Reports to the People
35th A.D. • Queens County
CHAIR, ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON CORRECTION
SESSION 2011...AN OVERVIEW
Revised Final Budget Overview
2011-12 State Budget
Closes $10 Billion Deficit
All funds disbursements for the enacted State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2011-12 Budget
are projected to be approximately $131.7 billion, a decrease of $3.1 billion or 2.3 percent
from SFY 2010-11. This budget cuts state spending, closes the state’s $10 billion
deficit, restores vital programs and focuses on job creation. Very difficult choices had to be
made to close a deficit of this magnitude. We worked with Governor Cuomo to ensure that
the state’s fiscal burden did not fall disproportionately on working families.
Investing in Education
The final budget increased education funding by $272 million over the executive budget
proposal. The restorations include $230 million for general support to public schools
statewide, including $53 million for New York City schools bringing the total to $19.6 billion
in the 2011-12 school year. The final budget also includes a two-year appropriation for school
aid, providing an $800 million increase in the 2012-13 school year.
I fought for restorations to soften the sharp cuts because we simply cannot afford to abandon
our public schools. We owe our children the best possible opportunities, which is why I
support a two-year appropriation for school aid that provides for at least an $800 million
increase in next year’s budget.
Protecting Universal Pre-Kindergarten
The Assembly continued its long-standing commitment to Universal Pre-Kindergarten by
maintaining funding in the final budget at $384 million in 2011-12 and 2012-13. It’s been
proven time and time again that early learning gives children a leg up for years to come, that’s
why the Assembly remains committed to preserving and improving this vital program.
Special Education Cost-Shift Rejection Brings Relief to School
The 2011-12 budget rejected the executive proposal to reclassify state-supported schools
for the blind and deaf as approved private schools for students with disabilities, which would
include changing their funding structure, appointment process and student-evaluation
procedures, as well as a cost shift to school districts and taxpayers.
In addition, the budget restored $57 million to the Summer School Special Education program,
which reflects an $86 million restoration to school districts on a school-year basis.
The budget also restored $34.6 million in state support for the Committee on Special Education
residential placements, reducing the burden placed on school districts by the executive budget.
New York State Health Benefit Exchange will
Increase Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care
The Assembly passed legislation (A.8514) that establishes the New York
Health Benefit Exchange in compliance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,
which was signed into law by President Barack Obama last year.
Preserving Higher Education Investments
The 2011-12 state budget made key investments in SUNY and CUNY, ensuring New
York’s colleges and universities can continue to provide a quality, affordable education
while gainfully employing thousands. The budget restored $18.1 million for base aid to
community colleges, $12.9 million for SUNY and $5.1 million for CUNY for a 40 percent
restoration. Our public colleges and universities are high-quality and affordable. This budget
builds on that reputation, keeping New York a leader in public higher education.
The final budget restored $60 million to SUNY hospitals to continue graduate medical education
training and boost critical health care services for surrounding communities. The budget also
restored 39 percent of the proposed base aid cut, or an $88 per Full Time Equivalent restoration,
for a total of $13 million for SUNY community colleges. In addition, the budget provides new
procurement guidelines for SUNY that will allow SUNY colleges and the SUNY Construction Fund
additional authorization to purchase services without prior approval from the attorney general or the
The final budget restored 39 percent of the proposed base aid cut, or an $88 per Full Time Equivalent
restoration, for a total of $5.1 million for CUNY community colleges. In addition, the budget provided
new procurement guidelines for CUNY that will allow CUNY colleges and the CUNY Construction
Fund additional authorization to purchase services without prior approval from the attorney general
or the state comptroller.
The final budget ensured that students who attend public community colleges receive the maximum
award from the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP awards annual grants of up to $4,000 to
eligible New York residents. The grants are based on income and do not have to be paid back. The
budget also restored $900,000 to the High Needs Nursing Program, $653,000 for SUNY childcare
centers and $544,000 for CUNY childcare centers. Every day, New York’s higher learning institutions
provide top-notch education to our students, helping them create their own paths to successful careers.
It is vital that we continue to grow and improve our colleges and universities so we can ensure that each
student is acquiring the best education possible.
HOUSING & RENT REGULATION
Assembly Strengthens Rent Regulations with Boldest Improvements in Nearly 30 Years
Rent regulation is at the heart of ensuring middle-class and lower-income families can
afford to stay in their homes. With the state’s economy in recovery and tenants struggling
to afford skyrocketing rent prices, now more than ever, we needed to enhance – not simply
extend – rent regulations.
In an effort to protect tenants from unreasonable rent hikes, the Assembly passed a law I
supported reflecting a bipartisan agreement to strengthen New York’s rent-regulation laws,
the boldest improvements in nearly 30 years (A.8518 / S.5856;
Chapter 97 of 2011). The law includes many of the measures championed by the Assembly
in previous years, and enacts these new protections until June 15, 2015.
Between 13,000 and 40,000 apartments are decontrolled every year, making it harder for
individuals and families to stay in apartments or find an affordable place to live. Without this new
law, it is estimated that more than 100,000 additional apartments would be lost to decontrol over
the next few years. Instead of allowing rent regulations to expire or just simply extending them,
we were able to create a ground-breaking law that works on closing loopholes and makes it
increasingly difficult for landlords to raise rent and remove apartments from rent control, making
sure that the rights of all tenants are not compromised.
The previous law allowed landlords to remove an apartment from rent control when a tenant vacates
an apartment that rents for $2,000 per month, or when the apartment rents for $2,000 or more per
month and a tenant’s annual income exceeds $175,000. But the new law raises the vacancy
deregulation threshold to $2,500 per month and the high-rent threshold to $2,500 per month, while
increasing the income threshold to $200,000 per year, protecting more renters from being unfairly
priced out of their homes and neighborhoods by powerful, deep-pocketed landlords.
How improvements for individual apartments are calculated and verified will also be changed under
the law, ultimately reducing a landlord’s ability to use renovations as a way to force apartments
out of the regulation system. Instead of allowing landlords to pass 1/40th of the costs of renovations
to individual apartments on to the tenant, the law lowers this rate to 1/60th of the cost.
In the past, such loopholes have allowed unscrupulous landlords to eliminate tens of thousands of
rent-regulated apartments and keep the profits for themselves. This process has severely restricted
access to affordable housing for working families, seniors and other vulnerable New Yorkers, and
something had to be done.
One of the primary goals for the Assembly this legislative session was to reverse the losses of
affordable housing in New York, and this law moves us closer to that goal. Enhancing rent
regulations puts us on a new path, which is a significant improvement over the current system.
I will continue fighting for greater access to affordable housing for all New Yorkers, giving more
families peace of mind in their homes.
Preserving Vital Housing Programs
The 2011-12 budget restored $4.2 million to the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP).
Established in 1977, the NPP allows the Division of Housing and Community Renewal to
contract with not-for-profit, community-based housing corporations to perform housing and
community-renewal activities. The budget also rejected an executive proposal to merge the
Neighborhood Preservation Program with the Rural Preservation Program, a move that would
have negatively impacted the effectiveness of each program.
We need to make sure that New York City families have access to affordable housing. That’s
why we fought to ensure this housing program remained funded and intact. Also included in the
final state budget is $15 million for a new program for homeless individuals and families in New
Supporting Summer Job Opportunities for Youths
The final budget restored $15.5 million to the Summer Youth Employment Program. In 2010,
the program helped 35,725 young adults find jobs in 5,800 worksites throughout New York City.
It would have been irresponsible to balance the budget by cutting off job opportunities for
motivated young adults seeking to gain professional work experience. Furthermore, it would have
been economically counterproductive to keep these youths from contributing to their local
economies and helping to provide for themselves or their families.
Creating Jobs Through Targeted LocalEconomic Development
The 2011-12 budget provided funding for Regional Economic Development Councils across the
state. The councils, chaired by the state’s lieutenant governor, will help create a region-based
approach to allocating $130 million in state funds over two years for economic development.
The goal of these new Regional Economic Development Councils is to speed up the creation of
jobs and get New Yorkers back to work. Each region of the state has its own economic strengths
and weaknesses. Region-based councils can better support economic development and
business-assistance programs that fit the needs of each area.
The final budget also restored or maintained funding to a number of targeted economic development
Main Street Program ($2.2 million);
Community Development Financial Institutions ($1.5 million);
Entrepreneurial Assistance Program ($1.3 million); and
Minority and Women-Owned Business Development Lending Program ($635,000).
Excelsior Jobs Program Provides an Additional $1.25 Billion in Needed Tax Credits
The Excelsior Jobs program was established in 2010 to boost job creation and provide
investment incentives to businesses in strategic industries across the state, such as
manufacturing, high-tech and clean-energy jobs. The 2011-12 budget strengthened the
program by enhancing tax credits and improving the program’s responsiveness. The
budget extended the program’s tax benefit period from 5 to 10 years and provides a jobs
tax credit equal to the product of gross wages paid and 6.85 percent.
$55.4 Million Measure to Grow Small Businesses and Create Jobs Becomes Law
The Assembly passed legislation that would give small businesses greater access to capital
in an effort to create jobs and better the business climate in New York (A.8452;
Chapter 103 of 2011). Specifically, the bill allocates $55.4 million in federal State Small Business Credit
Initiative funds to the New York State Capital Access Program (CAP), the Innovate NY Fund and the
Bonding Guarantee Assistance Program.
Providing a Living Wage for Homecare Workers
Also included in the budget is a three-year phase-in to provide home-care workers with a local living-wage
in counties where living-wage laws are enacted. Homecare workers provide an invaluable service to the sick
and the elderly, yet many of them struggle just to pay their bills and put food on the table. They deserve to
make a fair income and have access to the same rights that other health care workers are provided under
New York Helps Lead on Marriage Equality
In a historic and bipartisan vote, New York joined Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
Vermont and the District of Columbia to become the 6th and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Starting on July 24, 2011 New York began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time
in the state where the gay rights movement began 42 years ago (A.8354;
Chapter 95 of 2011). I applaud the work of Governor Cuomo and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle
in passing this measure and extending marriage rights and responsibilities to all New Yorkers, regardless
of sexual orientation.
Final Budget Restored EPIC Premium Assistance
For 25 years, the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program has helped New
York seniors on fixed incomes afford their prescription drugs. Charged with closing a $10 billion
budget gap, we had to make a lot of tough choices. But protecting seniors’ access to affordable,
quality health care has always been a top priority for me, and it will continue to be a priority,
regardless of the economic circumstances.
The Assembly helped ensure that the 2011-12 state budget restored $22.3 million - a 65 percent
restoration - for lower income EPIC participants’ Medicare Part D premiums. Participants who
were formerly in the comprehensive coverage portion of EPIC, with an annual income less than
or equal to $20,000 for individuals and an income less than $26,000 for married participants – will
continue to receive assistance in paying their Medicare Part D premiums.
For participants who were formerly in the lower-income range of the catastrophic coverage portion
of EPIC - individuals with annual income less than or equal to $23,000 and married participants
with income less than $29,000 - premium assistance is enhanced with the removal of the deductible
to be on par with the coverage offered to comprehensive enrollees.
Even in periods of economic strength, it is difficult for older New Yorkers on fixed incomes to make
ends meet. In the aftermath of the economic downturn, it is especially important to make sure that
seniors can afford to put food on the table and get the medicine they need. Providing premium
assistance for lower-income seniors preserves this vital lifeline for the thousands who depend on it.
For additional information, please contact the EPIC hotline at 1-800-332-3742.
Saving Senior Centers
New York City senior centers have played a key role in improving the lives of seniors in communities
throughout the city. That’s why the 2011-12 budget restored $25 million of Title XX discretionary funds
to these centers. We had to make a lot of tough decisions in this budget, but protecting the quality
of life for our seniors is vital. We have an obligation to care for those who have made lifelong contributions
to our communities and we must continue providing them the services they need and deserve. There are
currently over 300 senior centers in NYC. These establishments provide nutritious meals, health and
wellness activities and social events for seniors. It’s crucial that we provide adequate funding to help
those citizens most in need, including seniors, at-risk youths, and children with special needs. I
believe that the health and well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society should never
Assembly Bill Increases the Number of Taxis in NYC
The Assembly passed legislation that would allow the city of New York to issue up to 1,500
additional taxicab licenses (A.8496). Along with the creation of the
1,500 taxicab medallions, the bill allows the city to issue up to 30,000 hail privilege permits
to for-hire vehicles which should provide residents in all neighborhoods outside the central
business district in Manhattan even more options when looking for ground transportation.
The new permits would cost $1,500 each.
VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Legislation Helping Provide Confidentiality for
Domestic Violence Victims Becomes Law
The Assembly passed legislation that requires New York’s secretary of state to establish
an address confidentiality program for domestic violence victims who need to maintain
secrecy of their location (A.628-A; Chapter 502 of 2011). This
measure provides a substitute address for victims in the program to use, while keeping
their real mailing addresses confidential. The secretary of state will have the authority to
receive and process mail on behalf of the program’s participants, making sure that the
addresses of the victims and their children cannot be traced by an abuser.
Public Protection Budget Highlights
The SFY 2011-12 enacted budget provides for the closure of several state correctional
facilities due to the decline in the prison population. In December, 1999, the New York
State prison population was 71,500. Since that time, the prison population has declined
by more than 15,000, or 21%, to a current population of approximately 56,000. The
declining prison population is due to a drastic drop in the crime rate over the last ten
years in addition to progressive criminal justice policies enacted by the legislature that
offer mostly non-violent offenders early release as an incentive for good behavior and
program achievements, including the Shock Incarceration, Work Release, Comprehensive
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (CASAT), Willard Drug Treatment Campus,
Merit Time and Limited Credit Time Allowance programs. Further, the historic reforms of
the Rockefeller Drug Laws that divert more drug offenders into alternatives to incarceration
have had a great impact on the declining prison population. Despite the elimination of five
minimum security prisons and six prison annexes since 2008, the system still maintains
more than 7,900 vacant beds. Therefore, the 2011-12 enacted budget provided the Governor
with the authority to close correctional facilities after providing at least sixty days notice to
the legislature. Pursuant to this authority, on June 30th, the Governor announced the closure
of seven correctional facilities reducing approximately 3,800 excess beds and saving $72
million in SFY 2011-12 and $112 million in SFY 2012-13. The seven facilities to be closed
include four male minimum security facilities: Buffalo Work Release (Erie County), Camp
Georgetown (Madison County), Summit Shock (Schoharie County) and Fulton Work
Release (Bronx County); and three male medium security facilities: Arthur Kill
(Richmond County), Mid-Orange (Orange County) and Oneida (Oneida County).
As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Correction, I am very concerned that the Governor
chose to close work release and shock facilities which provide vital re-entry programming to
inmates. Further, the closure of the Mid-Orange and Arthur Kill facilities is troubling given
their relatively close proximity to New York City where a majority of inmates will return. We
know from experience that inmates who maintain relationships with family and friends, or
reconnect with them before release, are much more likely to succeed when released from
prison. Throughout the budget process, I urged the Governor to consider certain criteria,
including the existence of specialized re-entry programs and the proximity of facilities to
the communities where inmates return, in choosing which facilities to designate for closure.
I am disappointed with some of the selected facilities and will continue to advocate with the
Executive about the importance of maintaining strong re-entry programs and moving inmates
closer to their home communities prior to release.
Merger of the Division of Parole and the Department of Correctional Services
As part of the SFY 2011-12 budget, the Division of Parole and the Department of Correctional
Services were merged into a new Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
(DOCCS). The Board of Parole, which is empowered to make discretionary release decisions
for people serving indeterminate sentences, is maintained as a separate entity housed within
the new Department for administrative purposes. Further, the Parole Board will maintain its
independent authority over parole revocation proceedings and the establishment of conditions
of parole supervision. The new DOCCS will be responsible for the supervision of all persons
released on parole or post-release supervision, most decisions to discharge persons from
supervision and the issuance of Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good
The reason for the merger is to enhance the successful reintegration of offenders returning to
the community following incarceration and to avoid duplicative re-entry functions and related
staff. Further, consolidation of staff under one agency will help to ensure that the important
work of preparing a person to return to the community following incarceration will begin
immediately upon admission to the prison system. It is anticipated that the merger will save
$6 million in SFY 2011-12.
Funding for Criminal Justice Programs
Although not included in the Governor’s proposed budget, the legislature was able to fund
several vital criminal justice programs including:
$3 million to restore funding for various local assistance criminal justice programs;
$2.8 million to support important civil and criminal legal services programs;
$1.85 million for domestic violence legal services;
$1 million to restore Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York.
Juvenile Offenders Compact
Establishes New York State’s membership in the new Interstate Commission
for Juveniles (ICJ), which oversees, supervises and coordinates the interstate
movement of juvenile offenders, non-adjudicated juveniles, absconders and
runaways. Further, thanks to the strong advocacy of the Assembly Correction
Committee, the legislation includes important due process protections for juveniles
detained under the Compact. (AUBRY – A.55 / S.2551-A;
Chapter 29 of 2011)
Sex Offender Verification
Establishes procedures in the event a sex offender fails to mail a signed verification
within 20 calendar days of receiving the annual verification form from the Division of
Criminal Justice Services. (GUNTHER – A.424 / S.2595;
Passed Assembly and Senate – awaiting action by the Governor)
Payment of Parolee Fees
Terminates the current practice of requiring parole officers to collect supervision
fees from parolees. To better address parole officer safety and enhance the
supervision of parolees, the bill would require that such payments be collected at
a central location. (JEFFRIES – A.1363-B / S.296-B;
Passed Assembly and Senate – awaiting action by the Governor)
Discrimination Against Ex-Offenders
Allows persons discriminated against by a public agency based on their criminal
record to file a complaint with the Division of Human Rights. Currently, the only
recourse for a person suffering such discrimination is to file an Article 78 proceeding
in court. (JEFFRIES – A.1874 / S.968; Passed Assembly)
Sex Offender Registry Information
Requires the type and length of supervision for sex offenders be disclosed on the
sex offender registry. (COLTON – A.2565 / S.4146;
Chapter 507 of 2011)
Sex Offender Employment Information
Requires level 2 sex offenders to register their employment address and updates the
manner in which Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) makes the electronic
directory of offenders available to law enforcement.
(MILLER – A.7950 / S.5775; Chapter 532 of 2011)
Unlawful Surveillance Crime
Requires individuals convicted of attempted unlawful surveillance to register as a sex
offender with the state. The measure also authorizes local law enforcement agencies to
provide communities with vulnerable populations with the exact address of a Level 2 sex
offender. (WEISENBERG – A.5661 / S.1521; Chapter 513 of 2011)
Local Jails Authorized to House Out-of-State Inmates
Authorizes local correctional facilities to enter into agreements to house out of state inmates.
The bill permits New York State municipalities to enter into contractual agreements for the
boarding-in of certain inmates from local correctional facilities outside of New York State.
(AUBRY – A.8238 / S.4946-A; Chapter 573 of 2011)
Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry
35th Assembly District • Queens County • Chair, Assembly Standing Committee on Correction
My offices are here to serve you. If you have a question, problem or an idea,please do not
hesitate to call or drop by and we will do our best to try to assist you.
Mis oficinas están aquí para servirles. Si tienen alguna pregunta, problema o idea,
llámennos o visítennos y nosotros haremos todo lo posible por ayudarlos.
District Office: 98-09 Northern Blvd., Corona, NY 11368 • 718-457-3615, FAX: 718-457-3640
Albany Office: Room 526, LOB, Albany, NY 12248 • 518-455-4561, FAX: 518-455-4565