Friday, April 21, 2006
The Legislature will return on Monday, April 24th, from their Easter/Passover recess to begin to finish out the 2006 session. First and foremost on their agenda will be consideration of the 206 budget-related vetoes, eight of which directly affect higher education.
We wanted to take this time to update you on the "Albany" happenings this past week. Simply stated, there have been no negotiations between the governor and the legislative leadership on the budget. Chancellor Ryan and the University Relations staff have been in constant contact with the legislative leadership in both houses to continue to advocate for SUNY's budget as adopted by the Legislature. We anticipate both houses dealing with the vetoes in some manner come next week, but neither house has specific plans as of yet and the process could take longer.
It is still timely to write letters to the editor in your local and regional daily papers that speak to the importance of the additional funding appropriated in the State Budget as passed by the Legislature. We would also ask that you reinforce with your local legislators the importance of not negotiating away any of the funds included in their budget in order to fund other programs that may make their way to the negotiating table.
www.SupportSUNY.org Web site
The www.SupportSUNY.org Web site has been updated and contains letters for your campus community (faculty, staff, council members, students, etc) to send to your local legislators and legislative leaders.
Just to remind you, the vetoed bills are returned to the house that first passed them along with a veto message/statement from the Governor regarding of the reason for their disapproval. SUNY funding is part of the Education, Labor and Family Assistance (ELF) budget bill. That budget bill, and the accompanying language bill, were first approved by the Assembly, thus the override process will have to begin there. If an override in the Assembly is successful, the motion will then have to be passed by the Senate to complete the override.
The vetoed bill can become law if two-thirds of the members of each house vote to override the Governor's veto. The Legislature can initiate the override process any time until they adjourn "sine die". Generally, the Legislature adjourns in such a manner right before they begin a new session (the end of the calendar year or at beginning of the next legislative session).
Higher Education Vetoes
The following vetoes impact SUNY and higher education in New York State. All of these legislative additional appropriations were vetoed on the premise that if enacted, they would "adversely impact the State's capacity to maintain a properly balanced budget." These vetoes were not issued with the "unconstitutional" argument, therefore these should be treated a straightforward veto overrides by the Assembly and Senate.
Senate Public Hearing
The Senate Higher Education Committee is holding a public hearing in Albany on May 2nd on: Truth in Testing - Investigating fairness and ensuring accuracy of standardizes testing in NYS. The hearing will begin at 10:00 in Hearing Room A of the LOB and testimony is by invitation only.
There will be a special election on May 2nd to fill the vacancy in the 142nd Assembly District in Erie and Niagara Counties caused by the death of the Honorable Sandra Lee Wirth.
The Student Assembly is holding its annual meeting this weekend in Saratoga Springs and they will elect a new President and member to the SUNY Board of Trustees.