June 15, 2022
All Member Units,
The 2022 scheduled legislative session in Albany has wrapped up. The Police Conference of New York was able to prevent passage of numerous proposed anti-police bills. By the end of the session, we were tracking more than 250 of these measures! Some of them were relatively minor, but some would have significantly impacted law enforcement negatively. One measure that received much press was the “Clean Slate” legislation, which ultimately failed to advance.
Examples of the most egregious anti-police bills are:
- Elimination of Qualified Immunity
- Justification by Police Officers for the Use of Deadly Force
- Liability Insurance for Police Officers
- Civil Actions for Deprivation of Rights
- Prohibition of Negotiations for Discipline in Labor Contracts
- AG to Investigate/Prosecute Actions Beyond Death Cases
Our priority this session, aside from blocking the anti-police legislation, was addressing tier equity. Ultimately, our goal is to eliminate – or reduce, as much as possible – the disparities between the tiers that were implemented by law since mid-2009. During this year’s state budget negotiations, certain tier corrections which impacted some of our members were implemented. However, be assured that, going forward, additional corrections will be sought, and total tier equity will be our primary goal.
Notwithstanding the anti-police sentiment among many in the legislature, the PCNY was able to advance the following measures through both houses:
Blue Alert (S772-A Kaminsky / A6318-B Stern) – This bill would add New York State to the nationwide system of alerts when a member of law enforcement is killed or seriously wounded, similar to the amber alert for missing children.
Line-of-Duty Death Benefit COLA (S9056 Gounardes / A10190 Joyner) – This is an “extender” bill, which provides a 3% increase in benefits to survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. It now expires June 30, 2023.
Line-of-Duty Death Benefit to Parents (S9085 Savino / A10466 Cusick) – The existing Line-of-Duty Death Benefit lists specific beneficiaries, in order, beginning with the surviving spouse. This measure adds parents to that list of beneficiaries.
COVID-19 Death Benefit (S9119 Gounardes / A10022 Abbate) – This is also an extender bill, which provides a death benefit to members who die as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It now expires December 31, 2024.
Heart Bill Clarification (S6093-A Gounardes / A7004-A Abbate) – This proposed legislation would clarify the benefit for heart-related accidental disability by restoring the rebuttable presumption of causation, which was the intent of the original legislation.
9/11 Filing Deadline (S9294-A Gounardes / A10416 Niou) This bill extends, until September 11, 2026, the deadline for submission of a notice that a member of a retirement system participated in World Trade Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations.
Workers’ Comp Board to Recognize CDC Determinations in WTC Cases (S9370 Jackson / A9922-A Abbate) – provides that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention World Trade Center Health Program Certification shall be deemed to be presumptive medical evidence of a causation of a qualifying condition in Workers’ Comp cases.
NYPD Pension Borrowing (S9327 Bailey / A10360 Abbate) – allowing certain members of the City of New York’s Police Pension Fund to borrow from pension contributions.
NYPD Tuition Waiver at CUNY (S8988 Gounardes / A9970 Williams) – Extends certain tuition waivers for police officer students of the City University of New York until July 1, 2024.
Youth Services Units at Certain Port Authority Commands (S8907 Cleare / A9968 Paulin) – provides that the Port Authority shall operate Youth Services Units at Airports, Bus Terminals, and Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) stations. This measure, if signed by Governor Hochul, requires enactment of companion legislation in New Jersey before implementation.
Trafficking Notices at Port Authority Bus Terminals (S8573 Kaplan / A9410 Paulin) – Requires the Port Authority to make informational cards or signs containing information on services for trafficking victims available in restrooms in its bus terminals. This measure, if signed by Governor Hochul, requires enactment of companion legislation in New Jersey before implementation.
Certain Enhanced Protections to Retiree Health Insurance (S9347 Jackson / A10425 Abbate) – Provides that external evidence shall be admissible to determine whether certain health insurance benefits are intended to vest beyond the term of a collective bargaining agreement.
PBA of NYS Law Enforcement 20-year Retirement (S8477 Jackson / A9325 Abbate) – This measure establishes a 20-year retirement plan for members of the New York State agency police forces, i.e., regional state park police, environmental conservation officers, forest rangers, and university police officers.
Each measure that has passed both houses must be transmitted to the governor for action, and we will update you in the future as to their status.
A very important measure that we (along with many partners, most notably the New York State Public Employee Conference) opposed was the “New York Health act” – S5474 Rivera / A6058 Gottfried – commonly referred to as single-payer health insurance. This would have eliminated all private health plans, regardless of what your union had negotiated. All New Yorkers would be forced into a state-run health plan. No one could put a cost estimate on the implementation of this debacle, but what is clear is that, if passed, it would be paid for by the largest tax increase in the history of New York State.
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Richard Wells, President – Copyright © 2022
Police Conference of New York, Inc.