Creates the public employees' fair employment act study commission to review the existing Taylor law addressing labor relations between public employers and employees.
TITLE OF BILL: An act in relation to creating the public employees' fair employment act study commission
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 - Contains legislative findings that the Public Employees Fair Employment Act has now been in effect for almost 40 years. It is appropriate to review whether the law, in its current form, continues to meet the needs of public employees, public employers and the people of New York State.
Section 2 - Creates the Public Employees' Fair Employment Act Study Commission and describes the composition and duties of the Commission. This section provides that the Commission shall conduct a comprehensive study of the practical application of Article 14 of the Civil Service Law, and report to the Governor, Senate, Assembly, Comptroller and Attorney General not later than one year after the date on which the Commission first meets.
Section 3 - Provides that this act shall take effect immediately.
PURPOSE & JUSTIFICATION: The Taylor Law is now approaching its 40th anniversary. Sections of the law have been extended periodically, and through the years, additional employee groups have become subject to the provisions of the law. The residents of New York City recently suffered the disruption of service and economic loss of a transit strike. At the western end of the state, both the City of Buffalo and the County of Erie are under the supervision of control boards. Other communities across the state face economic pressures that may also lead to contemplation of control boards in the future. Across the state, interested parties ask whether the law, as presently constituted, can be improved. Unfortunately, discussions about the Taylor Law usually seem to arise in the midst of difficult negotiations or budget problems. This law is critical to the efficient operation of state and local government, and deserves a careful and thoughtful review outside of the context of any particular dispute. The residents of our state deserve to know that their tax dollars are being spent prudently, and that they will receive uninterrupted, high quality service. Public employees deserve to know that they will be treated fairly and with respect for their concerns, and that the service they deliver to the residents of New York is recognized. All parties need to know that when decisions are made they will accurately reflect the communities that must live with those decisions. It is appropriate at this time to appoint a blue ribbon commission to evaluate and consider whether the law, in its present form, is still the best answer as we enter the 21st Century. This bill creates such a commission, who can listen to the concerns and suggestions of the residents of New York State and consider the legislation that has been enacted by other states. The Commission is directed to report to
the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly within one (1) year after the date that the Commission first meets. There is a fundamental compact between the citizens and the government. The citizenry supports government with its tax dollars, and in return expects government to provide the services that allow society to properly function efficiently and responsibly. There is also a compact between government and the employees who actually perform the day-to-day tasks of government that these employees will work conscientiously to serve the residents, and that in return they will be treated respectfully and responsibly. It is critical that the Legislature ensure that we are doing our part to fulfill our responsibility to properly expend the tax dollars entrusted to us, and to supply services required efficiently, effectively and without interruption.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2005-2006: S.6874/A.10129 - Finance/Gov't Employees 2007-2008: S.2118/A.4110 - Finance/Gov't Employees 2009-2010: S.3034 - Finance
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2518 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 24, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. RANZENHOFER, ROBACH -- read twice and ordered print- ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT in relation to creating the public employees' fair employment act study commission THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings. The legislature hereby finds that the public employees' fair employment act, as provided in article 14 of the civil service law, became effective in September of 1967 and has been in effect for over 40 years. Representatives of both public employees and employers have raised questions about the current law causing the legis- lature to query whether the law, as currently enacted, effectively addresses labor relations between public employers and public employees. The legislature, therefore, deems it appropriate to review and study the provisions of the act and if necessary, make recommendations as to amendments that will improve relations between public employers and employees, while better protecting the interests of public employees, the state, public employers and the residents of New York state. S 2. The public employees' fair employment act study commission. 1. There is hereby established a commission to be known as the "public employees' fair employment act study commission" (hereinafter referred to in this section as the "commission"). The commission shall: (a) be composed of 13 members appointed in accordance with subdivision 2 of this section; and (b) conduct its business in accordance with the provisions of this section. 2. The members shall be appointed for the life of the commission as follows: (a) 2 shall be appointed by the temporary president of the senate; (b) 1 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; (c) 2 shall be appointed by the speaker of the assembly;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02566-02-1 S. 2518 2
(d) 1 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the assembly; and (e) 7 shall be appointed by the governor. 3. The members of the commission shall be individuals who have know- ledge or expertise, whether by experience or training, in matters to be studied by the commission under subdivision 8 of this section. The members shall be from the public sector, who may include federal, state, or local officers or employees, members of academia, nonprofit organiza- tions, or other interested individuals. 4. The temporary president of the senate, the minority leader of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the assembly and the governor shall consult among themselves prior to the appointment of the members of the commission in order to achieve, to the maximum extent possible, fair and equitable representation of various points of view with respect to the matters to be studied by the commission under subdivision 8 of this section. After such consultation each shall make his or her respective appointment not later than 45 days after the effective date of this section. Any vacancy that occurs during the life of the commission shall not affect the powers of the commission and shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment not later than 45 days after the vacancy occurs. 5. The initial meeting of the commission shall be conducted not later than 30 days after the appointment of the last member of the commission. The first act of the commission shall be to select by consensus a chair- person. 6. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum to conduct business, but the commission may establish a lesser quorum for conduct- ing hearings scheduled by the commission. Each member shall have 1 vote and the vote of each member shall be accorded the same weight. The commission may establish, by majority vote, any other rules for the conduct of the commission's business, insofar as such rules are not inconsistent with this section or other applicable law. 7. It is the duty of the commission to hold hearings across the state and conduct a comprehensive study of the practical application of arti- cle 14 of the civil service law, together with laws associated with the article, including but not limited to section 751 of the judiciary law and section 93-b of the general municipal law. (a) The matters studied by the commission under this subdivision shall include, but not be limited to: (1) the historic, economic, and social changes in the context of the practical application of the existing law; (2) the interests of public employees and public employers under the existing law; and (3) the nature and source of the recommendations for change between public employees and public employers; (b) Not later than 1 year after the date on which the commission first meets, the commission shall submit to the governor, the senate, the assembly, the comptroller and the attorney general a comprehensive report on the commission's findings and conclusions. (c) Not later than 3 months after the submission of the report under paragraph (b) of this subdivision, the commission shall issue proposed changes to state laws and regulations to improve labor relations between public employees and public employers. 8. The commission shall have the power to hold hearings, at such sites and to act at such times and places, to take such testimony, and to receive such evidence as the commission considers advisable to carrying out its duties under this subdivision.S. 2518 3
9. The members of the commission shall be allowed travel expenses at rates authorized for employees of state agencies while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of service for the commission. 10. The commission shall terminate 60 days after the commission submits the report required under subdivision 7 of this section. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.