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Government Affairs Albany Update

June 4, 2004

John Evers Moves to Tax and Finance

Many members have asked for contact information for John Evers. Johnny recently accepted a position as Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. He can be reached by calling 518-457-2398.

John worked for The Business Council the past four and a half years on many important issues including: Energy, Construction, Transportation, Tort Reform and International Borders and Crossings. We wish John much success in his new position!

Senator Bruno Appointments

Senator Bruno has announced that Senator Olga Mendez (Senate District 28) has been appointed Chairwoman of the Labor Committee and Senator Spano (Senate District 35) has been appointed Senior Assistant Majority Leader.

Invitation to get involved in two separate health initiatives

The Business Council is inviting members of The Business Council to get involved in two different health initiatives of interest.

#1 Employee Health and Productivity
The National Business Group on Health's Council on Employee Health and Productivity (CEHP) has launched its Employer Measures of Productivity, Absence and Quality (EMPAQ) project. EMPAQ is a standardized set of health-related lost-time metrics designed for industry-wide use and application by the employer and supplier community. Marybeth Stevens of GE, Schenectady, is one of the co-chairs of the initiative. Jim Curcio of the National Business Group on Health is the other co-leader. To register, or to receive more information, contact Jim at curcio@businessgrouphealth.org

#2 Breastfeeding Promotion
The state Department of Health is in the process of developing a Physical Activity and Nutrition State Plan. Elliott Shaw is a member of the DOH Steering Committee. One of the Work Groups established by the Steering Committee is Breastfeeding Promotion; Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy. Elliott is working with the Group to identify model work sites in New York State, where employers have created support programs for breastfeeding mothers (i.e. lactation rooms, breast pumps, and other policy initiatives). If your workplace has established such supports, this information would be useful to Elliott and the work of the Breastfeeding Promotion Work Group.

ALJ Issues Recommended Decision on Renewables

A Recommended Decision (RD) was issued yesterday by an administrative law judge (ALJ), which recommends that the Public Service Commission (PSC) require consumers and businesses to buy electricity from renewable sources that is generally more costly than electricity generated by conventional energy sources.

The main provisions of the RD are as follows:

Based on these recommendations, the estimated costs are 1.8% for residential, 2% for commercial and 2.4% for industrial customers. The RD suggests a target date of 2013 for achieving the 25% renewables, with a 2008 review of the schedule for possible adjustment.

Active parties will have until June 23 to submit formal comments on the RD, after which parties will have until July 8 to submit reply comments. A series of public forums will be held around the state to provide the general public with information on the RPS and to receive input from the public.

The RD, a summary thereof, a draft generic environmental impact statement, and other information about the RPS initiative is available on the commission's web site at: www.dps.state.ny.us/03e0188.htm