New York State Construction Industry Council (NYSCIC)
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Breakfast and Welcoming Remarks
- David Brockmann, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., sponsor of the meeting, discussed the work of The Business Council and its importance in areas such as workers’ comp reform and introduced the new chairman of the Construction Council, Mr. John Ahearn.
- John Ahearn, Rifenburg Construction, Chairman of NYSCIC, opened the meeting and introduced our guest speakers. Mr. Ahearn’s firm has been an active member of The Business Council for over 25 years.
- Assemblyman John T. McDonald III addressed the council. The Assemblyman explained his bill, A.5624, and how it relates to damages recoverable when contributory negligence or assumption of risk is established in cases involving building construction, demolition and repair work. Mr. McDonald also explained his efforts to have workers’ comp reform as part of the state budget process. Mr. Ahearn and The Business Council staff thanked Mr. McDonald for introducing and championing the reform measure. It is hoped that momentum builds around the issue.
- Tom Stebbins, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of NYS, addressed the council on Scaffold Lobby Day. Mr. Stebbins recounted the fiscal impact of the law, the need for reform, and referenced several studies his organization has done on this issue. The Business Council participated in the lobby day and is a supporter of scaffold law reform.
Proposed Buy American Provisions in the Proposed 2017-18 State Budget
- Ken Pokalsky, Vice President of The Business Council, addressed the council on the various Buy American provisions in the Executive, Assembly, and Senate budget proposals. Many of the proposed Buy American material requirements impact construction directly. Concern was expressed over the content requirements and component requirements that would make record keeping very difficult. The Business Council has been active in opposing the initiative and lobbying efforts to remove or lessen the provisions during budget negotiations are underway.
Workers' Compensation Package
- Lev Ginsburg, Esq., of The Business Council of New York State, explained the three bill package The Business Council has developed. All three pieces of the package have been discussed within the budget framework as well. A 60-member coalition has been formed to support the package. An electronic advocacy program has been set up to allow those favoring workers’ comp reform to notify elected officials. Mr. Ginsburg urged all of the members present to support the effort. The bills are as follow:
- S.4554 (Amedore)/A.6218 (McDonald) – Limits workers’ compensation benefits for partial permanent disabilities, which limit wage earning by less than 85%, to the period of such disability.
- S.4520 (Akshar)/A.6602 (Woerner) – Relates to the schedule of compensation in case of disability.
- S.4014 (DeFrancisco) /A.5977 (Woerner) – Relates to impairment guidelines for scheduled loss of use awards.
2017-18 Transportation and Capital Budget Update Panel
- Senator Thomas F. O’Mara, Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee addressed the council on infrastructure, potential water and sewer funding initiatives statewide, and DOT funding in the 2017-18 state budget. The Senator discussed the return of parity in MTA-DOT funding, the need for workers’ comp reform, and Senate Plans for a major water infrastructure package and bond act. The Senator thanked NYSCIC for the invitation and The Business Council for its support and help in making the voice of the business and construction communities heard in the Legislature.
State Infrastructure Initiative and Legislative Update
- Johnny Evers, PhD, of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. gave an update on issues of key importance this session, including the issues of design/build continuing as a construction delivery method, reasonable MWBE requirements on public works in conjunction with the issuance of waivers when justified, repeal of the scaffold law, workers’ comp reform, and the continuation of parity in DOT-MTA capital spending in the state budget. The issue of a possible state bond and/or a major water and sewer Infrastructure Initiative was discussed.
New Members and Recruitment of Former Members
- Johnny Evers, PhD, of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. thanked the members who attended the meeting for their participation. Included in the meeting materials was a flyer outlining the NYSCIC and its goals and mission. He asked all members present for their help in recruiting new and former members.
- John Ahearn adjourned the meeting at 11am and thanked all present for attending. The next meeting of The New York State Construction Industry Council (NYSCIC) is tentatively scheduled for June, prior to the end of the legislative session.