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This Week in Government Affairs
September 13, 2012

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Wage Withholding Legislation Approved. The Governor has approved S.7790 (Young)/A.10785 (Rules/Morelle), which authorizes sixteen categories of allowable paycheck withholdings, including five carry over categories (insurance premiums, pension/health benefits, charitable contributions, U.S. bonds, and union dues) and new categories including recovery of paycheck overages and repayment of advances, cafeteria purchase, fitness programs, parking and others. Excluded from this new legislation was authority to withhold for state-level employee PACs (withholdings for federal PACs remain authorized in New York under federal law.) The law was signed on September 7, 2012, is effective sixty days later, and sunsets in three years. The law is self-implementing, however Department of Labor regulations are required for withholdings for overages and advances. Our detailed summary of the bill is available here. The legislative text is available here.

REGULATORY UPDATE

JCOPE “Source of Funding” Proposal. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has proposed regulations implementing 2011 legislation mandating the disclosure of the source of lobbying funds. Specifically, the “Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011” requires lobbyists and clients to disclose sources of more than $5,000 used to fund lobbying activities over a twelve month period, if the lobbyist or client otherwise spent more than $50,000 in reportable lobby expenses, and that figure is more than 3 percent of the entity’s total expenditures. The proposal was published in the September 12, 2012 State Register, and the text of the proposal is available here, and the State Register notice is available here (scroll down to page 6).

There is a 45 public comment period, and no public hearings are scheduled at this time. The Business Council will be submitting comments, and your input is welcome. As was the case in the informal draft circulated in July, the proposed rule’s major flaw is that it would require disclosure of sources of more than $5,000 used to fund the entity’s overall operations, rather than its lobbying activities, as clearly specified in law. The proposed rule also fails to provide any specific compliance guidance for trade associations and similar entities that fund lobbying activities from general dues income (other than proposing that the source(s) of all such income is potentially subject to disclosure.)

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