At 1 P.M. on Tuesday, January 9th, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her third State of the State Address in the Assembly Chamber. In her address, the Governor declared, “the state of our state is strong.” Throughout her speech, the Governor outlined her various priorities for the upcoming Legislative Session, which she is calling the “Our New York, Our Future,” Agenda. Some of the priorities she mentioned in her speech include, expanding access to mental health services, public safety, consumer protection and affordability, increasing housing in the State, increasing reading proficiency, and investing in artificial intelligence (AI). The Governor also released her State of the State Book, which provides more specific details about the Governor’s “Our New York, Our Future,” Agenda.
You can read the State of the State Book here:
Additionally, you can watch the Governor’s full State of the State Address on YouTube here:
One week later, on Tuesday, January 16th, the Governor unveiled her $233 billion FY 2025 Executive Budget Proposal. The proposed budget includes many of the initiatives she outlined in her State of the State Speech while also managing to close the $4.3 billion deficit the state faces. “This budget makes it clear that fiscal discipline can co-exist with progressive, people-driven policies,” the Governor said. “I am committed to fight the right fights on behalf of New Yorkers, and to pursue the common good with common sense – by seeking common ground.” Some of the highlights included in the various pieces of Article VII legislation are:
Education, Labor & Family Assistance (ELFA)
- Ensure instructional best practices in the teaching of reading;
- Require FAFSA completion for high school students;
- Require paid breaks for breast milk expression in the workplace;
- Expand recovery tools for stolen wages;
- Sunset the State’s COVID-19 sick leave law;
- Enhance protections against deed theft;
- Authorize New York City and the New York State Urban Development Corporation to allow for denser residential development;
- Authorize tax incentive benefits for converting commercial property into affordable housing; and
- Enable New York City to create a pathway to legalize pre-existing basement and cellar dwelling units.
Health and Mental Hygiene (HMH)
- Suspend updates to the January 1, 2024 operating component of the rates for skilled nursing facilities while the Department of Health (DOH) develops a methodology for patient acuity using the Patient Driven Payment Model;
- Reduce the capital component of the rates for skilled nursing facilities by 10%;
- Shorten the New York State residency requirement from 1 year to 6 months for admission to a state-run Veterans home;
- Transition the Special Needs Assisted Living Residence (SNALR) Voucher Program from a pilot program to a permanent program;
- Require Assisted Living Residences to report annually on specific quality and cost measures to DOH;
- Permit Adult Care Facilities who provide assisted living services to seek accreditation from nationally recognized accreditation agencies and, for the period of such accreditation, be exempt from duplicate state inspection requirements;
- Eliminate the requirement for wage parity for personal assistants in the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program in New York City and in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties;
- Authorize the Commissioner of Health to issue a non-patient specific statewide standing order for doula services;
- Include minors among pregnant people who are able to give consent for medical, dental, health, and hospital services;
- Codify contraception access under the Reproductive Health Act;
- Expand medical debt protections;
- Require minimum commercial insurance reimbursement rates for behavioral health services;
- Make the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Programs permanent; and
- Provide a 1.5% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for certain human services programs from April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025.
Public Protection & General Government (PPGG)
- Increase penalties for assault of retail workers;
- Expand hate crime eligibility;
- Combat the sale of unlicensed cannabis;
- Enact certain recommendations made by the Commission to Study Reform of the ABC Law;
- Authorize the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to issue temporary permits to wholesalers while their applications for permanent wholesale licenses are reviewed;
- Permanently codify the delegation of exclusive executive authority over the SLA and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to the SLA Chair;
- Establish first-in-nation paid prenatal leave; and
- Enact the Child Data Protection Act.
- Permanently extend the itemized deduction limit on high income earners;
- Establish the commercial security tax credit;
- Close the amended return loophole for personal and corporation franchise taxes;
- Extend certain sales tax exemptions related to the Dodd-Frank Protection Act for three years;
- Extend the sales tax vending machine exemption for one year; and
- Repeal and replace the cannabis potency tax.
Transportation, Economic Development & Environmental Conservation (TED)
- Allow the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to establish an online insurance verification system;
- Allow New York City to lower its speed limit;
- Extend the authority of the Commissioner of the DMV to authorize demonstrations and tests of autonomous vehicle technology;
- Enact the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Act;
- Enact the Affordable Gas Transition Act;
- Extend the Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises Program for five years;
- Regulate “Buy Now, Pay Later” loans;
- Require auto insurance policies to include supplemental spousal liability coverage only where the insured has indicated on the insurance application that they are married;
- Ban co-pays for insulin;
- Prohibit insurance companies from increasing rates or denying coverage to a policy holder due to their ownership of affordable housing;
- Establish procedures for financial institutions to impose holds on transactions that appear to be related to the financial exploitation of an eligible adult; and
- Enhance consumer protections from unscrupulous business practices.
The Governor also proposed increasing funding for New York City’s efforts to address the migrant and asylum seeker crisis to $2.4 billion, which includes $500 million drawn from the State’s reserves that are intended for one-time emergencies.
You can find the Governor’s Budget Briefing Book here:
Also, all of the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal Legislation can be found here:
Now that the Governor has released her budget proposal, the Legislature will review it and hold Budget Hearings while they are developing their One-House Proposals. The Legislature announced the Budget Hearing schedule yesterday. That schedule is:
|Elementary & Secondary Education
Both Houses will release their individual proposals next month, after which budget negotiations will take place to reach a final budget. The New York State Budget must be passed by the Legislature and signed into law by April 1st.