Divide In Albany Evident With Lack Of Bills From Goodell

It certainly doesn’t pay to be a conservative Republican in the New York state Assembly.

State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, has struggled not only to get sponsored legislation all the way to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo thus far in the 2017-18 state legislative session, but to get legislation through the state Assembly.

Goodell’s struggles are just more proof of the divide between rural counties like Chautauqua County and the chamber’s leadership that comes from bigger cities and affluent suburbs.

Among the legislation Goodell has introduced, and which has gotten little traction, is A. 04283, which would create a right of private action for landlords and employers who suffer actual losses as a result of domestic violence.

Much like state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, Goodell has introduced bills that could help restructure education in New York state. Goodell has again introduced regional high school legislation (A. 04284) as well as the School Board Empowerment Act (A. 04287) would allow local school districts to declare a fiscal emergency under designated conditions and fiscally restructure so as to minimize adverse impacts on student education. The legislation would freeze salaries and benefits for a 90 day period during contract negotiations, with the support of PERB mediation, Thereafter the school board shall have the power by majority vote to change the terms and conditions of the contract. School boards would also have the express statutory authority to enter into new collective bargaining agreements that change employee contribution levels and/or the amount of employee salaries considered by the retirement system for pension purposes.

A. 06625 would amend the civil service law to provide that a public employer is not required to pay increases in wages or benefits after the expiration of collective bargaining agreement pending negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement.

The assemblyman has generated much discussion over the past few years with repeated calls for legislation that would authorize random drug testing for those receiving public assistance benefits. Goodell has introduced the legislation again in this session (A. 07097) but has also worked for legislation that could help those using safety net programs.

A. 04295 would allow those claiming unemployment to obtain part-time work without losing their benefits. Rather than lose the entire amount of benefits for each day of part-time work, the legislation would reduce the amount of the unemployment benefit by 50 percent of the part-time earnings, allowing a claimant to increase their overall net income by one-half of their part-time employment income while reducing the cost of unemployment to the former employer by one-half of the part-time income.

Being in the Assembly’s minority is difficult work. Goodell has often talked about the need to co-sponsor legislation and make deals with other legislators to advance his own legislative agenda. Goodell has actually co-sponsored many more bills in the state Assembly than he has introduced himself through the first year of the legislative session.

Among the highlights of Goodell’s co-sponsored legislation is A. 07302, would enact the New York State Child Protection Act of 2017. The legislation would further protect children from child abuse by allowing for the prosecution of a sexual offense committed against a child to be commenced at any time; waive notice of claim requirements for civil claims for certain sex offenses against a child less than eighteen years of age; expanding the list of mandated reporters of such abuse and the types of child abuse which must be reported; mandates a criminal history search of employees working with children and provides reimbursement of criminal history searches done by non-profit corporations.

Goodell has also co-sponsored a NY Hire tax credit (A. 06936) which would provide a tax credit to a business for each new job created, up to $5,000. An additional $3,000 would be provided if the job goes to someone who is currently on unemployment. It also provides a Small Business Tax Credit of 10 percent to small businesses, as defined by the economic development law, and has a business income of less than $250,000, and that file under the personal income tax. Manufacturers would be exempt manufacturers from the Corporate Franchise Tax and Personal Income Tax for taxable years 2017 and thereafter while it would eliminate the Ton-mile Tax imposed on vehicles with maximum gross weights of 18,000 pounds or more by Article 21 of the Tax Law, effective January 1, 2001.

Another interesting piece of legislation is New York State Procurement Integrity Act (A. 06355). The legislation was spurred by recent criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s office and state Attorney General and would create more independent oversight for procurements, create specific requirements for state officials to recuse themselves from any conflict of interest in writing and include that recusal in the procurement record.

Goodell has continued to work on reform of the NY SAFE Act, this time co-sponsoring A. 06140 to limit the law to Kings, Queens, Richmond, New York and the Bronx.