Government Affairs Albany UpdateFebruary 23, 2007
- Lobby Act Amendments
- Gubernatorial Appointments
- 21-day Amendments to Executive Budget Revenue Bill Released
The Senate has introduced, and will be acting on, legislation to implement the three-way agreement on Lobby Act amendments. S.2876 (Bruno) will be on the Senate Finance Committee agenda next Tuesday. This legislation is the same as A.3736-A (Silver), which passed the Assembly on February 14.
This package, announced in late January, would:
- merge the Lobby and Ethics Commissions into a single Commission on Public Integrity
- increase penalties for violations
- allow the Commission to bring enforcement cases for against persons who are no longer registered lobbyists, for up to one year after their last report filing with the state.
- prohibit lobbyists and clients from offering or giving a gift to a public official of more than a nominal value. The proposal would maintain, with some amendments, existing gift exemptions, including those for widely attended events; awards and ceremonial items; promotional items; and several other categories. The existing Public Officers Law gift limit is also reduced from $75 to not "more than a nominal value."
- require registered lobbyists who also engage in lobbying with regard to state and local grants and loans to report on those advocacy efforts, although entities that only lobby with regard to grants and loans will not be required to register as lobbyists.
The legislation would also changes several registration and reporting requirements. For example, for entities that list the organization, rather than an individual, as the principal lobbyist on its biennial lobbyist registration, the bill will require the listing of all employees "employed in an organization's division that engages in lobbying activities." Also, once a lobbyist has filed its registration, it will have to file bimonthly reports in any year in which it reasonably anticipates earning or expending $5,000 for lobbying, rather than once it has actually exceeded that threshold.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.
Several of Governor Spitzer's nominees will be acted on in the State Senate next week. On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will be considering the following nominations:
- Patrick Hooker, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets
- Robert M. Maccarone, State Director of Probation and Correctional Services
- Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, Commissioner of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
- Michael Burgess, Director of the Office of the Aging
- Mindy A. Bockstein, Chairperson of the Consumer Protection Board
The Committee meeting will be Tuesday, February 27 at 2pm in Room 124 of the State Capitol.
Governor Spitzer released the 21-day amendments (formerly 30-day amendments) to his Executive Budget revenue bill - S.2110/A.4310.
In addition to technical corrections, the amendments included the following changes of note:
- the REITS deduction will now be retained for banks with taxable assets under $2 billion; it will now be phased-out (instead of immediate elimination) for banks w/ taxable assets between $2 billion and $2.5 billion.
- clarifies that the proposal for forcing the income of a non-NY taxpayer not doing business in NY into the NY tax return of a NY taxpayer (simply because they are related by stock ownership and have substantial intercorporate transactions) does not change current law for NY taxpayers requesting permission to file their NY tax returns on a combined basis.
- on the forced conversion of a bank's Article 9-A investment services subsidiary to Article 32 tax status, a) clarifies that the provisions would not be triggered in the case of a takeover or merger involving the parent bank and, b) clarifies that the 40% increase in assets standard would not be triggered if the corporation simply increases its assets in its same line of business.