By Herman Merritt
Election season for 2018 is underway, and not approved on time. The expectation this year it’s going to be busy. Our goal is to support is that it will be approved early because the date labor-friendly candidates who support falls on Easter Sunday. our issues. Your political liaisons will be
in touch with you to participate in candidate screenings for contested races. The calendar includes 4 different days designated for elections. On April 24, there will be 11 special elections across the state to fill vacancies in the state Senate and Assembly. The federal government requires primaries to be held early to ensure that troops stationed around the world have an opportunity to vote.
In New York State, all congressional candidates face a June 26 primary. The winners move on to the Nov. 6 general election. The State legislature will have primary elections on Thursday, Sept. 13, a change from the traditional Tuesday election day in order to accommodate Rosh Hashana and the commemoration of the Sept. 11 tragedy.
Nationally, the November elections are mid- terms, which frequently don’t go well for the party in power. Currently, the president, the House of Representatives and the Senate are all controlled by Republicans. The Trump administration brought us a disastrous tax bill, Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and has refused to protect DACA students. Many people in the country are angry and energized and there is considerable speculation that one or both houses will flip to the Democrats. This would force the administration to negotiate, and at the least could hobble it somewhat in the pursuit of its more extreme goals.
On the state level, April 1 is the beginning of the new fiscal year, and state law requires that a budget be in place before that day. The Governor is in a position of power in these negotiations. Although FY2018 was 9 days late, that was the first time that a Governor Cuomo budget was not approved on time. The expectation this year is that it will be approved early because the date falls on Easter Sunday.
After the state budget is approved, other legislation will be considered. This year we are supporting a couple of measures that should help our members:
- A.7601/ S.5778 – This bill, introduced by Assembly Member Peter Abbate and Sen. Marisol Alcantara, is designed to streamline the process to join a public-sector union. It would estab lish limits for the period when a new public employee elects to join a union and when dues are deducted. It would also streamline the process of notifying the unions when new employees are hired. This legislation is a response to Janus v. AFSCME, which the Supreme Court is expected to decide before summer.
- A.6045/ S.3306A – Introduced by Assembly Member Philip Steck and Sen. Patricia Ritchie, the bill would provide a COLA for members of the retirement systems by increasing the base bene t amount from $18,000 to $25,000.
This is an exciting political year. After this budget session, all members of the New York State Legislature are up for election as well as the governor, attorney general and comptroller. Although we have friends on both sides of the aisle, the control of the Senate will determine what will happen over the next two years. We need you to continue to support the Political Action Committee (PAC) and become involved in our endorsement screenings to ensure that we support the candidates who stand up for CSA and the students of New York City’s public schools.
Herman Merritt is director of political affairs at CSA.