Government Affairs Albany UpdateApril 19, 2002
- Superintendent Gregory Serio Names Pietroluongo First Deputy of Insurance
- $6.75/hr. Minimum Wage Passes the Assembly
- Electronics Recycling Legislation Introduced
- Council Supports Article X Siting Law Renewal
Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio announced this week that he has named Deputy Superintendent Louis V. Pietroluongo as First Deputy Superintendent of the Insurance Department. The appointment was effective immediately. In his new position, Mr. Pietroluongo will be serving as the Chief Operating Officer of the Department and will be based in the Department's New York City office.
Mr. Pietroluongo has served as an integral member of the Department's Executive Bureau since joining the Department as Deputy Superintendent in June of 1998 - overseeing the activities of the Department's Frauds, Licensing, Consumer Services and Liquidation Bureaus. He was also responsible for coordinating various Insurance Department administrative programs and management initiatives including the Insurance Disaster Coalition, speed-to-market, and the accreditation process.
Prior to his appointment at the Insurance Department, Mr. Pietroluongo served for 32 years with the New York City Police Department, where he rose to the rank of Deputy Chief and spent 28 years in management positions, including Commanding Officer of First Deputy Commissioner's Office.
On Monday evening, April 15th, in recognition of "Equal Pay Day" across the country, the Assembly passed five comparable worth/pay equity bills. A.236 (Grannis) and A.7012 (Stringer) would affect the public sector while A.290 (Christensen) would amend the NYS Constitution, A.7432 (Nolan) would apply to the private sector and A.5416 (DiNapoli), by amending the Human Rights Law, would apply to both public and private sectors. Each would require application of the concept of comparable worth to employers' pay systems. Three of these bills have "same as" bills in the Senate with majority sponsors.
On April 10, 2002, with 19 "No" votes, the Assembly passed its minimum wage bill. The same bill passed the Assembly last year.
A.5132 (Nolan) would raise the state's minimum wage from its current $5.15/ hr. to $6.75/hr on January 1, 2003 and then, annually, raise it by the increase in the CPI for New York/Northern New Jersey as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While there is no "same as" bill, S.4749 (Spano) would raise the state's minimum wage to $6.75/hr. but use a different escalator - the state's average weekly wage. It is not hard to imagine a meeting of the minds between the Assembly and Senate on an escalator. S.4749 is currently with the Senate Labor Committee.
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
Legislation has been introduced in both houses governing the recycling of electronic equipment. These include:
S.7094 (Marcellino)/A.10146 (Colton), which directs the Department of Environmental Conservation to:
- adopt regulations listing electronic equipment that "present a potential health hazard when improperly disposed of, handled or stored";
- impose a $5 fee on the sale of cathode ray tubes, the proceeds being used to finance state grants for electronics recyling;
- develop a program to assist municipalities and business in setting up electronics recycling programs;
- beginning January 1, 2004, direct delivery of discarded electronic equipment to a recycling center or to a manufacturer or retailer who have established a voluntary recycling program; and
- beginning January 1, 2005, prohibit the disposal of cathode ray tubes in the municipal solid waste stream.
S.7091 (Marcellino) and A.10147 (Colton), which are similar but not identical bills that direct the DEC to adopt regulations governing electronic recycling. The Senate bill addresses "recycling sites" only; the Assembly bill would govern "recycling, reuse and remanufacturing site[s]."
The Senate EnCon Committee has indicated that adoption of electronics recycling legislation will be one of their post-budget priorities. Both S.7094 and S.7091 are on next week's Senate Environmental Conservation Committee agenda. The Assembly has yet to act on their legislation.
The Business Council is reviewing these proposals. Our most significant concern is the lack of specificity in the legislation in terms of what constitutes a "health threat" related to electronic equipment, and the scope of potential DEC regulation of "recycling sites."
The Business Council issued its memo in support of S.6230-A (Wright) / A.9826 (Tonko) on April 12th which would extend Article X of the Public Service Law also known as the the state's electric generating "siting law." The Business Council maintains that a reauthorization of the siting law should insure a clear process and definite time frames, while maintaining public participation and environmental safeguards. These aspects are needed in order to encourage development in this crucial area of New York's economy. The bill was discussed at The Business Council's February 25th Energy Committee meeting. The bill was introduced at the request of the state's generating community and their association, the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY). The Senate bill is on the Senate Energy and Telecommunication Committee for April 23rd.
Rather than proposing a wholesale change in the siting law, this bill focuses on improvements to certain areas of the current law and seeks to add provisions that would improve the process. In addressing these areas and adding certain new provisions, such as the inclusion of incentives for the redevelopment of brownfields, the bill strives to create a process conducive to siting much needed electrical generating infrastructure in New York State. The bill's other provisions are as follows;
- encourages of the redevelopment of brownfields,
- establishes a set time frame for the signing of stipulations by parties,
- creates a uniform format by requiring that legislative style hearings and issues conferences be conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations that are similar to or the equivalent of those of the Department of Environmental Conservation,
- establishes an eight month time frame for the board to issue a final decision on an application once its deemed complete,
- requires the siting board to render a final decision within sixty days of receipt of the complete record proceedings or the recommended decision from the presiding examiner (unless the applicant waives such deadline),
- excludes the introduction of evidence pertaining to speculative matters, and
- sets specific time lines for evidentiary hearings.
The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), in a March 2002 report, stated that New York needs to add at least 7,100 megawatts of new power by 2005 - of which 2,000 to 3,000 megawatts must be located in New York City.
Additionally, the NYISO claims that Long Island alone requires the immediate approval of 750 to 1,000 megawatts to alleviate severe reliability risks. In order to facilitate these market improvements the NYISO also urged the Legislature to renew the Article X siting law. The NYISO further stated that if any changes are made to the law they "should focus on shortening the approval time frame."
The Business Council, in a February 2002 assessment of the electricity markets, determined that at least 9,200 megawatts should be added to the markets by 2007 in order to insure reliability and the economic well being of New York. We also believe that in order to foster competition in the market, maintain reliability and lower wholesale electricity prices, the development of baseload generation should be encouraged.