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Beginning of the 2024 Legislative Session

January 3, 2024 was the first day of the 2024 legislative session. Normally, this day would be marked with the Governor’s State of the State address, but a few weeks ago, Governor Hochul announced that she would hold that address next Tuesday, January 9. Both the Senate and Assembly still held their opening day receptions, and the Capitol was bustling with legislators and visitors.

While the Governor will not be delivering her formal State of the State address until next Tuesday, she has already begun to roll out some of the proposals that will be included in her address. Monday, January 2, the Governor held a press conference, with Attorney General Tish James, to outline her consumer protection and affordability plan, which seeks to, among other things, eliminate insurance co-pays for insulin and to increase the maximum benefit for paid medical and disability leave. While delivering this proposal, the Governor also stated that reaching an agreement with the Legislature on a deal to build affordable housing will be on her priority list. Tuesday, January 3, the Governor announced a “Back to Basics” plan to improve reading proficiency in schools and will be proposing $10 million to train 20,000 teachers in instructional best practices for the Science of Reading.

A week to the day after her State of the State address, on Tuesday, January 16, the Governor will be announcing her 2024 – 2025 proposed budget. This will officially kick off the start of the budget process. Once her address has been delivered, the Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee will announce their joint budget hearing schedules, which will last until the end of February. In early March, both houses will release their proposed one-house budget bills and negotiations between the Governor, Senate and Assembly will commence with the hope of having a final budget deal in place by the State Constitutionally mandated deadline of April 1.

There are many factors that will make this deadline a challenge this year including that the State is facing a $4.3 billion budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year, with those deficits likely to continue into the coming years. The Governor has made it clear that she does not intend to raise personal income taxes to cover this shortfall, but where the money comes from remains to be seen. Another challenge this year is the calendar. Easter and Passover are at different times, meaning that the usually two-week legislative break that occurs once a budget agreement has been reached won’t occur until the end of April in alignment with Passover. However, Easter is Sunday, March 31 meaning that a break will be taken for at least a few days around the April 1 budget deadline.

Once the budget is finalized, all momentum will shift to passing individual pieces of legislation before the last day of session, which is scheduled for Thursday, June 6. This date is earlier in June as it is an election year, and the Primary elections for any legislators facing a primary challenge will be Tuesday, June 25.

Please contact a member of the HSE Government Affairs group if you have any questions.

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