This Week in Government Affairs
February 3, 2014
Brownfield Amendments – Last week, Darren Suarez, The Business Council’s director of environmental and energy programs, gave testimony at a joint legislative budget hearing to support extending and updating the state’s brownfield cleanup and tax incentive program. While we support a number of reform provisions included in the Executive Budget, we raised concerns about overly restrictive criteria for future redevelopment credits that were included in the proposal. Our full testimony is available here. We continue to seek member input on brownfield reform proposals. Staff contact: Darren Suarez
- Budget overview – Division of Budget Director Robert Megna gave a detailed presentation on the FY 2015 Executive Budget at our Government Affairs Council meeting last week, which includes both a review of economic conditions and revenue forecasts on which the budget is based, as well as a discussion of the Governor’s tax reform package and the state’s multi-year financial plan. The Business Council’s review of the Executive Budget is available here. Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky
- Input needed on Education Initiatives - The Business Council is looking for further input on education initiatives proposed in the Governor’s budget; namely, universal pre-K, the $2 billion Smart Schools Initiative, and the proposal to provide STEM scholarship to the top 10 percent of high school graduates.
- Employee records legislatio - Last week, the Assembly Labor Committee reported out legislation opposed by The Business Council that would require private and public sector employers to provide access to employees’ personnel files (S.4134/A.1174). Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
- Movement on health-care provider bill - Legislation on this week’s Assembly Codes Committee Agenda would prohibit PBMs, HMOs and insurers from offering incentives to health-care providers to switch a patient from a specific prescription drug to another specific drug. The bill excludes generic substitution (A.4787)
Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg
- Scaffold Law reform lobby day - Please join other advocates in Albany in urging lawmakers to enact Scaffold Law reform on February 11 in the Empire State Plaza (Meeting Rooms 1 and 5). The event is free, and all are welcome. Last year's Scaffold Law reform lobby day at the Capitol drew over 150 attendees, with an even greater turnout expected for this year. In order to ensure we get you in front of the right legislators, please register here. Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
Bill memos - The legislative memo section on The Business Council’s website includes updated information on bills of interest and/or concern to members.
- MWBE rule changes - Empire State Development has issued a proposed rulemaking to update its the Minority - and Women-owned Business Enterprise program. The proposed changes include removing references to the outdated 2010 Disparity Study and amending agency goals for contracting with MWBEs in four categories: services, commodities, construction and construction-related services. The Business Council is seeking feedback from our members and will be submitting comments. Public comments are due March 17, 2014. Please click here to view all of the proposal changes.
- 2014 Draft Energy Plan - The New York State Energy Planning Board will hold a series of public hearings on the 2014 Draft New York State Energy Plan, the first of which will be held on February 18 at 10 a.m., at the College for Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany. The Business Council Energy Committee will meet to discuss the Draft at its meeting on February 4 at 9:30 a.m. Additional information is located on the events page. Staff contact: Darren Suarez
- Please visit The Business Council’s Political Action Committee (PAC) page for information on upcoming PAC events.
Please note the following additional items of interest:
- Gaming - As of early February, the Gaming Commission had yet to name a consultant to help the siting board evaluate proposals for casino licenses. Five members of the Gaming Facility Siting Board, to be appointed by the Gaming Commission, also to be named. The Business Council continues to follow this process closely.
- Career and Technical Education – The Business Council’s new Career and Technical Education committee held its first meeting on January 24 in Albany. Chuck Szuberla, assistant commissioner at the state education department, spoke about the importance of CTE and the potential for an alternative pathway to a Regents diploma. Companies who support a CTE diploma should express their support to the Regents.