the disposition of claims by the Crime Victims Board.|
|A.4279||DiNapoli||Would raise the threshold amount for certain claims for compensation for crime-related losses from $5,000 to $6,000.|
|A.4372||Brennan||Would relate to audits and follow-up reviews of state agencies by the state comptroller.|
|A.4452||Christensen||Would designate November 12th of every year as "Elizabeth Cady Stanton Day."|
|A.4576||Carrozza||Would designate the last Sunday in September as a day of commemoration for Gold Star Mothers.|
|A.5414||Ramos||Would require the state fire administrator to make training programs available on computer and by video to the maximum extent practicable.|
|A.5512||Ortiz||Would redefine the term "necessary court appearance" when determining an individual’s award from the Crime Victims Board.|
|A.5625-A||Destito||Would clarify aspects of the Freedom of Information Law for both the requesters of information and for the agencies that respond to these requests.|
|A.5871||Canestrari||Would extend the exceptions to restrictions on business and political activities of certain state employees who were terminated after January 1, 1995, and before April 1, 2002, for certain reasons, such as economic changes, abolition of duties, or consolidation within their departments|
|A.6065||Sanders||Would allow individuals to bring valid civil suits in relation to human rights violations for three years after their cases are dismissed for administrative reasons by the Division of Human Rights.|
|A.6282-A||Destito||Would prohibit certain discriminatory practices against domestic violence victims relating to housing.|
|A.6328||Cahill||Would make the scope of protection for individuals with disabilities under the state human rights law consistent with federal legislation.|
|A.6350||McLaughlin||Would authorize the use of innovative techniques to enhance public participation in the rulemaking process, provided that all existing opportunities to participate remain undiminished.|
|A.6527||Cook||Would create policies to strengthen the opportunities of minority- and women-owned business enterprises to compete for state contracts.|
|A.6809-A||Nolan||Would ensure that the United States flag is displayed in all New York State parks.|
|A.7294||Paulin||Would more effectively protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in public accommodations.|
|A.7993||Latimer||Would update the Freedom of Information Law by enabling the public to request and receive records by electronic mail.|
|A.8361||Destito||Would require closely affiliated not-for-profits corporations to abide by the State Code of Ethics.|
New York State Assembly
[ Welcome Page ] [ Committee Updates ]