New York’s Mandate Relief Report and Mandate Relief Council

In January of 2011 Executive Order No. 6 created the Mandate Relief Redesign Team to explore solutions for unfunded mandates in New York.  The Mandate Relief Redesign Team issued its preliminary report in 2011 that provided recommendations to minimize and end the adverse affects that unfunded mandates place on local governments and school districts.

The Mandate Relief Redesign Team’s suggestions include prohibiting new unfunded mandates, requiring an independent cost analysis on all mandates, create a new pension tier to reduces mandate costs, reforming New York’s Wicks Law, give local governments greater flexibility to deal with current unfunded mandates, set in place full agency review of state mandates, and create a clearinghouse to continue solving the unfunded mandate problem.

The Mandate Relief Redesign Team’s Preliminary Report is available here.

The State of New York also passed legislation in 2011 aimed at reducing the amount of unfunded mandates.  The legislation adds language to the New York State Administrative Procedure Act (2011 N.Y. Session Laws ch.97 Sub. Part H §1).  The Council is designed to identify and review mandates that can be eliminated or reformed unless those mandates are federal mandates or eligibility standards, mandates that apportion the costs of activities between boards of educations and municipalities, those from the state constitution, or those that are necessary for the public health and safety of the people of New York.

There are many avenues the Council may take to review unfunded mandates.  One method allows local governments to seek the Council’s approval for an “alternative method of implementing a regulatory mandate by submitting [a petition] to the appropriate state agency…” The Council may also find that a mandate imposed on a local government is unsound, unduly burdensome, or too costly.  Then the Council may request a review of that mandate by the local government (with the appropriate agency covering all costs) which may result in the local government petitioning for a waiver, modification, or repeal of the mandate.  In addition, the Council has the power to refer a mandate to the governor for a repeal or modification.

The eleven member Council consists of the Secretary to the Governor (council chair), Counsel to the Governor, the Director of the Division of Budget, the Secretary of State, three members appointed from the governors executive chamber staff, two members appointed from the Temporary President of the Senate, and two appointed from the Speaker of the Assembly.

The legislation creating the Mandate Relief Council is available here.

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