2018 State of the State Address
Wednesday, January 3rd marked the opening of the 241st Legislative Session. The day began with both the Senate and the Assembly gaveling in and leadership addressing their respective memberships.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo held the annual State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. This will be the first time since 2015 the Governor presented the State of the State separate from his Executive Budget proposal. The speech focused on the federal tax reform law, combating the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform and education. The Governor is expected to 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.
Promote New York agriculture through Taste NY and new marketing
The Taste NY Initiative, launched in 2013, has proven to be successful in raising the visibility of New York’s high-quality food and agricultural products. By expanding marketing efforts to highlight New York agriculture products and strengthening the Taste NY program, the State will help take New York agriculture to a new level. To build on the success of these promotional initiatives, the Governor will make a series of targeted investments to increase awareness and trust in the quality of New York food across the state and nation.
Building a Strong Economy
Fight the Federal Tax Assault on New York
Governor Cuomo is proposing to:
Challenge the federal double taxation in court as unconstitutional, because it violates states' rights and the principle of equal protection.
Lead the nation's resistance to the new law, starting a repeal-and-replace effort: "Tax Fairness for All" campaign.
Take action to protect the state's economy by exploring the feasibility of a major shift in tax policy, and are developing a plan to restructure the current income and payroll tax system, as well as create new opportunities for charitable contributions to support public programs.
Reduce Taxes to Record Lows for Middle-Class New Yorkers:
The Budget continues to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers. With the middle class tax cuts of 2012, rates were lowered from 6.85 percent to 6.45 percent for taxpayers in the $40,000-$150,000 income bracket, and to 6.65 percent in the $150,000-$300,000 income bracket. Under these new reforms, the rate will drop even further this year, to 6.33 percent and 6.57 respectively. They will continue to drop all the way to 5.5 percent and 6 percent, respectively, when the cuts are fully phased in by 2025.
The average New Yorker will save $250 in taxes in 2018, and $698 when fully phased in.
These new lower tax rates will save middle class New Yorkers nearly $6.6 billion in just the first four years, and annual savings are projected to reach $4.2 billion and benefit 6 million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the state's lowest middle class tax rates in more than 70 years.
County Shared Services Panels Permanent
The state will provide $225 million in the FY 2019 budget to meet the match commitment of the County Wide Shared Services Initiative and the Governor will work to make the state's successful county-wide shared services panels permanent in order to institutionalize savings initiatives. The Governor proposes that state funding for local government performance aid be conditional on the continuation of shared services panels.
The Governor will continue the state's local property tax relief program that will provide an average reduction of $380 in local property taxes to 2.6 million homeowners this year alone.
Reauthorize MWBE Program legislation and expand the MWBE program to all State-funded contracts
The Governor will propose legislation that will seek the reauthorization of the State’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Program (MWBE) program, which is due to expire this year, and increase the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in all levels of State contracting (both prime contractors and subcontractors).
Under current State law, MWBE goals apply to State-funded contracts issued by State agencies and authorities but do not attach to contracts issued by localities and other entities that are funded by the State. The legislation will require MWBE goals on State funds used for contracting purposes on the local level. In doing so, the State will further its goal to help minority and women business owners overcome entrenched barriers to success.
Examine eliminating the minimum wage tip credit to strengthen economic justice in New York State
In certain workplaces, such as car washes and restaurants, tips serve as a critical wage subsidy that brings workers’ wages just up to the legally-mandated minimum wage. This disproportionately affects women and people of color in the service industries and is linked to higher rates of sexual harassment. Governor Cuomo is directing the Commissioner of Labor to schedule public hearings to evaluate the possibility of ending minimum wage tip credits in New York State.
Expand the New York Youth Jobs Program
The New York Youth Jobs Program, launched by Cuomo in 2012, incentivizes the hiring of at-risk youth, age 16 to 24, through business tax credits. The Program provides $30 million for 13 targeted areas with high youth unemployment—including Albany, Brookhaven, Buffalo, Hempstead, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, New York, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Utica, White Plains, and Yonkers—and an additional $20 million for young people who live in other areas of the state. The Governor proposes to increase the maximum credit available to certified New York employers by 50 percent—raising the maximum tax credit from $5,000 to $7,500 for certified youth employed full-time and from $2,500 to $3,750 for those employed part-time. In addition, to help participants better develop the skills needed to advance from an entry-level position toward a chosen career, the Governor will direct the Department of Labor to align and connect employers and youth participating in the Youth Jobs Program with regional workforce development efforts of SUNY, CUNY and BOCES.
Invest $750 million for round eight of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs)
The Governor proposes to continue the regional economic development approach with an eighth round of the REDC awards, which will provide $750 million to fund regional priority projects.
Launch round three of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI)
More than 100 communities in all ten regions of the state competed for the first 20 DRI awards to boost their local economies and transform downtown neighborhoods. New York State will expand the Initiative with an additional $100 million, providing up to $10 million for awards in each region.
Drive New York’s drone economy forward
Governor Cuomo will accelerate a business expansion plan to bring in more jobs through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative and continue to invest in the drone corridor. He will also continue Unmanned Aerial Systems operations and training opportunities at the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oneida County.
Become a national leader in industrial hemp production
First, New York State will invest $650,000 in a brand-new $3.2 million industrial hemp processing facility in the Greater Binghamton area. Second, the State will help import thousands of pounds of industrial hemp seed into New York, ensuring that farmers have access to a high-quality product and easing the administrative burden on farmers seeking to secure this substance. Third, New York State will invest $2 million in a seed certification and breeding program in New York to begin to produce unique New York seed. Finally, New York will host an Industrial Hemp Research Forum in February to bring together researchers and academics with business and processors to develop ways to further boost industry research in the Southern Tier and across New York State.
The New NY Broadband Program Round III awards
This year, Governor Cuomo will announce Round III awards to address the remaining two percent of New Yorkers without access to broadband, connecting approximately 120,000 locations. Round III is expected to catalyze more than $360 million in total investment, including $225 million in State funding. Round III projects that address eligible locations will also have access to matching funds in federal Connect America Fund support through the State’s partnership with the Federal Communications Commission. After Round III, it is anticipated that 99.9 percent of New Yorkers will have commitments for high-speed broadband access, with all but one percent having access to 100 mbps service or better.
Regional Economic Development Projects
Reimagine Rochester’s Riverfront
Create the photonics-related business attraction fund
Bring the New York Islanders home with a world-class arena and redevelopment at Belmont Park
Take steps to revitalize Red Hook
Redevelop and rebrand Stewart International
Complete the new Expo Center to continue the transformation of the New York State fairgrounds
Complete the Hudson River SkyWalk
Increase year-round tourism for Upstate New York through world class attractions at our mountains and Olympic facilities
Bridge the gap in the North Country’s tourism lodging needs
Bring the World University Games back to Lake Placid in 2023
Create a new 407-acre State Park in Central Brooklyn
Institute early voting
Cuomo proposes to institute early voting in New York State to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote. Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow voters to cast ballots in person before Election Day. The proposal requires every county to offer residents access to at least one early voting poll site during the 12 days leading up to Election Day. Voters will have at least eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends to cast early ballots. Counties must have one early voting poll site for every 50,000 residents. The bipartisan County Boards of Elections will determine the specific location of early voting polling places, subject to standards of accessibility and convenience.
Adopt automatic voter registration
Governor proposes adopting a system that implements automatic voter registration. The new system will streamline state services by automatically sending voters' information from relevant agencies directly to the County Board of Elections. New Yorkers who do not wish to register to vote can simply check an "opt out" box. This proposal aims to improve the accuracy of voter registration lists, reduce costs, and make registering a more convenient and efficient process for voters and election officials.
Allow same-day voter registration
New York does not currently allow voters to register on Election Day. Cuomo proposes to allow New Yorkers to register and vote on the same day. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia allow same-day registration.
Enhance statewide election cyber security resilience and defend against election disruption
The State will create the Election Support Center, which will provide technical expertise and trainers to assist the State Board of Elections with developing regulations to enhance the cyber security of elections infrastructure; train County Boards of Elections (CBOEs) members in cyber security best practices; and ensure that relevant threat intelligence is quickly distributed to local stakeholders.
The State will also create and deploy the Elections Cyber Security Support Toolkit, a new suite of threat mitigation tools to ensure election security at the state and local levels. The Office of Information Technology Services will provide cyber risk vulnerability assessments and support to County Boards of Elections to ensure vulnerabilities are identified and voting machines are protected. The State will also offer free hosted Disaster Recovery services to ensure the integrity of voter information is protected.
Finally, the Governor will require County Boards of Elections to notify the State Board of Elections and the State Police whenever there is a data breach that could potentially expose private voter or election information. The State Board of Elections will be required to issue an annual New York Election Security Report to the Executive and Legislature outlining security risks and recommendations for remediation actions the State should take to address those risks.
Institute public financing and enact additional campaign finance reforms
Governor Cuomo proposes to institute a voluntary public financing system that matches small donations with public funds. The Governor also proposes to place a $25,000 contribution limit on housekeeping accounts and require all campaign intermediaries, known as “bundlers”, to disclose their identities.
Increase Renewable Energy Use
Proposal to increase renewable energy use by investing $200 million toward an energy storage target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025.
Additionally, directing New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to invest at least $60 million through storage pilots and activities to reduce barriers to deploying energy storage (e.g., permitting, customer acquisition, interconnection, financing costs).
Solicit Proposals for Offshore Wind Power
In 2017, the Governor announced a goal to develop up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. This proposal calls for New York State to procure at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind power between two solicitations to be issued in 2018 and 2019.
Increase Number of Electric Vehicles Charging Stations
This proposal would require New York, in conjunction with the private sector, to make public the availability of at least 10,000 charging stations across New York by 2021.
New York would also prioritize the installation of charging stations at strategic locations along the State’s highways based on distance and accessibility with the goal of by 2020, a ZEV traveling anywhere on New York’s interstate system will be able to recharge at a location convenient to the driver.
Increase transmission of clean and renewable energy
Increase transmission of clean and renewable energy by investing $200 million to meet unprecedented energy storage target of 1,500 megawatts by 2025
Governor Cuomo is launching an initiative to deploy 1,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2025 and employ 30,000 New Yorkers in good jobs in this industry. Achieving this goal will produce $2 billion in energy value to New Yorkers by reducing the reliance on costly and inefficient energy infrastructure, while also helping to scale up the clean energy industry.
Launch Charge NY 2.0 Governor Cuomo will launch Charge NY 2.0 in 2018, which will drive the buildout of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and promote ZEV-capable roadways and destinations across New York State. Under Charge NY 2.0, New York will increase the number of charging stations across the state and establish clean fuel corridors along the state’s highways.
This year, Governor Cuomo will implement a $65 million, 4-point initiative to aggressively combat HABs in Upstate New York by targeting twelve priority lakes that are vulnerable to HABs and are critical sources of drinking water and vital tourism drivers. The State's Water Quality Rapid Response Team, national experts, and local stakeholders will collaboratively develop Action Plans to identify contributing factors fueling HABs, and the State will provide $500,000 per lake to develop immediate action plans to reduce sources of pollution that spark algal blooms. The state will provide nearly $60 million in grant funding to implement the Action Plans, including new monitoring and treatment technologies. This comprehensive program will continue New York's national leadership in responding to the threat of harmful algal blooms and establish a national model for protecting our natural resources.
Launch Resiliency NY
Cuomo proposes to develop a comprehensive program to adapt to and prepare for extreme weather. He will direct the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to issue resiliency guidelines modeled after a federal order that was revoked and further require that state funding for infrastructure projects consider these resiliency criteria. Additionally, the Department of State (DOS) will recommend changes to the State Fire Prevention and Building Code that will increase climate resiliency, and the DEC will update and improve its maps of wetlands and coastal risk areas. Finally, the State will provide financial support for state-of-the-art local resiliency plans to create a pipeline of projects to increase the flood resiliency of our communities by protecting streams, coasts and critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, transit systems, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure, dams, culverts and levees, as well as homes and small businesses. Interagency response teams will also conduct at least 40 emergency flood response trainings in communities across New York annually.
Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,00 low-income New Yorkers
To reduce the energy burden of low-income households and ensure their participation in the clean energy economy, the Governor is directing the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to use its purchasing power to secure community solar subscriptions for low-income customers and provide them at zero cost to deliver cost savings and clean energy to more than 10,000 low-income New Yorkers. The Governor is also directing NYSERDA to work with low-income energy efficiency programs, utilities, community agencies, solar project developers, investors and other stakeholders to market the program to low-income customers and develop strategies for how the program can better serve low-income New Yorkers and help them participate in the growing clean energy economy.
Reduce emissions of the most potent and dangerous greenhouse gases
This year, Governor Cuomo will direct the Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, and the Department of State to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) emissions by incentivizing the use of climate-friendly alternatives. This effort will provide rebates to municipalities to covert large cooling systems, like public ice rinks and school cafeterias, to safer alternative technologies. It will also develop new building codes to encourage the use of climate-friendly alternatives and provide free audits and technical assistance to help businesses identify opportunities to reduce emissions and costs.
Build on the success of the NY Parks 2020 State parks transformation
New York will continue to make significant investments in parks. These investments include restoring the Boardwalk Café at Jones Beach State Park; constructing the new and first vacation cabins and cottages on Long Island at Heckscher and Wildwood State parks; completing the $70 million revitalization of Niagara Falls State Park; constructing a Green Lakes State Park Environmental Education Center as part of the $16.9 million transformation of Central New York’s most-visited State Park; building a Minnewaska State Park Visitor Center; opening the Major League Baseball Youth Academy on the new and refurbished baseball fields; finishing the gateway transformation at the entrance to the flagship Watkins Glen State Park; opening the completely overhauled Peerless Pool Complex at Saratoga Spa State Park; and debuing the entrance transformation at Sunken Meadow State Park.
Complete the Hudson River Park
The Hudson River Park, encompassing over 500 acres and stretching 4.5 miles along Manhattan's West Side, is the borough's second largest after Central Park. This year, the Governor will work with the City to make the phased and matched investments necessary to finish infrastructure repairs and other important projects. In addition, the State will continue to facilitate public-private partnerships, while ensuring the Estuary Management Plan is complete and the marine sanctuary is protected.
Stop railcar storage to protect the natural beauty of the Adirondacks
In the fall of 2017, Iowa Pacific Co. announced that it plans to store up to 2,000 railcars owned by third parties on the 30-mile long Tahawus Spur in the Adirondack Park for 10 years to generate needed revenues for track maintenance and rail operation costs. Both of the affected counties, Warren and Essex, have passed resolutions objecting to this proposed storage. In spite of mounting opposition, railcars began to be delivered for storage in October 2017, with at least 75 cars currently stored on the Tahawus Spur.
In Nassau County, industrial practices at the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Bethpage facilities in the Town of Oyster Bay have left a legacy of pollution in the form of a massive contaminated groundwater plume that has affected the surrounding community since the 1930s.This year, New York State will fast-track construction of a new, state-of-the-art well system to fully contain and treat the plume of contamination and protect the quality of drinking water on Long Island. The State will use all legal tools at its disposal to hold the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman accountable for the construction and operation of the containment and treatment system. The full containment and treatment system is estimated to cost at least $150 million to construct.
From the 1940s through the 1970s, General Electric manufacturing facilities in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward dumped well in excess of one million pounds of hazardous polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) directly into the river, impacting the health and livelihood of communities along the Hudson River ever since, including the decimation of a once-thriving commercial fishery valued at $40 million. Governor Cuomo, in partnership with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, has committed to immediately take steps necessary to sue the EPA if the agency accepts the Upper Hudson River cleanup of PCBs as complete. In light of the overwhelming evidence and data that the remedy is not protective of human health and the environment, EPA’s decision to certify the PCB remedy for the Upper Hudson River as complete is indefensible.
Require expedited corrective actions at the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Facility
To ensure that the Niagara Falls wastewater facility’s problems with dark water discharges are resolved in a comprehensive fashion, Governor Cuomo will invest over $20 million to launch Phase One of the wastewater system overhaul to complete comprehensive infrastructure and operational improvements at the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Facility. The Governor's proposal also provides $500,000 to expedite two engineering studies that are evaluating both the plant's discharges and treatment systems, which are required by the new consent order with the Niagara Falls Water Board. The results of these studies will help guide and inform the $20 million Phase One investment, serving to protect one of the nation’s greatest natural treasures.
A proposal to make State Constitution amendments which would 1) limit outside income for members of the New York State Legislature that would limit outside income for legislators to 15 percent of their base salary; and 2) to impose term limits for members of the Legislature and state-wide elected officials.
This proposes that any local elected official who earns more than $50,000 per year in a government salary, as well as all county executives, county managers, and all chairs of county board of supervisors file the same financial disclosure statements that state employees file with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics
Increase Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
The Governor will direct the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to work together to ensure that Assertive Community Treatment teams are connected to existing shelters, so that individuals with mental illness can access needed treatment.
In addition, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services will make on-site peer-delivered substance abuse treatment services available in 14 existing shelters across the state. These on-site services will serve close to 200 homeless individuals with substance use disorder, with services provided in shelters that are located in areas that have seen the biggest increases in substance use.
The Governor is proposing a comprehensive five-point plan to build on New York’s role as the national leader in combating addiction:
Hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in perpetuating the opioid epidemic, the Governor with the New York Attorney General will take enforcement actions against pharmaceutical opioid distributors for breaching their legal duties to monitor, detect and report suspicious orders of prescription opioids. Any funds received from such enforcement activity would be used to support the state’s efforts to combat opioid addiction.
Governor will strengthen protections against addiction stemming from prescription opioids. The Governor will advance legislation to restrict subsequent fills to no more than one additional seven-day prescription of opioids for acute pain without having an in-person visit with the prescriber to evaluate alternative pain management therapies. The Governor will also advance legislation that authorizes the Department of Health (DOH) to apply the same limitations to patients with a diagnosis of chronic pain who have not previously used opioids and to require Emergency Department prescribers to also consult the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program before prescribing opioids.
The Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) will create a Statewide Pain Management Steering Committee bringing together clinical experts to make recommendations on pain management issues, taking into account the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
The Governor will take steps to eliminate insurance barriers to addiction treatment and recovery services by limiting requirements for prior authorization and co-payments for outpatient addiction treatment. The Governor will also direct the new Statewide Pain Management Committee to make recommendations related to coverage of alternative pain management treatments.
The Governor will also direct several State agencies to implement regulatory and policy reforms that increase access to substance use disorder services. These reforms may include consideration of new regulations to include subacute pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. The Governor proposes the creation of 250 Certified Peer Recovery Advocates to assist our efforts to engage New Yorkers in seeking treatment and sustaining their recovery after treatment. Relevant agencies will also coordinate and expand their efforts to harness data and share information to mobilize more rapid and comprehensive responses to drug overdoses.
The Governor will advance legislation to add 11 fentanyl analogs to Schedule I of the controlled substance schedules of New York State Public Health Law. To combat the rising threats and health risks of other synthetic drugs like K2 and Spice, the Governor is also advancing legislation to add 35 different synthetic cannabinoids to New York’s schedule of controlled substances and give the New York State Health Commissioner the authority to add to the state controlled substances schedule any new drugs that have been added to the federal schedule.
Enforce Lead Testing
The Governor will order the Department of Health, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and other state partners to develop a system to ensure all housing 245 authorities and all private landlords statewide make sure our children are safe from this hazard.
Rural Emergency Medical Services
The Governor proposes a three-pronged Strengthening of the Rural Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System plan to recruit, retain and strengthen the EMS system across rural regions of New York State:
DOH will launch a coordinated digital media and educational campaign to heighten awareness of EMS employment opportunities through partnerships with regional and local health care organizations, area health educational centers (AHECs), and EMS training systems. In addition, to enhance career opportunities for EMS professionals and to improve quality of care and lower costs to the health care system, DOH will propose legislation to authorize Community Paramedicine collaboratives and programs, which will expand the scope of services carried out by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to include community settings beyond initial emergency care and transportation.
DOH will work closely with the boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES) and community colleges throughout New York to provide educational opportunities in diverse settings outside of the traditional paradigm.
In-depth management educational material to enhance existing supervisory training for EMS professionals who want to advance their expertise and take on leadership roles, and to expand interactive web-based offerings and regional seminars in order to reach a broader audience.
The Governor will advance a series of policies to prepare for the emerging needs of a growing aging population, including:
Launch a Long Term Care Planning Council
The council will be charged with examining New York’s long-term care system. The Council will analyze, evaluate, and identify the existing service gaps in New York’s long-term care system, determine the most cost-effective evidence based interventions, and prepare a strategic plan to meet the emerging needs of New York’s aging population over the next decade. The Council will be jointly-led by the Commissioner of Health and the Director of the Office for the Aging, with participation from external stakeholders.
Issue an Age Friendly Executive Order
The Governor will issue an executive order that directs agencies to consider the impact of their policies and procurements on health and healthy aging, aligned with the eight domains of an Age-Friendly Community. The State will set a goal of making fifty-percent of all health systems age-friendly within the next five years, which will include the establishment of age-friendly Emergency Rooms that will be better equipped to provide care to aging New Yorkers with cognitive and other physical disabilities.
Expand Advanced Care Planning(ACP)
The Governor will initiate a statewide ACP campaign, to include, public outreach and education, engagement and encouragement of New Yorkers of all ages to complete ACP documents and a re-design of the Department of Health’s ACP website to include additional functionality and resources. The State will also fully participate in National Health Care Decision Day.
Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Control Plan
The Governor will launch an aggressive initiative to reduce the incidence of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses in New York State, but controlling tick populations on public lands, advancing research on diagnostics and treatment, and further increasing public awareness. The Governor will:
Direct the DOH and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to launch a tick reduction strategy targeting priority counties and public lands with the highest risk of tick exposure and Lyme disease. Tick control methods will include strategic application of eco-friendly tick control treatments to high traffic trails and facilities, as well the expanded use of 4-poster tickicide stations to treat deer and traps to treat rodents.
Direct the Commissioner of Health to establish a new working group on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases to review current strategies and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases in New York State.
Reduce New York’s Use of Solitary Confinement
The Governor stated he will direct the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to close more than 1,200 Special Housing Unit (SHU) beds throughout New York State’s correctional facilities.
Protect the Rights and Safety of New Yorkers in Local Jails
Governor proposes an immediate enforcement strategy from the State Commission of Correction. The Commission—which is statutorily authorized to oversee all correctional facilities—will undertake a comprehensive review of facilities throughout New York that have failed to meet established standards of safety, security, and service.
Counter Terrorism Program
The Governor is taking action to restrict terrorists’ capabilities and make it easier for New Yorkers to report suspicious activity.
Expand vehicle rental regulations
The Governor will put forward legislation to require any person attempting to rent a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds to present a valid driver’s license and an additional form of ID to the vehicle rental company in order to obtain the keys. \
Launch a terrorism tip line
New York will work with the Public Service Commission to establish a first of its kind three-digit tip line dedicated to reporting terrorist threats and suspicious activity.
Develop a School Safety Response System to Ensure First Responders Have Real-Time Access to the Blueprints of Every School in New York State
The State will explore new technology options for a school safety response system that may include real-time “blue team” GPS tracking and direct lines of communication for all response personnel. The State will also ensure that all schools in New York State are mapped both internally and externally so first responders can enter with greater certainty about where they are going, where threats may exist, and where victims may be hiding.
Removal of Firearms for Certain Offenses
Current New York law prohibits the possession of firearms for individuals convicted of felony or “serious” offenses. The Governor will advance legislation to update the list of prohibited offenses to include those domestic violence misdemeanors. Additionally, the proposed legislation will mandate that rifles and shotguns are surrendered to law enforcement in instances when handguns are required to be surrendered.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Investment Road and Bridge Infrastructure
The State’s multiple year infrastructure investment plan, started in 2016, is expected to continue in 2018 with $11.7 billion to the State’s transportation infrastructure. The State of the State provide no details on a breakout of those funds and/or how much will be dedicated to CHIPS or local government funding.
Cashless Tolling to the Entire New York State Thruway and Port Authority Crossings
Proposal to eliminating the need to stop at a toll on the Thruway and Port Authority Crossings. Put in place would be electronic toll structures designed with license plate readers. The project would utilize Design-Build construction to reduce costs and accelerate the construction schedule. Cashless tolling throughout the Thruway system would be operational in 2020.
Integration of Autonomous Vehicles in New York State
In 2017 New York’s first autonomous vehicle legislation was passed allowing for limited use and testing of autonomous vehicles on New York roads. While not specific with details, it is expected the current program will be expanded and modified to further encourage driverless car use on New York roadways.
Move I-81 Forward with Expanded EIS
In 2017, the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) performed a study of tunnel and other alternatives for the I-81 corridor. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this project did not include a tunnel alternative. This proposal calls DOT to add the tunnel alternative to the current EIS. The final stage of this review will proceed according to federal and state regulations and will occur after the formal public hearing and analysis of all comments received on the public distribution of the Draft EIS. Final alternative selection will be published in the project’s Final EIS and Record of Decision.
Advance Long Island Tunnel Proposal
In 2015 to the Department of Transportation studied the feasibility of a tunnel connecting Long Island to Westchester County or Connecticut. This proposal would require the State to continue to pursue a tunnel from Long Island to Westchester or Connecticut.
Expand Programs for Incarcerated Veterans
The proposal provides resources to expand the programs currently available to incarcerated veterans and offer the programs in to Maximum Security Facilities for the first time. DOCCS will hire additional Licensed Master Social Workers, as well as a coordinator, and purchase a new professionally designed veteran specific curriculum that will broaden the scope of issues addressed, including conflict reduction and post-traumatic stress disorder and other relevant topics.
Counsel Access for Veterans through Law School Partnerships
In 2017, New York State’s Justice for Heroes grants were established, awarding $50,000 to each of five law schools offering innovative proposals to address veterans’ unmet legal needs. The funding allowed the schools to provide free legal assistance to veterans and their family members in practice areas, including foreclosure prevention and other consumer protection matters, family law assistance, discharge upgrade cases, and complex appeals regarding VA benefits. This proposal will expand the Justice for Heroes program to offer each of these schools the chance to renew their grants for the next two years.
Invest in New York’s workforce and future
The Governor proposes a comprehensive workforce development program to fill “skills gaps” by making sure all New Yorkers have access to training to meet the State’s growing workforce needs. This will include establishing a new $175 million Consolidated Funding Application for workforce investments through the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs), targeted in particular emerging fields. The Governor also proposes to create a new Office of Workforce Development, headed by a Director of Workforce Development, which will oversee all workforce training programs for the state. Furthermore, he proposes to create a One-Stop Shop online portal to help workers and businesses navigate the State’s workforce development programs. The Governor plans to use the innovative data mining methodology utilized by Monroe County Community College to identify local workforce needs with more precision than BLS and Census data.
Examine Eliminating the Minimum Wage Tip Credit to Strengthen Economic Justice in New York State: Governor Cuomo is directing the Commissioner of Labor to schedule public hearings to evaluate the possibility of ending minimum wage tip credits in New York State. The Department of Labor will hold public hearings to solicit input from workers, businesses and others to ensure New York continues to protect economic justice for all New Yorkers.
Stand with Labor Unions Facing Uncertainty from the Supreme Court: Public-sector labor unions are under attack on the national level, facing legal challenges to their very core. The United States Supreme Court will soon hear Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees which seeks to effectively end public labor unions. The Court will determine whether fee arrangements like those permissible under the Taylor Law violate the First Amendment. As the nation waits for a decision in the Janus case, Governor Cuomo stands beside public labor unions in their fight for survival and will do everything in his power to preserve workers' rights and protect the right to organize and collectively bargain.
Work Environment Safety
Uniform Code and Proposed Legislation Sexual Harassment Complaints, Policies, and Procedures
The Governor proposes a uniform code of sexual harassment policies binding on all branches of state and local government. This uniform statewide code is expected to include the following:
an independent and anonymous whistleblower process to help individuals to communicate complaints across state and local government.
Prohibit the use of taxpayer funds from being used for settlements against individuals relating to sexual assault or harassment.
Prohibit confidentiality agreements relating to sexual assault or harassment for all public entities and branches of government unless it is the express preference of the victim.
Governor Cuomo also proposes legislation that would void forced arbitration policies or clauses in employee contracts that prevent sexual harassment cases from consideration in law enforcement investigation and court trials.