Bill S1295-2011

Provides restrictions upon the use of state aircraft

Provides restrictions upon the use of state aircraft.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • Jan 6, 2011: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1295

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to the use of state aircraft by certain state officials, officers and employees

PURPOSE: To codify in statute guidelines for the use of state aircraft. there is no law that outlines who may use state aircraft, the requesting use of said aircraft and for what purposes state aircraft may be used.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one are the findings of the legislature on this issue.

Section 2, subdivision 1 amends the Public Officers Law by adding a new section 72-b outlining who may request the use of state aircraft and how such use is approved.

Section 2, subdivision 1(a) defines the term "official state business" for purposes of determining if the use is allowed under the bill and vests approval or denial of a request with the executive department.

Section 2, subdivision 1(b) outlines a process for reallocation of funds for trips that are part official business and part personal business.

Subdivision 2 establishes criteria the executive department shall consider in determining whether or not use of state aircraft should be approved or denied.

Subdivision 3 establishes the procedure for accompanying persons other than state officials, officers, or employees to travel on state aircraft along with a schedule for proper reimbursement.

Subdivision 4 requires the state comptroller to annually audit the assignment and use of state aircraft and present a report, to be published on the official website of the department of audit and control.

Section 3 this act shall take effect immediately.

EXISTING LAW:

None.

JUSTIFICATION: While the State maintains a fleet of aircraft, there has not been. any clear direction in the form of statutory guidance on who may travel on them and how they are to be used. This bill would clarify who may use state aircraft, what they may be used for, and in what

circumstances their use is deemed to be proper and in accordance with the law.

Currently, our State has no formal process for requesting and using state aircraft. Typically, state aircraft have been available for use by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the Assembly, President Pro Tem of the Senate, Minority Leader of the Assembly, and Minority Leader of the Senate. There is no actual policy however, that outlines how aircraft are to be requested, for what purposes the aircraft is needed, or even whether the trip is to attend official business or is for a personal nature or mixed use. Indeed, under the current policy all one need do is submit a written request to the Executive Department, which is then approved or denied. Oftentimes a description of the purpose of the trip is de minimus, requiring approval or denial to rest solely on a small amount of information.

This bill would set forth guidelines for actual use of state aircraft and require state officials and employees to reimburse the state for the personal use portion of a trip that is taken for mixed business and personal purposes. Moreover, criteria are established that the Executive Department must take into consideration in determining whether to approve or deny a request for use of the state aircraft. The State Comptroller would also be required to annually audit the assignment and use of state aircraft in an effort to uproot fraud and abuses and also provide a check on the Executive Department's determinations to either approve or deny requests.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009: S.4145 (Duane), Died in Investigations & Government Ops; A.8124 (Kavanaugh), Died in Government Ops 2010: S.4145 (Duane), Died in Investigations & Government Ops; A.8124 (Kavanaugh), Died in Government Ops

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The State will actually realize funds should this bill take effect as public officials, officers and employees would be required to reimburse the state for trips on state aircraft that are for a mixed use, while currently they are not required to do so.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1295 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 6, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. DUANE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations AN ACT to amend the public officers law, in relation to the use of state aircraft by certain state officials, officers and employees THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings and intent. It is the intention of this legislature that a clear-cut statutory policy be enacted that is both concise and forthright regarding usage of state aircraft. The legislature determines that state aircraft are paid for and owned by the taxpayers of the state, who are entitled to the assurance that such resources are being used for legitimate state governmental purposes. The use of state aircraft shall be reserved for trips that are legitimate state governmental purposes only, as defined in section 72-b of the public officers law, as trips which are predominantly for official state business. Any person or persons traveling on state aircraft for purposes other than official state business shall pay for any trip or any portion of a trip not exclusively for state business by paying a prorated share of a commercial air carrier rate. S 2. The public officers law is amended by adding a new section 72-b to read as follows: S 72-B. LIMITATION ON USE OF AIRCRAFT BY STATE OFFICIALS, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. 1. THE AIRCRAFT OWNED, LEASED, OR OPERATED BY ANY STATE OFFICE, AGENCY, AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT, OR BRANCH OF THE LEGISLATURE, SHALL BE AVAILABLE ONLY FOR OFFICIAL STATE BUSINESS. THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT SHALL HAVE THE SOLE POWER TO APPROVE OR DENY REQUESTS FOR USE OF STATE AIRCRAFT FOR OFFICIAL STATE BUSINESS. (A) FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION THE TERM "OFFICIAL STATE BUSINESS" MEANS ANY ACTIVITY INVOLVING TRAVEL IN A STATE AIRCRAFT IF THE ACTIVITY IS REASONABLY REQUIRED, EXPECTED, OR APPROPRIATE, CONSIDERING THE
NATURE OF THE PUBLIC OFFICIAL'S OR EMPLOYEE'S JOB RESPONSIBILITIES. THE ACTIVITIES SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, ATTENDANCE AT OFFICIAL MEETINGS, PUBLIC HEARINGS, OR OTHER LEGITIMATE STATE BUSINESS. (B) IF A PARTICULAR FLIGHT IS IN PART OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND PART PERSONAL BUSINESS, THE USE OF THE STATE AIRCRAFT SHALL NOT BE APPROVED UNLESS THE MAJORITY OF THE FLIGHT EXPENSES AND TIME ARE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS. ANY OFFICIAL REQUESTING SUCH FLIGHT SHALL FILE A REQUEST WITH THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT WHICH SHALL DETAIL THE NATURE OF THE ACTIVITIES THEY INTEND TO UNDERTAKE ONCE THE TRAVEL IS APPROVED, AND IF PERSONAL BUSINESS IS INVOLVED IN ANY WAY, THEY MUST MAKE A REASONABLE ALLOCATION OF THE FLIGHT TIME BETWEEN OFFICIAL AND PERSONAL BUSINESS AT THE TIME OF SUCH REQUEST. AFTER SUCH TRAVEL IS COMPLETE AND IF ANY REALLOCATION OF OFFICIAL AND BUSINESS TIME IS NECESSARY TO CORRECT THE ORIGINAL REQUEST, SUCH OFFICIAL SHALL PAY WITH NON-STATE FUNDS TO THE APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCY THE CHARGE FOR THE PART OF THE FLIGHT THAT IS ALLOCABLE TO PERSONAL BUSINESS. THE RATE CHARGED SHALL BE CALCULATED BY SUCH AGENCY USING COSTS THAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED IN A RATE DEVELOPED BY A COMMERCIAL AIR CARRIER. IN ALL CASES, THE FLIGHT REQUEST FORM, INCLUDING THE DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES AND THE BASIS FOR THE ALLOCATION AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION SHALL BE INDICATED ON THE AIRCRAFT REQUEST FORM AS WELL AS ANY SUBSEQUENT REALLOCATION SHALL BE KEPT IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF BUSINESS BY THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT. 2. THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA SHALL BE CONSIDERED BY THE EXECUTIVE DEPART- MENT IN DETERMINING APPROPRIATE USES OF STATE OWNED, LEASED, OR OPERATED AIRCRAFT: (A) WHETHER THE USE OF THE AIRCRAFT IS IN FURTHERANCE OF STATE OFFI- CIAL OR EMPLOYEE JOB ASSIGNMENTS. (B) WHETHER THE USE OF THE AIRCRAFT IS FOR TRANSPORTING AN EMPLOYEE, STATE OFFICIAL, OR OTHER PERSON AUTHORIZED BY THE AGENCY, AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OR LEGISLATIVE BRANCH FOR PURPOSES OF CONDUCTING OFFICIAL STATE BUSINESS OR FOR PURPOSES OF PERFORMING SERVICES FOR THE STATE. (C) WHETHER THE STATE POLICE OR ANY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICE HAS DETERMINED THAT SECURITY OR TRANSPORTATION VIA AIRCRAFT IS NECESSARY. (D) WHETHER AN EMERGENCY EXISTS REQUIRING THE USE OF THE AIRCRAFT FOR THE PROTECTION OF LIFE OR PROPERTY. 3. A PERSON WHO IS NOT OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED IN THIS SECTION MAY ACCOM- PANY THE GOVERNOR, THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY, THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE, THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE ASSEMBLY OR THE CHIEF JUDGE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS WHEN SUCH OFFICIAL IS TRAVELING ON STATE AIRCRAFT FOR OFFICIAL STATE BUSINESS AND THE AIRCRAFT IS TRAVELING WITH SEATS AVAIL- ABLE. WHEN THE PERSON ACCOMPANYING SUCH OFFICIAL IS NOT TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL STATE BUSINESS AS PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION, THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGE SHALL BE A PRORATED SHARE OF A COMMERCIAL AIR CARRIER RATE. THE SPOUSE, DOMESTIC PARTNER OR IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS OF ANY OFFICIAL SPECIFIED IN THIS SECTION MAY, WITH PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES, ACCOMPANY THE OFFICIAL WHEN SUCH OFFICIAL IS TRAVELING FOR OFFICIAL STATE BUSINESS AND THE AIRCRAFT HAS SEATS AVAILABLE. 4. THE STATE COMPTROLLER SHALL ANNUALLY AUDIT THE ASSIGNMENT AND USE OF STATE AIRCRAFT, AND SHALL HAVE ACCESS TO ALL DOCUMENTATION RELATING TO SUCH ASSIGNMENT AND USE. EACH YEAR THE STATE COMPTROLLER SHALL ISSUE A REPORT SUMMARIZING THE ANNUAL AUDIT OF STATE AIRCRAFT, A COPY OF WHICH SHALL BE POSTED TO THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AUDIT AND CONTROL. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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