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2018 Legislative Conference

January 29-31
Desmond Hotel
Albany, NY  (Albany County)

 
52nd Annual County Finance School

May 2 – 4, 2018
Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel
Syracuse, NY (Onondaga County)

 
2018 Fall Seminar

September 24 - 26
Hyatt Hotel
Rochester, NY (Monroe County)

News

What to Watch For in 2017: The Guide to Issues Impacting Counties

By the NYSAC Legislative Team
The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) represents New York counties and their taxpayers before Federal, State and Local officials on matters germane to county governments. As such, the NYSAC legislative team is always advocating for county needs as they relate to state and federal legislation.
 
Below are the legislative issues we are watching at the state and federal levels in the coming year. These are the issues that impact counties, our taxpayers, and our communities. NYSAC will be the voice of counties on these issues, and we encourage you to work with us as we advocate for county needs.
 
What to Watch for at the Federal Level
Counties will be watching closely as the new President and Congress implement their agenda in the coming year. Several high profile proposals have been outlined that will directly impact county bottom lines. These proposals will provide challenges and opportunities.
 
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Counties in New York benefit from the ACA in a variety of ways. The ACA currently provides nearly $500 million annually in enhanced federal Medicaid support that directly lowers costs for counties. If the ACA continues without any changes these county savings are expected to exceed $600 million annually in a few years. Counties also benefit when more people are covered by health insurance – many counties have seen their health insurance uninsured rate cut by 60 % or more. This translates to fewer county public health care expenditures, lower social service costs, reduced public safety and emergency shelter costs, as well as helping to stabilize public health facilities that experience less bad debt and charity care with expanded health insurance coverage.
 
The ACA also brought new costs for counties through expanded health insurance coverage requirements for employees and additional health insurance taxes, but these costs are considerably smaller than the fiscal benefits in other areas of the ACA for a typical county. Also some New York companies were impacted by higher taxes on their products and/or operations under the ACA, which could see some relief depending on how Congress addresses this issue as they contemplate the future of the ACA.
 
Family First Prevention Act
New York counties objected to this federal legislation introduced last summer and passed by the House (with no formal committee review or floor debate). The proposed legislation is well intentioned in its goals to provide federal matching funds to states for preventive services to help ensure children and families never reach a point where their child must be placed into foster care. Unfortunately, the bill is completely underfunded to achieve its goals and the mechanism proposed to help cover some of the costs is primarily based on taking away current federal foster care funds from large states like New York and making those funds available to other states to provide prevention services.
 
The bill also imposes strict maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements on states like New York that already have extensive preventive services programs in place, while taking away critical federal foster care funds and incentives to encourage and support adoptions. Based on estimates from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, more than $200 million annually in federal funds could be lost, not including hundreds of millions of dollars in strict MOE requirements. Under New York State law most of the loss in federal funds would be placed on counties to backfill.
 
Advocates have continued to try and attach this proposal to must pass legislation at the federal level. NYSAC continues to monitor this legislation to ensure New York counties are not unduly harmed by enactment of this legislation.
 
Child Care Development Block Grant Changes
These changes have already been enacted by Congress andthey require states to increase several administrative activities to monitor the quality and safety of child care services. They also expand the duration of federal child care assistance once eligibility is established, calling for 12 months of continuous coverage (today, counties check eligibility on a monthly basis). These expanded administrative responsibilities and continuous eligibility requirements are expected to cost New York more than $90 million, with a significant portion of this being recurring costs. However, the federal law changes only come with a fraction of the additional federal funding necessary to ensure states can meet these new requirements - while not losing critical daycare slots.
 
New York is currently operating under a temporary federal waiver to delay some of the new administrative costs. Counties will be watching closely as this waiver comes up for renewal and to ensure adequate federal funding is provided to support these federal changes.
 
Federal Infrastructure Investment
The incoming President has proposed a $1 trillion publicprivate investment in infrastructure over the next 10 years. While the parameters of that spending have not been outlined, they are expected to cover all manner of public infrastructure from roads and bridges, to airports, mass transit and rail, energy, water and sewer, and more. The need for rebuilding and improving the nation's (and New York's) public infrastructure is well documented. Counties in New York will look to partner with our federal representatives to ensure local public infrastructure is not overlooked and fully supported in this nationwide investment.
 
Federal Tax Reform
Congressional leaders and the new President have put federal tax reform at the top of their priority list. Some of these proposals could have a direct impact in counties, including proposals that would limit or eliminate the tax exempt status of local bonds. Various proposals have been floated in the current Congress that would eliminate or limit this status, which would raise borrowing costs for all local governments, potentially adding billions of dollars in higher borrowing costs for New York localities.
 
Another key federal tax reform important to counties is the enactment of the Marketplace Fairness Act. This legislation passed the U.S. Senate a few years ago and it sought to create a uniform process for collecting sales tax on internet purchases. The goal of this legislation is to streamline the process to make it easier for vendors to collect and remit sales taxes due, and to even the playing field between “Main Street” brick and mortar retailers that employ people in our communities, and those retailers that primarily operate online.
 
Other federal tax reforms could benefit selected industrial and business services sectors, including banking and high technology companies, which are key players in New York's economy. Federal reforms that bolster nationwide economic growth can provide enhanced opportunities for New York counties and we will be watching closely and working with our federal partners as the debate unfolds.
 
What to Watch For at the State Level
State Budget Process
The vast majority of county priorities are determined in the annual State Budget process. This is due to the fact that most of the spending in a typical county budget is set aside to pay for state and federal programs (and their related statutory obligations and rules).
 
In recent years the Governor and State Legislature have limited the creation of new, or expansion of existing, state mandates on counties. Further, the state has enacted some important mandate relief for counties in the creation of a zero percent growth cap in the county contributions required to support the state Medicaid program (local spending is now capped at $7.5 billion annually), along with significant pension reforms.
 
Counties will keep an eye on the fact that year-to-date state tax collections are falling far short of those originally budgeted and how this is growing out-year budget gaps by billions of dollars. This does not bode well in regard to having the state increase appropriations to help lower county costs. However, the growing state fiscal challenges may spur the Governor and Legislature to fundamentally reform certain high cost programs. Such reforms can better position the state to implement the next phase of property tax relief where the state takes more fiscal responsibility for its own programs instead of relying on locally raised property taxes.
 
Counties will be watching the release of the Governor's Executive Budget Recommendation for clues to future spending requirements that counties might be expected to support. A proposed budget that takes bold action to reduce the cost of state mandates, and provides administrative flexibility to counties, would be optimal for local property tax payers and county budgets. A state budget proposal that outlines a “do no harm” strategy, while welcome, will prevent any significant opportunity for counties to lower costs for taxpayers. Anything else would have to be viewed as a step backward for counties and local taxpayers.
 
What to Watch For:NYSAC Priorities by Issue Area
Below are the specific issues NYSAC will be watching and the positions we will be advocating on behalf of our county members. To work with NYSAC on advocacy or to learn more, visit www.nysac.org/advocacy.
 
Agriculture
„„ Increase support and funding available to counties to fight the rabies virus.
 
Fighting the rabies virus continues to be a struggle and financial burden for counties. NYSAC calls on the Governor to increase funding available to counties for rabies awareness, vaccination, and treatment.

„„ Support funding for Local Agriculture Assistance Programs.
 
The recent 2016/17 Budget included $30,915,000 in agricultural funding aid to localities. We support the continued funding of these local assistance programs because the agriculture industry remains a top contributor to the New York State economy. In addition, the industry provides critical jobs, revenues, and food for our state and others.
 
Children and Families
„„ Fully reimburse counties for outstanding Early Intervention (EI) claims that predate the Statewide Fiscal Agent.
 
Counties and the Department of Health have been working over the last couple of years to determine the amount of unreimbursed claims counties have pending with the state from the years prior to the enactment of the statewide fiscal agent. DOH and the counties are nearing the end of a long work indicates that counties are likely owed what amounts to 15 % of one full year of claims owed to a typical county, or a total of about $30 million for all counties and New York City combined. We are urging the Division of Budget to provide sufficient funding in the coming financial plan to ensure these prior year claims can be paid in full as soon as practicable.
 
„„ Require EI provider claims to be timely filed with commercial insurance and Medicaid.
 
Counties remain concerned that providers of Early Intervention services have not been diligently pursuing Medicaid and third party insurance before submitting for reimbursement from counties. Many counties are reporting that their county costs are rising dramatically and it appears that falling Medicaid and stagnant third party insurance reimbursements are contributing to the problem.
 
NYSAC supports efforts by the Governor to encourage EI providers exhaust efforts for timely reimbursement from Medicaid and third party insurance before seeking reimbursement from counties.
 
„„ Remove counties from the fiscal responsibility of preschool special education and related transportation costs.
 
„„ Improve transparency and accountability by the NYS Education Department in the preschool special education program.
 
Segregating the funding and administration of education services for four-year-old children with special needs from their peers, as is the current practice in New York, makes little sense when the federal government requires these children to be provided services within the least restrictive setting and to the greatest extent possible among their peers. Counties support merging the current preschool special education program with the Universal Prekindergarten Program to improve efficiency and consolidate these programs in one place and under one funding stream.

Community Colleges
„„ Support an increase in State FTE aid of $30 million in the 2017-18 state fiscal year, to fulfill the state promise to support one-third of the community college tuition costs.
 
Provide statutory clarification to the new chargeback methodology that says rates be set “up to” the maximum rate.

NYSAC has supported SUNY efforts to provide more uniformity and transparency in how chargebacks are calculated, as well as a more equitable split between sponsor contributions per student and chargeback rates. However, the state continues to delay the implementation of this new methodology. We urge the state to implement this reform.

We also seek clarification, in law, that the new chargeback methodology would allow chargeback rates to be set “up to” the maximum rate derived by the methodology. A recent interpretation from SUNY indicated that the maximum rate driven by the new chargeback methodology mandates the maximum be implemented, leaving no discretion to local schools or fiscal conditions. This new interpretation will cause imbalances, especially in regard to FIT chargebacks. FIT already has unique privileges in regard to being able to chargeback for advanced degrees and their tuition rates are more than 300 % of the average chargeback rate. Countiessupport clarifying language that the “up to” interpretation applies to FIT and other campuses.
 
Economic Development
„„ Deploy broadband grants to unserved and underserved communities across the state.
 
The 2015/16 Budget created the “New NY Broadband Program”. The Program created $500 million using capital funds from bank settlements to incentive the private sector to expand high-speed access to unserved and underserved areas. Highlights of the program include:
 
„„ Matching Private Sector Funds: Broadband providers seeking to use this funding must provide at least a 1:1 financial match

„„ Unprecedented broadband speeds. Broadband providers must provide internet speeds of 100 Mega bytes per second (mgps).
 
On August 3, 2016 the New NY Broadband Program announced awards of Phase I funding. The program funded 25 projects and awarded $54.2 million. Along with the awards of Phase I, included was the Application process for Phase II. Phase II will follow the same eligibility, requirements, and program design as Phase I. The service areas that received funding through Phase I are not eligible for Phase II and allows for $445.8 million to be distributed in the remaining rounds.
 
We encourage the state to continue its commitment and award the remaining $445.8 million to unserved and underserved areas.
 
Energy and the Environment
Expedite and improve the interconnection process for connecting existing and new renewable energy projects to the electrical grid.
 
Counties are facing two serious problems related to Renewable Energy Projects:
 
1. Delayed interconnection, including hydro projects that are already operating and generating electricity
 
2. Utility upgrade/infrastructure costs
 
We have a total of 14 projects that are either awaiting interconnection or are on hold due to upgrade costs being too high and threatening the viability of the project. The serious delays in interconnection, and the high costs associated with utility upgrades are delaying these vital projects and causing local governments to lose confidence in renewable energy and deter participation in other NYSERDA programs and incentives.
 
„„ Establish a Paint Stewardship Program to reduce local taxpayer costs of collecting and disposing left over consumer paint.
 
County solid waste management facilities struggle financially with managing the nearly four million gallons of leftover paint that is generated annually in New York State. For this reason, NYSAC supports the implementation of a "Paint Stewardship Program” to manage leftover household paint. A paint stewardship program would provide mandate relief while increasing resident convenience by creating an industrymanaged paint collection network. Most leftover paint is currently disposed in the garbage despite the efforts of local governments, which spend millions of dollars annually to collect and manage a small fraction of this unwanted paint through the household hazardous waste collection programs.
 
„„ Continue to relieve local taxpayers from costs of e-waste disposal.
 
Counties continue to struggle with expenses related to managing and recycling electronic waste. The 2016/17 state budget included a one-time appropriation of $3 million for e-waste grants to help reduce the financial burden on counties and local governments. However, the funding is limited in scope and does not cover all costs counties and local governments face to manage e-waste.
 
Reimbursement under this program is limited to direct costs paid to recyclers and does not include any indirect costs such as county employees to handle e-waste at their collection sites, labor for sorting, palletizing, wrapping, or loading e-waste into trailers. These expenses are not reimbursable through the grant program, but represent a huge expense. We urge the DOB to include sufficient funding in the 2017/2018 budget to fully relieve counties of this burden, and to expand the eligibility criteria to also include indirect costs as noted.
 
„„ Advocate for additional state aid and Environmental Facility Corporation (EFC) grants for drinking water and sewer infrastructure projects.
 
Nearly every New York community is facing high water infrastructure costs and, oftentimes, is spending scarce resources to repair their existing assets. Making the switch from paying only for repairs to paying for proper operations and maintenance is a necessary step if municipalities are going to get a handle on this growing problem, control costs and provide better value to ratepayers and the environment. Many municipalities have – or are attempting to – implement “asset management approaches” for their infrastructure, but capital investments are needed to leverage these efforts. We must begin to address our long-term problems with long-term solutions. 
 
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has identified over $36 billion in necessary wastewater infrastructure investments statewide over the next 20 years, and the Department of Health (DOH) has identified over $38 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs statewide over the next 20 years. NYSAC has been very vocal in requesting an additional $800 million in the 2017/18 state budget for water infrastructure needs.
 
„„ Promote the expansion of and access to Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout all counties in the state.
 
The popularity of Electric Vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles continues to grow, but the majority of counties only have between 5 and 50 total electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles registered countywide. Expenses associated with purchasing and installing charging stations for electric vehicles have been cost prohibitive. However, both the federal government and the state of New York have programs to help residents buy electric vehicles (EVs) and to help business owners and municipalities install charging stations. As of 2013, New York State provides an income tax credit for 50% of the cost, up to $5,000, for the purchase and installation of alternative fuel vehicle refueling and electric vehicle recharging stations. The credit is available through December 31, 2017, and is targeted at commercial and workplace charging stations. Today, there are 712 electric vehicle charging stations with a combined total of 1,465 charging outlets statewide. NYSAC promotes the expansion of electric vehicles, the installation of additional charging stations and advocates for additional state funding to help counties achieve this goal.
 
„„ Promote river and lake water quality by meeting pollution reduction targets for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from waste water, storm water, and agricultural activities.
 
Excess nutrients and sediment degrade water quality. The main nutrient/pollutant sources are sewage, cattle manure, inorganic fertilizer and atmospheric nitrogen deposition (rain and snow). Most of the sediment comes from agriculture, stream bank erosion and construction. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Upper Susquehanna coalition outline water quality improvement plans to implement strategies to reduce these pollutants, but efforts continue to fall short of achieving these goals. NYSAC has been working with the National Association of Counties (NACO) to promote water quality throughout the state and will continue to advocate for improved water quality.
 
Organics: Reduce, Donate and Recycle
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is developing a comprehensive program to reduce the quantity of food scrapes that are disposed of in landfills. The program aims to achieve this goal by increasing the amount of edible food donated to those in need and by promoting composting, anaerobic digestion (AD) and other organics management facilities, to spur green jobs and renewable energy and to reduce harmful methane gas emissions.
 
Over the summer the DEC held regional food scrap legislation stakeholder meetings to solicit comments and feedback on this proposal as well as an early draft of potential legislation. NYSAC participated in these meetings.
 
The legislation would require large food waste generators to donate edible food when possible and to divert food waste for recycling or energy recovery if located within 50 miles of a digester or composting facility.
 
Although well intentioned, NYSAC is concerned that this proposal may negatively impact counties and raise costs for solid waste management. We are concerned that a solid waste facility accepting a load of waste may not know whether the load contains organics, and if a facility could be held liable for unknowingly accepting it? Another serious
concern is the requirement to ship organics to a digester or composting facility located within 50 miles. A 100 mile round trip for a single load of waste is going to be expensive and time consuming for county employees. 
 
NYSAC will continue to track this draft legislation, advocate for county interests and work to ensure solid waste management costs are not increased.
 
County DMV Funding
NYSAC will continue to push for equitable sharing between the state and the county for DMV funding. By fixing the current inequity of the state receiving 87.7% of DMV funds obtained through county work and county employees, a county would be in better fiscal shape allowing for increased services for county residents and/or provide needed property taxpayer relief.
 
Indigent Defense Reform
In 2016 NYSAC maintained voicing that the law surrounding indigent legal defense is clear: Indigent Defense is a constitutional obligation of the state. All costs for this service should be paid for by the state. Additionally the system of criminal justice should be uniform throughout the state. Currently five counties provided increased indigent defense services, paid for by the state, due to the state settling the Hurrell-Harring lawsuit. The state needs to cover the cost of these increased services for the other 52 counties. Legislation S.8114/A.10706, sponsored by Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco and Assembly Member Pat Fahy accomplishes state fiscal takeover which provides county mandate relief and allows for a uniform and enhanced indigent defense system.
 
„„ Indigent Defense Costs Related to Eligibility Guidelines.
 
On April 4, 2016 guidelines issued by the Office of Indigent Legal Services called “Criteria and Procedures for Determining Assigned Counsel Eligibility.” These guidelines alter public defense eligibility standards for those accused of a crime in many ways, none perhaps more so than the standard doubling the take home income eligibility from 125% to 250% of the federal poverty level. NYSAC pushed for and achieved delay implementation of these until April 1, 2017 in order for this action to be in line with the state budget cycle. However more changes are still needed such as regional eligibility standards regarding poverty thresholds similar to minimum wage requirements taking into account the cost of living is vastly different throughout the state, as is the hourly wage of attorneys. Also any increases in costs to counties associated with these guidelines need to be met by the state.
 
Scaffold Law Reform
NYSAC supports legislation that amends existing scaffold related laws; amendments which would help ease costs associated to county capital and construction expenses. By lowering these costs, counties could save money on some of their construction projects and construction costs would decrease in the private sector, stimulating local business project growth.
 
DA Salary Increases
On April 1, 2016 the State legislature increased State judicial salaries for 2016 and 2018. Of concern to county government, is the state law that directs District Attorney salaries to judicial salaries. Historically, when the state has adjusted the judicial salaries, it has offset the increase to the DA salaries through the State Budget. Unfortunately 
the 2016 enacted State Budget did not cover the recent increases. NYSAC along with the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY), requests the state to reimburse the counties for any increases associated with the recent state judicial salary increase.
 
Public Health and Mental Health
„„ Increase support for Article 6 programs by raising the base grant and increasing state reimbursement to local health departments.

Local health departments provide vital services to our communities and require adequate state funding to ensure continued access to these core public health services. NYSAC calls on the Governor to compensate counties for significant state funding cuts to local health departments since 2010 by taking the following steps in the Article 6 State Aid for General Public Health Work base grants and reimbursement rates:
 
1. Instruct the Division of Budget and NYSDOH to end administrative actions that will result in further erosion of state aid to local health departments;
 
2. Increase the base grant with 100% reimbursement of local expenditures on core public health services for partial service counties from $500,000 to $550,000; for full service counties from $650,000 to $750,000; and the per capita rate of the base grant from 65 cents per capita to $1.30 per capita;
 
3. Increase the State Aid reimbursement rate for local health department expenditures beyond the base grant from 36% to 38%;
 
4. Reimbursement for new state mandated activities required of Local Health Departments at 100%.
 
Support Statewide Awareness of Lyme Diseaseand Other Tick-Borne Diseases
Lyme Disease is a common but frequently misunderstood illness that, if not caught early and treated properly, can cause serious health problems. There are more than a dozen tick-borne illnesses in the United States, in addition to Lyme Disease. One tick may carry more than one disease resulting in people receiving more than one "co-infection" from a single tick bite. NYSAC calls on the Governor and State Legislature to provide support and financial resources for statewide awareness on the threat of Lyme Disease, and other tick-borne diseases.
 
„„ Increase funding to support the treatment of county inmates with substance use disorders, mental health needs, HIV, and Hepatitis C
 
Local governments are responsible for the planning, development, implementation and oversight of the system of services for individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities. In order to identify and meet the service needs of people with developmental disabilities (as well as with mental illness and substance use disorders) local governments are required to conduct a comprehensive local services planning process which is reliant on both data and the input of local consumers, family members, advocates, service providers and state agency representatives. Counties face challenges accessing data from the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). NSYAC calls on the Governor and OPWDD to develop a transparent process, share detailed information and collaborate with local governments to ensure that adequate services are funded and available for individuals with developmental disabilities who are transitioning from an institutional setting into the community.
 
Public Safety
„„ Rescuing 9-1-1: Develop a plan for Next Generation 9-1-1 capabilities by directing more funds to emergency communication dispatch centers and ensure the Public Safety Surcharge is collected on ALL devices capable of accessing 9-1-1.
 
The state-imposed public safety surcharge must be fundamentally altered to keep pace with changes in the cellular marketplace and to more fairly distribute the existing surcharge among users of the 911 system. New pricing options are being implemented by all major cellular providers that are migrating consumers away from annual contracts to prepaid plans where the public safety surcharge is not collected. Certain phone manufacturers are also moving to direct to consumer financing models that will eventually eliminate the attractiveness of annual contract plans with cellular providers.

Counties support imposing the $1.20 state surcharge on ALL devices capable of accessing 9-1-1, and extending the local $.30 surcharge to these devices as well. We also support allowing the eight counties that do not have a local $.30 surcharge the authority to do so via home rule.
 
„„ Create a New York State 9-1-1 Board that supports the county PSAPs and enhances local emergency dispatch services.
 
The state should provide coordinated leadership in the area of 9-1-1. A statewide body made up of state officials, local government county officials, law enforcement officials (sheriff, state troopers and other fire and safety), agency heads, professionals from private industry, and the public sector that could address these issues with a statewide point of view:
 
„„ The board should have representation from ALL stakeholder involved in 9-1-1 services.
 
„„ Secure resources for the creation, operation, expansion, and cooperative undertaking of local public safety answering points.
 
„„ Secure and direct the distribution of public safety surcharge funds and grants as needed.
 
„„ Create and maintain best practices databases for public safety answering-point operations.
 
„„ Assist public-safety answering points in implementing Next Generation 9-1-1.
 
„„ Provide a clearinghouse of contact information for all telephone companies operating in the state and contact information.
 
Video Conferenced Court Appearances for County Jail Inmates (County Sheriffs Association priority)
Under current law, video conferencing of inmate arraignments or other court appearances is permitted in several counties, but is not practiced because the law requires the inmate to agree to such an appearance. Many counties have video conferencing systems which are not used for inmate court appearances, simply because inmates routinely chose to be transported to court rather than make an appearance by video conference. Expanded use of video conferencing for court appearances would save county taxpayer expense, make courtrooms safer, and avoid problems that can happen when inmates are transported to a courtroom. The applicable judge in the presiding court, and not the inmate, should make the determination as to whether video conferencing is appropriate for the particular court appearance.
 
Allow Counties to Provide Detainees With Pre-arraignment Hearings in Any Court in the County
NYSAC supports providing all counties the option for their local correctional facility to detain persons under arrest and being held for arraignment in any court in their county. Currently, 21 counties have state authority for the detention of persons under arrest being held for arraignment in any court located in the county. The remaining 36 counties would like to have the option to provide detention for persons under arrest being held for arraignment in any court located in that county.
 
Amend and Modernize the Sex Offender Statute (NYS Sheriffs Association priority)
Much of the work done in tracking sex offenders and ensuring the Sex Offender Registry has accurate information is carried out by sheriffs. But there are oversights within the law which allow sex offenders to manipulate the system. Coordination between local law enforcement and the Division of Criminal Justice Services with regards to sex offenders is still a paper process. The Sheriffs' Association will be pursuing common sense amendments to the current law, as well as funding to modernize the Sex Offender Registry itself.

Address the Mental Health Crisis (NYS Sheriffs Association priority)
A common refrain among sheriffs is that jails have become the destination of first resort for mentally ill individuals. With the closing of numerous state mental health hospitals, jails have become the de facto mental health provider for many people. A corrections setting is an inappropriate place for many of these individuals, many times there is simply no place else for them to get any type of care. The Sheriffs' Association is committed to working with all the relevant stakeholders in this issue to find a way to help this population find the care they need outside of the jail setting.

Combat Contraband in Jails (NYS Sheriffs Association priority)
Some of the greatest threats to inmate and corrections officer safety come from the introduction of contraband into the jail: drugs, cell phones, makeshift weaponry—all can be dangerous in a corrections environment. The Sheriffs' Association will seek legislative approval authorizing the use of body scanners to examine inmates prior to their booking into the jail. Common searches often times do not reveal contraband hidden on (or in) an inmate. This technology has the potential to make jails much safer for both inmates and staff.

Probation
The New York State Council of Probation Administrators (COPA) is a not-for-profit organization whose membership is composed of Probation Administrators (Probation Directors and Commissioners) and Deputy Directors for each of the 58 counties in New York State (the 5 counties in NYC are counted as one).

COPA proposes and supports legislation that will improve the scope and effectiveness of probation throughout the state. Legislation/positions we currently support:

1. COPA supports the concept of raising the criminal age of responsibility in New York State, if the state develops a dedicated funding stream for funding 100% of juvenile services to County Probation Departments through DCJS/OPCA, not through the OCFS.

2. Eliminate the mandate that Pre-sentence Investigations (PSI) must be conducted when a sentence of up to one year in jail has been negotiated for a defendant before the court. This mandate was lifted in NYC only; it should be the practice in the entire state.

3. Restoration of funding to NYS counties for Probation services. Probation is a mandated service and one of the top 10 departments that inflate county budgets. In 1990, the state paid counties 46.5% of the cost of probation; by 2016 the state support has dropped to 10%. Funding should be restored to at least 40% level of support.

4. Restore funding to IID Monitors that was previously granted by state and federal dollars to support public safety for the high risk DWI population. The Leandra's Law statute, passed in 2010, dramatically increased Probation Department's responsibility in the monitoring of Ignition Interlock Devices. In 2016, fiscal support for this program was reduced 50% by the state due to a loss of federal funding.

5. Eliminate the dual supervision of convicted DWI parolees by both Parole and Probation.

Transportation; Design-Build Legislation
Design–build is a common method used in the private construction industry to deliver a project in which the engineering design and construction services are contracted by a single entity. Especially in larger construction projects allowing local governments to use this method would reduce costs. The State of New York has recently passed legislation allowing for more Design–build options for state projects in order to reduce costs and streamline projects. Counties do not have this same flexibility under the law. It would be in the best interests of New York residents and taxpayers to allow local governments the same construction project flexibility as the state as counties are facing an increasing number of required infrastructure projects, including expensive projects such as bridge repair and replacement, and new jail construction.

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