Comptroller DiNapoli's Legislative Program
Since taking office in 2007, Comptroller DiNapoli has proposed legislation to increase accountability and transparency of New York state and local government. These efforts have focused on reforming not only the investment practices of the Common Retirement Fund, the New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System, the New York Police and Fire Retirement System, but also the State budget process, state procurement practices and school accountability. Comptroller DiNapoli is committed to strengthening New York’s laws to:
- Ensure accountability, transparency and appropriate spending of taxpayer dollars,
- Stop fraud and abuse,
- Improve the effectiveness of government programs, and
- Protect the interests of New York’s citizens.
Legislative Session 2013-2014:
- Abandoned Property - Finders Cleanup – Signed into law as Chapter 372 of the laws of 2014 - S.7147 (Felder)/A.9116 (Simanowitz) – Clarifies language relating to the type of abandoned property that is subject to abandoned property location services; specifically, abandoned property delivered to the state of New York and held by the State Comptroller. This corrects the problems that arise when the finder and claimant are located out of state. Relates to comptroller audits of certain organizations controlled by municipal corporations and certain other government entities.
- Special Education Preschool Provider Program Oversight – Signed into law on December 18, 2013 as Chapter 545 of the laws of 2013 - S. 5568 - A (Flanagan) and A. 7302 - A (Nolan) - Requires the Comptroller to audit the expenses reported to the Department of Education by every special education services program provider for preschool children with disabilities in this State at least once by March 31, 2018. Additionally, requires such providers to certify that it meet certain criteria. Finally, directs the Department of Education to study alternative systems of reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and maintenance components of special education services programs for preschool children with disabilities.
- Extend Repayment of Inter-fund Advances – Signed into law on October 22, 2013 as Chapter 421 of the laws of 2013 – S. 4725 (Rules) and A. 5549 (Magnarelli) – Inter-fund advances normally must be repaid within the fiscal year in which they occur. This proposal would extend the time for repaying these internal loans.
- Use of Reserve Funds – Signed into law on October 22, 2013 as Chapter 422 of the laws of 2013 – S. 4726 (Rules) and A. 5550 (Magnarelli) - Temporarily ease restrictions on the use of reserve funds to allow impacted local governments and school districts to pay for Sandy-related expenses.
- Issuance of Storm Bonds – Signed into law on November 13, 2013 as Chapter 476 of the laws of 2013 – S. 4729 (Rules) and A. 5551 (Magnarelli) – Provide local governments flexibility in borrowing to pay for storm costs. The changes would allow local governments to issue bonds to be repaid over five years. Local governments are normally restricted from borrowing money to pay for non-capital expenses.
- Refund of Surcharges and Fees – Signed into law on December 18, 2013 as Chapter 525 of the laws of 2013 – S. 4485 (Nozzolio) and A. 7182 (Mosley) - Corrects a technical error in the Penal Law so that applications for the refund of certain mandatory surcharges and fees are sent to the department, agency or court that collected the surcharge or fee rather than the State Comptroller.
- Electronic Bidding Extender – Signed into law on July 31, 2013 as Chapter 298 of the laws of 2013 – S. 5559 (Martins) and A. 7212 (Magnarelli) - Extends the expiration date of the law relating to electronic bidding which allows greater flexibility to local governments in conducting public sales of bonds and soliciting bids and offers for purchase contracts by authorizing utilization of current technology to accept bids and offers submitted in an electronic format.
- Statutory Implementation/ Sewer Debt Extender – Signed into law on July 22, 2014 as Chapter 150 of the laws of 2014 – S.6409(Martins) and A.8480(Magnarelli) - Makes the necessary statutory changes to implement the amendment to Article 8, Section 5(E) of the State Constitution approved by the voters on November 5, 2013. Extends, until 2024, the existing authorization for counties, cities, towns and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limitations indebtedness issued for the construction or reconstruction of facilities for the conveyance, treatment and disposal of sewage.
- Procurement Threshold Cleanup – Signed into law on July 22, 2014 as Chapter 173 of the laws of 2014 – S.7351(Martins) and A.9902 (Perry) – Makes technical corrections relating to thresholds for the purchase of goods and services.
- Consolidated Reporting – Signed into law on August 11, 2014 as Chapter 317 of the laws of 2014 – S.7324 (Marcellino) and A.9923 (Buchwald) – Consolidates certain statutory procurement and consulting reports.
- Permit Property Assessment Adjustments – S. 4727 (Rules) and A. 5552 (Galef) – Give local governments impacted by Sandy the option of providing property tax relief to owners of properties that lost 50 percent or more of their value due to the storm. Property owners of heavily damaged properties could apply to have their assessment and tax liability reduced. Similar legislation was enacted in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
- Fiscal Reform Act - Constitutional Amendment – S. 4026 (Libous) and A. 7301 (Farrell) - Allows for emergency borrowing in times of public emergency, prohibits “back-door borrowing,” and limits total state debt to no more than 5 percent of total state personal income.
- Comptroller Campaign Finance Reform Act – S. 4239 (Rules) and A. 7394 (Silver) – Enacts the Comptroller Campaign Finance Reform Act to provide for public financing for campaigns for the office of State Comptroller.
- Local Development Corporations - Audit – S. 4497 (Martins) and A. 3633 (Magnarelli) - Relates to comptroller audits of certain organizations controlled by municipal corporations and certain other government entities.
- Local Development Corporations - Regulation – S. 4240-A (Rules) and A. 3631-A (Brennan) - Limits and regulates local governments' use of Local Development Corporations (LDCs) and similar entities.
- Industrial Development Agencies – S. 5551 (Rules) - Provides for accountability and efficiency of industrial development agencies.
- Local Government Ethics - A.6596-A (Magnarelli) – Relates to conflicts of interest of municipal officers and employers; codes of ethics and boards of ethics; repealer.
- Natural Gas Damage Compensation Fund – S. 4028 (Libous) and A. 3634 (Sweeney) – Establishes the natural gas production contamination response and compensation program; and creates the New York natural gas production contamination damage recovery and remediation fund.
- Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) – S. 4279 (Martins) and A. 3636 (Abbate) - To provide the State and certain local governments with the authority to establish trusts in which to accumulate assets for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) and to establish an OPEB investment fund in the sole custody of the State Comptroller for the investment of OPEB assets of the State and participating eligible local governments and other public corporations.
- Procurement Reform – S. 4076 - A (Marcellino) and A. 3884 - A (Englebright) - Specifies the procedures to be used in program procurement and allows the Comptroller to excuse non-material deviations in certain procurement procedures.
- Enhanced Penalties for Abuse of Public Trust Crimes– S. 4044 (Golden) and A. 3629 (Abbate) - Imposes a mandatory fine upon certain public officers convicted of a designated felony offense related to their official duties; relates to the crime of official misconduct and to abuse of public trust crimes.
- Placement Agent Ban – S. 4238 (Rules) and A. 3635 (Abbate) - Codifies the current OSC policy which bans the use of placement agents, paid intermediaries and registered lobbyists in obtaining investments with the Common Retirement Fund.
- Payment of Retirement Benefits – S.5608-A (Gallivan) and A.7784-A (Abbate) - Requires the payment of retirement benefits by the New York State and Local Retirement System by direct deposit or debit card, with the transition to the new method of payment being made incrementally.
- Public Authorities Reform Act Cleanup – S. 4075 (Marcellino) and A. 3630 (Brennan) – Makes necessary changes to the Public Authorities Reform Act of 2009.
- Education Package – S. 4182-A (Flanagan) and A. 3733-A (Nolan) – Requires boards of education to authorize an increase in funding of reserve funds by resolution, requires school districts to include a schedule of all reserve funds in the districts' public budget notices, allows school districts to establish reserve funds to pay for the Teachers' Retirement System employer costs.
- Pre-Audit - State Insurance Fund – S. 4034 (Seward) and A. 3732 (Heastie) - Relates to the pre-audit of expenditures from the state insurance fund by the state comptroller; repealer.
- Pollution Exclusion – S. 4041 (Grisanti) and A. 3734 (Weisenberg) – Eliminates the pollution exclusion clause for oil spills in homeowner insurance policies.
- Abandoned Property- Court Withdrawal Actions – S.7332 (DeFrancisco)/A.9577 (Farrell) – Clarifies that court withdrawal actions must be commenced in the court of original jurisdiction and specifically bars the commencement of court withdrawal actions as special proceedings against the State Comptroller.
- Ethical Standards for State Agency Contractors Act – S.7375 (DeFrancisco)/A.9692 (Englebright) – Establishes ethical standards for certain state agency contractors performing inherently governmental and mission-critical functions or rendering a service or services pursuant to an information-risk contract.
- Multi-year Financial Planning – S.7352 (Martins) and A.9823 (Zebrowski) – Authorizes the reimbursement of certain costs incurred by municipalities in engaging in multi-year financial planning from monies appropriated to the financial restructuring board for local governments.
- Alternative Procurement Methods – S. 7323 (Marcellino)/ A.9689 (Englebright) – To improve contracting practices in the State of New York by authorizing alternative procurement methods. The bill authorizes the State Comptroller to approve a contract awarded on the basis of an alternative procurement method as long as (i) the contracting agency makes a determination, documented in the procurement record, that such alternative procurement method better serves the interest of the State than other procurement methods available under the Act and can be applied on a fair and equitable basis; and (ii) the State Comptroller approves the alternative procurement method prior to the procurement.
- Timely Expenditure of Tax Check-off Monies – A.9639 (Farrell) – Relates to the timely expenditure of tax check-off monies and requires annual reports relating to the use of such monies, the process used for awarding such monies, amounts of such monies awarded and the manner in which such monies were expended. Also, requires information relating to projected tax check-off fund activity to be included in the executive budget submission and the state’s financial plan.
- NYS Equal Access to Justice Reporting – A.9758 (Schimminger) – To properly shift the responsibility for creating an annual report pursuant to the New York State Equal Access to Justice Act from the State Comptroller’s Office to the Attorney General’s Office.