This Week in Government Affairs
April 10, 2013

Top Stories

JCOPE Gift Rules

The Business Council participated in the 2nd JCOPE client/lobbyist “forum,” held in Albany on April 4, and expressed concerns with their draft regulations regarding the Lobbying Act’s restrictions on gifts to public officials. The Business Council’s comments on the draft gift rules are available there. Importantly, JCOPE staff generally agreed with the concerns we and other participants raised regarding the revamped definition of “gift” and treatment of statutory gift exclusions; the definitions of political events and educational/professional programs; and their proposal of potential violations due to multiple “permissible gifts.” Our main objective in making comments was to assure that any regulations are consistent with underlying statutory provisions, and that regulations provide straightforward and workable compliance standards for clients and lobbyists subject to JCOPE oversight. The session also included a discussion of JCOPE’s draft regulations regarding public service announcements, which was of particular concern to media organizations. JCOPE said they would most likely make amendments to their current draft, present these revised drafts at the April Commission meeting, and then proceed to formal rulemaking and State Register publication of proposed rules.

Staff Contact: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org

Addressing immigration reform and the STEM skills shortage

The Business Council has joined two advocacy efforts in support of much-needed immigration reform. In a letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to members of the U.S. House and Senate, The Business Council joins numerous private sector organizations, state chambers of commerce, and individuals in urging improvement to immigration policies in order to meet the needs of citizens and businesses and improve our economic competiveness. The Business Council has also joined inSPIRE STEM USA, a coalition of organizations dedicated to addressing both the short-term need to fill STEM positions through high-skilled immigration reform, and the long-term goal of enhancing STEM education in the U.S.

“Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity” urges education-business partnerships in New York

On April 4, The Business Council joined forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce and the National Chamber Foundation for an education event that highlighted successful education-business partnerships, and called attention to the skills gap that has resulted from a mismatch in the available labor force and the highly-trained workforce that employers need to fill open positions. The following are a few of the points emphasized during the event:

A fact sheet that includes statistics on college and career readiness, school choice and teacher effectiveness in New York is available here. The event was also featured in a Times Union article.
Nanotech Conference

Last week, The Business Council participated in a discussion on the Challenges and Opportunities for the New York Innovation Economy at New York’s Nanotechnology Model: Building the Innovation Economy. The symposium was organized by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Hudson Valley Community College, the Center for Economic Growth, GlobalFoundries, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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

Regulatory Update

Workers’ Compensation

On Thursday, April 4th, approximately 30 members of The Business Council’s Workers’ Compensation Committee met with Monte Almer, president and Ziv Kimmel, vice president & chief actuary of New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board (NYCIRB) in person and via webinar. The NYCIRB presentation focused on the inner workings of NYCIRB and the process behind the development of loss cost numbers.

The committee also discussed post-budget legislative and regulatory priorities for the end of the legislative session.

Staff Contact: Lev Ginsburg, lev.ginsburg@bcnys.org

Political Update

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.

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