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This Week in Government Affairs
March 27, 2013

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Budget Update

With the Senate completing passage of budget bills overnight, and the Assembly scheduled to do so on Thursday, the final FY 2014 budget is all but in place. Overall the budget controls state government spending, keeping growth at less than 2 percent for the next year, but will add to the cost of doing business with an extension of energy assessments and increases in the minimum wage. Our narrative summary of the budget is available here; our detailed review of legislative action on key Executive Budget proposals, and newly adopted budget provisions, is available here. Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions or comments on the final budget agreement.

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky, ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org

Political Update

With final passage of the budget this week, both houses of the legislature are expected back in Albany on Monday, April 15th. With the return of session is the return of legislative fundraisers, and our current list of events is available on  The Business Council website.

Regulatory Update

JCOPE Update

On March 8, The Business Council participated in JCOPE’s first ever “lobbyist roundtable” discussion, during which JCOPE staff solicited input on their reportable business relationship guidance and adopted source of funding rules. We joined about a dozen other attorneys and trade association representatives, and reiterated concerns we submitted to JCOPE staff and board members regarding these two regulatory mandates.

JCOPE has announced a second “forum,” to discuss its proposed regulations on gifts, travel, honoraria, and public service announcements. These sessions will be at 10am at JCOPE’s offices in Albany on April 4, and in New York City April 5 with time and location to be announced. JCOPE’s proposed regulations are available online here. The Business Council’s comments on the draft gift rules are available here. Space will be limited at the discussions and seating is reserved for members of the regulated community. Those interested in attending any of these roundtable discussions should, by March 29th, send a message of interest via email to jcope@jcope.ny.gov and include the word "Roundtable" in the subject line.

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky, ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org

General Process Emission Sources

Recently, The Business Council members and staff meet with the Department of Environmental Conservation to discuss proposed revisions to 6 NYCRR Part 212, the Department’s rule on general process emission sources. These amendments would establish a new procedure for evaluating and reducing air toxic impacts from stationary sources. The intent of the revisions will be to control process emission sources in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment, to provide regulatory relief and regulatory assurance to businesses concerning emissions of air toxics, to provide consistency among Parts 200, 201 and 212 and federal NESHAP programs. A more thorough discussion of the amends can be viewed at www.bcnys.org/inside/envircom.htm. Revising the state’s air toxic rule has been a long standing objective of both DEC and Business Council members. We look forward to additional input from members as this regulatory reform concept moves forward.

Staff Contact: Darren Suarez, darren.suarez@bcnys.org

New York City Council Paid Sick Time Hearing

Tom Minnick testified before the New York City Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor on Friday, March 22, 2013. The all-day hearing at City Hall heard from several advocates in support and opposition as well as a score of individuals on both sides of the issue. Intro. #97-A would require New York City employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid or unpaid sick time to employees. Enforcement of this proposal, if enacted, would rest with the City’s Department of Health, a point that was contentious for some testifying. Also appearing on the panel with The Business Council were representatives of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, Inc., The TemPositions Group of Companies and freshman Democrat Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj from the Bronx. The Business Council’s testimony included concerns about increased absenteeism in the workplace, punishing responsible employers, putting New York City employers in an uncompetitive position and the continued unstable economic conditions in New York City and the state.

In addition to employer fines of $1,000 to $5,000 for non-compliance, the proposal permits individual civil action against employers. This is the third hearing in three years on this issue. The Business Council’s testimony can be seen here.

Staff Contact: Frank Kerbein

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