Weekly Wire Week Ending May 19, 2016
911, DA Salary Increases, Mandate Relief, Indigent Defense, Training, more
Happening Now: 50th Annual County Finance School
The 50th Annual County Finance School, cosponsored by the State Office of the State Comptroller, NYSAC, and the County Treasurers' Association, is in its second day in Syracuse. More than 200 attendees from 41 counties are on-hand to hear about best practices in public management, an update from the State Capitol, improving the procurement process, sales tax trends, short and long term bonding, new revenue opportunities for counties, and other timely issues.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli presented an update on the state's fiscal plan, economic conditions, and the state-local pension system to attendees on Wednesday evening.
Mayday for Mandate Relief Campaign Continues
"Mayday" is an international call for help, derived from the French venez m'aider, meaning "come help me." NYSAC's 2016 "Mayday for Mandate Relief" campaign calls on New York State to provide much-needed mandate relief for counties and local governments.
In 2015, nine state mandates consumed 99 percent of the property taxes levied by counties across the state, outside of New York City. This year's state budget raised district attorney salaries that must be paid by counties with no state reimbursement. Additionally, new state-imposed indigent legal defense requirements will significantly impact eligibility for those in need of criminal defense counsel. Again, the state is mandating local action without providing resources to offset costs.
Counties are encouraged to localize the impact that state mandates have on county budgets, and send a message to state representatives that more needs to be done to enact mandate reforms that relieve local property taxpayers.
For supporting materials, visit http://www.nysac.org/mayday.
View #Mayday4Relief tweets and join the conversation.
NYSAC Presents to County IT Directors
NYSAC Deputy Director Mark LaVigne presented the opening address to the NYS Local Government IT Directors Association (NYSGLITA) conference this week in Saratoga. The IT Directors heard about the major budget pressure points facing county governments, including the nine mandates that consume 99 percent of the property taxes levied by counties statewide. The proceeding discussion focused on ways that IT directors can more effectively support the mission and goals of local leaders, and how the IT department can participate more actively before technology decisions and investments are made by county leaders and department heads.
County Attorneys' Association Holds Annual Conference in Otsego County
On May 16th and 17th the County Attorneys' Association of the State of New York held their 2016 annual conference in Otsego County. County Attorneys from over 50 counties met in order to train and share ideas. Workshops provided education on topical subjects such as Affordable Care Act compliance as well as public-private partnerships within New York procurement law.
This conference marked the end of a highly effective term as association president for Thomas Miner, Esq., the Allegany County Attorney. Sworn in as new president of the association is David J. Morris, Esq., Livingston County Attorney.
Albany Update on the Legislative Session
With only four weeks left of the 2016 Legislative Session the remaining weeks will be a busy time in Albany. NYSAC continues to advocate for counties to ensure new programs place no additional financial burdens on county property taxpayers.
During these remaining scheduled legislative days, NYSAC's key priorities continue to be:
The lack of necessary funding to maintain and upgrade 9-1-1 emergency communication centers and services received national attention this week, when the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver show covered 9-1-1 services. The clip from the show can be found on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-XlyB_QQYs
Under current law, the State imposes a $1.20 Public Safety Surcharge on all contracted wireless cell phones in order to fund 9-1-1 operations. Under Section 186-F of the Tax Law, $.50 goes into the State's General Fund and the remaining $.70 goes to a variety of public safety programs. In 2015, the state collected $185 million and provided only $75 million in grants to selected counties for 9-1-1 equipment.
NYSAC encourages county officials to call your State Senator(s) and Assemblymember(s) to express your support of this proposal of strengthening our emergency communication network Statewide.
The NYS Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation voted to recommend an increase in state salaries in 2016 and 2018. These recommendations became law on April 1, 2016.
State law links District Attorney salaries to judicial salaries. Historically, when the State has adjusted the judicial salaries, it has reimbursed counties for the increase in DA salaries through the State Budget. This year, that did not happen.
NYSAC and the District Attorneys Association have requested the State Legislature pass legislation to reimburse counties for the increases associated with the recent state judicial salary increase.
Bills have been introduced (S7408A, Young; A10152-A Gunther) would provide for state reimbursement for the DA salary increase.
Recognizing that the DA salary increase is a new state mandated cost to counties, NYSAC urges you to contact your state representative to support an agreed upon bill that gets passed and sent tothe Governor to be enacted into law.
Indigent Defense Services Poised for Expansion
On April 4, 2016 the NYS Office of Indigent Legal Services (OILS) issued new guidelines that will significantly expand eligibility for public provided defense attorneys in both criminal and family court.The new guidelines would double the take home income eligibility from 125% to 250% of the federal poverty level, or nearly $30,000 for individuals and $62,000 for defendants with a family of four. These guidelines stem from the state's settlement of the Hurrell v. Herring lawsuit settlement between the NYS ACLU and five counties and the State of New York.
County leaders are concerned that these changes will significantly increase the cost of this state mandated expense, and have asked (OILS) to:
1) Delay implementation until April 1, 2017 in order for this action to be in line with the State budget cycle;
2) Use the delayed implementation time to get a more accurate account of how this change will impact community payers and providers, and discuss this change in the context of greater reform efforts.
In the meantime, two separate pieces of legislation (S. 6341A, DeFrancisco and A.6202C, Fahy) would provide for a phased in takeover of the costs of county indigent legal defense services. These bill will have to be negotiated in both houses and agreed upon before it can be sent to the Governor for his enactment.
NYS DEC Emergency Adoption to Classify PFOA as a Hazardous Substance
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) filed a Notice of Emergency Adoption and Proposed Rule Making with the New York State Department of State on April 25, 2016 to classify perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA-acid), ammonium perfluorooctanoate (PFOA-salt), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS-acid), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS-salt) as hazardous substances at the request of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).
This rule making also provides time for facilities storing fire-fighting foam containing one or more of these newly listed hazardous substances to properly dispose of it and provides time for firefighting operations to find replacement foams. This proposal also corrects the tables of hazardous substances by providing units for reportable quantities.
The emergency adoption is temporary and the proposed rule provides for the amendments to become permanent upon adoption. DEC will receive written comments on the amendments to through July 8, 2016.
There are upcoming legislative public hearings to receive public comment on the proposed amendments. Prior to each hearing, a public availability session will also be held from 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM at the same location.
Monday, June 27, 2016 at 2:00 PM
Empire State Plaza, Meeting Room 6, Albany, NY 12242
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM
RIT Inn and Conference Center, 5257 W. Henrietta Road, Henrietta, NY 14467
Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM
Nassau Community College, One Education Drive, Garden City, NY 11530
All documents and related information pertaining to this rule making are available here on DEC's website. This includes how to submit written comments.
Positive Steps as FDA Issues New Rule to Regulate E-Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products
On May 5, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, finalized a rule extending its authority to regulate additional tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, among others. The new rule bars the sale of these additional tobacco products to people under the age of 18 and requires manufacturers to obtain FDA approval for any products that were put on the market after February 15, 2007. NACo has repeatedly called on the FDA to finalize this rule that has been over two years in the making.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nicotine is highly addictive whether it comes from an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette or cigar. While there has been a decline in the use of traditional cigarettes among youth over the past decade, their use of other tobacco products continues to climb. For instance the FDA and CDC found that e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2015. In 2015, 3 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users, and high school boys smoked cigars at the same rate as cigarettes.
The new rule is intended to protect youth from the risks of nicotine and tobacco. The specific provisions, which will go into effect in 90 days, include:
· Not allowing products to be sold to persons under the age of 18 years both in person and online;
· Requiring age verification by photo ID;
· Not allowing the sale of covered tobacco products in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility); and
· Not allowing the distribution of free samples.
Counties invest $83 billion annually in community health systems, including public health infrastructure. The majority of the 2,800 local public health departments are operated by counties, and they work diligently to prevent diseases and deaths in their communities while providing savings to local taxpayers. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., and is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Currently more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease and the CDC estimates these illnesses costs more than $170 billion annually.
(Article from NACo.)
|Training & Funding Opportunities
Issue Brief: Mapping the boundaries of social media use in government
The boundaries between interests and uses of social media appear relatively straightforward on paper, however, in practice, social media use by professionals in the workplace is often guided by different interests at difference times. This blurring of boundaries between interests and uses of social media by employees from organizational to professional to personal presents a set of challenges to government organizations, among others. As more and more government entities enter the world of social media, questions about employee access, acceptable use, employee conduct, and account management surface.
This issue brief from the Center for Technology in Government at UAlbany guides decision makers in developing policies on the use of social media in their organizations. This brief defines three types of social media use and highlights the need for policies that guide the management of the boundaries between these uses.
NYS Cyber Security Conference: 11th Annual Symposium on Information Assurance
As our online activities continue to increase, so does the potential for our information ending up in the wrong hands!
Consider the following:
· The total number of identities exposed through data breaches in 2015 was 429 million - up 23% from the previous year. 1
· Sixty-three percent of confirmed data breaches involved weak, default, or stolen passwords. 2
· Over this past year, more data breaches became public than at any other time in the past, and the location and motives of the attackers were more diverse. 3
· Thirty-one percent of the 10.8 million mobile apps scanned by Symantec were classified as malware. 4
Learn more about these issues and what you can do to protect your personal data and your organization's information by attending the 19th Annual New York State Cyber Security Conference and 11th Annual Symposium on Information Assurance (ASIA) on June 8 and 9 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Each year the event draws over 1,000 attendees from government, academia, and the private sector to the Capital Region. Recognized as the premier Northeast conference for cyber security education, the event is cohosted by the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, the University at Albany's School of Business, and The New York State Forum, Inc.
The conference offers more than 50 breakout sessions designed for a broad audience including topics for business managers, educators, information security professionals, technical staff, and others. Conference attendees will hear from a number of industry experts, including Tim Brown, Dell Fellow and CTO of Dell Security; Jason Healey, Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University and Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council; and Michele Markoff, Deputy Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the U.S. Department of State.
Registration is free to government and public sector employees, including kindergarten-higher education.
For more information, including conference agenda and registration information, visit the conference website at www.its.ny.gov/eiso/conference/2016. Follow the conference on Twitter at #NysCyber and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nystatecio.