June is here and many bills are still waiting for final action in the Legislature. The Assembly passed the CARE ACT today. This bill which was the top priority of AARP and was supported by other senior advocates had previously passed the Senate and will go to the Governor for his signature. Governor Cuomo has expressed support for it. The bill (A1323 Rosenthal/S676 Hannon) requires hospitals to to allow patients to designate a caregiver and hospitals must provide caregivers with training on any post hospital care which must be provided.
The Legislature has been distracted with leadership changes and pre-occupied with major education and housing issues like rent control. There are several other important senior and health issues we have discussed in recent weeks that are getting a final push by advocates. A couple of the key bills have already passed one house but prospects for all the bills below are uncertain.
Paid Family Leave – A3870 Nolan/S3004 Addabbo) Efforts continue to push for passage of this bill; it has already passed the Assembly but has no Republican sponsor though it has interest and support from Independent Caucus leader Jeff Klein and Senator Jack Martins. If this bill doesn’t pass now, the coalition behind it is prepared to continue a major push into next year’s election when prospects for passage will be even stronger.
New York Health – (A5062 Gottfried/S3525 Perkins) last week, the Assembly passed this bill which would enact a single payer health care system in the state; there is no Republican Senate sponsor but advocates are committed to continue the long advocacy for it.
Elder Abuse Financial exploitation – (A5336 Cymbrowitz/S639 Valesky) authorizes banks to refuse payment when there is a reason to believe a vulnerable adult is being exploited. This bill has gone to the Senate floor and has a shot for passage.
Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act (A1548 Gottfried/S782 Hannon) requires hospitals and nursing homes to implement direct care nurse to patient ratios. There has been a lot of support for this bill from senior groups and unions and the issue of safe staffing remains a key one in the health care debate.
Caregiver Tax Credit (A1068 Cymbrowitz/S3299 Klein) – provides tax benefits for caregivers who pay for elderly dependent care during working hours; also provides an employer credit
Aging in Place study – (A2123 Abinati/S566Latimer) there is no Republican Senate sponsor for this bill which requires an aging in place task force in the New York State Office for the Aging. A final push is being made for this legislation. The goal of this legislation to promote aging in the community should be one that finds common ground between the bill’s advocates and NYSOFA even if the bill doesn’t pass.