This Week in Government Affairs
April 23, 2013

Top Stories

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

Legislative Update

The Business Council issued or will issue memos on the following legislation this week.

Campaign Finance

Warranty Law


Environment and Energy - Contact: Darren Suarez, darren.suarez@bcnys.org

Workers' Compensation Law - Contact: Lev Ginsburg, lev.ginsburg@bcnys.org

Health - Contact: Lev Ginsburg, lev.ginsburg@bcnys.org

Federal Issues

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.

Regulatory Update

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.

Archives - Government Affairs Albany Update