For the first time in a decade and just the second time in more than 50 years, Democrats will control the New York State Senate as of January 1 with 40 of the 63 seats and a clear majority. While the Republicans have led the New York State Senate for decades, with a brief two year stint by Democrats in 2009-10, the balance of power will now shift to interesting and challenging times as the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly each offer their plans, priorities, and issues.
When Governor Cuomo proposes his 2019-2020 State Budget in early January, the Senate and the Assembly will be poised to ensure their own priorities are considered during review, amendment and negotiation procedures.The budget must be passed by April 1st. Before, during and after the budget negotiations, individual legislators and Departments from within the Administration will introduce and discuss their own "bills" of interest until session ends in mid-late June.
Important issues for physicians likely to be discussed during the upcoming legislative session include a single payer system, recreational use of marijuana, medical liability, physician assisted suicide, healthcare workforce and scope of practice issues, among many other public health related subjects. We will see a brand new, first-time Chair in the Senate Health Committee, Gustavo Rivera from the Bronx, and Assemblyman Gottfried of Manhattan will return as the Assembly Health Committee Chair.
Your Chapter, as always, will remain diligently involved in monitoring all of these proposals, and we ask you to continue to read our enews as it comes out bi-weekly in YCIA (Your Chapter in Action).