Weekly Wire Week Ending April 1, 2016

State Budget Impact, Supreme Court Decisions, Training, more
NYSAC Presents
Registration Open: 50th Annual County Finance School
May 18-20, 2016 at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel
Each May, NYSAC partners with the Office of the State Comptroller and the New York State County Treasurers and Finance Officers Association to present the Annual County Finance School. County Finance School offers a unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of county-specific financial regulations, procedures, challenges, and solutions.  
County Finance School features a number of workshops that are CPE-accredited by the Office of the State Comptroller and the NYS Dept. of Education for CPAs.
Click here to learn more and to register.

State Update

NYS Budget Update: County Impact
The enacted 2016-17 budget proposes to maintain the Governor's self-imposed two percent spending cap on the State Operating Funds side of the ledger. Total spending in the Budget for 2016-17 comes in just over $147.2 billion. This total does not include spending related to extraordinary federal disaster aid and from the affordable care act, as well as capital spending related to the bank settlements.
This year's state budget centered around three major themes: a phased in increase of the state's minimum wage, a new paid family leave program, and increases in state aid to schools.
NYSAC members received an interim budget summary report on Friday, and a more detailed analysis will be sent to county officials later this week.
Broadband TWC/Charter Merger
On Sunday, March 27 the New York Times reported that the Time Warner Cable/Charter Merger could be close to being finalized at the Federal level. Federal regulators are close to approving a deal totaling $67.1 billion that would allow Charter Communications to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The combined entity would become the second-largest cable company behind Comcast, in terms of number of subscribers.
This is extremely important to New York and the New NY Broadband Program. According to reports, the merger will lead to more than $1 billion in direct investments and consumer benefits. The State announced that upon finalization of the merger, the Public Service Commission will require TWC/Charter to increase broadband speeds for more than two million customers by 2018. In addition, TWC/Charter must provide broadband Internet access to 145,000 homes and businesses currently without broadband and provide affordable high speed service to low-income consumers; as well as offer free connections and service to under-served community centers.
Federal Update
U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Union Dues Case
On March 29, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court justices were split 4 to 4 when ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The central question in this matter was if public sector unions can require certain employees to pay union dues toward the cost of collective bargaining for all. This 4 to 4 split resulted in public sector unions retaining the ability to require dues from certain employees. Split votes in the US Supreme Court result in the Appellate Division's outcome to control. This case potentially could have impacted the union dues process in 23 states including New York.
To read more about this case including briefs/arguments submitted please click here.
U.S. Supreme Court Keeps District Lines in Place Regarding One Person One Vote  
On April 4, 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling in Evenwel v. Abbott, No. 14-940. This case challenged current voting district lines within multiple states, including New York, based on how the "one person one vote" standard is applied. The question before the court was who should be counted as a person when creating voting district lines, all residents or only eligible voters.  This court upheld New York's current practice that all residents are to be counted which includes those not eligible to vote (children, non-citizens, and/or certain felons). In the Justices' opinion they stated although the current system is not perfect a State should be allowed to count all residents when creating voting lines, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor adding, "(n)onvoters have an important stake in many policy debates."
It is important to note that this case held that New York and states with similar practices would not be required to redraw their voting lines for counting all residents when creating district lines. However, this case did not rule on and left open the possibility of a state's ability to draw voting lines based on eligible voters if they so choose.    
The following is a link to the opinion in its entirety-
Federal Government Announces Proposal to Expand Access to Opioid Disorder Medication
In conjunction with the President's visit to the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a proposal to allow qualified physicians to prescribe the opioid use disorder treatment medication buprenorphine to an increased number of patients.  The proposed change is designed to strike an appropriate balance between expanding access to this important treatment, encouraging use of evidence-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and minimizing the risk of drug diversion. 
Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved drug used as part of MAT, a comprehensive way to address the recovery needs of individuals that combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. Buprenorphine -- because of its lower potential for abuse -- is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing its availability to many patients.  When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine is safe and effective.
To read the full press release please see this link.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announces $94M in awards for substance abuse services 
This week, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $94 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 271 health centers in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to improve and expand the delivery of substance abuse services in health centers, with a specific focus on treatment of opioid use disorders in underserved populations.
The awards include $7,296,944 to 21 health centers in New York State for substance abuse services.
To see specific awards please see this link.  
To see the full announcement please see this link
Training & Funding Opportunitiesbooks
Grants Management Training in Syracuse
SUNY OSWEGO Division of Extended Learning and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grant management workshop in Syracuse, April 21-22, 2016.  This training is for grant recipient organizations across all disciplines. This class will cover how to administer government grants and stay in compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Click here for full event details.
NYSAC members and their staff can receive a special tuition rate of $565. Please use code "NYASSN" to receive this $30 discount off full price at registration. Tuition includes Grant Management USA's 400-page grant management workbook and reference guide.  Seating is limited, online reservations are necessary. Complete event details including learning objectives, class location, graduate testimonials and online registration are available here.
Harvard Offers Innovations in Government Awards
Applications are now being accepted for the $100,000 Innovations in American Government Awards. Offered by Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Innovations Award is the nation's premier award for the public sector. It recognizes programs that demonstrate creative and effective government at its best.
All units of government - federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial - from all policy areas are eligible to apply for recognition.  

This year, the Ash Center is also once again offering the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, a special Innovations Award that will recognize government-led programs that demonstrate novel and effective approaches to increasing public engagement and participation in the governance of towns, cities, states, and the nation.
The winners of the Innovations in American Government Award and the Roy and Lila Ash Award will each receive a $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities in 2017. Top finalists will also receive monetary grants. Applications and additional information are available at
Federal Funding Available to Local Governments to Support Clean Transportation and Data-driven Clean Energy Strategies
Programs with available funding include:
*EPA Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program - ($26 million) with applications due: April 26, 2016.
*DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Program - ($500 million) with applications due: April 29, 2016,
*DOE Cities-LEAP FOA for Data-Driven Decision Frameworks by Local and Tribal Governments - ($1.25 million) with concept Paper Submission Due: May 17, 2016 and full application submission due: June 17, 2016.
For more information please visit the website.