|December 15, 2006
The Honorable Sheldon Silver
Dear Speaker Silver,
As Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Governmental Operations, I respectfully submit to you the 2006 Annual Report. I have outlined the Committee’s significant legislation and our outlook for the 2007 session.
The Committee had a number of accomplishments this year. The Committee, in conjunction with our Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), was successful in strengthening existing laws promoting MWBEs. Specifically, legislation was enacted to streamline the MWBE certification process, create a MWBE statewide advocate, and to conduct a disparity study to examine the number of state contracts awarded to MWBEs.
The Committee passed a package of bills to enhance the State’s disaster preparedness and response capabilities. As a result of our efforts, the State will now make public service announcements, in multiple languages, informing the public on how to respond to a disaster. In addition, state and county disaster preparedness plans will include programs to assist individuals with household pets or service animals. As a direct result of the Committee’s work on various disaster preparedness and response issues, we were able to obtain $5.7 million allocated in the State Fiscal Year 2006-07 budget for counties to use to improve disaster preparedness plans.
The Committee also passed comprehensive Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and Identity Theft Protection packages. An eight-bill package was passed to strengthen the FOIL and Open Meetings Law to ensure that the public has access to the governmental decision- making process. Our identity theft prevention package was designed to protect all residents of the State from identity theft and to reduce access to residents’ personal information.
Furthermore, the Committee worked diligently on government reform issues by passing legislation which would increase public confidence in state and local government by clarifying and strengthening existing lobbying and ethics laws and by holding statewide hearings on the redistricting process. Our work on government reform issues will continue in the 2007 Legislative Session.
The agenda for 2007 will continue the Committee’s focus on improving the implementation of the State MWBE program and our efforts to strengthen the State’s disaster preparedness and response protocols. The Committee will continue its work to strengthen the public’s right to know and to maintain transparency of government actions by being active participants in government reform discussions.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Speaker and the Committee members for their continued support. I look forward to meeting the challenges ahead in the 2007 Legislative Session and continuing our successes with the new gubernatorial administration.
RoAnn M. Destito, Chair
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 (1/1/06-6/14/06)
Clifford Crouch (1/1/06-6/8/06)
Mike Cole (6/8/06-ongoing)
Joanne Barker, Legislative Coordinator
Cheryl L. Couser, Principal Policy Analyst
Elizabeth Hogan, Counsel
Nichole Hedglin, Committee Assistant
Alyssa McCoy, 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, disaster preparedness, 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. 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.
|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 basis 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 of these laws ensure the government’s accountability to the people.
|VI. PROTECTION OF PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION
|VII. 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.
|VIII. GOVERNMENTAL ADMINISTRATION
|IX. 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.
|X. LEGISLATION AFFECTING MINORITY- AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
The Governmental Operations Committee has jurisdiction over much of the Executive Law, including Article 15-A, which regulates participation of Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in state contracts. The Committee has held a series of joint hearings with the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority- and Women-owned Businesses, the Assembly Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, the Assembly Standing Committee on Small Business, the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force, and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, and the Legislative Commission on Government Administration across the State on the effectiveness of the MWBE program. To further highlight this issue, the Speaker created the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprises in 2005. This Subcommittee is Chaired by Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples and was formed to help ensure proper oversight of the MWBE program.
This year the Committee advanced a package of bills to strengthen and improve Article 15-A. The Committee was successful in enacting the streamlined certification process, the statewide disparity study, and a statewide advocate program into law as part of the State Fiscal Year 2006-07 budget.
|XI. OFFICE OF GENERAL SERVICES
|XIV. COMMITTEE HEARINGS
Since September 2005, the Committee has held six hearings on various disaster preparedness and response issues. The Committee held hearings jointly with the Committees on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions and Cities on September 29, 2005, October 31, 2005, and on July 7, 2006, to review New York City’s emergency evacuation plan. As a direct result of these hearings, the New York City Office of Emergency Management updated their emergency evacuation plan to include enhanced public outreach and include vulnerable populations (e.g., nursing homes) in the evacuation plan.
On December 15, 2005, and on March 9, 2006, the Committee participated in joint hearings with the Committee on Local Governments on State Disaster Preparedness. State and local officials, as well as private industry and consumer groups, participated in the hearings to discuss disaster planning and response. As a direct result of these hearings, $5.7 million dollars was allocated in the State fiscal year 2006-07 budget for counties to use in formulating county disaster preparedness plans.
As a result of all these hearings, the Assembly passed a package of bills that would strengthen the State’s disaster preparedness efforts. See section II of this report for more information on the package of bills.
On February 9, 2006, the Committee on Governmental Operations and the Committee on Environmental Conservation held a joint hearing on Dam Safety to solicit information to assist State and local policy makers on how to address concerns regarding New York dams and the safety of New York State residents. Federal, State, New York City, and local officials testified about the responsibility and upkeep of New York State dams. Citizen advocacy groups testified about concerns regarding safety and public awareness.
The United States Constitution requires that congressional and state legislative district boundaries be redrawn every ten years in a manner reflecting population shifts identified by the Federal census, a process referred to as "redistricting and reapportionment." In New York State, the state legislature, pursuant to statute, is responsible for meeting this constitutional requirement.
The Committee on Governmental Operations held joint hearings with the Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment on September 25, 2006, in Utica, on September 26, 2006, in Buffalo, and on October 17, 2006, in New York City to examine if the current process should be retained or altered in order to ensure that a fair and efficient process for creating election districts is in place before the next reapportionment following the 2010 census. Additional hearings on reapportionment will be held in Queens, Westchester, Long Island, and Albany in 2007.
In 2005, the Governor issued Executive Order (EO) 134, directing state agencies to "procure and use cleaning products that minimize potential impacts on human health and the environment consistent with maintenance of the effectiveness of these products for the protection of public health and safety." Agencies are required to assess and review efforts to comply with EO 134 biennially.
The Committee on Governmental Operations and the Committee on Environmental Conservation held a hearing in Albany on May 11, 2006, to examine state agency compliance with and implementation of EO 134, as well as to receive comment on initiatives the State should pursue in order to establish a safe and sustainable procurement policy.
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 hearings are useful to assess the implementation of policy and to plan for the upcoming budget cycle.
On August 22, 2006, the Committee held a joint hearing with the Committee on Local Governments to review the budget of the Department of State. The Committees received testimony from the Department of State, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York.
|XV. CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE 2007 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The Committee will continue to focus on improving the implementation of the MWBE program and will continue its efforts to strengthen the State’s disaster preparedness and response protocols.
The Committee will also continue its work to strengthen the public’s right to know and maintain transparency of government actions by being active participants in government reform discussions.
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
|BILLS NEVER REPORTED, HELD IN COMMITTEE
|BILLS NEVER REPORTED, DIED IN COMMITTEE
|BILLS HAVING ENACTING CLAUSES STRICKEN
|MOTIONS TO DISCHARGE LOST
|TOTAL BILLS IN COMMITTEE
|TOTAL NUMBER OF COMMITTEE MEETINGS HELD
|APPENDIX B: CHAPTERS OF 2006
|Increases consistency in Crime Victims Board rulings by requiring the Board to provide claimants with rationale when departing from precedent in a decision. Chapter 167 of the Laws of 2006
|Designates the lilac bush as the official state bush. Chapter 563 of the Laws of 2006
|Requires the Disaster Preparedness Commission to prepare and distribute public service announcements in multiple languages. Chapter 171 of the Laws of 2006
|Requires the development and implementation of uniform procedures to be used to notify crime victims of their rights. Chapter 173 of the Laws of 2006
|Designates November 12th as "Elizabeth Cady Stanton Day," a day of commemoration. Chapter 23 of the Laws of 2006
|Designates the last Sunday in September as a day in commemoration for Gold Star Mothers. Chapter 48 of the Laws of 2006
|Requires state parks with facilities that are developed for public use to display the flag of the United States of America. Chapter 688 of the Laws of 2006
|Strengthens the fire safe cigarette law by increasing fire investigations, increasing enforcement powers, and clarifying the labeling requirements of fire safe cigarettes. Chapter 583 of the Laws of 2006
|Updates the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) by enabling the public to request and receive records by electronic mail (e-mail). Chapter 182 of the Laws of 2006
|Protects New York residents from identity theft by requiring businesses to properly dispose of documents that contain personal identifying information to prevent unauthorized access. Chapter 65 of the Laws of 2006
|Places the responsibility of ensuring the evacuation of public buildings under the State Fire Administrator. Chapter 21 of the Laws of 2006
|Clarifies a district attorney’s duty to consult with a victim or the victim’s family regarding the resolution of the case. Chapter 193 of the Laws of 2006
|Extends the authorization for the Department of State to administer the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) through the year 2007. Chapter 78 of the Laws of 2006
|Provides municipal sanitation employees with residency requirements comparable to those provided to uniformed fire and corrections officers and certain parole and health department employees. Chapter 200 of the Laws of 2006
|Requires state and local disaster preparedness plans take into account the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals. Chapter 677 of the Laws of 2006
|Clarifies certain requirements relating to mandatory installation of carbon monoxide detectors in multiple dwellings. Chapter 202 of the Laws of 2006
|Permits a person holding the office of Assistant District Attorney of Montgomery County to reside in Montgomery County or an adjacent county within New York State. Chapter 663 of the Laws of 2006
|Clarifies that by filing a notice of revised rule making, an agency may extend the period within which a rule may be commented on for an additional ninety days. Chapter 596 of the Laws of 2006
|Provides New York City fire alarm dispatchers with residency requirements comparable to those of a uniformed fire fighter, correction officer and health department officials. Chapter 209 of the Laws of 2006
|Designates February 4th as "Rosa Parks Day," a day of commemoration. Chapter 221 of the Laws of 2006
|Authorizes the conveyance of State property to the City of Syracuse for the purpose of providing affordable housing in the City of Syracuse. Chapter 70 of the Laws of 2006
|Improves access to government actions by enabling citizens to obtain access to the State Register and to be able to comment on its proposed regulations free of charge via the internet. Chapter of 230 the Laws of 2006
|Enables members of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Montauk Fire District to live in the school district where such fire district is located. Chapter 607 of the Laws of 2006
|Authorizes the conveyance of certain real property of the state of New York to the county of Schuyler in exchange for real property to be utilized for forestry purposes. Chapter 613 of the Laws of 2006
|Requires the Office of Fire Prevention and Control to promulgate rules and regulations relating to firefighter training programs and to report annually to the Governor and the Legislature on the minimum training hours allocated, unfulfilled and used by each county. Chapter 615 of the Laws of 2006
|Designates the common snapping turtle, also known as chelydra serpentina, as the official reptile of State of New York. Chapter 523 of the Laws of 2006
|Designates the striped bass, also known as morone saxatilis, as the official marine or salt water fish of the State of New York. Chapter 541 of the Laws of 2006
|Increases public access to information by strengthening agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Chapter 492 of the Laws of 2006
|Authorizes the transfer and exchange of certain land necessary for a municipal project. Chapter 717 of the Laws of 2006
|Clarifies that contracts between the unified court system and not-for-profit agencies are to be treated the same as not- for- profit contracts with executive agencies. Chapter 395 of the Laws of 2006
|APPENDIX C: VETOES OF 2006
|Would clarify conditions required for an agency to enter into personal service contracts. Veto Memo #322
|Would authorize the Crime Victims Board to hear, audit and determine the claims of Cory Boyd, for and on behalf of William Gouin, a minor. Veto Memo # 327
|Would clarify the scope of protection against discrimination on the basis of disability. Veto Memo #329
|Would make electronic information more easily retrievable by requiring government agencies to include sorting and retrieval methods when designing new databases. Veto Memo #257
|Would assist small businesses by enabling them to make installment payments for civil penalties owed to state agencies. Veto Memo #343
|Would protect consumers from identity theft by requiring businesses that offer document deconstruction services to register with the State. Veto Memo #351
|Would establish the Statewide First Responder Mapping Systems Task Force. Veto Memo #409
|APPENDIX D: BILLS THAT PASSED THE ASSEMBLY
|Would require that surplus state personal property be offered to municipalities prior to public sales of such property.
|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.
|Would direct the Division of Human Rights to institute rules to allow complaints to be filed as class actions.
|Would permit the awarding of reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and exemplary damages in court actions for unlawful discriminatory practices.
|Would strengthen the open meetings law by providing alternative judicial remedies to the courts when a meeting is closed in violation of the Open Meetings Law.
|Would prohibit the practice of state agencies extending loans to employees.
|Would establish a fund to implement the provisions of Article 15-A of the Executive Law, which relates to participation by minority group members and women with respect to State contracts.
|Would establish the Orange and Sullivan County Residential and Small Business Economic Relief Program to assist residents and businesses recover from storms that occurred.
|Would waive the immunity of the State and its subdivisions for actions resulting from violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
|Would increase the tools available to law enforcement by expanding the information entered into the databank to include shell casings and projectiles.
|Would grant the Attorney General jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute police misconduct.
|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.
|Would expand the definition of "caregivers" to include individuals caring for senior citizens and individuals who have an illness or disability.
|Would prohibit the practice of compensating employees of different sexes differently for work of comparable value.
|Would provide funeral or bereavement benefits to employees in a same sex committed relationship upon the death of an employee’s same sex committed partner or that partner’s family.
|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.
|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.
|Would relate to the amendment of legislation containing future effective dates or sunset dates.
|Would relate to the filing of financial disclosure documents.
|Would require the FBI to provide to the Division of Criminal Justice Services criminal history reports on individuals seeking employment as caregivers, which DCJS may provide to the prospective employers.
|Would establish a minority-and women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) goal plan and reporting procedure.
|Would establish an advocate for crime victims in State government.
|Would establish a victims’ assistance program within the Crime Victims Board.
|Would relate to the hearing of complaints by the Division of Human Rights.
|Would provide a health care provider to the Crime Victims Board.
|Would expedite the disposition of claims by the Crime Victims Board.
|Would establish the Genetics Advisory Council.
|Would raise the threshold amount for review of certain claims for compensation for crime-related losses from $5,000 to $6,000.
|Would relate to audits and follow-up reviews of state agencies by the state comptroller.
|Would require the state fire administrator to make training programs available on computer and by video to the maximum extent practicable.
|Would redefine the term "necessary court appearance" when determining an individual’s award from the Crime Victims Board.
|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.
|Would update the New York State insect from the nine-spotted lady beetle, also known as coccinella novemnotata, to the spotted lady bug, known as colemegilla maculata.
|Would prohibit certain discriminatory practices against domestic violence victims relating to housing.
|Would make the scope of protection for individuals with disabilities under the state human rights law consistent with federal legislation.
|Would authorize the use of innovative techniques to enhance public participation in the rulemaking process, provided that all existing opportunities to participate remain undiminished.
|Would create policies to strengthen the opportunities of minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) to compete for state contracts.
|Would increase access to records that are required to be disclosed pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) by limiting the use of copyrights by agencies.
|Would set forth regulations regarding the issuance of subregulatory documents by agencies.
|Would assist public employees called to military service by extending the period of time for which a public employee may receive paid military leave.
|Would encourage employers to provide health care coverage to their employees by granting a preference in the award of state contracts.
|Would strengthen regulations relating to the solicitation of charitable contributions on the behalf of firefighter support organizations.
|Would prohibit businesses from filing unnecessary personal identifying information with the State.
|Would provide reasonable attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses for State employees in defense of a professional misconduct proceeding.
|Would require not-for-profit corporations that are closely affiliated with the State to abide by the State Code of Ethics.
|Would require the Governor to preserve and archive documentary materials pertaining to new statutes or vetoes of legislation.
|Would strengthen compliance with Article 15-A, which regulates participation of Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in State contracts, by requiring contracting agencies to post utilization plans on their agency website.
|Would require cities of five hundred thousand or more to use the best available technology to include evacuation time estimates in their disaster preparedness plans.
|Would provide greater access to government documents by clarifying that public records maintained by the State Ethics Commission and the Legislative Ethics Committee may be copied.
|Would streamline the Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification process.
|Would commission a statewide disparity study regarding the participation of Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in State contracts.
|Would ensure that state and local disaster preparedness plans take into account the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals.
|Would require that interpreters or assistive devices be provided at public hearings and meetings for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
|Would strengthen compliance with the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
|Would enable auto mechanics employed by New York City to reside in a county adjoining the City.
|Would require state police patrol vehicles to be equipped with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs).
|Would make certain records, which are to be the subject of discussion at an open meeting, available to the public upon request at least seventy-two hours prior to such meeting.
|Would consolidate the existing reporting requirements for the Crime Victims Board.
|Would allow meetings of a public body to be recorded, photographed, and broadcast.
|Would designate a time frame in which a court action may be filed in a discrimination case after an administrative complaint has been dismissed by the Division of Human Rights.
|Would designate a day of commemoration to be known as "Coretta Scott King Day."
|Would prohibit state agencies from using Social Security numbers as a means of employee identification.
|Would require agencies and municipalities to redact personal identifying information before a record is made available to the public via the internet.
|Would require the Committee on Open Government to provide guidance on the development and maintenance of subject matter lists of records maintained pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
|Would make information regarding the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and the Personal Privacy Law more accessible to the public by requiring state agencies to post such information online.
|Would improve the public’s access to subject matter lists maintained by agencies by requiring agencies to update information annually and to post such information on agency websites.
|Would require the Department of State’s Building Code Council to update the fire codes, specifically emergency evacuation requirements, to take into account individuals with disabilities.
|Would require all counties to take steps to enhance evacuation plans for weather-related disasters.
|Would protect the confidentiality of the addresses of victims of domestic violence by enabling the Department of State to accept mail service for such victims.
|Would require that interpreters be provided at public hearings and meetings for individuals who are hearing impaired.
|Would enhance protection of New York’s coastal resources and inland waterways by defining, identifying, and protecting environmentally sensitive areas.
|Would establish a sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE) grant program to award grants to provide statewide access and services to victims of sexual assault.
|Would require increased training of public officers and district attorneys who have contact with sexual assault victims.
|Would establish a State Crime Victims Assistance Academy to develop an educated force that would provide services to crime victims.
|Would authorize the Department of State to refund certain processing fees.
|Would require all counties to maintain a registry of people of all ages with disabilities for the purpose of evacuation and shelter during times of disaster.
|Would encourage regional cooperation in disaster preparedness planning.
|Would clarify and strengthen existing lobbying and ethics laws.
New York State Assembly
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