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Government Affairs Albany Update

February 11, 2005

30-Day Executive Budget Amendments

Advocates Mobilize on State Paid Family Medical Leave

Last week, a variety of organizations and activists including the New York State AFL-CIO met in New York City to discuss a coordinated grassroots strategy to secure legislation that would implement paid family medical leave in New York State. Bills were first introduced in the New York State Legislature on this topic in 2000.

In January and February, bills were again introduced which would permit non-disabled employees to collect payments from their employers under the New York State Disability law.

The current bills, Assembly bill A.1301, sponsored by Assemblywoman Nolan and Senate bill S.1501, sponsored by Senator Morahan are titled the “Families in the Workplace Act.”

They would provide disability benefit payments for persons on federal Family Medical Leave (FMLA) to care for newborn or newly adopted children or to care for seriously ill immediate family members. Employees on federal Family Medical Leave for their own serious health conditions are already eligible for benefits under the New York State Disability law. In addition, these bills would allow disability benefits while an employee provided care to family and household members for situations not covered under the federal FMLA, as well as benefit payments for employees to attend meetings with their children's teachers and other school activities, and bereavement leave.

Spano Declared Victor in Senate Race

After three months of legal wrangling, incumbent Senator Nick Spano was declared the winner in the Senate District 35 race. Senator Spano won by a narrow 18 votes. Senator Spano will immediately resume the chairmanship of the Senate Investigations, Taxation & Government Operations Committee.