State Budget Update

March 24, 2020

Below is an Update from our government relations team at Reid, McNally and Savage re: state budget progress and the current positions held by state leaders.

One note of caution from the NYS Council:   This past Saturday during the Governor’s daily press conference he called out ‘advocates’ who are continuing to ask for additional funding to be included in the (eventual) enacted state budget.  He basically said (and I am paraphrasing here) ‘forget it’.  And then he followed with (his words) ‘the state is broke’.

The Governor continues to say that the enhanced FMAP funding for states that was included in the recently enacted Families First Emergency Relief Act comes with strings NY cannot live with.  The enhanced funding includes a requirement that states abide by an accompanying Maintenance of Effort (MOE) agreement that would prohibit changing the state’s Medicaid Program in any material way.  The Governor states he has been pressing certain members of the NYS delegation (in Washington) to deliver a work around for NYS so we can implement the recommendations of the MRT (that include changes to our state Medicaid Program), and that without that flexibility we are (essentially) sunk.


RMS Budget Update and Assembly Resolution No. 854 Summary

Lawmakers are required to pass a state budget by next Tuesday, March 31st. With one week before the constitutional deadline and three members of the Assembly testing positive for coronavirus in recent weeks, the Assembly has been considering changes to the rules which require members to be within the chamber to vote. Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes has introduced a resolution that would change the way the chamber votes during a declared state or national emergency to allow members to participate and vote by teleconference or videoconference. We have attached a copy of this resolution and summarized below.

The Senate has said the earliest they could call members back to Albany for budget votes is this Thursday, March 26th. The Senate is also considering ways to vote remotely, however, as of now Senators are planning to appear in person to vote on the budget.

As of yesterday, the Legislature and the Governor still appear to prefer different approaches to a final Budget. The Governor has stated that he is seeking a final budget that addresses policy reforms (example:  Bail Reform, legalization of adult use Marijuana, etc.) while the Speaker intends to deal with fiscal issues only, leaving any policy changes to be addressed at a later time.  We expect that any final budget will be largely limited to must-do items and fiscal issues.

We will continue to provide updates regarding the timing of the budget’s release. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Summary of Assembly Resolution No. 854 (attached)

The resolution adopts special temporary procedures permitting the consideration of legislation in an expedited fashion during a declared state or national emergency by allowing the following:

  • Voting will default to a “fast roll call” with all members being recorded in the affirmative and any member desiring to vote in the negative doing so by entering a negative vote through the electronic voting system or in such other manner as may be prescribed by the Speaker. The Clerk of the Assembly shall call the names of the members who are recorded in the negative.
  • No member shall speak more than once on any bill or amendment and no member shall speak for more than fifteen minutes at a time.
  • The bar of the House may be extended, at the discretion of the Speaker, to allow for members to be in attendance in any proceeding of the House by remote means including teleconference or videoconference and such members shall be continuously recorded in attendance by the Clerk of the Assembly for the purposes of a quorum.
  • Any member in remote attendance may submit requests for recognition to the presiding officer by electronic means including the submission of questions for debate, to be presented as part of the debate within the member’s allocated time.
  • No technical failure that breaks a member or members remote connection to the proceedings shall invalidate any action taken by a majority of the Assembly.