An Examination of Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission: The Progress So Far

By Kelly Hendricken, Albany Government Law Review

Introduction  

            Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a Moreland Act Commission to investigate the response of New York’s power utility companies to Superstorm Sandy.[1]  This now established Moreland Commission on Utility and Storm Preparation came after a firestorm of complaints in the wake of the weeks it took for many residents in the Long Island and New York City areas to regain power after the tragedy and devastation of Superstorm Sandy.[2]  The Commission has already made some recommendations, which are sure to create much change after this particular public outcry for better regulation and more sanctions for the power companies in charge of restoring power after the widespread damage caused by Superstorm Sandy that left hundreds of thousands of people in New York without power.[3]  It is important to understand both the authority the Commission has and the power of its recommendations because of the widespread change this will impose on New Yorkers in the future.  The legislative recommendations that are about to be made will change the utilities regulation in New York State, hopefully for the better.

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Moratorium on Progress: How New York’s “Moratorium” Statute Has Helped Halt Public Sector Teacher Pension Reform

By Ed Delauter, Albany Government Law Review

We need a government that performs better and costs less . . . . [this] means enacting mandate relief.  By next year, pension costs for schools and state and local governments will have increased one hundred percent since 2009.  We need to reform the pension system and create a Tier VI.  The joint Legislature and Executive Mandate relief Council we created last year will begin its work this month.  I will request that Council hold public hearings.  We need a robust discussion on the pros and cons of the mandates.[1]

Amidst the backdrop of a national recession and record federal and state budget deficits across the nation—including New York[2]—Governor Cuomo stood before the crowd gathered at Empire State Plaza on January 4, 2012 and delivered the 2012 State of the State address.[3]  The Governor emphasized the need to reduce the amount of retiree benefits received by public workers, specifically public pensions.[4]  To achieve this reduction the Governor announced his plans to include a Tier VI pension plan into his budget proposal.[5]  The proposal for a Tier VI pension system was unsurprising considering the Governor’s efforts to get the legislature to pass the Tier VI pension system the previous year as a stand-alone bill,[6] and the skyrocketing cost of retiree benefits in conjunction with a tail spinning economy.[7]

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The Supreme Court’s Refusal to Hear Case Involving the Illinois Eavesdropping Act

By Courtney Elliott, Albany Government Law Review

In recent years, courts have had to examine wiretap statutes in relation to recording law enforcement officers during the performance of their job duties.[1]  Most Americans now carry at least one mobile device capable of recording audio and video with the simple click of a button.[2]  Several commentators have observed that it is now common for citizens to use video cameras to document daily life, as well as police activity.[3]  On November 26, 2012, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case of Alvarez v. ACLU of Illinois,[4] leaving in place a federal appeals court’s injunction against an Illinois anti-eavesdropping law which criminalizes audio recording of part or all of a conversation unless all parties involved agree to the recording.[5]

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Federal Air Travel Subsidies: Is Essential Air Service ‘Essential?’

 By Hunter Raines, Albany Government Law Review 

Some may recall the shocking headline last year resulting from the failure of the United States Congress to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, costing thousands of jobs and foregoing billions of dollars in government revenue.[1]  Perhaps a few were more concerned with whether or not airlines should have adjusted their fares by the amount of the federal aviation tax that no longer applied upon expiration of the FAA’s bill to question what possible debate could exist with whether or not the FAA should be funded.[2]  In truth, however, the debate was centered not on whether or not to federally regulate aviation, but, inter alia,  how and where to subsidize certain large commercial airlines for flying routes that “just [do not] make sense” absent a government subsidy.[3]  This article argues that the proper role for the majority of these funds is not corporate (and community) welfare, but to undertake capital projects to improve infrastructure at existing, commercially sustainable airports without increasing the cost to the tenant airlines or the traveling public.  This article’s analysis will focus primarily on New York State.

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