Sessions begin Tuesday and will run through Feb. 13 in Albany

ALBANY — A series of hearings is scheduled for lawmakers and various state agencies, department heads and witnesses to weigh in on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed executive budget for 2018-19.

The hearings begin Tuesday morning in a Legislative Office Building hearing room in Albany. Each will focus on a particular program area to provide the appropriate legislative committees with public input on the proposed $168.2 billion spending plan that Cuomo unveiled Tuesday at the New York State Musuem.

The hearings will be broadcast live on the Senate and Assembly websites. The Legislative Channel will also carry the proceeding, which will be pre-empted when the houses are in session and resume when legislative deliberations conclude.

The Legislative Channel is available on cable systems throughout the state. In the Rochester region, the hearings may be viewed on Spectrum Rochester or Spectrum Penn Yan channels 83 and 229.

Each day will begin with testimony from the respective state agency or department head, followed by witnesses who have requested to testify on that particular area of the budget. Those who have signed up to testify must limit comments to no more than 10 minutes.

People who wish to testify must contact the appropriate person on the schedule no later than the close of business two business days before the respective hearing. Contacts are Clinton Freeman at 518-455-5462 and Joe Sorbero 518-455-3573.

Freeman is fielding calls for the hearings on higher education, housing, transportation, elementary and secondary education, local government officials and general government, human services, and taxes. Calls for hearings on workforce development, economic development, public protection, environmental conservation, health and Medicaid, and mental hygiene should be directed to Sorbero.

New this year, witnesses scheduled to testify in person must email a copy of their prepared testimony at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing to both schnali@nysenate.gov and wamchair@nyassembly.gov. In addition, 50 copies of the testimony must be provided on the day of the hearing.

Witnesses are encouraged to summarize key points and submit the rest of their testimony in writing only.

The joint legislative hearing schedule was announced this week by Senate Finance Committee Chair Catharine Young and Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene Weinstein.

They note time constraints related to provisions of the state Constitution concerning the approval of the state budget by April 1 limit the number of witnesses that can be accommodated at each hearing, but point out any party can provide written testimony to either of the above email addresses up until seven days after the date of the hearing.

2018 Joint Legislative Hearing schedule

Jan. 23 — Higher education and housing, 9:30 a.m.

Jan. 24 — Workforce development, 2:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 — Transportation, 9:30 a.m.

Jan. 29 — Economic development, 10:30 a.m.

Jan. 30 — Public protection, 9:30 a.m.

Jan. 31 — Elementary and secondary education, 9:30 a.m.

Feb. 5 — Local government officials/general government, 10 a.m.

Feb. 6 — Human services, 10 a.m.

Feb. 7 — Environmental conservation, 9:30 a.m.

Feb. 8 — Taxes, 9:30 a.m.

Feb. 12 — Health/Medicaid, 10 a.m.

Feb. 13 — Mental hygiene, 9:30 a.m.