The minimum wage was raised in a complicated scheme whereby NYC workers in large businesses will see an increase to $11/hour by the end of 2016 and $15/hour in 2018. NYC workers employed by small businesses and workers in downstate counties will see wages increase to $10.50 and $10/hour, respectively, by the end of 2016, increasing to $15/hour in 2019 and 2021, respectively. For workers in the rest of the state, including in the Capital District, the minimum wage will increase to $9.70/hour by the end of 2016 and eventually reach $12.50/hour by 2020.
A strong paid family leave program was enacted which will include 12 weeks of leave when the program is fully implemented over the next four years. The program will provide coverage for private sector workers in New York; public sector unions will be able to opt into the program.
In good news for education, Foundation Aid was increased by four percent and the Gap Elimination Adjustment was finally phased out.
The State League devotes considerable time and effort into translating the interests expressed by League members into legislative initiatives. We appreciate their efforts.
Please note that your membership dues should by paid by June 30th for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
Cheryl Nechamen, Lead
The parties' candidates have generally been determined by the time New York's primary rolls around, which takes place on April 19th this year, but things may still be undecided by then.
Voting, whether it's registering voters, protecting voting rights, candidate forums or get out the vote efforts, is what the League of Women Voters is best known for. We have had successful registration drives at Union College and SCCC. We have also taken advantage of the opening of the Phyllis Bornt Library to reach new groups of voters in conjunction with library programs in March.
Another exciting opportunity has been the League's collaboration with the Schenectady County Historical Society (SCHS) on their exhibit on voting. Jami Floyd, journalist with WNYC, gave an engaging talk on March 12th, centered around the film Mr. Smith goes to Washington on what we are looking for in our leaders when we're choosing a President. It was a lively discussion with lots of audience participation. The SCHS will continue their focus on voting with events at the Mabee Farm to reach families.
On another note, Board members have been thinking about how to better meet the needs of our members. Some members have time to do short-term projects; others are willing to do more time-consuming jobs as long as they don't have to attend Board meetings and others enjoy coming to monthly Board meetings to chat with new and old friends (we have the best coffee, tea and cookies at Board meetings!).
To balance these different interests and needs, the Board has clarified the structure, presented on p.7 of this Bulletin, with Board officers (Steering Committee or President and Vice-President, plus Treasurer and Secretary) and Board members who are elected and Project Coordinators who are appointed by the Board. While all League members are welcome at Board meetings, elected Board officers and members are expected to attend Board meetings on a regular basis. Positions that fulfill our most crucial tasks, such as Voter Services and Action, or who need a thorough familiarity with the workings of the League, such as Membership and Bulletin Editor, are elected positions.
Project Coordinators perform important tasks that don't necessarily require their presence at every Board meeting and generally serve off the Board. For instance, people chairing candidate forums, VOTE411, voter registration and the Budget and Audit committees, perform their tasks at certain times of the year and are asked to attend Board meetings at those times.
We also have the position of At Large Board member for people who would like to learn more about the League and might be interested in leadership roles; or they might just enjoy the tea and cookies! These Board members are elected and expected to attend Board meetings.
People filling other positions, such as Outreach and Publicity, Observer Corps Chair, Fundraising Chair and Committee Chairs, have the option of being elected to the Board with expected attendance at Board meetings or serving off Board. The Nominating Committee has a unique structure, as explained on p.7 of this Bulletin.
We hope that these changes in the structure of the Board will provide more opportunities to participate in the League.
Cheryl Nechamen, Lead