Setting the Agenda: Get a head start on the 2018 state legislative session
For years, the most important politician driving the legislative agenda in Albany has been Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
This year, that role might be usurped by another New Yorker – President Donald Trump.
During his first year as president, Trump has threatened to slash spending and scale back plenty of programs, including in health care, education and housing. While he has failed to follow through on many fiscally conservative goals, his administration hasn’t given up – and 2018 might be the year when New York has to react.
The Affordable Care Act has survived, of course, but the administration has continued to target it – and Congress keeps talking about killing it off. Lately, Washington has turned its attention to a sweeping tax reform plan. Republican leaders insist they’ll get the job done – and if they do, it could cost New York taxpayers billions of dollars.
To complicate matters, New York is already facing challenges at home. Thanks to dwindling tax revenue, the state faces a projected budget gap of at least $1.7 billion. The shortfall could be even higher in subsequent years, and that’s not even including potential federal cuts.
To help navigate this uncertain landscape, we're offering a preview of the most pressing issues during the 2018 state legislative session with the latest updates on labor, health care, infrastructure, ethics, education, energy and more.
The fights over student testing and education standards in the state have died down. Mayoral control of New York City’s schools won’t be expiringnext year. And the battle over the charter school cap may end up on the back burner in lieu of a dispute about training requirements for charter school teachers.
But in the state Legislature, the perennial question is how much funding will be provided for education – and how much will everyone else get? Read the full story here.
While President Donald Trump is walking away from international clean energy goals, New York lawmakers who lead the energy committees in both houses say they will push for diversification in energy sources as part of New York’s compliance with the Clean Energy Standard. Read the full story here.
The legacies of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cast a pall over the Capitol. Both had their corruption charges vacated this year, but prosecutors have pledged to bring both cases before juries once again. Read the full story here.
With newly minted conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch in Scalia’s seat, the labor movement is once again bracing for a crippling blow from another case. Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 could wipe out mandatory payments – agency fees – from public sector employees who opt out of union membership, with the potential knock-on effect of depleting the ranks of existing union members. Read the full story here.
Health care legislation in Albany during the 2018 session will be largely affected by decisions made in Washington. State Sen. Kemp Hannon, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said the state Legislature would be “very careful” and will be “watching what happens” in Congress this year when deliberating health care issues. Read the full story here.
After this year’s “summer of hell” highlighted problems with the New York City subway system and the need for more investment in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, debating how to pay for transportation upgrades could dominate the 2018 legislative session in Albany. Read the full story here.
Bills back in Albany
As the new year approaches, state lawmakers are preparing to return to Albany. Some of them bring along bills that – despite big pushes – couldn’t make it into law last session. Here are some of the bills you’ll be hearing about again. Read the full story here.