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Government Affairs Albany Update

September 5, 2003

Toxic Substances Record Keeping Bill Signed

On August 26, 2003 S.2452 (Onorato) / A.8014 (Nolan) was signed into law by Governor Pataki (Chapter 411). This law mandates that employers keep a record of the use of toxic substances by an employee by indicating which substance or substances is or are handled or used by which employee. This law expands existing law which already requires employers to keep a record of the name, address and social security number of every employee who handles or uses substances included in section nineteen hundred ten of the federal occupational safety and health regulations, subparagraph z by adding the provision that requires a listing of "which such substance or substances was or were handled or used by which employee." Under existing state law these records need to be kept for a period of forty years.

This legislation does not apply to the private sector. It only applies to the public sector. Private businesses are not required under this legislation to keep these records because Section 1902.1(a) of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Regulations pre-empts this state legislation except where there is a state plan. New York is not a state plan state.

When The Business Council expressed concern over the confusing nature of this legislation for the private sector, representatives of the Governor's office stated that they would speak with the Department of Labor to see if they could publish a piece that explains who exempt from this law. We will keep you posted on those plans. This law does not take effect until next August.

Environmental Fee Increase Pending

The Senate is still scheduled to meet on September 16 to take up a superfund refinancing bill that passed the Assembly in June. This legislation, S.5702 / A.9120, would impose significant new environmental fees on manufacturers, utilities and environmental cleanup projects.

Memo (summarizing the fee proposal)

We urge you to contact your State Senators again to express your opposition to S.5702. There is growing concern among Senate members about the adverse impact this bill will have on brownfield cleanups and the state's manufacturing sector, so it is important for affected business to weigh in.

Union Card Check is Back

On November 28, 2001, Governor Pataki signed a union card check bill (Chapter 534) into law. This new law provides that a collective bargaining representative could be designated after a showing of majority employee interest using signature cards rather than conducting a secret ballot election. Although this law did not affect very many New York State employers, it did stand out as a model for use in other states or federally.