NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A7997
SPONSOR: Goodell (MS)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend chapter 60 of the laws of 2015, relat-
ing to providing periodic salary increases to state officers, in
relation to salary adjustments; and to repeal section 4 of part E of
such chapter relating thereto
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL:
The purpose of this legislation is eliminate the provisions in the 2015
budget that stated that the salary determinations of the special commis-
sion on compensation could become effective automatically "with the
force of law," and could "supersede" any inconsistent provisions of the
Judiciary Law, Executive Law, and Legislative Law, without any further
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill replaces all references to a salary "increase"
with neutral references to a salary "adjustment."
Section 2 of the bill requires the salary review commission to make all
of its salary recommendations by December 31, 2015, rather than delay
the salary recommendations for members of the legislature until November
15, 2016, after the next election. In addition, section 2 of the bill
eliminates the provisions that require the recommendations of the salary
review commission to become effective with the force of law automat-
ically without any further action by the legislature.
Section 3 of the bill repeals the provisions relating to the effective
date of any automatic salary increase.
Section 4 would make the bill effective immediately.
On March 31, 2015, a 137 page budget bill (S4610-A/A6721- A)was intro-
duced, and was adopted by the Senate late that evening. The Senate bill
was adopted by the Assembly after 2:30am on April 1, 2015.
This budget bill included, inter alia, legislation to establish a
special commission on compensation (hereinafter "Commission") consisting
of seven members, with three appointed by the Governor, one appointed by
the Temporary President of the Senate, one appointed by the Speaker of
the Assembly, and two appointed by the Chief Judge of the State of New
York. There were no appointments from the Senate minority or the Assem-
This budget bill required the Commission to make its recommendations for
judicial compensation not later than December 31, 2015, and for legisla-
tive and executive compensation not later than November 15, 2016. The
budget bill further stated that such determinations shall have "the
force of law" and shall "supercede" inconsistent provisions of the Judi-
ciary Law, Executive Law, and the Legislative Law, unless modified or
abrogated by statute.
This budget bill would enable legislators to receive substantial salary
increases after the next election without incurring any political back-
lash for voting for those increases.
The budget bill was clear that the salary recommendations for legisla-
tors would not be announced until after the next election, too late to
encourage potential candidates to run in the election against the incum-
bents and too late to require incumbents to justify such a salary
increase during the election.
By making the salary increases automatic, the legislators would not need
to vote on such increases at all, thereby enabling the legislators to
avoid the political liability that would result from voting for large
and unpopular salary increases for themselves. Indeed, since the Legis-
lature would normally not be in session immediately after an election,
there would not even be an opportunity for individual legislators to
vote on such salary increase unless both houses of the legislature were
called back into special session for this specific purpose. This would
enable all the legislators to speak out against the salary recommenda-
tions, while knowing that they would not actually need to vote against
In addition to being a devious and underhanded means of obtaining a
salary increase without accepting any responsibility therefor, this
budget bill language violates several fundamental provisions of the New
York State Constitution, including the following:
a.Article III, Section 6 of the New York State Constitution states that
each member of the legislature shall receive an annual salary "to be
fixed by law." The Constitution does not state that members of the
legislature shall receive a salary "to be fixed by a commission."
b.Article III, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution states that
the legislative power "shall be vested in the Senate and Assembly." A
non-elected commission cannot be delegated legislative power to enact
recommendations "with the force of law" that can "supercede" inconsist-
ent provisions of law.
c.Article III, Section 6 of the New York State Constitution states that
legislators shall continue to receive their current salary "until
changed by law." A non-elected commission cannot "change the law" since
only the State Legislature has the power to change the law.
d.Article III, Section 13 of the New York State Constitution states that
"no law shall be enacted except by a bill," yet the salary commission
was given the power to enact salary recommendations "with the force of
law" without any legislative bill approving of such salaries being
considered by the legislature.
e.Article III, Section 14 of the New York State Constitution states that
no bill shall be passed "or become law" except by the vote of a majority
of the members elected to each branch of the legislature. The budget
bill, however, stated that the recommendations of the salary commission
would "have the force of law" without any vote whatsoever by the legis-
lators. Such a provision deprives the members of the legislature of
their Constitutional right to vote on every bill prior to its enactment
f.Article IV, Section 7 of the New York State Constitution gives the
Governor the authority to veto any bill, but there is no corresponding
ability of the Governor to veto any recommendations of the salary
commission before such recommendations would become effective. g. Arti-
cle VII, Section 6 of the New York State Constitution states in relevant
part that "(n)o provision shall be embraced in any appropriation bill
unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation in the
bill," yet there was no appropriation in the budget bill relating to the
salary commission. Thus, this legislation was improperly submitted and
considered by the legislature as an unconstitutional rider to a budget
The within bill would repeal the unconstitutional provisions that enable
the salary recommendations to become effective automatically "with the
force of law" that would "supercede" inconsistent statutory provisions.
In addition, this bill would require the salary recommendations for
legislators to be made on or before December 31, 2015, thereby providing
adequate time for any salary adjustments to be enacted by the State
Legislature, funding to be provided in the next State budget, and notice
given to all potential candidates of the salary the will apply following
the next election.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
None to the State.
The bill would become effective immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2015-2016 Regular Sessions
June 3, 2015
Introduced by M. of A. GOODELL, LOPEZ, DUPREY -- Multi-Sponsored by --
M. of A. JOHNS -- read once and referred to the Committee on Govern-
AN ACT to amend chapter 60 of the laws of 2015, relating to providing
periodic salary increases to state officers, in relation to salary
adjustments; and to repeal section 4 of part E of such chapter relat-
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 2 of part E of
2 chapter 60 of the laws of 2015, relating to providing periodic increases
3 to state officers, is amended to read as follows:
4 (b) The commission shall determine whether: (1) for any of the four
5 years commencing on the first of April of such years, following the year
6 in which the commission is established, the annual salaries for the
7 judges and justices of the state-paid courts of the unified court system
8 and housing judges of the civil court of the city of New York warrant
9 [an increase] adjustment; and
10 (2) on the first of January after the November general election at
11 which members of the state legislature are elected following the year in
12 which the commission is established, and on the first of January follow-
13 ing the next such election, the like annual salaries and allowances of
14 members of the legislature, and salaries of statewide elected officials
15 and state officers referred to in section 169 of the executive law
16 warrant [an increase] adjustment.
17 § 2. Subdivision 7 of section 3 of part E of chapter 60 of the laws of
18 2015, relating to providing periodic salary increases to state officers,
19 is amended to read as follows:
20 7. The commission shall make a report to the governor, the legislature
21 and the chief judge of the state of its findings, conclusions, determi-
22 nations and recommendations, if any, not later than the thirty-first of
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 7997 2
1 December of the year in which the commission is established [for judi-
2 cial compensation and the fifteenth of November the following year for
3 legislative and executive compensation]. Any findings, conclusions,
4 determinations and recommendations in the report must be adopted by a
5 majority vote of the commission and findings, conclusions, determi-
6 nations and recommendations with respect to executive and legislative
7 compensation shall also be supported by at least one member appointed by
8 each appointing authority. [Each recommendation made to implement a
9 determination pursuant to section two of this act shall have the force
10 of law, and shall supersede, where appropriate, inconsistent provisions
11 of article 7-B of the judiciary law, section 169 of the executive law,
12 and sections 5 and 5-a of the legislative law, unless modified or abro-
13 gated by statute prior to April first of the year as to which such
14 determination applies to judicial compensation and January first of the
15 year as to which such determination applies to legislative and executive
17 § 3. Section 4 of part E of chapter 60 of the laws of 2015 relating to
18 providing periodic salary increases to state officers is REPEALED.
19 § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.