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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

 
Forums and Events

Upcoming Events


Reconciliation as a Key to Societal Healing
WAMC's Linda Norris Auditorium, 339 Central Avenue, Albany
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.


Conversation on Global Peace and Reconciliation
Rockefeller Institute, 411 State Street, Albany, NY
Friday, April 21, 2017
1:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Recent Forums and Events

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Potential Impact of Congressional Proposals on the ACA in NYS


Friday, March 24, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

NYS Health Department officials and leading health policy advocates discussed the impacts that Republican proposals being discussed in Congress will have on New York State of Health, the Empire State's health exchange.

Keynoting the program was Paul Francis, deputy secretary for health and human services for the state of New York.

Panelists included:

  • Kate Breslin, president and CEO for the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy;
  • Courtney Burke, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Albany Medical Center and former NYS deputy secretary for health;
  • Jill Furillo, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association;
  • Lev Ginsburg, director of government affairs for the Business Council of New York State;
  • Bea Grause, president of the Healthcare Association of New York State; and
  • Paul Macielak, president and CEO of the New York Health Plan Association; and
  • David McNally, New York Director of Government Relations and Advocacy, AARP.
The event was moderated by Benita Zahn, co-anchor and health reporter for WNYT-TV. Ms. Zahn holds a doctorate of professional studies/bioethics from Albany Medical College/Alden March Bioethics Institute.





What Worked and What Didn’t in Obamacare Insurance Markets? New Research on Five State-Level Marketplaces – Lessons Learned


Thursday, February 9, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

As the new administration and Congress debate repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is intense discussion of how the law actually worked. Obamacare fundamentally changed health care insurance markets, increasing coverage across all demographic groups, altering regulations for the individual health insurance market, and creating state-level electronic marketplaces in which consumers could choose among plans. What worked and what didn’t?

The Center for Health Policy at Brookings presented new research and insights derived from fieldwork conducted by the ACA Network, a joint project of Brookings and the Rockefeller Institute of Government. The research focused on the extent and nature of competition in the ACA marketplaces in five large states. Field researchers discussed successes, failures, and needed improvements in market competition in California, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, and Texas. The presentation was followed by a panel of state-level experts and national leaders in health policy who reacted to the findings and try to answer the question: What comes next?

Agenda

Welcome and Overview — Richard P. Nathan, ACA Network lead, Rockefeller Institute of Government

The Five States Study: Summary Findings — Michael Morrisey, department head and professor, Health Policy & Management, Texas A&M University
PowerPoint

Competition in the Marketplaces: What We Learned in Five States — Thomas Gais, director, Rockefeller Institute of Government, moderator, Mark Hall, nonresident senior fellow, economic studies, Center for Health Policy, Brookings Institution; Michael Morrisey, department head and professor, Health Policy & Management, Texas A&M University; Micah Weinberg, president, Bay Area Council Economic Institute; Patricia Born, Payne H. and Charlotte Hodges Midyette Eminent Scholar in Risk Management & Insurance, Florida State University; and Marianne Udow-Phillips, executive director, Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, University of Michigan

The Future of Health Insurance Competition in the States — Alice M. Rivlin, senior fellow, economic studies, Centers for Health Policy, Brookings institution, moderator Michele Lueck, president and CEO, Colorado Health Institute; Kosali Simon, Herman B Wells Endowed Professor, Indiana University; Cynthia Cox, associate director, Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance, Kaiser Family Foundation; Stuart M. Butler, senior fellow, economic studies, Brookings Institution; and Linda J. Blumberg, senior fellow, Urban Institute

Video

Summary Report
California Report
Florida Report
Michigan Report
North Carolina Report
Texas Report

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Candid Conversation: Federal-State Relations Post the 2016 Elections


Co-Sponsored by the State Academy for Public Administration (SAPA), the NYS Political Science Association, and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
12:15 – 1:30 p.m.

Veteran state government watchers and Rockefeller Institute alumni Frank Mauro and Robert Ward led a lively exchange on the outlook for federalism and intergovernmental relations in America under the incoming presidential administration.

  • What have been the cumulative effects of the Bush-Obama years for the states?
  • What has the new president signaled for policies affecting the states in general and New York State in particular?
There was a sharing of insights on what needed to be changed in federal-state relations based on the attendees’ working experience, in hopes of building a bottom-up composite picture of the impact of federal-state relations on New York State agencies and how those relations can be improved from a state perspective.

The moderator, Stephen Schechter, is a professor at Russell Sage College and vice president of the Center for the Study of Federalism. Frank Mauro is a public service professor at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, and former executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute and former deputy director of the Rockefeller Institute of Government. Robert B. Ward is the author of the widely acclaimed book, New York State Government, now in its second edition, published by the Rockefeller Institute Press. He is a former member of the State Academy of Public Administration's Board of Directors.

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The Symbolic Politics of Border Control and Prospects for Changing Immigration Policies: Looking Toward the 115th Congress and a Trump Presidency


Thursday, November 17, 2016
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Rey Koslowski, associate professor in the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, gave a presentation analyzing the politics of border security and immigration that considered the future of immigration policy under the Trump administration. According to Professor Koslowski, if Democrats and Republicans can agree that 11 million unauthorized immigrants are proof of a broken immigration system, why does Congress repeatedly fail to pass comprehensive immigration reform that might stand a chance of reducing unauthorized migration? One reason is that too many legislators are motivated by the symbolic politics of building fences and hiring more Border Patrol Agents to stop people from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry. While Senate Republicans joined Democrats to forge a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013, it took throwing $44 billion at border fencing and more Border Patrol Agents to secure enough votes to pass the bill with a filibuster-proof majority.

Donald Trump took the symbolic politics of border control to a new level by launching his candidacy with a promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and get Mexico to pay for it. Now President-elect Trump will be expected to deliver the change he promised. It is unlikely that Mexico will pay the $8 to $12 billion Trump estimated that the wall would cost. If not, would Congress? Many such items in President-elect Trump's immigration plan would require legislation passed with a filibuster-proof Senate majority that requires Democratic votes. Even if the Trump administration manages to build the wall, in and of itself, a border wall will not significantly reduce unauthorized immigration. Moreover, each additional dollar spent at the border is a dollar that may have been spent elsewhere to a much greater effect in further reducing unauthorized migration, for example, on worksite inspections to enforce employer sanctions against hiring unauthorized migrant workers.

This presentation examined the opportunity costs of U.S. border control practices for reducing unauthorized immigration by considering the complementarity and comparative effectiveness of interdiction between ports of entry, inspections at ports of entry, and worksite enforcement. The presentation then considered how President-elect Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress will follow through with Trump's proposed immigration policies.

Professor Koslowski has published extensively on international migration politics and policy, notably as author of Migrants and Citizens: Demographic Change in the European States System (Cornell University Press, 2000); editor of Global Mobility Regimes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); editor of International Migration and the Globalization of Domestic Politics (Routledge, 2005) and co-editor (with David Kyle) of Global Human Smuggling: Comparative Perspectives (John Hopkins University Press, 2001). Prior to arriving at the University at Albany, Professor Koslowski taught at Rutgers University. He has held fellowships of the Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Center of International Studies at Princeton University, and the Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University.

Video and Audio:
Audio
Video

Rey Koslowski's PowerPoint Presentation

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2nd Annual Research and Practice in Progress Briefing on Local Government in New York: A Forum for Local Government Researchers, Practitioners and Policy Makers


Wednesday, November 16, 2016
10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Local governments provide most of the public services New Yorkers depend on. Yet many of the state's local governments have been hard-pressed in recent years by weak economic growth, deteriorating roads and bridges, rising health care and pension costs, natural disasters, and growing demands for educational improvement. To better understand how we can improve the capacities of local governments to meet these challenges, the Rockefeller Institute invited an excellent group of researchers and practitioners to assess the challenges and opportunities facing local governments in New York.

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.: Welcome & Review of Agenda

10:50 - 11:50 a.m.: Regional Case of Local Government Innovation and Change in New York

Video: Panel I
Audio: Panel I

11:50 - 12:40 p.m.: Lunch

12:40 - 2:10 p.m.: Understanding Municipal Fiscal Stress

Video: Panel II
Audio: Panel II

2:10 - 3:20 p.m.: Break

2:20 - 3:20 p.m.: State Aid Flows to Localities and Local Natural Disaster Impacts in New York

Video: Panel III
Audio: Panel III

3:20 - 3:30 p.m.: Break

3:30 - 4:30 p.m.: Shared Services and Organizational Intervention

Video: Panel IV
Audio: Panel IV

Catherine Lawrence’s Handouts:
Research and Practice in Local Child Welfare Agencies
Workforce Development Framework Graphic
Integrated Model of Change for NCWWI
Why the Workforce Matters?

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Gambling’s Impact on State Revenues


Co-Hosted by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of the State University of New York (SUNY) and The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference
November 16, 2016
12:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

This forum was centered around the Rockefeller Institute's recent Blinken Report, a study entitled State Revenues From Gambling: Short-Term Relief, Long-Term Disappointment, authored by Lucy Dadayan, senior researcher at the Rockefeller Institute. The report looks into the tax revenue trends from various forms of gambling activities in the wake of the Great Recession. The study is timely, particularly when more and more states are turning to gambling in the hopes of raising revenues to finance essential government services such as education, public health, public safety, and environmental protection, among others. The major findings of the report indicate that states do generate some revenues in the short run due to gambling expansion. However, the growth in revenues from gambling is not sustainable in the long run due to stiff competition, market saturation, and cannibalization effects. The report warns state officials to carefully weigh the pros and cons associated with gambling before rushing into opening new casinos, launching a new lottery, turning to daily fantasy sports, or any other novice form of gambling activity. Moreover, state officials should carefully consider the social and economic costs related to gambling, which are often hard to measure.

The forum commenced with a presentation by Lucy Dadayan, who discussed the major findings from the report. This was followed by two panels targeted towards understanding the short-term and long-term implications of gambling expansion on state budgets.

Panelists included:

  • Jackson Brainerd, policy associate, National Conference of State Legislatures;
  • Norton Francis, senior research associate, Urban Institute;
  • John Hicks, executive director, National Association of State Budget Officers;
  • Alan Mallach, senior fellow, Center for Community Progress;
  • Ranjana Madhusudhan, deputy director of revenue and economic analysis, Office of the Chief Economist, New Jersey Department of Treasury;
  • Mark Ostrowski, administrator, Illinois Gaming Board; and
  • Michael Sweeney, executive director, Massachusetts Lottery.
Video and Audio:
Audio - Panel 1
Audio - Panel 2
Video Playlist

Lucy Dadayan’s PowerPoint Presentation
John Hicks’ PowerPoint Presentation
Jackson Brainerd’s PowerPoint Presentation
Alan Mallach’s PowerPoint Presentation
Ranjana Madhusudhan’s PowerPoint Presentation
Michael Sweeney’s PowerPoint Presentation

Handout
Agenda & Biographies





Facing the Storm: El Nino, the Polar Vortex and the Prospects for the Winter of 2016/17


Co-Sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the University at Albany's Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences
Thursday, November 10, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This third annual program provided more information on the state of the climate in New York State and the Northeast, including how our weather is changing in association with climate change. This year, we also included talks that dealt with the issue of natural variability. The winter of 2015-16 was particularly warm and, while some of this warmth may be consistent with climate change, it is known that there was a strong contribution from the El Nino phenomenon — something that naturally occurs irrespective of climate change. The warmth last winter was also influenced by another naturally occurring atmospheric phenomenon, the "polar vortex." This conference included presentations on both of these natural phenomena.

In addition to looking at the year ahead, we also provided information about the challenges associated with extreme weather resiliency in New York State, as well as the latest information and innovations in the area of weather and flood prediction.

Panelists participating in the program included:

  • Everette Joseph, director, University at Albany's Atmospheric Sciences Research Center;
  • Andrea Lang, assistant professor, University at Albany's Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences;
  • Raymond O'Keefe, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Albany Office;
  • Paul Roundy, associate professor, University at Albany's Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences;
  • Christopher Thorncroft, chair, University at Albany's Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences; and
  • David Vallee, hydrologist-in-charge, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northeast River Forecast Center
The program was moderated by Paul Caiano, meteorologist, WNYT-TV (Albany).

The organizers would like to acknowledge the University at Albany's College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity; the University at Albany's Office of the Vice President; and the New York State Emergency Management Association for Research for their partnership.

Video and Audio:
Audio - Panel 1
Audio - Panel 2
Video Playlist

Christopher Thorncroft’s Presentation
Paul Roundy’s Presentation
Andrea Lang’s Presentation
Everette Joseph’s Presentation
Raymond O’Keefe’s Presentation
David Vallee's Presentation (PPT file;PDF file-no videos)

Handout
Agenda & Biographies

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Book Talk: Beirut on the Bayou: Alfred Nicola, Louisiana, and the Making of Modern Lebanon


Co-Sponsored by SUNY Press and The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Raif Shwayri, author of Beirut on the Bayou: Alfred Nicola, Louisiana, and the Making of Modern Lebanon, discussed his book and his life with James Ketterer, director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program and dean of international studies at Bard College.

Raif Shwayri is a graduate of King's College London and the University of Wales; a recipient of the John W. Ryan Fellowship for International Education, awarded by the State University of New York; a former CEO of the Al-Kafaàt Foundation;and a trustee of Al-Kafaàt University in Lebanon.

Beirut on the Bayou intertwines a family narrative with the story of a people, of Lebanon in the making. From the Fertile Crescent that was Syria to the Crescent City that is New Orleans, the saga of the Shwayri family reflects the experiences of those Lebanese who walked the path of immigration to the United States, as well as those who stayed behind — or returned — to help forge a nation.

Raif Shwayri begins his family's story with his grandfather's arrival at Ellis Island in 1902. Having left Beirut only weeks before, Habib Shwayri was given the name Alfred Nicola at Ellis Island, and set off immediately for New Orleans in search of family members who had arrived several years earlier. There he began peddling down the Bayou Lafourche, making friends along the way. He continued to peddle for the next 18 years in the harshest conditions, sending money home to family, keeping them alive. When he returned to Lebanon in 1920, he invested the money he had made in real estate and died a wealthy man in 1956. Raif's father, Nadim Shwayri, used his inheritance to fund the establishment of the Al-Kafaàt Foundation, an iconic and unique institution that serves the disabled and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in Lebanon.

Raif never had the privilege of meeting his grandfather, but in writing Beirut on the Bayou he set out on a quest to learn more about the man who had such an incredible impact on Lebanese history. His fascinating book tells not only the story of Nicola, but also the history of a people and the making of modern Lebanon.

The Rockefeller Institute thanks the New York State Writers Institute, the International Center of the Capital Region, and the New York State Office for New Americans for their support of this program.

Video and Audio:
Audio
Video

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Constitutional Convention Referendum 2017 and Home Rule within the Empire State


Co-Sponsored by Columbia Law School, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY, New York County Lawyers' Association, the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, the League of Women Voters of New York State, New York Law School, and the Siena Research Institute
Thursday, October 20, 2016
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Since the end of the 19th century, “home rule” — the authority of local governments to exercise self-government — has been a matter of constitutional principle in New York. In 1963, Article IX of the state constitution, the so-called “home rule” article, was amended to provide the constitutional foundation for local self-government. However, the amount of local autonomy it provides in practice is debatable, as the state government continues to play a major — and often controversial — role in local matters. The continuing challenge is how to balance the needs of local governments, while also assuring that the state can address problems that transcend local boundaries.

On November 7, 2017, New York voters will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to amend the state constitution, a question included on New York ballots every 20 years. One significant factor in deciding that issue is the constitution’s treatment of local governments and state-local relations, often captured by the idea of home rule. This program was designed to acquaint attendees with issues relating to home rule and state-local relations in New York and the implications for a possible constitutional convention.

Panelists included:

  • Gerald Benjamin, associate vice president for regional engagement and director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz;
  • Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School;
  • Richard Brodsky, senior fellow at Demos and NYU Wagner;
  • Michael A. Cardozo, partner in the Litigation Department at Proskauer Rose LLP and the former corporation counsel for the City of New York;
  • Henry M. Greenberg (moderator), shareholder at Greenberg Traurig LLP's Albany office and a former counsel to Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo; and
  • Roberta Kaplan, partner in the Paul, Weiss Litigation Department.
Video and Audio:
Audio
Video

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Enhancing Governance Through Research: The Role of Research and Analysis in Storm Recovery and Resiliency Planning


Co-Sponsored by The Governor's Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
9:00 – 11:30 a.m.

This program explored the advantages of establishing partnerships between academic institutions and government agencies in improving the effectiveness of government action and documenting the lessons learned. Speakers provided insight into the use of academic-public partnership experiences that can be utilized within other government agencies.

The keynote remarks by Lisa Bova-Hiatt, executive director of the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, outlined GOSR's mandate and its progress in recovery after Superstorm Sandy. She also detailed some best practices developed by GOSR and the role of the Rockefeller Institute’s data analysis in the development of these best practices.

Ms. Bova-Hiatt's remarks were followed by a panel discussions led by Dr. Swati Desai, senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute, and Dr. Simon McDonnell, director of research and strategic analysis at GOSR, with experts including:

  • Thomas Birkland, William T. Kretzer Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Public Administration, and associate dean for research and engagement at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, North Carolina State University;
  • Jane Brogan, director of policy at GOSR;
  • Holly Leicht, regional U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development representative for New York and New Jersey;
  • Rachel Meltzer, assistant professor of urban policy analysis and management at The New School; and
  • Gavin Smith, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence.
The partnership between the GOSR and the Rockefeller Institute began in May 2014, approximately one year after GOSR was established, and 18 months after Superstorm Sandy hit New York State. The goal of the partnership was to provide assistance to GOSR with research and technical analyses, develop operational analyses, and document GOSR's successful practices and the challenges that it faced along the way, all while providing periodical reporting to the federal government.

Lisa Bova-Hiatt’s Presentation

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Supporting Our Schools: A Forum on Foundation Aid


Co-Sponsored by Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY and New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO)
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

In its 2016 budget, New York State ended the cuts and freezes in funding for public schools that have occurred since the economic downturn that began in 2008. This changed the school finance conversation from one focused on restoring cuts to one focused on providing an education system where all students have the opportunity to be successful.

The state's support of education is currently realized by the $21 billion Foundation Aid formula, enacted in 2007 but never fully phased in. The formula currently lacks $3.8 billion for full funding. The goal of this symposium was to discuss and gain support for good ideas related to the state's rollout of Foundation Aid that will provide the resources schools need to offer a meaningful education to all students. This thoughtful discussion will provide direction and focus to the state's future efforts to support its schools.

This NYSASBO-Rockefeller Institute of Government School Finance Symposium explored the opportunities, challenges, and solutions for providing basic support to New York's public schools. It examined in depth New York's Foundation Aid formula — its goals, its major components, what it was intended to accomplish, what it should accomplish, and how to realize the maximum potential of a state school funding system that provides the opportunity for all of the state's children to receive a meaningful high school education.

Panelists provided an overview of Foundation Aid and discussed in detail its strengths and weaknesses. Topics included determining the cost of providing a sound basic education, appropriate weightings for students that need extra time and help, equalizing aid for the ability to raise revenues locally, accountability, regional cost differences, local share, and phasing in the formula. The panel also presented recommendations for the 2017 legislative session from a NYSASBO Task Force on Foundation Aid.

Panelists included:

  • Susan Arbetter, Albany correspondent and host of the Capitol Pressroom (Moderator)
  • James R. Tallon, Jr., Regent and chair of the Regents Subcommittee on State Aid
  • Michael Griffith, school finance strategist, Education Commission of the States
  • Suzanne Slack, chief financial officer, Syracuse City School District and member of NYSASBO Task Force on Foundation Aid
  • Deborah Cunningham, director of education and research, NYSASBO
  • John Yinger, trustee professor of public administration and economics at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Video
Supporting Our Schools

Deborah Cunningham’s and Suzanne Slack’s PowerPoint Presentation
Michael Griffith’s PowerPoint Presentation
John Yinger’s PowerPoint Presentation

Handout
Supporting Our Schools: A Study of New York State Foundation Aid and Recommendations for Legislative Action for School Year 2017-18

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A New York Constitutional Convention: How Our State Constitution Impacts the Practice of Law and the Lives of New Yorkers


Co-Sponsored by Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY and the New York State Bar Association
Monday, September 26, 2016
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The New York State Constitution mandates that every 20 years New Yorkers are asked the following question: “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?” The next such mandatory referendum will be held on November 7, 2017. This program focused on the potential impact a Constitutional Convention may have on the legal profession and the public at large.

Program Speakers:

  • Gerald Benjamin is the associate vice president for regional engagement and director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz. He previously served as chair of the Department of Political Science and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the college. Professor Benjamin is also former director of New York State and Local Studies at the Rockefeller Institute of Government. From 1993-95, he served as research director for the NYS Constitution Revision Commission; was co-editor with Hank Dullea of the Commission's papers, published as Decision '97 by the Rockefeller Institute (1997); and is co-editor (with Peter Galie and Christopher Bopst) of the forthcoming volume New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness (SUNY Press, 2016).
  • Christopher Bopst is chief legal and financial officer of Sam-Son Logistics, Inc. in Buffalo; co-author (with Peter Galie) of The New York State Constitution, 2d ed. (Oxford University Press, 2012); and, as earlier stated, is contributor and co-author of New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness. Mr. Bopst has, additionally, co-authored (with Peter Galie) five articles that have been published in the Albany Law Review about the New York Constitution or New York constitutional history and has been involved in efforts to educate high school students statewide about the New York State Constitution.
  • Richard Brodsky is a senior fellow at Demos and NYU Wagner. He previously served 14 terms in the New York State Assembly, where he chaired the Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions. During his tenure as a member of the Legislature, Assemblyman Brodsky was active in numerous constitutional reform issues and authored an amendment to the New York State Constitution.
  • Henrik (Hank) Dullea retired from Cornell University in 2005 as senior consultant to the president and was elected vice president for university relations emeritus by the Board of Trustees in May 2006. Dr. Dullea has served in a wide variety of governmental and higher education positions in New York State. Most recently, he served from 1983 to 1991 as director of state operations and policy management for Governor Mario M. Cuomo, responsible for directing the day-to-day activities of New York State’s more than sixty-five departments and agencies. Other state government positions held by Dr. Dullea have included service as assistant secretary to the governor for education and the arts in the administration of Governor Hugh L. Carey and as a legislative budget analyst for the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
  • Peter Galie is professor emeritus of political science at Canisius College in Buffalo. He is the recipient of a John R. Oishei Foundation Three Year Teaching Professorship, “Rewriting the New York State Constitution,” (1999-2002); authored Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York (Fordham University Press, 1996); and co-authored the previously mentioned The New York Constitution, 2nd ed. and the upcoming New York’s Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness.
  • Henry M. Greenberg is a shareholder with the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and currently serves as chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on the New York State Constitution. Among the public sector posts he has held, Greenberg served as counsel to the New York State attorney general; general counsel for the New York State Department of Health; assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York; and law clerk to then-Judge (later Chief Judge) Judith S. Kaye of the New York State Court of Appeals.
Gerald Benjamin's PowerPoint presentation
Chistopher Bopst's PowerPoint presentation
Henrik Dullea's PowerPoint presentation
Peter Galie's PowerPoint presentation

Video and Audio:
Audio
Video

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Constitutional Convention 2017: The Judiciary and Justice


Co-Sponsored by Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY, New York County Lawyers' Association, the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, the League of Women Voters of New York State, New York Law School, and the Siena Research Institute
Thursday, September 22, 2016
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

On November 7, 2017, voters who go into voting booths throughout New York State will consider this question, as automatically required by the constitution every 20 years: "Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?" Among the potential topics of interest to be discussed in any convention are the judiciary and criminal justice. This program considered the following: 1) why the judiciary has been a significant focus of almost every convention since the mid-1800s; 2) significant reforms that were adopted in 1962 and 1977 that established the current system under which we operate; 3) the work on the judiciary that many feel needs to be done, as echoed by the sentiments of many chief judges since Charles Breitel; and 4) an overview of the issues that are raised with the judiciary.

Keynoting this program was former New York Court of Appeals Judge Albert Rosenblatt, a seven year veteran of New York's Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Prior to this service, Judge Rosenblatt was chief administrative judge of the state of New York from 1987 to 1989, a justice of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division from 1989 to 1998 and a justice of the New York State Supreme Court from 1981 to 1987. As New York State's chief administrative judge from 1987 to 1989, Judge Rosenblatt had responsibility for the day-to-day administrative management of New York State's Court System. He also served as Dutchess County Court judge from 1975 to 1981 after two terms as Dutchess County district attorney from 1969 to 1975. He currently serves as of counsel for McCabe & Mack LLP, a law firm headquartered in Poughkeepsie.

Additional panelists included:

  • Gerald Benjamin is the associate vice president for regional engagement and director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz. He previously served as chair of the Department of Political Science and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the college. Professor Benjamin is also former director of New York State and Local Studies at the Rockefeller Institute of Government. From 1993-95, he served as research director for the NYS Constitution Revision Commission; was co-editor with Hank Dullea of the Commission's papers, published as Decision '97 by the Rockefeller Institute (1997); and is co-editor (with Peter Galie and Christopher Bopst) of the forthcoming volume New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness (SUNY Press, 2016).
  • Christopher Bopst is chief legal and financial officer of Sam-Son Logistics, Inc. in Buffalo; co-author (with Peter Galie) of The New York State Constitution, 2d ed. (Oxford University Press, 2012); and, as earlier stated, is contributor and co-author of New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness. Mr. Bopst has, additionally, co-authored (with Peter Galie) five articles that have been published in the Albany Law Review about the New York Constitution or New York constitutional history and has been involved in efforts to educate high school students statewide about the New York State Constitution.
  • Richard Brodsky is a senior fellow at Demos and NYU Wagner. He previously served 14 terms in the New York State Assembly, where he chaired the Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions. During his tenure as a member of the Legislature, Assemblyman Brodsky was active in numerous constitutional reform issues and authored an amendment to the New York State Constitution.
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New York State Affordable Care Act Presentation


Monday, June 6, 2016
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New York State, including New York’s Basic Health Plan, was be the subject of a presentation of a recently completed report on the New York experience from researcher Sarah F. Liebschutz, a distinguished service professor emerita of the State University of New York (SUNY) and former chair of the political science department at SUNY Brockport.

Video: Alice Rivlin & Richard P. Nathan

Video: Keynote Address

In addition to the presentation by Professor Liebschutz, there were three panel discussions:

Discussion of NYS Experience:
  • Thomas Gais, moderator, director, Rockefeller Institute of Government
  • Donna Frescatore, executive director, NY State of Health, Department of Health
  • Judith Arnold, director of Medicaid Eligibility and Marketplace Integration, Department of Health
  • Alice Rivlin, senior fellow, Center for Health Policy, Brookings Institute, and project co-director, ACA Implementation Research Network, Rockefeller Institute of Government
  • Richard Nathan, senior fellow and project co-director, ACA Implementation Research Network, Rockefeller Institute of Government
            Video: Panel 1

New York’s Basic Health Program:
  • Richard P. Nathan, moderator
  • Danielle Holahan, deputy executive director, NY State of Health, Department of Health
  • Jennifer Tolbert, director of State Health Reform, Kaiser Family Foundation
            Video: Panel 2

Exchange Enrollment Hurdles: Rural and Urban Navigational Assistance at Local Levels:
  • Elisabeth Ryden Benjamin, moderator, vice president for Health Initiatives, Community Social Service Society New York
  • Lona Cook, navigator, S2AY Rural Health Network
  • Rehan Mehmood, director of Health Services, South Asian Council for Social Services
            Video: Panel 3

Agenda & Biographies of Presenters

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Practical Experience with Election Modernization: A Discussion with Colorado Election Administrators Donetta Davidson and Matt Crane


Co-Sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the New York Voters Coalition
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

New York State county and state election officials recently had the opportunity to hear from Colorado State election officials on policy changes they have implemented that have resulted in a dramatic increase in electoral participation.

Panelists included:

  • Donetta Davidson, former Colorado secretary of state and former chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
  • Matt Crane, clerk and recorder of Arapahoe County, Colorado
  • Dustin Czarny, Onondaga County Democratic County Elections commissioner
  • Peter Kosinski, Esq., commissioner, New York State Board of Elections
  • Todd Valentine, co-executive director, New York State Board of Elections and president, National Association of State Election Directors
Moderated by John R. Dunne, Esq., former New York State senator and co-chair of the New York State Bar Association Special Committee on Voter Participation

Matt Crane’s PowerPoint Presentation

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The Impact of Blight on Communities: Definitions, Effects, and Programs


Co-Sponsored by TW&A Construction Management, the University at Albany's Division of Research, and Cisco
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
10:00 a.m. – Noon

Cities throughout the United States are facing the increasingly persistent and costly problem of blighted and vacant properties. These properties consume seemingly endless resources, depress market values, and directly affect public safety and economic development. To combat the cycle from distressed to blighted or vacant, urban leaders across the nation are working in new ways to create 21st century remedies.

To promote understanding of the problem of urban blight and increase awareness of some remedies that are already working, and some that are emerging, the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany, the Center for Urban Studies at the University at Buffalo, and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, all part of the State University of New York, co-hosted this forum. The issue of urban blight was discussed and defined within the context of New York State and the issues of economic and social impact on cities and municipalities were considered. The keynote speaker and expert panelists discussed the financial cost to cities and municipalities, as well as deterioration, decay, and neglect of the physical environment, with a particular focus on exploring the challenges involved in solving these problems. This program was part one of a two-program series designed to consider the issue of urban blight and property abandonment. The second program will be scheduled at the University at Buffalo at a date to be determined.

Keynoting the program was Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress, a national center that exists to help meet the growing need in America's cities and towns for effective, sustainable solutions to turn vacant, abandoned, and problem properties into vibrant places. Mr. Mallach is nationally known for his work on housing, economic development, and urban revitalization, and has worked with local governments and community organizations across the country to develop creative policies and strategies to rebuild their cities and neighborhoods.

Additional panelists included:

  • George Galster, Ph.D., distinguished professor, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • Gary McCarthy, mayor, City of Schenectady
  • Henry Louis Taylor, Ph.D., professor and founding director, Center for Urban Studies, University at Buffalo
  • Susan VanDeventer, analyst, NYS Office of the State Comptroller
  • Nora Yates, director, Community, Opportunity, Reinvestment (CORe) Initiative, New York State Governor's Office
Panel moderator: Theresa A. Pardo, Ph.D., director, Center for Technology in Government.

Alan Mallach’s PowerPoint Presentation

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New York State and the Importance of Immigration


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Our state has long stood for the promise of opportunity. Many of us are here only because our parents and their ancestors were inspired by this promise. They came here alone and unable to speak the language, but with the belief that through hard work, they too would share in the American Dream. This nation and our government welcomed these newcomers. And, in return, they helped us become the richest, most powerful nation in the world. This is not new to New York State. We are a land of immigrants and a State of Opportunity. Today, more than one in four people of working age in New York State's workforce are immigrants and about 31.2 percent of all New York State businesses are immigrant-owned. The rest of the nation is recognizing this success. Places like Dayton, Cleveland, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Lansing are trying to restart economic growth by luring enterprising immigrants to their cities.

This forum addressed the importance of immigration within New York State and discussed the state's efforts to assist New Americans.

Keynoting the presentation was Jorge Montalvo, deputy secretary for economic opportunity for New York State. In this role, Montalvo is responsible for many of the state's antipoverty programs, the State Division of Consumer Protection, and the Cemeteries Division. Montalvo created and oversees the New York State Office for New Americans and also developed the state's Opportunity Agenda to ensure those living in poverty were included in the state's economic revitalization. Deputy Secretary Montalvo discussed the role the state has, and can continue to play, in immigration integration.

Panelists participating to discuss efforts to integrate immigrants into the life of the Capital Region included:

  • Sarah Rogerson, director of the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School
  • Fabrizia Rodriguez, director of community mobilization for Centro Civico of Amsterdam
  • Anne Erickson, executive director of the Empire Justice Center
  • Diane Conroy-LaCivita, executive director for the International Center of the Capital Region
  • Lisa Frisch, executive director of the Legal Project: Capital District Women's Bar Association
  • Nicole Comstock, staff attorney for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Albany
The event was moderated by Times Union editor, Rex Smith.

This program is part of Albany Pro Musica's City of Immigrants, sponsored by Bank of America. This special concert and event series explored the cultural heritage of our Capital Region.

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Can a NYS Constitutional Convention Strengthen Government Ethics?


Co-Sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY, the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, the League of Women Voters of NYS, and the Siena Research Institute. Additional Sponsor: The NYS Bar Association.
Friday, March 25, 2016
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

With so much talk about the erosion of integrity in government, can the problems with elected officials that so frequently dominate our headlines be fixed statutorily or are they more appropriately addressed through constitutional change? As November 2017 and a statewide referendum on whether or not to call a constitutional convention nears, this and other questions will be increasingly on the minds of the voters. This forum addressed these important issues.

Introductory remarks were made by former NYS Comptroller H. Carl McCall. Mr. McCall served as a former three-term New York State senator, ambassador to the United Nations, commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and as commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights. He is currently the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY).

The keynote address was by Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain professor of legislation at Columbia Law School, former assistant counsel to Governor Hugh Carey and a member of, or consultant to, several NYC and NYS commissions dealing with state and local governance.

Panelists included:

  • Barbara Bartoletti, legislative director of the New York State League of Women Voters;
  • Richard Brodsky, senior fellow at Demos and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU, and a former 14-term member of the NYS Assembly;
  • John Dunne, attorney with Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, former NYS senator, and former U.S. assistant attorney general;
  • Blair Horner, executive director of the NY Public Interest Research Group;
  • Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program;
  • Richard Rifkin, special counsel to the New York State Bar Association, former counsel to Governors David Paterson and Eliot Spitzer, and former executive director of the New York State Ethics Commission; and
  • Karl Sleight, attorney with Harris Beach PLLC, and former executive director of the New York State Ethics Commission.
The event was moderated by Henry M. Greenberg, attorney with Greenberg Traurig LLP, former assistant U.S. attorney, former counsel to the attorney general, and chair of the NYS Bar Association's Constitution Committee.

Video and Audio:
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Audio:
Introduction and Keynote Address
Panel 1 – Should Ethics Reform Be in the NYS Constitution
Panel 2 – The Issues
Panel 3 – Summary Discussion

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Facing the Global Immigration and Refugee Crisis


Thursday, March 17, 2016
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

In recent years, devastating natural disasters and the lack of durable political solutions in several conflict areas have created protracted crises and unprecedented displacement levels. Nearly 60 million people, half of them children, have had to flee their homes due to conflict and violence. In this forum, U.N. officials, those responsible for responding to the refugee crisis here in the United States, and those living through it will discuss the human costs of this historic human crisis.

Keynoting the presentation was Maher Nasser, director of the Outreach Division for the United Nations' Department of Public Information (DPI). Mr. Nasser has more than 28 years of work experience in the United Nations during which he has worked in various capacities in Gaza, Jerusalem, Amman, Cairo, Vienna, and New York. Mr. Nasser became director of DPI's Outreach Division in February 2011. Mr. Nasser first joined DPI in January 2006 as director of the UN Information Centre in Cairo.

Panelists participating included:

  • Jill Peckenpaugh, director, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Albany Field Office
  • Sana Mustafa, Bard College student and Syrian refugee
This program is part of Albany Pro Musica's City of Immigrants, sponsored by Bank of America. This special concert and event series explored the cultural heritage of our Capital Region.

Jill Peckenpaugh’s PowerPoint Presentation

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