The County Perspective for December 15, 2017

Conference Registration, Federal Tax Reform, Raising the Age regulations, 2018 State Legislative Session, Paid Family Leave, and more.



NYSAC Update

Thank you to our 2017 Partners

NYSAC extends our appreciation to the many Associate and Excelsior Partners who support NYSAC's mission to provide top-notch programs and services to our member counties. They play a key role in NYSAC's mission to advocate for, educate, and represent NYSAC's member counties.

As we reflect on this past year, we thank our 2017 partners, and welcome our 2018 partners.

Interested in signing on? Learn more about becoming a NYSAC Partner.

Save the Date: 2018 NYSAC Legislative Conference, January 29-31

Every year, the NYSAC Legislative Conference provides an overview of the upcoming state legislative year and the issues impacting counties. County delegates convene to pass a series of resolutions, to layout the year's advocacy priorities, and to participate in training and education on the issues and skills needed for effective leadership.
The Legislative Conference will be held at the Desmond Hotel, Albany, from Monday 1/29 through Wednesday 1/31.
A preview of NYSAC's 2018 Legislative Conference
View photos from the 2017 Legislative Conference.

County Attorneys' Association (CAASNY) Holds Winter Conference

On December 4, county attorneys from across New York State met in Saratoga County for training and education purposes. This annual CAASNY meeting, led by their president Stephen Dorsey, Esq., provides county legal experts an opportunity to share best practices and solutions to issues impacting county government. Workshops and speakers included a State Legislative update provided by Stephen Acquario, Esq. and Patrick Cummings, Esq. of NYSAC as well as recent developments and legal interpretations of Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility provided by Paul McDonnell, Esq., Deputy Counsel of OCA.


County Update

Is Your County a Climate Smart Community?

New York's Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program, administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), offers a unique state-local partnership to prepare for a changing climate and save taxpayer money. 

Local governments can participate by signing a voluntary 10-point pledge, which includes goals like increasing community use of renewable energy and realizing the benefits of recycling and other climate-smart solid waste management practices.  Once your county has adopted the pledge, you can achieve basic CSC certification by completing four of the 13 “priority actions” that are considered fundamental to a successful municipal climate program.  Priority actions include adopting the pledge, appointing a CSC coordinator, developing a government operations greenhouse gas emission inventory, and developing a community climate action plan.  If your community accomplishes all 13 priority actions, you achieve the silver award level and can choose to complete additional actions to advance to higher award levels.
The CSC grant program provides 50/50 matching grants to counties and New York City boroughs for eligible climate adaptation and mitigation projects.  In 2016, CSC grant recipients included Erie, Montgomery, Madison, Oneida, Orange, Tompkins, and Ulster counties. 

Join the fifteen counties that are CSC registered or certified by visiting the DEC's website ( or contacting the DEC Office of Climate Change (518-402-8448, for more information.

State Update


State Legislative Update

The 2018 Legislative Session will begin on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, and will be followed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's 2018 State of the State address. The State of the State will be held at 1:00 pm at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. The Governor will present his executive budget proposal separately, later in the month. He is required by law to develop and present a budget to the legislature by Tuesday, January 16, 2018. This will be the first time since 2015 the Governor will have a separate presentation for the State of the State and his Executive Budget proposal.
The Session Calendar can be found here:
NYSAC will be following the State of the State and release of the Executive Budget closely, and will be reporting to our members on issues and actions with county impact.

Raising the Age - Specialized Detention emergency regulations

On Thursday, December 8th the Office of Children and Families (OCFS) released the Specialized Detention emergency regulations. Under the new Raise the Age law, the office of children and family is required by law to promulgate and publish the rules which apply to the newly created specialized secure juvenile detention facilities. These regulations will be on the State Register on December 20, 2017 and available for public comment. The public comment period will end at the close of business on Friday, February 2, 2018.
The draft regulations are available here. 


Public Hearing on Water Quality and Infrastructure

On December 4, the Assembly held a public hearing on water quality issues and the implementation of the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which was included in the 2017-18 State Budget.  The Clean Water Infrastructure Act provides much-needed support to municipalities in the form of $2.5 billion in multi-year funding for water infrastructure projects.  At the hearing, State officials criticized the federal government for abdicating its responsibility to protect against emerging contaminants and upgrade our nation's aging water infrastructure. 
NYSAC's testimony, which was created with input from environmental health directors across the state, highlighted chloride and harmful algal blooms (HABs) as county concerns with water quality.  Our comments on the Clean Water Infrastructure Act focused on the selection of priority geographic areas for the Septic System Replacement Fund, the need for relief to be provided to small systems, the need for more public input and planning for land acquisition projects, the need for more source water initiatives, and the exclusion of regulated, privately-owned public water supplies from Act funding.  Our testimony concluded with a request for additional Article 6 public health funding in the 2018-19 State Budget, which is needed to meet the increased responsibilities on local health departments and respond to ongoing and emerging threats to public health.  Read NYSAC's testimony and water infrastructure reports here.

To view the full hearing online, visit the Assembly website at

Public Hearing on Protecting the Integrity of Election Systems

On November 28, the Assembly held a public hearing to examine the condition of the State's election infrastructure and take testimony about protecting the integrity of election systems against cyber-infiltration or attack.  NYSAC's testimony drew attention to the cybersecurity challenges faced by state and local governments and requested $10 million in state funding to expand and improve cyber protections around our state and local election systems.  Testimony was also provided by NYS Board of Elections Co-Chair Douglas Kellner, NYC Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan, Onondaga County Board of Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny, Schoharie County ITS Director Scott Haverly, and others. 
To watch the full public hearing, visit the Assembly website at

Paid Family Leave

The 2016 NYS budget included the creation of the Paid Family Leave Act. The Paid Family Leave Act is optional for local governments and subject to collective bargaining.

This law officially takes effect on January 1, 2018. All eligible employees are entitled to participate in Paid Family Leave.

  • Full-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week, you are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment.

  • Part-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week, you are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.

New York's Paid Family Leave provides paid time off so you can:

  • bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child;

  • care for a close relative with a serious health condition; or

  • assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.

Paid Family Leave is phase in over four years. During 2018, an individual can take up to eight weeks of Paid Family Leave and receive 50% of their average weekly wage (AWW), capped at 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). Your AWW is the average of your last eight weeks of pay prior to starting Paid Family Leave. The SAWW is updated annually.
Paid Family Leave Benefits Examples for 2018

Worker's average weekly wage

Weekly PFL Benefit (2018)*







*The weekly PFL benefit is capped at 50% of the New York State average weekly wage, which is $652.96.
Benefits Increase Through 2021


Weeks of Leave



8 weeks

50% of employee's AWW, up to 50% of SAWW


10 weeks

55% of employee's AWW, up to 55% of SAWW


10 weeks

60% of employee's AWW, up to 60% of SAWW


12 weeks

67% of employee's AWW, up to 67% of SAWW


Federal Update


Federal Tax Reform

It appears that leaders in the US House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on a Federal Tax Reform Bill that is on track for final votes next week, with the expectation that President Donald Trump would sign the measure by Christmas. While the details have not been released, there have been reports that the bill eliminates the State and Local Tax deduction, but allows for a deduction for up to $10,000 in local property taxes and state income taxes. NYSAC and the National Association of Counties (NACo) will review and analyze the bill as more details become available.
Last week, NYSAC joined a press conference hosted by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy to call on the President and Congress to save the SALT deduction. The county executives discussed the county impact of losing the SALT deduction in the federal tax overhaul, and asked federal leaders to consider the detriment to New York's communities and taxpayers. Watch the press conference here.


US Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments for Sports Gambling State's Rights Case

On December 5, 2017, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.  At issue is the legality of Federal law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which restricts the permission of betting on sports to five states.  New Jersey, who has brought the case, seeks to strike down this act of Congress arguing it violates the 10th Amendment under the anti-commandeering doctrine. If the Supreme Court ultimately rules in favor of New Jersey this case has the potential for all States to permit sports gambling in the near future.  Arguably this case could be larger in scope as it may set tone for how this court determines future federal vs state control issues. 
While there is no guarantee of outcome in this matter, many legal experts expressed a likelihood of the plaintiffs winning this case based on the questions provided by the Justices. The ruling is expected in the late winter or early spring of 2018.
NYSAC will continue to track this case as its outcome could require our state and local lawmakers to first determine if sports gambling is right for New York. If so our government leaders must determine how will this be regulated, where such bets be placed (OTB, Casinos, Internet, etc. ),  and how any taxing revenue be divided.  For more details on this case please visit
For more information on the potential impact of this case on NYS counties, see a video interview between NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario and John Signor, the president of the Capital District Off Track Betting Corporation, here.


Training and Grant Opportunities


LUCA Training

A series of webinars are being conducted for individuals involved with LUCA work. The webinars are conducted by Robert Scardamalia, who served as New York's Chief Demographer for more than 20 years and has more than 30 years of experience working on multiple censuses. View details and the schedule here.