Adviser Fall 2018 Vol 1 - Page 40

One Voice 2019 Legislative Outlook T he November midterm elections brought significant change to New York’s political landscape at both the state and federal level. For the first time in nearly a decade, Democrats gained a majority in the State Senate, winning 40 of the 63 seats and securing full control of state government. Three Republican-held congressional seats flipped as well, allowing Democrats to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. As members of the House majority, many New York Democrats will have seniority and will likely hold some key leadership positions. Ami Schnauber The Assembly Democrats will continue to hold an overwhelming majority under the leadership of Speaker Carl Heastie. However, we expect to see some changes in other key leadership and chairmanship positions because Majority Leader Joe Morelle was elected to Congress, and Deputy Speaker Earlene Hooper lost her primary. This could lead to several changes in committee chairs, though I expect that longtime Health Committee Chair Dick Gottfried will retain his position. Perhaps the most significant change, with the biggest impact, is the flip of the majority in the Senate. All but two of the former IDC members lost their primaries, helping to shore up the Democratic Conference early on. Then, in the general election, Democrats were able to retain all of their seats and also oust several incumbent Republicans, including longtime Health Committee Chair Kemp Hannon. Democratic Senator Andrea Stewart- Cousins from Yonkers was selected as the first female majority leader of the New York State Senate at the end of November and will preside over the party’s largest majority in over a century. This majority flip will mean that offices and chairmanships and leadership positions will change. The current ranking member of the Health Committee is Senator Gustavo Rivera, who could be the potential chair in January. The new Congress convening in January will have a host of new members as well, given the number of seats that changed party control and the retirements of several longtime legislators. The House gained These changes offer challenges but also historic diversity, with more than 100 women winning seats great opportunities to educate the incoming and new African-American, Muslim, Latino/Latina and Native American representatives. With a new Democratic House legislators on the long-term services and majority, committee chairs will change, and Democrats will gain supports on which people rely as they age. more seats on key committees with jurisdiction over Medicare, Medicaid, affordable housing and appropriations. Several New York Democrats will have seniority and will likely hold some key leadership positions in the new Congress, offering the state a stronger voice on federal issues. I am particularly pleased that Assemblymen Anthony Brindisi and Joe Morelle won election to Congress. Both were strong advocates for aging services in the Assembly, with Brindisi taking the lead on pushing an SSI increase for assisted living and Morelle taking the lead on securing dedicated health care transformation grant funding for long term care providers. We expect to continue this strong collaborative relationship with them in their new positions. These changes offer challenges but also great opportunities to educate the incoming legislators on the long-term services and supports on which people rely as they age. In addition to fighting unfunded mandates and any cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, we have several important pieces of legislation that we will be pursuing this year. (See 2019 Legislative Outlook on page 41) 39 Adviser a publication of LeadingAge New York | Fall 2018