2018 ASBO Legislative Lobby Day
As the 2018 Legislative Session wraps up, ASBO’s Government Relations Committee visited Albany on May 23rd to meet with legislators and staff regarding the Association’s 2018 Legislative Priorities and other bills.
The delegation met with Education Committee Chair Senator Carl Marcellino’s office to discuss several of our Legislative Priorities including legislation that would delay changes in PILOT assessments until the following fiscal year. Currently, the assessment challenge period typically begins at the end of May, long after school districts set and vote on their budgets. A significant change in a PILOT could require a district to make changes to their budget that it did not plan for or its voters approved, thereby undermining the budgetary process. Assistant Superintendent of Roslyn UFSD Joseph Dragone stressed the need for this legislation as his district lost over $400,000 in revenue because a change in a PILOT was made just twelve days before the date he was required to set the district’s tax levy, but he was not informed of the change until fifteen days after the levy was set. This bill (S.4156/A.7211-A) has been placed on the Senate Floor Calendar for next week.
The group later met with Assemblymember Aileen Gunther’s staff to discuss another Legislative Priority bill that she sponsors that would remove the earnings limitation for retired police officers hired as school resource officers (SROs). School Business Administrator of Lyncourt UFSD Cathryn Marchese explained the importance of having an SRO on campus not only for cost saving measures and the obvious security purposes, but also to build relationships with students. Gunther’s bill (A.8327/S.2946) has been referred to Assembly Governmental Employees.
Later in the day, the committee spoke with Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stoke’s office regarding several contractor bills that are being considered by the Legislature. The first (A.7945-A/S.6686) would allow contractors to sue public entities for unreasonable delays in construction projects. The second (A.5344/S.5238-A) would require public owners to release retainage to subcontractors within sixty days of substantial completion of work and the third (A.6572/S.4267) would clarify the definition of substantial completion and require public owners to submit a punch list of remaining items to contractors within 30 days of substantial completion. ASBO Government Relations Committee Chair Victor Manuel, Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs at Jericho UFSD, explained the committee’s firm opposition to such legislation; noting that delays are often caused by situations beyond the district’s control and the parameters of the district’s schedule are included in the bid. He also noted that there would be no reason for districts to intentionally hold up a project. In response to (A.5344/S.5238-A), Susan Gray, Assistant Superintendent for Business at Red Creek CSD and GR Committee Vice-Chair explained that retainage is in place to protect the district by guaranteeing the work gets done. Releasing it before the work is complete would put the district at risk. Commenting on the third bill, Victor Manuel explained that punch list items often come up well after the project is complete, when the district is actually using the space. Being required to submit a list of such items before the project is complete is unreasonable and nonsensical.
Memos of support and opposition to these bills can be found on ASBO’s advocacy page. We will continue to monitor this legislation and provide updates accordingly.