Weekly Wire Ending December 23, 2016

Weekly Wire: Year-End State Actions, Public Defense Reform, State of the State
NYSAC Presents
people_at_conference.jpgUnlock the Power of Learning at the NYSAC Legislative Conference
Registration is open for the NYSAC 2017 Legislative Conference, which will be held January 30, 31 and February 1, 2017 at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany.

County officials will attend a series of informative and timely workshops, standing committee meetings, conference-wide presentations, and networking opportunities.
To register and for more information, visit our website at
Local governments unite to fight opioid abuse
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, a member of a national task force on the heroin & opioid abuse crisis, will be traveling to regions across the state to hold informative session on the joint task force findings. The meetings are being coordinated by NYSAC and will be hosted by local county leaders.
As a member of the national task force put together by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC), Poloncarz has taken a leadership role in battling the opioid crisis here in New York.
The local meetings will focus on strategies and programs that aim to ways local leaders can help prevent individuals from becoming dependent on prescription painkillers and heroin. As the large number of drug-related deaths across the U.S. brings increasing attention to efforts that aim to prevent these deaths, local leaders must not lose sight of the importance of preventing individuals from becoming drug dependent in the first place. During this meeting, local leaders will discuss prevention and education strategies that can help to stem the tide of drug abuse in local communities.  Stay tuned- more details to come. 
State UpdateCapitol
The Governor will deliver the State of the State to the People
The New York State Constitution requires an annual message from the Governor to the Legislature on the condition of the state. Under the New York State Constitution it requires that the Governor, "shall communicate by message to the legislature at every session the condition of the state, and recommend such matters to it as he or she shall judge expedient." However, there is no requirement on the timing or location of the Governor's message. Historically, governors delivered written messages to the Legislature. This changed in 1923 with Governor Al Smith, who added the speech element, Governor Cuomo deviated from tradition in 2011 by moving the speech from the Assembly Chamber to The Egg.
This year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will be delivering his message to the legislature in a series of Regional State of the State addresses. This will take place the week of January 9th, and include stops in:
  • New York City
  • Western New York
  • The Hudson Valley
  • Long Island
  • Capital Region
  • Central New York
Special Session is Uncertain
Negotiations are ongoing between Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Heastie. If a special session does occur, the final package is likely to include a bill allowing ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate outside of New York City, funding for a task force to address hate crimes, an agreement to distribute roughly $1 billion in housing money (subscription required) and some changes to oversight of state procurement and a legislative pay raise.
A link to the 2017 Legislative Calendar:
Final Bills Sent to Governor Cuomo for Action
On Tuesday, December 20th 25 bills were sent to the Governor for action before the end of year.  Among those measures:  
Public Defense Reform Bill Sent to Governor for Consideration
Among the bills sent to the Governor on December 20th is legislation that reforms the state's indigent legal services program bringing true mandate relief to counties. The bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D-Albany) and Senator John DeFrancisco (R-Onondaga and Cayuga), provides a full state fiscal takeover of indigent defense services while at the same time increasing the quality of legal services for the poor.
Specifically, this bill expands indigent defense by providing first arraignment counsel and by placing a case-cap workload on public defenders so that they can spend more time on any given case.  The bill also provides for an incremental, 7-year takeover of county costs for the indigent defense program. Under the bill's parameters, counties will be 100% reimbursed by the State for all indigent defense costs in 2023 and beyond. 
Counties have been contacting Governor Cuomo to encourage him to sign this bill, reforming the criminal justice system and providing meaningful mandate relief for counties.  View more information.
Funding and Training Opportunities
Second Round of DEC e-waste recycling grants
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced a second round of grant funding from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) is being made available to help municipalities across the state address costs associated with the collection and recycling of eligible electronic wastes (e-waste). The recently completed application period in October generated $1.2 million in grant requests, leaving almost $1.8 million available for a second chance opportunity that will be held in January 2017 for municipalities that missed the initial application period. DEC will accept applications for second chance opportunity funding from January 2 through January 31, 2017.
As of April 1, 2011, manufacturers are required to implement programs for consumers to recycle e-waste, such as computers, keyboards, televisions, and other small electronic equipment, in an environmentally responsible manner. Beginning in 2015, all consumers were prohibited from disposing of e-waste. These costs have become very burdensome for local municipalities to manage, these grants will provide much needed relief.