December 15, 2004
The Honorable Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Dear Speaker Silver:
On behalf of the members of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, I respectfully submit to you the Committee’s 2004 Annual Report which highlights our activities over the last year.
The 2004 Legislative Session was a productive one, although the final approved budget fell far short of the Committee’s goals due to the Governor’s vetoes of much of the Legislature’s restorations and initiatives in Higher Education. Throughout the budget process the Committee worked to ensure that vital higher education programs were adequately funded and that students were not shortchanged. The Governor’s proposal to restructure the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and slash its appropriation by $302 million was rejected and the program was preserved for the next budget cycle. The Executive recommendation to cut base aid for community colleges by 15 percent was rejected, as was the proposed five percent across the board cut in funding for opportunity programs. Unfortunately, the inability to override vetoes of these last two restorations resulted in these cuts being made to community colleges and opportunity programs.
The Committee also worked to increase capital funding for the State and City university systems and modified an Executive proposal to provide capital funding for private colleges and universities throughout the State. This capital funding was also vetoed by the Governor, necessitating delays in critical maintenance at our public universities and hampering economic growth in the private sector. The Committee will redouble its efforts in the coming session to reverse this negative trend in State support for higher education.
The Committee’s work was not limited to fiscal concerns, however. In fact, the 2004 Legislative Session addressed several pressing issues. Individuals performing clinical laboratory testing will be required to meet minimum standards of competency in education and experience to help ensure the integrity of medical tests under a new law. Public safety will also be enhanced through a measure empowering the State Education Department to take into account the misconduct of a professional in another jurisdiction before granting licensure in New York. Those professionals who commit crimes or fail to adhere to ethical standards in another State won’t find a safe haven in New York. Finally, students at the City University of New York will have better police protection due to a new statute providing the Board of Trustees with the power to designate campus officers as peace officers.
Much has been accomplished this year, but much still remains to be done. Thank you for your leadership and steadfast support of our State’s higher education community. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with you and my colleagues toward our shared goal of ensuring that our system of public and private education remains the best in the nation.
Higher Education Committee
2004 ANNUAL REPORT
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
STANDING COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION
Ron Canestrari, Chairman
Audrey I. Pheffer
Richard N. Gottfried
Joseph D. Morelle
N. Nick Perry
Anthony S. Seminerio
Joan K. Christensen
Kevin A. Cahill
Deborah J. Glick
Patricia A. Eddington
Darrel J. Aubertine
Joel M. Miller, Ranking Minority Member
Robert G. Prentiss
Marc W. Butler
Brian M. Kolb
Michael J. Fitzpatrick
James D. Conte
Sabrina M. Ty, Principal Legislative Coordinator
Mark Casellini, Principal Analyst
Deborah Stevens, Committee Assistant
Ami Schnauber, Committee Director
Nancy Jordan, Committee Clerk
Laura Inglis, Program and Counsel Executive Secretary
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|I. COMMITTEE JURISDICTION|
The Committee on Higher Education is responsible for the initiation and review of legislation relevant to higher education and the professions in New York State. It is primarily concerned with policy initiatives affecting the State University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New York (CUNY), the independent colleges and universities of New York, proprietary vocational schools, student financial aid, and the licensed professions. However, because of the complex and comprehensive nature of New York’s system of higher education, the Committee has also been involved in shaping legislation in such diverse public policy fields as health care, economic and workforce development, technology, capital financing, and elementary and secondary education.
The New York State system of higher education has been heralded for decades for its quality and comprehensive service to the public with a full range of academic, professional, and vocational programs. The three components of this system include the State University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New York (CUNY), and the numerous independent colleges and universities, proprietary colleges and schools located within New York State.
In addition to providing support to the state-operated campuses of SUNY and the senior college programs of the City University, New York State contributes financially to community colleges and provides direct aid to independent colleges and universities. The State also demonstrates its commitment to higher education through funding the country’s largest state-supported Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
The Committee on Higher Education also monitors the ongoing activities of the 44 professions, which the State Education Department (SED) is charged with licensing and regulating. Through careful consideration of legislation affecting the professions and through the monitoring of the professional discipline functions of the State Education and Health Departments, the Committee endeavors to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public and to ensure the maintenance of high standards and competence within the professional realm.
This report summarizes the activities and achievements of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education in each of its major areas of responsibility during the 2004 legislative session.
|II. HIGHER EDUCATION|
The 2004-05 Executive Budget proposed a total of $337 million in cuts to Higher Education. Included in these cuts was a decrease of $302 million in funding for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), a five percent cut to Opportunity Programs and a 15 percent per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) decrease in base aid for SUNY and CUNY Community Colleges. Failure to come to an agreement with the Executive resulted in a bipartisan budget that restored many of these cuts to Higher Education. The 2004-05 budget approved by the legislature included a total of over $320 million in restorations for higher education programs throughout New York State. This funding was vetoed by the Governor, and the Assembly fell one vote short of overriding these vetoes.
|III. LICENSED PROFESSIONS|
New York State currently licenses 44 professions under Title VIII of the Education Law. Legislation to license a new profession or to alter the practice of an existing profession falls under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Higher Education. SED, through its Office of the Professions, regulates the practice of such professions on an ongoing basis.
An essential component of the monitoring process is to ensure that existing standards and qualifications reflect current practices and needs, especially in light of shifting demographics and rapidly changing technologies. Each year, the Committee reviews numerous pieces of legislation which propose to change the scope of practice of currently licensed professions. Modifying current professional standards provide a means by which the Committee fulfills its obligation to protect the well-being of the public.
Dental Residency Program
Prior Disciplinary History
Practice of Social Work
Access to Instructional Materials for Students with Disabilities
Administration of Medication in Day Care Settings
Licensure Fees for Mental Heath Practitioners
Licensure Fees for Mental Heath Practitioners
Clinical Laboratory Practitioners
Clinical Laboratory Practitioner Licensure Exemption
Practice of Interior Design
Mandatory Continuing Education for Architects
Accreditation of Residency Requirements for the Practice of
The Impact of the Governor’s Vetoes on Higher Education
October 14, 2004
October 19, 2004
October 20, 2004
October 21, 2004
October 26, 2004
This year the Assembly and the Senate, in a bipartisan effort, restored funding in excess of $320 million for higher education programs in New York State. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed most of these programs. These hearings were convened in an effort to gather information on the effect of these vetoes on higher education. With over eighty witnesses, these hearings were extremely well attended and offered testimony demonstrating the impact of the Governor’s vetoes.
For example, in Plattsburgh, the Presidents of North Country Community College and Clinton County Community College expressed concerns that the decrease in base aid will prevent them from expanding and maintaining services in their communities. In rural areas of the State, such as the North Country, these community colleges are often the only accessible providers of higher education. Agnes Grant, the director of the Liberty Partnership Program of the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley, described how the five percent cut in funding would force her to reduce services for students including tutoring and mentoring programs.
Representatives from both SUNY and CUNY testified at the hearing in Kingston and described the consequences in other parts of the state. Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress of CUNY, discussed how the governor’s cuts will prevent CUNY from addressing the need for an increase in full-time faculty. Furthermore, Dr. Bowen described how the vetoes would deny critical maintenance funding for schools such as New York City College of Technology and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. The Vice President for Student Affairs at SUNY New Paltz, L. David Rooney, testified as to the effect of the loss of ten million dollars in funding for a new student union. The group of NYPIRG students in attendance echoed Mr. Rooney’s sentiments, describing the student union as a vital component of the New Paltz campus.
Several representatives shared their perspective from the independent sector and testified at the hearing in Watertown. Michael Archibald, Vice President for University Advancement at St. Lawrence University, and Robert Wood, Director of Government Relations at Clarkson University, described how the five-percent cut to opportunity programs will affect the HEOP programs at their schools. Furthermore, both Mr. Archibald and Mr. Wood described how the Higher Education Capital Matching Grants Program, also vetoed by the Governor, would have provided opportunities for economic development in their communities.
In Rochester, several participants expressed concerns regarding the cuts to capital funding. Representatives from each sector, including Dr. John Martin, President of Roberts Wesleyan College, and Dr. Melva Brown, Executive Director of the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, discussed how these vetoes will prohibit them from making critical capital improvements to their facilities. Echoing these concerns was Frank Wirt, President of the Rochester Buildings and Construction Trades Council, who testified that the cuts to capital funding will result in fewer construction jobs in the Greater Rochester area.
With over twenty-five participants testifying to the impact downstate, the hearing in Holbrook was by far the largest. George Gatta, Vice President for Workforce and Economic Development of Suffolk County Community College, testified as to the effect of the cuts to community college base aid and how state funding fails to keep pace with increasing enrollment. Other participants included Dr. Martha Bell, Chair of Opportunity Programs United, who described how the five percent cut to opportunity programs will require programs such as SEEK to decrease tutorial and instruction services.
The testimony provided at each of these hearings will assist the Committee in its fight to make higher education affordable, and accessible, throughout New York State.
As the Committee looks ahead to the upcoming 2005 Legislative Session, many of the traditional goals relative to higher education and the professions will continue to have precedence.
Foremost among the Committee’s priorities for the 2005 session will be, despite the austere fiscal climate, to secure financing for the coming fiscal year sufficient to meet the needs of SUNY, CUNY and the independent sector and to support their unique missions. The broader goal of preserving access opportunities to higher education for students all across New York State is also critical. By continuing to fight for increased funding for access programs, the Committee will promote the recognition of these highly successful educational services. Another priority of the committee will be to provide capital funding for SUNY and CUNY as well as the independent sector. Campuses throughout the state are in desperate need of funding for critical maintenance as well as the expansion of academic and residence facilities. As always, the Committee will continue to focus on TAP and ensure the availability of the program at current or enhanced levels. The Assembly Higher Education Committee is proud of this comprehensive financial aid program and will fight to continue its success in opening doors to college students throughout the State.
In 2005, the Committee will also address several important legislative issues. Among these will be measures relating to the forty-four licensed professions overseen by the Department of Education’s Office of the Professions. Chief among these will be initiatives aimed at preserving the integrity of the individual professions and ensuring that professional competence translates into increased public protection and safety. In this regard, we will continue to pursue increased funding for the Office of the Professions to proceed with investigations of unlicensed practice of professions, remaining committed to legislation adopted in 2003 providing greater authority to pursue illegal practice. In addition, the Committee will continue to study the evolution of existing professions to assess the possible need for statutory changes to reflect the changing needs of consumers.
Professions Licensed or Certified by the Board of Regents
Certified Interior Design
Certified Public Accountancy
Certified Shorthand Reporting
Dietetics and Nutrition
Licensed Practical Nurse
Mental Health Practitioners
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Physical Therapy Assistant
Respiratory Therapy Assistant
2004 SUMMARY SHEET
Summary of Action on All Bills Referred to the Committee on Higher Education