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Government Affairs Albany Update

June 3 , 2005

Speaker Silver Announces the Formation of Numerous New Assembly Subcommittees

Speaker Silver has announced the creation of twenty-four new Assembly Subcommittees dealing with a variety of issues. Examples include a Subcommittee on Export Trade, Subcommittee on Renewable Energy and a Subcommittee on Emerging Workforce.

The Speaker's press release with a listing of all the new Subcommittees.

Health Insurance Bills Moving in the Senate

S.1372 sponsored by Senator James Seward passed unanimously in the Senate this past week. This legislation creates a New York health benefit and cost commission to provide cost and benefit analysis to both the legislature and the public with regards to deciding whether to require policies to include a certain benefit. The bill has been delivered to the Assembly and referred to the Insurance Committee. Its companion bill (A.6193) is sponsored by Assemblyman Clifford Crouch.

S.1405 which establishes Freedom Health Insurance Plans was reported out of Senate Finance this week and referred to the Rules Committee. The bill, sponsored by Senator James Seward, is strongly supported by The Business Council and is one of the priority issues that will be used to evaluate the legislature in our Vote for Jobs 2005 scorecard.

New Senate "Offshoring" Bill

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
Senator LaValle has introduced a second Senate "Anti-Offshoring" bill, S.5533, directed at contracts let by the "regents of university of the state of New York." More specifically, the bill defines "contracting agency" as the state university, the city university of New York, community colleges and the State Education Department. Note that the previous legislation, S.5427 (Maziarz), exempted the State Education Department. Similar to the Maziarz bill, S.5533 generally requires affected contracts to include provisions requiring all "services" performed under such contract or related sub-contracts be performed within the U.S., unless a finding is made that such services are not available using domestic labor.

The Business Council has opposed these proposals as being contrary to New York's long-term economic well-being, given our state's significant involvement in international trade.

Note also that the Assembly has introduced a companion to S.5427. This legislation, A.8669, was introduced as a Rules Committee bill with Assemblywoman Susan John as the prime sponsor. The bill is listed as a "same as;" however the Assembly bill text was not available as of this writing.

Chemical Security” Substance List

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
The New York State Office of Homeland Security has proposed a rule that lists more than 400 hazardous substances of concern, pursuant to the “protection of critical infrastructure” legislation approved in 2004. This proposal lists the substances that would be considered by the OHS in identifying chemical manufacturing, storage and usage facilities that are of concern to the state from an anti-terrorism perspective - both in terms of potential off-site impact from the release of chemicals, and the potential for on-site chemicals to be stolen for off-site usage. Ultimately, the 2004 legislation allows the state to require such facilities to complete vulnerability assessments, and to propose and implement security upgrades.

Generally speaking, the proposed OHS list contains: chemicals regulated under Section 112(r) of the federal Clean Air Act (i.e., risk management plan substances, see 40 CFR Part 68); substances listed as “acutely hazardous” in New York's chemical bulk storage program (6 NYCRR Part 597); substances listed by the international Chemical Weapons Convention; RMP program explosives and flammables.

The Business Council believes that, while the OHS proposal is fairly reasonable, we are concerned that the criteria for including state-listed toxics and chemical weapon precursors may be overly broad.

This proposal was published in the May 25, 2005 State Register. The public comment period ends on July 11, 2005 (45 days after publication.) The Business Council will be working with its Chemical Security subcommittee to develop and submit comments. Contact The Business Council if you would like additional background on the “critical infrastructure” legislation, would like to receive a copy of this rulemaking, and/or if you would like to participate in our response effort.

NYS Vapor Intrusion Policy

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
The Business Council has submitted extensive comments on the Department of Health's proposed technical guidance for investigating and remediating “vapor intrusion” impacts; i.e., indoor air impacts due to contaminated soil or groundwater. Vapor intrusion is a rapidly emerging issue in the field of environmental remediation, and the U.S. EPA and a number of states have or are in the process of developing specific protocols for dealing with this emerging issue. The DOH developed its technical guidance with input from the Department of Environmental Conservation, and put in out for public comment in March ‘05. It would apply to sites being addressed under the state's superfund, brownfield, RCRA and oil spill programs, and could apply to sites not specifically regulated under those statutes.

The Business Council has significant concerns with the state's proposed policy. These include: its overly prescriptive nature, including a “"single tier” approach applicable to all sites of concern; lack of risk management options and lack of distinction between residential and non-residential settings; proposed applicability to occupational exposures, contrary to federal OSHA preemption for such sites; inappropriate triggers for investigation/mitigation; and others.

The Business Council's comment package (cover letter and technical comments) is available on our web site in PDF format. The DOH draft guidance is also available online. The related links are provided below.

Governor Announces 15 Appointments to Health Care Facilities Commission

Governor George E. Pataki announced the first fifteen members of the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century. Legislation creating the commission authorized eighteen members. In addition, the Commission will have regional members, who will be appointed by the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Speaker of the Assembly. The Governor has requested that the Legislature submit their appointments for the regional members by next Wednesday, June 8th.

Stephen Berger (Chair), Chairman of the Chairman of Odyssey Investment Partners (OIP), LLC, a investment firm that specializes in private corporate transactions. Mr. Berger served as Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 1985-1990.

Leo Brideau, President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Mary's Hospital and Clinics in Milwaukee. Previously, he served as President of Strong Health Regional Network in Rochester New York

Craig Duncan, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Northeast Health.

Robert Gaffney, Partner in the law firm of Meyer, Souzzi, English & Klein. Mr. Gaffney after serving as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1985 and was elected Suffolk County Executive in 1992.

Robert Hinckley, Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs for Capital District Physicians Health Plan. Prior to joining to Capital District Physicians Health Plan, Mr. Hinckley served as Senior Deputy Secretary to the Governor in January 2003.

Howard Howlett, Chairman and Founding Member of the Hospital Trustees of New York State

Darlene Kerr, Former President and Chief Executive Officer of Niagara Mohawk (NIMO). Prior to serving as President and CEO, Ms. Kerr was NIMO's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Mark Kissinger, is Deputy Secretary to the Governor, and is responsible for policies and operations of the State's health and human services agencies. Mr. Kissinger joined the Governor's staff in 1999.

Pat Lee, Chairman and CEO of International Motion Control, Inc. Mr. Lee serves as Director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Buffalo Branch and the Empire State Development Corporation, Western New York Region.

Neil Roberts, former Chief Executive Officer of United Methodist Health and Housing, the parent company of Wesley Health Care Center.

Teresa Santiago, Chairperson of the New York Consumer Protection Board. Previously, Ms. Santiago was the Director of Hispanic Expertí, a public relations and advertising firm specializing in the Black and Hispanic consumer markets.

Ruben King Shaw, former Deputy Administrator/COO for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In that capacity, he was responsible for the day-to-day direction of Medicare, Medicaid, Child Health Insurance Programs, Survey and Certification of health care facilities and other health care initiatives.

Al Simone, President of Rochester Institute of Technology. He was named President in 1992. Prior to leading RIT, he was the President of the University of Hawaii System and Chancellor of the University Hawaii at Manoa.

Bishop Joseph Sullivan, Vicar for Human Services and Regional Bishop for the 62 parishes of the Brooklyn West Vicariate. He has played various roles in Catholic Charities including Executive Director and Executive Vice President of the Board of Trustees. He is also Secretary to the Ordinary for Charities. In 1980, he was named Auxiliary Bishop by Pope John Paul II.

Buford Sears, Senior Vice President and manager for health care and not-for-profit banking at Manufacturers & Traders Trust Company in Buffalo. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President at Citizens & Southern National Bank.