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80 Cards in this Set

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Appropriation/Line Item
Synonymous with a line item in the budget, an appropriation is an allocation of funding in a budget bill.
Article VII (Seven)
Language that is included as a part of the state budget to explain the monetary appropriations. Art. VII language explains the revenue and expenditure lines in the state budget. It can include language that has a direct or indirect fiscal impact. Article VII language is often used by advocates as a way to include policy issues in the omnibus budget bill.
One of the two legislative houses at the state-level. It is considered the “lower house” and is similar to the House of Representatives at the federal level. There are 150 Assembly members.
Albany Office
Every Assembly member and State Senator has an Albany office. This is where their legislative staff is usually based. During the legislative session (January to June), legislators are required to be in Albany on session days.
When proposed language is drafted and introduced in an official format by a state legislator it is called a bill or legislation. The terms are interchangeable and apply until the Governor signs the bill and then it becomes a law and is a part of a statute.
Bill Number
(including A print)
In the Assembly and Senate legislation is not considered introduced until it has a legislative bill draft number (LBD). Part of why it is important to get a bill sponsor and officially introduce legislation is that, for the most part, staff and members only keep track of bills that have bill numbers. A bill must be introduced in each house, separately. In the Assembly and Senate, a bill has to be drafted by the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission. In this scenario, “drafting” means submitting a copy of the proposed bill to the LBDC so that they can produce an official copy with proper formatting. However, they do not have input on the actual language of the bill. See “Legislative Bill Drafting,” below. Then 4 copies of the bill draft and sponsor’s memorandum, signed by the Senator or Assembly member, are brought to the Senate Revision Office and introduced to receive a legislative bill draft number. As bills are amended, these official procedures are repeated and the bill number gets a letter added to it. If a bill has been amended once it is an “A-print.” If it has been amended 3 times it is a “C-print.”
Bill Reference
For the most part, bills are sent to a committee (the term for this is “referencing”) based on the statute (law) that they amend first. For example, a bill that would amend the Penal Law to create additional penalties for domestic violence would be referenced to the Senate and Assembly Codes Committees, and a bill that would amend the Labor Law would be referenced to the Senate and Assembly Labor Committee, etc.
This building is the home of the New York State Legislature and Governor’s Office. It is located in Albany, on State Street in Capitol Park. The building, completed during 1899 at a cost of $25 million (worth approximately half a billion current dollars), was the most expensive government building of its time. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1979. The Governor and his key staff are located on the 2nd floor of the capitol and Assembly and Senate chambers are located on the 3rd floor.
In the Assembly and Senate, bills take their place on the calendar in the order they are reported from committee. The NYS Constitution requires bills to remain on the calendar “to age” for three days before moving to the floor for a vote. There are two ways to circumvent the three-day aging requirement: 1) a message of necessity from the Governor or 2) the Rules Committee moves a bill directly to the floor (though in this instance the bill still must have been introduced for 3 days). Once a bill attains the Order of Third Reading, it is eligible to be moved to the floor for a vote. For strategic and political reasons (e.g., the sponsor does not feel that the bill has enough votes to pass), many bills remain on Third Reading on the Calendar and are never moved to the floor for a vote. Usually, some combination of the Leader/Speaker, high-level Program and Counsel staff, and a core group of members determine whether bills move from the Calendar to the floor.
Central Staff
Refers to staff that work for either the Majority or Minority Party in the Senate or the Assembly. Usually, it refers to staff or whichever party is in the majority in each house. Central Staff reports directly to party leaders. This staff is different from the Majority Leader or Speaker’s personal staff. Central Staff includes the following groups or teams: Program and Counsel, Finance, Communications, Administrative Services, and Research. The Majority Leader and Speaker have the authority to hire and fire central staff and can change the way it is organized.
Each house (the Assembly and Senate) has a chamber, also referred to as the Floor. This is the large and ornate room where bills are debated, voted on, and passed. There are viewing areas for the public in the chambers and it is possible to observe session.
Chapter/Chapter Amendment
Chapter is a technical term for a new section of law. When a bill is signed into law it is often referred to as chapter of a specific statute. If a correction needs to be made to a recently passed law (or chapter), it will be referred to as a chapter amendment. Unless a bill is introduced as a “uni-bill,” if the bill is signed into law, the chapter will be named after the sponsor (from either the Assembly or Senate) who introduced it first. Members like to have chapters named after them, so as an advocate it is worth considering whether the Senator or Assembly should introduce the bill first.
Chief of Staff
Each member has a chief of staff who oversees the internal working of the member’s office and is often involved in policy decisions. The Chief of Staff is often based in the member’s district office but may travel with the member to Albany.
Each member usually has a lawyer on their personal staff to advise them on legislation and legal matters.
District Office (DO)
Every Assembly-member and State Senator has a district office, often referred to as the “DO.” Located in the member’s home district, the DO is usually run by staff who live or in the district and is focused, for the most part, on local matters, including constituent advocacy.
Division of Budget (DOB)
Assists the Governor in preparing the Executive Budget proposal, offers fiscal policy advice to the Governor's office, and administers and monitors expenditures authorized by the final Enacted Budget. DOB figures are often considered the most definitive budget numbers when figures are being debated between the Executive, Assembly, and Senate.
Dual Reference Committee
A standing committee that not only has jurisdiction over bills that are referenced to it directly, but also has jurisdiction over certain bills in other committees. In both the Assembly and Senate, the Codes Committee has dual reference jurisdiction over any bill that changes (increases or decreases) any penalty (criminal or civil). The Ways and Means Committee in the Assembly and the Finance Committee in the Senate have dual reference jurisdiction over any bill that has a fiscal impact (increase or decrease). In practice, this means that if a bill is introduced to the Labor Law Committee but includes a penalty, it will have to be reported from two committees – Labor and Codes – before it can go to the floor for a full vote.
Refers to the Mayor, Governor, or President’s administration. It is one of the terms used to indicate the head of government, literally the individual who “executes” the law and oversees agencies. In New York, it is generally used to refer to the Governor, his staff, and the executive agencies.
Finance Committee
The Standing Committee in the Senate through which all legislation with a fiscal impact must pass. This applies to legislation that has the primary purpose of increasing or decreasing spending (original jurisdiction) and legislation that has an indirect fiscal impact (dual reference jurisdiction). For instance, there may be a bill that amends the Education Law and the original jurisdiction of the bill is the Education Committee. However, if the bill has a fiscal impact, it may be dual referenced to Finance.
Another term for the Chamber in the Assembly and Senate, referring specifically to the area where the members sit, debate, and vote on legislation. Unless a member invites someone onto the floor as a guest, only members and their staff are allowed on the floor.
While the Legislature is in session, the Governor has 10 days (not including Sundays) to sign or veto bills passed by both houses. The Governor's failure to sign or veto a bill within the 10-day period means that it becomes law automatically. If a bill is sent to the Governor when the Legislature is out of session, the rules vary slightly. At those times, the Governor has 30 days to make a decision, and failure to act ("pocket veto") has the same effect as a veto.
Independent Democratic Conference
The IDC refers to the group of Democrats that formed their own conference at the beginning of the 2011 legislative session. The IDC had a bi-partisan coalition governing agreement with the Republicans until the 2014 elections when the Republicans took back a clear majority. During the 2015 session, the IDC still conference separately and had arguably more power to negotiate with the Republicans than the mainline Democrats. Currently, Senators Klein, Savino, Carlucci, Valesky, and Avella comprise the IDC.
Legislative Bill Drafting Commission
When bill text has been agreed upon, a staff person takes the language to the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission to have it entered in the official format. If outside attorneys draft a bill or the Governor and various state agencies submit their ideas for legislation, the legislation is still required to go through the LBDC.
Legislative Office Building
The Legislative Office Building is located across the street from the Capitol. Most member offices are located in the LOB.
Legislative Staff
Refers to staff that work on legislation. It may be in reference to a member’s personal staff or staff person who is a part of Central Staff.
Majority Leader
The majority party in the Senate generally elects a Leader who has the authority to speak on behalf of the majority party and whose party controls the chamber. During the 2015 session, Senator John Flanagan replaced Senator Dean Skelos as Majority Leader.
These terms are used interchangeably to refer to Assembly members and Senators. Most staff use the term “member.”
Member Item
Refers to specific monetary amounts that have, in the past, been allocated to state legislators which they can then allocate as they see fit. There were no state member items in the 2010 budget. It is unclear if there will be any moving forward. There are also member items available every year through the City Council.
Message of Necessity
The Governor can issue “message of necessity” to circumvent the requirement that state legislation “age” for 3 days on the calendar.
Minority Leader
The minority party in the Senate and Assembly elects a leader who has the authority to speak on behalf of the minority party. Currently, the Senate Minority Leader is Democratic Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Assembly Minority Leader is Republican Assembly member Brian Kolb.
New York State Constitution
Establishes the basic framework for governance of the State of New York and sets forth the basic rights of New York's citizens. New York has had five constitutions, adopted in 1777, 1821, 1846, 1894 and 1938. The Constitution can be changed in one of two ways: via a voter-approved Constitutional Convention, or via Legislative proposal, which the electorate must also ratify. For a searchable electronic version of the current Constitution, see: http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/constitution.htm. For a handy summary of Constitutional history, see "Schaffer Law Library's Guide on the New York State Constitution," Albany Law School, available at http://www.albanylaw.edu/media/user/librarypdfs/guides/nyconsti.pdf.
Omnibus Bill
A single document that is accepted in a single vote by a legislature and either puts several similar measures or combines diverse subjects into a single bill.
One-House Bill
A bill that is only introduced in either the Senate or Assembly. Since a bill must pass both houses and be signed by the Governor in order to become law, one-house bills cannot become law. Members often introduce one-house bills as a way to demonstrate support of an issue.
Original Jurisdiction
Refers to the standing committee to which a bill is referred to first (originally).
Program Bill
Refers to a bill that is introduced by a member at the request of a government official outside the Legislature, typically the Governor or Attorney General.
Program and Counsel (P&C)
The part of Central Staff in the Senate and Assembly that works primarily on policy and legislation. P&C are the central staff advocates are most likely to deal with when working to pass legislation. P&C includes the chief counsel to the Senate or Assembly and committee counsels and analysts.
Language that is not legally binding that is read and entered into the record in the Senate or Assembly. Often, members will introduce resolutions to acknowledge an individual in their district or to commemorate a holiday.
Rules Committee
Meets “off the floor” meaning that session is paused (called “at ease”) for the members who comprise the Rules Committee to meet and vote on bills that are being moved to the floor in an expedited manner. The Rules Committee is used as a way to circumvent the constitutionally required 3-day aging process and can also circumvent other standing committees.
All members have someone in their office that handles scheduling. It is usually a full-time position but in some offices there may be a legislative assistant or aide who assists with scheduling and is not called the scheduler.
Second Floor
The Governor and the Governor’s staff are located on the Second Floor of the Capitol building. It is common for members and staff to refer to the “Second floor” when discussing the Governor and his or her staff.
Senate Rules
Adopted (and often modified) each Session, the Senate Rules set forth the manner in which the Senate conducts its business. The Rules include provisions concerning the duties and responsibilities of various officers of the Senate, proceedings in Senate Committees and on the Senate Floor, procedures regarding the introduction of and voting on bills and resolutions. Additionally, the Rules set forth certain parliamentary directives, relating to issues ranging from adjournment and roll call to behavioral protocol for Members. For a searchable electronic version of the Rules, see http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/rules.
The official term for when the legislature is up and running and ready to pass legislation. Session runs from January to June in two-year cycles. New legislators are elected every November in even-numbered years. Session days vary over the six months from two days a week to four days a week depending on the month. All members travel to Albany for session days – often traveling back and forth between their home districts each week – while the remainder of the year they are typically found in their respective home districts. The session calendar is available on the Senate and Assembly websites.
Speaker of the Assembly
The majority party in the Assembly elects a Leader who has the authority to speak on behalf of the majority party and whose party controls the chamber. On February 3, 2015, Democratic Assembly member Carl Heastie was elected Speaker of the New York State Assembly, replacing long-time Speaker Sheldon Silver.
In order for a bill to be introduced, a member of a house has to be willing to “sponsor” it and carry it in that house. Ideally, a sponsor will be an advocate for and have some expertise on the subject matter that the bill seeks to address and will help sign on additional members as co-sponsors.
Stand-Alone Bill
The majority of bills that pass the Senate, Assembly, or City Counsel are bills that address one issue. These single issues bills are referred to as “stand alone” bills (as opposed to omnibus bills).
Standing Committees
Chairs and staff of each Standing Committee evaluate legislation and determine which bills to "report” to the Calendar. Committees meet as often as every week during session (Finance, Codes) but sometimes meet less frequently. Committee agendas are issued weekly, outlining the bills each committee will take up for a vote the following week. One of three things can happen following Committee consideration: 1) the Committee can vote and may pass the bill and “report” it for full Assembly or Senate consideration, 2) may suggest amendments to the bill, 3) the Committee may vote and reject a bill (referred to as a bill “failing.”)
State Senate
One of the two legislative houses at the state-level. It is considered the “upper house” and is similar to the Senate at the federal level. There are 62 State Senators.
Laws are organized by topic into statutes. Once a bill becomes a law, it is included in a statute. Bill language is language that amends or creates new statutory language.
Before the budget is passed, standing committees in the Senate and Assembly are organized into clusters called “tables.” Tables are the main structure used for negotiations between the two houses on the budget.
Three Men in the Room /

Four Men in the Room

New York State has yet to elect a woman as Governor, Speaker of the Assembly, or Majority Leader of the Senate. Thus, when the most powerful people in state government meet privately to make important decisions about the future of New York, it is referred to as “three men in a room.” For many years, “three men in a room” was the consistent reference until the formation of the Independent Democratic Conference in 2011. At certain points, Senator Jeff Klein, the leader of the IDC participated in budget negotiations making it “four men in a room.” In the 2015 session, with the IDC’s loss of power, it was back to “three men in a room.”
The technical term applied to legislation that is introduced simultaneously in both houses. This requires submitting 8 copies (as opposed to the usual 4) of the bill draft and sponsor’s memorandum signed by both the sponsoring Assembly member and Senator to the Senate Revision Office. This means that if the bill is signed into law, the chapter will be named after both the Assembly member and Senator.
Ways and Means Committee
The Standing Committee in the Assembly through which all legislation with a fiscal impact must pass. This applies to legislation that has the primary purpose of increasing or decreasing spending (original jurisdiction) and legislation that has an indirect fiscal impact (dual reference jurisdiction). For instance, there may be a bill that amends the Education Law and the original jurisdiction of the bill is the Education Committee. However, if the bill has a fiscal impact, it may be dual referenced to Ways and Means. The Ways and Means Committee Senate counterpart is the Senate Finance Committee.
Working Rules
From 2009 – 2011 under the Senate Democratic Majority, there was an unofficial group of Senators trusted by the Leader to manage the moving of bills from the calendar to the floor. Whether or not it is called working rules, there is likely a similar process within the Republican Majority.
Veto Message
When the Governor vetoes a bill, a “veto message” explaining why the bill was vetoed is issued. There may be unofficial reasons for the bill’s veto that are omitted from the veto message. However, the veto message still provides important information about why the bill was vetoed that may inform future advocacy.
Refers to the Executive branch of New York City government including Mayor’s office and executive agencies.
The Speaker compiles an agenda for each Stated Council meeting. The agenda must include all vetoes, messages from the Mayor or other City, county, and borough officials, departments and agencies, other petitions and communications and reports of standing committees. A list of introductions of local laws and resolutions, submitted for consideration to the Council, must also be included.
A sum of money within an appropriation that is set aside for a specific purpose.
The amount of money identified in the budget for expenditure by an agency, generally divided into a number of smaller “units of appropriation.”
Budget Gap
The difference that results when planned spending exceeds planned revenues in a given fiscal year.
Budget Surplus
The difference that results when planned revenues exceed planned spending in a given fiscal year.
Budget Modification
A change in an amount in any portion of the Adopted Expense or Revenue Budget during the fiscal year (see also Modified Budget).
Capital Appropriation
The amount of money allocated to a specific budget line in the Capital Budget.
Capital Commitments
Capital commitments are awarded contracts for capital budget spending, frequently for a multi-year period, that have been registered with the City Comptroller.
City Charter
The New York City Charter establishes the basic form of organization and administration for New York City government. It sets forth the structure of the City government and the manner in which it operates.
Fiscal Year
An accounting period of 12 months, which in New York City begins July 1 and ends the following June 30. By convention, each fiscal year is named for the calendar year in which it ends (e.g., the fiscal year 2006 begins in July 2005 and ends in June 2006).
Legislation pending in the Council is called an introduction.
Local Law
When the Mayor signs an “introduction,” it becomes a Local Law, that is, a law of New York City. Local laws may be enacted over the objection of the Mayor through the veto override process, which requires a 2/3 majority vote from the City Council.
Majority Leader
The Council member chosen by the members of the political party with the greatest number of members in the Council.
Minority Leader
The Council member chosen by the members of the political party with the greatest number of members in the Council after the majority party.
Modified Budget
The Adopted Expense or Revenue Budgets are modified when revenue projections change or expenditures are reallocated during a fiscal year.
New York City Council
The Legislative branch of New York City government. There are 51 councilmembers representing communities in each of the City’s five boroughs.
Used by the Council as a vehicle for legislative action and to express the sentiment of the body on an important policy issue. These issues may or may not fall under City jurisdiction. Resolutions are also used to adopt the annual City budget for both expense and capital spending.
Schedule C
The budget bill in NYC is referred to as Schedule C. It includes appropriations and language allocating those appropriations. Sometimes there are funds allocated in the budget that are not explained and those funds are explained after the budget has been passed by resolution.
The Speaker of the City Council is the presiding officer of the Council and is elected from among its members. After the 2015 elections, the Council elected Melissa Mark-Viverito to be Speaker.
Stated Council Meeting
The New York City Council holds no less than two Stated Meetings month, unless otherwise ordered, except during the months of July and August. The Speaker calls each Stated Council meeting. Stated Council meetings are when the Council acts on any matter requiring a vote, i.e. legislation, resolution, or a land use application.
Unit Of Appropriation
An agency’s operating budget is divided into a number of units of appropriation. These units of appropriation are further divided into personal service (PS) and other than personal service (OTPS) expenditures.

Home Rule

A quasi-constitutional grant of authority for local governments to pass local laws relating to their property, affairs or government, or subjects specifically listed by the State Legislature in the Municipal Home Rule Law provided such local laws are consistent with the constitution and general statutes of New York State. The home rule authority of local governments may be preempted where the State Legislature has indicated an express or implied intention to do so.


A provision designed to ensure that local legislative bodies do not act to alter the power (structural authority) of other elected officials, such as the mayor, without the consent of the electorate.


A doctrine of state law that holds that a state law displaces a local law or regulation that is in the same field and is in conflict or inconsistent with the state law.Preemption occurs when the State Legislature specifically declares its intent to preempt the subject matter, or when the Legislature enacts sufficient legislation and regulation so as to indicate an intent to exclude regulation by any other governmental entity. The courts have termed such indication intent to “occupy the field.”


Once "payments in lieu of expenses," Lulus are "bonuses" or "stipends" state lawmakers get for chairing committees and leadership posts.