Government Affairs Albany Update - April 28, 2006

Lobby Commission Guidelines

This week, the State Lobby Commission issued additional draft amendments to its Lobby Act compliance guidelines that specifically address procurement lobbying issues.

In doing so, the Commission has begun addressing a number of concerns raised by The Business Council and member companies with regard to the regulation of procurement lobbying.

The Commission said that their intent is to allow for public review and comment on these proposed changes prior to any final decisions by the Commission. However, the Commission has not yet given a specific timetable for public input at today's meeting. Their next meeting will be in June, but no meeting date has been set. These proposals may also be discussed at the May 4th meeting of the state Advisory Council on Procurement Lobbying.

These largely positive changes include the following:
(new language in italics)

Finally, the Commission proposed language that:

TBC will be developing comments in response to these proposals, and look forward to receiving your input. Also please feel free to contact us for more information on this latest proposal, or if you would like to be added to our Contract Procurement Council contact list.

Legislature Overrides Veto #208 (S.6460C - Budget Revenue Bill)

The Senate - followed by the Assembly - on Wednesday carried out an override vote of veto message #208. The underlying legislation, S.6460C, was the Legislature's amended version of the Governor's Executive Budget Revenue Bill - which contained 27 separate parts (A through AA). Veto #208 was a (non-line item) veto of the entire bill; however, within the veto message, the Governor specifically stated that "the Legislature's rewriting of the Governor's proposed real property tax rebate program [Part A] represented 'an unconstitutional alteration of an appropriation proposed in my Executive Budget'." The Governor's position on a Legislative override of a Budget Bill veto that had been based on unconstitutional grounds can be found in Veto Message #74 of 2006: "The Governor's disapproval of an item on the basis of its unconstitutionality is not subject to override by the Legislature. See Silver v. Pataki, 4 N.Y.3d 75 (2004) (dismissing challenge by Speaker of the State Assembly to the Governor's disapproval of 55 unconstitutional items added by the Legislature to the 1998-99 budget); 1982 N.Y. Op. Att'y General 21 (recognizing that the Governor's disapproval of unconstitutional budget items 'is not subject to override by the Legislature'). Even a vote by two-thirds of the members of both Houses of the State Legislature cannot transform an unconstitutional budgetary item into a law that may be validly executed by responsible state officials."

With specific respect to S.6460C, the Governor maintains that the override vote is ineffective in enacting Part A, but, that parts B through AA are enacted into Law. There are no broad-based business tax reductions within parts B through AA.

The Senate, or another interested party, might seek further judicial review in an attempt to enact Part A's real property tax rebate program, and, if so, on an expedited purpose as rebate checks were intended by the Legislature to arrive within the month before the 2006 General Election.

Senator Padavan Introduces "Massachusetts" Health Bill

Senator Frank Padavan (R) Queens has introduced the new "Massachusetts" health law in the state Senate. The bill - S.7676 - has obviously been re-cast to be New York specific and has been committed to the Committee on Health. Among the highlights of the Padavan bill:

S.7676 bill text