April 26, 2023
As the article below states, some State Senators are headed home having concluded their regularly scheduled session days this week while members of the Assembly will be back in session tomorrow before they hit the Thruway for the weekend. Apparently current government funding is adequate until next Tuesday so another budget extender isn’t needed until then. We will continue to keep you apprised of budget developments (or lack thereof).
In other news, please be aware that Opioid Settlement Fund RFA 23008 (Connections to Care) has been updated, and there is an extension of the deadline for submission to May 22nd. Additionally, the Questions and Answers document has been posted on the Opioid Settlement Funding Initiatives page at: Connections to Care | Office of Addiction Services and Supports (ny.gov)
Legislators start to head home for the week with no budget deal imminent
BY BILL MAHONEY, ANNA GRONEWOLD | 04/26/2023 03:40 PM EDT, POLITICO PRO
ALBANY, N.Y. — The state Legislature wrapped up its regularly scheduled business for the week Wednesday. And as a few legislators began to head home for the week, nobody felt too confident that a budget deal was imminent as it approaches a month overdue.
“I’m listening to Democratic members in there who don’t know if we’ll be here on Friday,” said state Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Schenectady County). “I’ve never seen majority members that [unaware of] what’s happening. … It’s a total, total lack of transparency right now.”
The Assembly plans an extra day of session Thursday. But the Senate ended Wednesday afternoon with no definite plans to return.
“We’ll be called back in when there’s bills to pass,” Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris said.
When might that happen?
“Hopefully soon,” Gianaris responded. “I know we’re scheduled to be here by Monday regardless, but hopefully before then.”
The fifth and most recent budget extender passed by the Legislature expires Friday, and legislative leaders and Gov. Kathy Hochul still appear to have a few unsettled issues, such as whether to allow for more charter schools in New York City and how to address illegal marijuana sales.
But Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said Wednesday that there are no immediate payroll deadlines that could be missed if a new extender isn’t passed. Lawmakers will need to pass a new extender by next Tuesday in order to pay Division of Military and Naval Affairs workers later in the week.
So without a quick deadline or definite plans for a return, some senators, at least, had no intention of sticking around Albany.
“I am going back to Jackson Heights!” said Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Jackson Heights).
“People who live close are maybe shooting out, but people who live a little more distanced like me are sticking around to see if anything settles over the next 12 to 18 hours,” said Sen. Sean Ryan (D-Buffalo).
Republicans on Wednesday called for the governor and legislative leaders to refrain from using the standard “message of necessity” which can fast-track budget legislation past the constitutionally required three-day aging process. They will be glad to go another three days without pay in order to review the final legislation, they said.
“This has become a message of convenience, not a message of necessity,” Sen. Mark Walczyk (R-Watertown) said. “There’s no natural disaster. There is a political disaster, and it’s one party rule in New York State. That’s the only reason they’re going to jam this thing down our throat.”
They said they weren’t entirely sure whether they were headed home for the weekend but pointed to the Senate adjournment — with no scheduled return date — as a bad sign.
Few members had any confident predictions about when the talks will wrap up.
“I’ve been optimistic for three weeks now, and it turns out I’ve been wrong each time with my optimism, but I’m optimistic we’re going to get a budget soon,” Ryan said. “One of these days, I’ll be right with my optimism.”