This Week in Government Affairs
May 9, 2013

Top Stories

Scaffold Law

There is a growing interest in Albany to reform Section 240 of the state Labor Law, also known as the Scaffold Law. The Business Council has led this advocacy effort for a number of years; now, the issue is gaining the attention of municipalities and other public entities who are concerned with the adverse impact of the law on public construction projects. As we head into the last months of the 2013 legislative session, we will be pushing for reform, as proposed in S.111 (Gallivan) / A.3104 (Morelle), through our advocacy channels and with our business and association partners.If you are interested in getting involved with this issue or have feedback, contact us.

Legislative Update

The Business Council is weighing in on the following legislation this week.

The Business Council is weighing in on the following legislation this week.
S.1674 (Grisanti) / A.414A (Paulin), Support — Provides a premium reduction for physicians and licensed midwives who complete a risk management strategies course.

S.1754 (Robach) / A.2653 (Simotas), Oppose — Restrictions on Workers' Comp Pharmaceutical Networks. This bill erodes the cost-savings benefits of pharmaceutical networks for workers’ comp claimants.

S.3551 (Ranzenhofer) / A.5443 (Brennan), Support — New York City Construction Authority Contractor Claims. This bill amends the Public Authorities Law to clarify the process of filing construction claims, and addresses technical inconsistencies concerning the beginning of the ninety-day claim period.

S.3766 (Little) / A. 5119A (Russell), Support — This bill authorizes political subdivisions to purchase apparatus, materials, equipment and related services through contracts let by other government entities or the federal government.

S.4028 (Libous) / A.3634 (Sweeney), Oppose — Natural Gas Production Contamination Response and Compensation Program. This legislation basically replicates the state’s long-standing oil spill fund, for application to natural gas production sites.

S.3484-A (Ranzenhofer) / A.6523 (Schimminger), Support — Public Construction Savings Pilot Act. This bill contains a sensible pilot project to demonstrate the benefits of changing the current bidding activity involving public construction projects and Project Labor Agreements (PLA). The Business Council supports enactment of this bill.

Political Update

Senate Republican Hearing on New York City Public Finance Law — On Tuesday, May 7, The Business Council submitted testimony to a Senate Elections Committee Hearing on New York City’s public campaign financing laws. The hearing addressed the implications of extending that approach to statewide elections. With the debate about campaign finance reform heating up, some Democrats and good-government groups are calling for the state to replicate the system statewide. On the same day as the hearing, the Assembly passed their public financing proposal, A. 4980-C (Silver). Other individuals who presented testimony included David Keating, President of the Center for Competitive Politics, who largely panned the New York City system; Randy Mastro, a private attorney who recommended several amendments to the New York City system, including a lower public match and increased audits and enforcement; and representatives from the New York City Campaign Finance Board and the New York State Board of Elections, both of which discussed the scope of their audit and enforcement efforts, as well as staffing and budget levels.

Regulatory Update

RGGI Advisory Group

On May 2, the Business Council participated in a discussion of NYSERDA’s priorities in the development of its plan for spending revenues from the sale of RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) emission allowances, also known as the RGGI Operation Plan. NYSERDA and its Advisory Group — comprised of members representing the environmental community, the electric generation community, and business and consumer organizations — review and revise The Operating Plan on an annual basis. The Advisory Group also provides guidance on how to best use auction proceeds. The Operating Plan summarizes and describes the initiatives that will be supported by RGGI auction proceeds. The proposed Operating Plan is predicated on last year’s RGGI Operating Plan. The Business Council is preparing comments on the 2013 Operating Plan Draft Amendment, comments are due at the end of the day on May 16.

Items of Interest

Joint Petition of Fortis, Inc., et al. and CH Energy Group

The Business Council supports the acquisition of Central Hudson by Fortis because it is in the best interest of Central Hudson’s customers and the public at-large. The Joint Proposal contains numerous long-term and short-term beneficial measures, including substantial customer benefits, additional funding for economic development grants, and assistance for low-income customers. The Joint Proposal unequivocally provides customers the best of both worlds, ensuring that customers realize real and substantial savings from the acquisition while also continuing to benefit from a “stand-alone” corporate philosophy thatensures the same high-quality utility that customers of the Hudson Valley have come to depend on from Central Hudson. Read our letter here.

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