Information Technology & Telecommunications Committee Update

Staff Contact: Johnny Evers
December 21, 2017

Information Technology & Telecommunications Forum a Success

On December 14 The Business Council’s Information Technology & Telecommunications Committee held its second forum at the Renaissance Hotel in Albany. The event was sponsored by AT & T with a reception afterwards sponsored by the Internet Association of New York State. The forum drew over 80 participants to discuss cyber security, telecommunications issues, various legislative proposals, and hear from industry panels on next steps in e-commerce, tax policy and impacts of federal issues such as net neutrality. Three different panels presented information with the final panel of the day comprised of policy makers from the State Assembly, Senate and Office of the Attorney General. Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, Senator George Amedore, Assistant Attorney General Noah Stein, and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Attorney General’s Office Kate Powers all discussed various issues that will be a part of the 2018 Legislative Session. Of key concern are proposals to deal with cyber security and data breach. Other key issues of importance for the technology industry discussed included workforce development, technology procurement reform, and e-commerce issues including taxation. This press release summarizes the day.

iCenter Bill Signed by Governor

Governor Cuomo has approved legislation - S.1121-A Funke / A.1713-A Hevesi - to establish a state information technology innovation center, or iCenter, to pilot technology products.  The bill received approval upon agreement with the legislature for chapter amendments to address technical issues. The establishment of an iCenter will enable New York to draw the most advanced, innovative, and cutting edge technologies and products to a center that, in turn, will allow public information technology professionals to better understand the vastly expanding and ever-changing world of computers, software and technological advancements.  Allowing state agencies to test out new products before purchasing them will both save the state money and allow vendors the opportunity to showcase their wares. The legislation stipulates that vendor participation in the iCenter would not be construed as creating preferred status for vendors or sidestepping the competitive process. One model for the New York iCenter was North Carolina. That state created a similar innovation center that opened its doors in October 2013; by October 2014, more than $6 million worth of technology has been tested at the iCenter, which led to savings of approximately $7 million in renegotiated IT contracts and $1.4 million/year in storage costs. North Carolina is currently leading a National Innovation Community, a coalition of 25 states dedicated to bringing innovative practices to government technology.

New York State Innovation Voucher Program Vetoed

On December 18 the Governor vetoed legislation (S.817-A Funke / A.1260-A Buchwald) that would have established the New York State Innovation Voucher Program. Under this bill, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) would have provided funding to facilitate small businesses “access to research and development by the state’s colleges and universities, government laboratories and public research institutes.”  Businesses participating in the program would receive Innovation Vouchers, which would provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds in the amounts between $10,000 and $50,000. The Business Council supported the bill, as had numerous colleges, trade associations, and chamber of commerce, as a way to link businesses in need of technical support with universities and colleges. The Governor cited a lack of specific funding as the reason for his veto. 

Bill to be Introduced in Assembly on Net Neutrality

In response to the repeal of a federal "net neutrality" rule, legislation is being drafted by Assemblywoman Pat Fahy (D-Albany) that would establish net neutrality provision in state law. The bill proposes a new §231 of the Public Service Law, “Internet service neutrality,” under which the Public Service Commission would regulate the operations of ISPs in regard to operations and content. It also amends the state finance law to mandate that all contracts for internet service connection by public entities comply with internet service requirements established under the new law. The bill purports to use federally-mandated reporting requirements to ascertain if ISPs are not adhering to the state’s law on net neutrality. Attached is the draft bill. The Business Council is looking for feedback on this draft bill.

Information Technology & Telecommunications 2018 Legislative Program

To promote continued reinvestment in New York’s technology and telecommunications sectors, The Business Council:

GAC Meeting and 2018 Legislative Reception - LOCATION CHANGE!

Please note that we have changed the location for our January 22 Government Affairs Committee Meeting and our 2018 Legislators’ Reception.  We will hold all of the events at the Albany Capital Center, at 55 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207.

The GAC meeting will address the FY 2019 Executive Budget, state impact of and response to Federal tax reform, and pending changes in JCOPE lobby rules. All Business Council members are welcome to attend. We ask that participants pre-register here. For information on the GAC meeting, please contact Ken Pokalsky, direct dial 518-694-4460 or ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org

Likewise, please join us for our 2018 Legislators’ Reception, Monday evening, January 22, 2018. This is the premier networking event for our members and we always have a large and diverse crowd of Board Members, general members, legislators and staff, and administration officials.