This Week in Government Affairs
April 23, 2013
- Top Stories
- Campaign Finance Reform
- Pay Equity, Related Issues
- Legislative Update
- Campaign Finance
- Warranty Law
- Environment and Energy
- Workers' Compensation Law
- Federal Issues
- Perkins Act up for reauthorization
- Regulatory Update
- AG Proposal for Non-Profit Electioneering Disclosures
Campaign Finance Reform
In the wake of the latest round of Albany scandals, the call for campaign finance reform has been renewed. The Senate and Assembly Democrat conferences, and the IDC, have each made broad reform proposals, while the Governor has issued a package of election reforms and enhanced enforcement. Unfortunately, most of these proposals focus the creation of a taxpayer-financed campaign systems, similar to the New York City system, and do not focus enough on making changes for true reform that assure parity amongst all parties impacted by elections. The Business Council is closely tracking these legislative proposals, and has summarized and compared their key provisions here. We continue to collect input from our members regarding election and campaign reform proposals, and appreciate any additional thoughts or recommendations you have.
Pay Equity, Related Issues
The Governor’s “equity for women” agenda, outlined in his state of the state message, will be a focus of the post-budget session. It laid out a ten point plan that includes proposals to “achieve pay equity” by increasing recoverable damages and limited employer’s pay discretion; end employment discrimination based on family status; and require “reasonable accommodations” in the workforce for pregnancies that do not constitute medical disabilities. It also proposed to extend current sexual harassment provisions to employers of less than five. These proposals amending either the Labor Law or Human Rights law raise concerns about new compliance standards for business, and new causes of action against employers. While the Administration has yet to issue formal proposals, we are reaching out to the Administration, legislators, and various advocacy groups (including A Better Balance) to understand the specific statutory deficiencies that need to be addressed, and sharing our concerns regarding new proposals and current legislation (e.g., the “NY Fair Pay Act, S.1491 (Krueger)/A.5958 (Heastie)). We welcome additional member involvement. Please let us know if you would like to work with us in assessing current legal provisions and employment practices in the state, and in reviewing and responding to legislative proposals.
Contact: Frank Kerbein
The Business Council issued or will issue memos on the following legislation this week.
- S.177 (Squadron), Oppose, Requires Shareholder Approval of Corporate Political Spending - This legislation would require corporate contributions to a political candidate or party committee be approved by a majority of shareholders.
- A.602, Oppose, Automobile Manufacturers' Warranty Adjustment Programs - This legislation would require automobile manufacturers to notify eligible consumers of the adoption of a warranty adjustment program by the manufacturer.
- S.965 (Libous) / A.6585 (Abbate), Oppose, Martin Act - This legislation expands the state’s already broad Martin Act to allow public pension funds to direct Attorney General investigations into alleged securities violations.
Environment and Energy - Contact: Darren Suarez, email@example.com
- S.3057 (Lavalle)/A.3885 (Thiele), Oppose, Establishes the Solar Feed-in Tariff Pilot Program - This legislation establishes the solar feed-in tariff pilot program and directs the Long Island Power Authority to pay all costs associated with the interconnection of solar energy generation facilities.
- A.1046 (Sweeney) / S.674 (Avella), Oppose, Uniform Treatment of Waste – This legislation would require waste produced from oil and natural gas activities to be classified as “hazardous”.
- S.3466 (Avella) / A.6220 (Colton), Oppose, Oil and Gas Drilling Labor Mandates – This legislation would institute a separate series of work place standards for oil and gas worker and their contractors.
- A.6558 (Sweeney), Oppose, Preparation for Sea Level Rise - This legislation requires the consideration of future climate risk including sea level rise projections and other weather-related data.
Workers' Compensation Law - Contact: Lev Ginsburg, firstname.lastname@example.org
- S.1754 (Robach)/A.2653 (Simotas), Oppose, Relates to Prescription Prices and Pharmacies for Injured Employees - This legislation would reduce the cost-saving benefit of pharmaceutical networks in the workers' compensation system by allowing claimants to by-pass network pharmacies.
- S.76 (Peralta), Oppose, Relates to Permanent Total Disability - This legislation would amend the workers’ compensation law to presume permanent total disability for claimants who are found eligible for federal social security disability benefits.
Health - Contact: Lev Ginsburg, email@example.com
- S.3478 (Gipson) / A.5174 (Cahill), Oppose, Lyme Disease and Other Tick Borne Related Pathogen Coverage Mandate and Workers’ Comp Presumption – This legislation would require health insurance companies to provide long term medical care for lyme disease and other tick borne related pathogens.
- A.5692 (Gottfried) / S.3690 (Hannon), Oppose, Collective Negotiations by Health Care Providers – This bill would require collective negotiations by health care providers with certain health benefit plans
- S.4526 (Hannon) / A.6519 (Silver), Oppose, Creates the Freelancers Health Plan Demonstration Program – This legislation creates a new exception from the community rating law for the Freelancers Union, allowing only that organization the opportunity to offer experience rated insurance products.
Perkins Act up for reauthorization
The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act (2006) is up for reauthorization this year. Congress extended the measure, which originally had a sunset date at the end of FY2012, to the end of FY2013 (which translates into an expiration date of September 30, 2013). The act, also referred to as Perkins IV, funds the Basic State Grants program, which provides states with formula grants to develop and improve CTE programs; the Tech Prep Grant program; the Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Career and Technical Institutions grant program; national programs; and the collection of occupational and employment information by state-designated entities.
As the sunset date approaches, conversations on the act’s reauthorization have centered on how to better align CTE programs with high-tech labor market needs, and the role that partnerships play between the private sector, secondary and post-secondary institutions.
The Business Council will include more information on the Perkins Act in the coming months through committee updates.
AG Proposal for Non-Profit Electioneering Disclosures
The Attorney General’s office issued a revised rulemaking (initially proposed in December 2012) that would require additional filing information for political expenditures and contributions by certain nonprofits and trusts. The revised rule (in the April 17 State Register) contains significant changes to provisions defining issue advocacy, communication and covered donation, and sections detailing the disclosures for contributions and expenditures. Its disclosure requirements would apply to: issue advocacy communications made 45 days before a primary or 90 days before a general election; covered organizations that spend $10,000 or more on election related expenditures; itemized contributions received of $1,000 or more, in aggregate, by a covered organization. The Business Council is reviewing this proposal, and will be submitting comments by the May 17 due date. We welcome any questions or comments.