End of Session Priorities List
Contact: Ken Pokalsky
As we head into the last week of the 2013 session, the following provides our priority “watch list,” of legislation for Business Council members. This reflects legislation of broad interest among and/or significant impact on Business Council members and that remain under active consideration. I appreciate any comments or input you have, including additional legislation of importance to your business.
Campaign finance reform
There are no new recent proposals and no Administration proposal on public financing. Our major objective is to assure that any legislation provide equal treatment of interest groups, and does not significantly restrict business participation in political advocacy.
UPDATE: The Governor has released his proposal, which imposes new disclosure requirements on independent expenditures, adopts lower contribution limits for campaign funds, creates a statewide public campaign financing program, and increases penalties for Election Law violations.
The Governor’s legislation has been circulated but not yet introduced. Key issues for business include: “business necessity” criteria; provisions on wage disclosure; and “treble” damages.
UPDATE: Amendments are being made to the bill’s pay equity, treble damages, “establishment” definition and pregnancy accommodation provisions that address concerns raised by The Business Council.
Tax Free NY
We have expressed our general support for this proposal, especially for its focus on upstate economy and adverse tax burdens. However we still have not seen a detailed proposal or know under what circumstances an existing business could participate. In addition, we have suggested that TFNY be part of a broader upstate economic development package with broader tax reductions and regulatory relief.
UPDATE: The Governor’s draft bill has been releases, and our overview of this proposal, are available here. In addition to urging additional, broad-based reform be added to any upstate development package, we will be submitting specific comments and recommendations on the proposed bill.
The Governor has releases his casino siting bill, and we have posted the bill text and our summary here. While we have not taken a position on the siting components of this bill, we have opposed its labor components, including treatment of casino construction as a public work and subject to prevailing wages, as well as provisions on project labor agreements.
We continue to discuss this with the Administration and legislature; we participated in the mandate relief lobby day where scaffold law was a focus; we continue to push the significant cost-savings for public construction projects as well as private sector cost savings.
There are a number of bills of concern with Majority sponsorship in the Senate. This list includes:
- S.2556 (Golden)/A.5472 (Silver) directs DOL to enforce sole proprietor/independent contractor's contracts;
UPDATE: Remains on the Senate calendar and has moved to the Assembly Codes Committee.
- S.1075 (Maziarz) / A.5234 (Wright) imposes prevailing wage on utility street excavations;
UPDATE: A. 5234 is expected to pass the Assembly next week. S. 1075 is not expected to move in the Senate.
- S.3863 (Savino) / A.4965 (Englebright) creates a new private cause of action for an alleged abusive work environment;
UPDATE: Has moved from the Senate Labor to the Senate Finance Committee with no movement in the Assembly Labor Committee.
- S.2434 (Klein) / A.443 (Dinowitz) restricts disclosure of employee personal account credentials;
- S.1743 (Espaillat) / A.1792-A (Nolan) extends labor law provision to farms;
UPDATE: Unlike to move in the Senate, has passed the Assembly.
- S.4589 (Golden) / A.5237 (Wright), the so-called “Transportation Industry Fair Play Act,” creates a presumption of employment for independent truckers engaged in commercial delivery;
UPDATE: Has been placed on the Senate calendar but remains in the Assembly Codes Committee.
- S.3868-B (Klein) / A.7056 (Dinowitz), prohibits employers’ use of credit history in employment decisions;
- S.5338 (Savino), imposes prevailing wage for utility service workers.
UPDATE: A.7482A (Camara) has been amended to be same as S. 5338. In the Senate S.5338 has moved from the Labor committee to Finance Committee.
Wage Theft Prevention Act
We continue to have positive discussions with the Administration and the Senate and Assembly Labor chairs, and push for a repeal of the annual notice/signature requirement.
Concerns remain regarding;
- S.1754 (Robach), A.2653 (Simotas), which erodes the cost-savings impact of pharmaceutical networks, and
- S.76 (Peralta) / A.6862 (Rosa) whose effect is to undermine the permanent partial disability duration limits adopted in 2007.
- We also oppose new legislation, S.5294 (Savino), which changes criteria for workers comp benefits.
UPDATE: S.1754/A.2653 is on third reading in both house, and is expected to pass the Assembly while its outcome in the Senate is unclear. S.5294/A.7961 is on third reading in the Senate and was just introduced in the Assembly; we are actively advocating against the bill’s passage. S.5754 (Nozzolio)/A.7757-A (Heastie), which would reverse the recent Court of Appeals decision in Auqui, regarding the impact of Workers Comp Board’ findings of fact in the context of civil suits on the same set of facts.
We are opposing new insurance mandates and restrictions, including but not limited to;
- A.5780 (Weinstein), which establish a private right of action for alleged unfair insurance settlement practices related to a disaster;
- A.7455-A (Goldfeder), prohibits denying of claims that otherwise would be covered because a flood that is not covered contributed to the loss;
- S.3045 (Lanza)/ A.2287-A (Silver), which creates a “homeowners’ bill of rights;”
- S.3413-A (Carlucci)/A.1092-A (Skoufis), which requires expedited claim investigation;
- S.2032 (Lavalle)/A.2729 (Weisenberg), which allows DFS to set uniform standards for when hurricane windstorm deductibles are triggered; and
- S.5580 (Seward)/A.7452 (Moya), which prohibits an insurer that provides business interruption insurance from denying coverage for a claim for loss or damage caused by a peril covered by the policy when such peril was caused by another peril not covered by the policy.
UPDATE: Each of these bills has passed the Assembly; the Senate is expected to propose a Sandy response package, but not take action on these bills.
- S.4392 (Gallivan) which permit employers to provide employees the option of electing to receive their wages via a debit card
We are opposing a number of bills that would add to the cost of energy in New York, including;
- S.1184 (Maziarz)/A.2129 (Sweeney) that would mandate a two percent biodiesel requirement for all heating oil sold in the MTA region by October 1, 2013 and statewide by July 1, 2014, and
- A.5060-B (Englebright) that requires the PSC to mandate a minimum $150 million per year solar program for 10 years.
UPDATE: S.1184A has been amended to delay implementation by one year, and is now the same as A. 7906. A. 5060-B has been amended to a C print and is positioned to pass the Assembly next week if a three-way compromise cannot be reached.
- S.5536-A (Maziarz) that promotes the extension of natural gas service to business, institutional and residential customers, including assistance with permitting, financial assistance, real property tax abatement, and financing; and
- S.1119-A (Maziarz) which provides an exemption for the transportation and storage of up to 50,000 gallons of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) if such activity conforms to federal, regulations and codes administered by the National Fire Protection Association.
- S.2551 (Hannon)/A.7253 (Montesano), which mandates health plans which cover out-of-network services to reimburse at least 80% of the FAIR Health UCR;
- S.4526 (Hannon)/A.6519 (Silver), creating the Freelancers Health Plan Demonstration Program allowing that organization the opportunity to offer experience rated insurance products rather than community rated products like other small group insurers; and
- S.5715 (Bonacic)A.7828 (Weinstein) would eliminate the right of subrogation for health insurers and limit their ability to recuperate costs from responsible third parties.
UPDATE: S.2551/A.7253 is in both Senate and Assembly Insurance Committees and not expected to pass this session. S.4526 (Hannon) / A.6519 (Silver) is in committee in both houses and its making it to a vote in the Senate is uncertain. S.5715 (Bonacic)A.7828 (Weinstein) was recently introduces and is an active bill.
We are supporting;
- S.5481 (Maziarz)/A.7588 (Magee), which provides a refundable tax credit for small businesses and residents installing broadband;
- S.2512-B (Maziarz)/A.5466-A (Morelle) which eliminate telephone corporation rate schedule filings with PSC for non-basic retail services; and
- S.2644 (Little)/A.5503 (Galef), which creates an assessment ceilings for local public utility mass real property.
- S.78 (Peralta)/A.1190 (Cahill), which prevents telecommunications providers from using call centers out of state; and
- A.1117 (Kavanagh), which requires web advertising networks to comply with notice requirements and customer consent.
We are pushing for two bills;
- S.3766-A (Little) / A.5119-A (Russell) which will allow local governments and school districts to make purchases through cooperative contracts or purchase agreements that were competitively bid using best value, and
- S.4915 (Golden) / A.7148 (Camara) that expands the functions and membership of the State Procurement Council, and that would lead to additional public information on the state’s strategic sourcing initiative.
UPDATE: S.3766-A (Little)/A.5119-A (Russell) has already passed the Senate and is on third calendar reading in the Assembly; it is expected to pass next week. While S.4915 (Golden)/A.7148 (Camara) has passed in the Senate it has not moved in the Assembly; we will continue to advocate for its passage.
- S.3109-A (Martins) / A.2179-B (Goldfeder) which clarifies the difference between service charges and gratuities that certain business, such as catering and banquet halls, charge to customers, to rectify the differing standards in court decisions and Department of Labor opinions.
UPDATE: At this point we do not believe this bill will move in either house.
- We support S.5719 (Skelos)/A.7871 (Weinstein), which would provide for summary action to foreclose upon vacant and abandoned residential real property.
- We oppose S.5251 (Klein)/A.7395 (Weinstein), which creates criminal penalties for any person who, being an agent of a residential mortgage business, acting within the scope of his or her employment, intentionally engages in “residential mortgage foreclosure fraud” as defined in this legislation.
- We support S.4762 (DeFrancisco) which amends eligibility provisions of the New York Youth Works Tax Credit.
UPDATE: Companion legislation has been introduced, A.7928 (Roberts).
- We oppose S.5138 (Fuschillo)/A.6558 (Sweeney), the “Sea Level Rise” bill that, among other things, would require certain major permits issued pursuant to the Uniform Procedures Act to include consideration of climate risk.
UPDATE: Amendments have been provided to the sponsors to address concerns with the legislation.