NEWS

Citywide Association of Law Assistants of the Civil, Criminal and Family Courts in the City of New York

NY Assembly Maps to Be Redrawn by Dysfunctional Redistricting Commission

New lines will go into effect for the 2024 election cycle.

Sept. 29, 2022 - cityandstateny.com
 
Not to be one-upped by the devolving New York City redistricting process, a new chapter in the ongoing statewide redistricting saga just got published. A state Supreme Court judge has ruled that the dysfunctional Independent Redistricting Commission must get the band back together to submit new Assembly lines by April 2023 that will be in place for the 2024 cycle. In a way, the state is right back where it started. Read More >>

Tier 6 Pension Changes

The 2022 New York State Budget Bill was signed into law by Governor Hochul on April 9, 2022. Within Chapter 56 of this bill, three parts (Part HH, Part SS and Part TT) amend NYS Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL), and impact certain NYCERS members and retirees.  Read More >>

World Trade Center Presumption Filing Deadline Extended

For NYSLRS members who participated in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery or cleanup efforts, the deadline to reserve your rights under the World Trade Center Presumption Law has been extended. The new deadline is September 11, 2026.

The World Trade Center Presumption Law provides a presumption to eligible NYSLRS members and retirees who become permanently disabled and are unable to do their jobs due to certain conditions, that they can claim their permanent disabilities are the result
of participation in World Trade Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations. The presumption will apply unless it’s proven the condition was the result of other factors.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, the presumption allows you to:

  • File for an accidental disability retirement in the future;

  • Have an existing disability retirement benefit reclassified as an accidental disability retirement benefit; or

  • Leave your beneficiaries an accidental death benefit.

Your disability or death must be due to one of the qualifying conditions specified in the law.

Who should file?

You must file an Application for World Trade Center Notice (RS6047-N) prior to submitting an Application for World Trade Center Accidental Disability Presumption (RS6047-W). Even if you do not currently suffer one of the qualifying conditions, filing this notice will protect your right — and the right of your beneficiaries — to apply for benefits in the future.

Once you file a notice with NYSLRS, there is no subsequent deadline to file for an accidental disability retirement or retirement reclassification should the need arise.

For more information, Click Here >>

NYS Helps Public Employees with Federal Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program


Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation to expand and simplify public employee access to the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The law establishes uniformity around what qualifies as full-time employment for the purposes of accessing PSLF and allows public service employers to certify employment on behalf of workers.

PSLF is a federal program that incentivizes public service work by canceling a portion of borrowers' federal student loans. The program requires borrowers to be full-time employees of an eligible public service employer and make 120 qualifying payments towards their student loan, after which the remainder of their federal student loan debt is forgiven. Any student loan debt that is forgiven under this program will not be subject to tax under New York State tax law.

The new law (Chapter 562) addresses barriers to accessing PSLF by:
1.
Clarifying the legal definitions of key terms such as, "certifying employment," "employee," "full-time," "public service employer," "public service loan forgiveness form," and "Public service loan forgiveness program;"
2. Setting a standard hourly threshold for full-time employment at 30 hours per week for the purposes of accessing PSLF and clarifying standardized prep time to be included in such calculation for faculty and teachers; and
3. Allowing public service employers to certify employment on behalf of individuals or groups of employees directly with the U.S. Department of Education.

Biden Cancels Up to $20K in Student Loan Debt and Extends Forbearance to Jan. 1, 3023

  • President Joe Biden announced on Aug. 24 an income-based student debt relief program that forgives up to $20,000 in student loan debt. He also extended the CARES Act student loan forbearance through Jan. 1, 2023.

  • The U.S. Department of Education will forgive up to $20,000 in outstanding student debt for borrowers who received Pell Grants and up to $10,000 in student debt for those who did not receive Pell Grants. Loan forgiveness will not be treated as taxable income.

  • Individuals who earn less than $125,000 and couples who earn up to $250,000, in years 2020 and 2021 only, qualify for student debt relief. The U.S. Department of Education has income information on file for about 8 million borrowers who may qualify to have their college debts canceled automatically. Other borrowers will have to apply using a new, simplified application that is in development.

  • Students currently enrolled in college who have student loans and parents with Parent PLUS loans are eligible to apply for student debt forgiveness.

  • Borrowers with outstanding undergraduate loans can apply to cap their student loan payments at 5 percent of their monthly income.

  • The Department of Education’s website should be ready to accept applications for student debt relief in December 2022.

  • The pause on direct student loan payments, interest accrual and collection activity on direct student loans in default will remain in place through Jan. 1, 2023, when payments will resume. The administration indicated this would be the final payment pause extension.

Notice to Employees with Federal Student Loan Debt About Loan Forgiveness

Under a COVID-emergency program from the U.S. Department of
Education, many federal student loans are being forgiven for government/
nonprofit workers. Read More >>

Ad Seeks New Chief Judge for NY After Janet DiFiore Resigns

July 29, 2022 - nypost.com 
The Empire State is searching for its next top judicial officer with a want-ad seeking lawyerly New Yorkers — especially those with no outstanding ethics problems. A state panel charged with choosing the replacement for outgoing Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, who announced her resignation weeks ago, has post a help-wanted ad with an Aug. 29 application deadline. Read More >>

Health Insurers Kill Medicare Plan Change City-Job Retirees Railed Against

July 19, 2022 - thecity.nyc 
New York City’s years-long effort to shift retired city workers to a cost-cutting health care plan was dealt a major blow Monday when the insurer in charge of running the plan announced that it is withdrawing from the deal.

The plan — which the city and municipal unions hoped would save $600 million a year in health care costs — would have been run by the Retiree Health Alliance, a partnership between health insurance companies Elevance Health, previously known as Anthem, and Empire BlueCross BlueShield. Read More >>

988: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Launches New 3-digit Number

July 16, 2022 - cnn.com 
On Saturday, Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit that operates the lifeline on behalf of the US Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), launched the 988 dialing code available to everyone across the United States. Read More >>

Pressure Mounts on City to Come Clean with 9/11 WTC Files

July 12, 2022 - laborpress.org 
A 2003 EPA Inspector General report held the EPA accountable for mischaracterizing the air quality in lower Manhattan as "safe to breathe." A growing coalition of unions and survivors say it's time for the City of New York to come clean with what then Mayor Rudy Giuliani knew and when he knew it about the toxic air that has killed thousands and sickened tens of thousands. Read More >>

Chief Judge Resigns at Crucial Time for New York’s Top Court

July 11, 2022 - nytimes.com 
Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, says she will step down at the end of August, even as lawmakers in Albany consider stronger laws on guns and abortion, measures at the heart of a national debate whose legality could be determined by the state judiciary. Read More >>

Judge Rules NYC Municipal Voting Law for Noncitizens Violates State Constitution

June 27, 2022 - gothamist.com 
New York City’s law extending voting rights in municipal elections to noncitizens who are legally allowed to live, work and go to school in the five boroughs violates the New York State Constitution, according to a ruling issued by Justice Ralph Porzio in Richmond County State Supreme Court on Monday. Read More >>

SCOTUS Overturns Roe v. Wade Ends Women's Rights to Abortion

June 24, 2022 - npr.org 
In a historic and far-reaching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion that's been upheld for 50 years no longer exists. Read More >>

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down NY’s Concealed-Carry Law

June 23, 2022 - scotusblog.com 
The Supreme Court of the United States struck down a New York handgun-licensing law on June 23, 2022, that required New Yorkers who want to carry a handgun in public to show a special need to defend themselves. The 6-3 ruling is the court’s first significant decision on gun rights in more than a decade. In a far-reaching ruling, the court made clear that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right “to keep and bear arms” protects a broad right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. Read More >>

Have I Been Redistricted? Search Your Redrawn Political Districts in NY

May 24, 2022 - nbcnewyork.com 
Congressional and state seats have changed. Before this summer’s primary elections, find out how your old districts stack up with your new ones. Read more & enter your address to see if you've been redistricted >>


Municipal Labor Committee to City:

Double Standard Isn't Fair. Bring Back Workers

The Municipal Labor Committee on March 28 sent a letter to First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo and OLR Commissioner Renee Campion letting them know that NYC's labor unions will not sit by idly and watch as the Mayor imposes a set of double standards for those who are not COVID vaccinated.

As you have recently seen, many Unions, along with many residents, are greatly troubled by what appears to be a stark double standard between athletes/performers, on the one hand, and public employees, on the other, regarding continuation of the vaccine mandates. While a number of Unions had challenged the vaccine mandates as intrusive and unneeded in light of testing options, it was one thing to abide when the mandate was applied uniformly but it is another to treat public employees in a less favorable, discriminatory manner. This is all the more disturbing when one considers that these workers, without fanfare or glory, came to their jobs each day facing the perils of COVID-19 in person during the worst of the pandemic to provide services to the residents of this great City. That the Nets or Mets might be at some disadvantage in having roster limitations hardly seems to have greater public import than in the loss of livelihood to hard-working New Yorkers who are the backbone of this City. Moreover, while the City has an understandable interest in the public health, the City has in recent weeks moved towards a return to normalcy, jettisoning much of the vaccine limitations in the private sector. In light of these developments, we ask, on behalf of the NYC Municipal Labor Committee, that the City meet with us to address issues regarding the groups of public employees who were summarily terminated or who went on unpaid leave for being unvaccinated and have a right to return. Fairness requires that this move towards normalcy also apply to the people who have served the City. Just as the City reached out to the MLC and the Unions for their cooperation and support in keeping the City going and fighting back the pandemic, we now look to you, as restrictions are being rolled back, to work with us to ease the burden on public employees. We ask to meet across the table and discuss pathways for all affected employees to return to work and continue to serve the City and its residents.

Parking Placards

All parking placards were mailed out as soon as they were ready in May, and all subsequent requests for placards have been fulfilled. If you submitted a request for a placard and did not receive it yet, please let your building Rep. know or email fghezzi@nyscala.com. If you did not request a placard, it is not too late, there are still plenty left.

Sick Leave Bank Pilot Program

Eligible employees who have exhausted their own paid leave time may be eligible to receive Sick Leave Bank credits to cover absences while caring for a qualifying family member with a serious health condition. For definitions, eligibility requirements, and procedures, Please Click Here >>

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