This Week in Government Affairs
February 24, 2014
Common Core Fact vs. Fiction – Although last week the New York State Board of Regents approved measures to adjust Common Core implementation in New York state — the class of 2022, instead of the class of 2017, will be the first to be required to pass the more rigorous requirements — The Business Council continues to support implementation and the higher academic standards, without delay. The Business Council released a “fact vs. fiction” guide to help clarify information surrounding the Common Core State Standards. Topics addressed include data privacy, state testing and workforce readiness.
- Local municipal minimum wages - A series of bills have been introduced that would give villages, towns, cities, counties and public benefit corporations the authority to establish their own local minimum wages and other employment standards. Two of the bills would amend the state’s labor law and authorize municipalities to determine wages, hours and other working conditions that would be more favorable than state standards (S.6516 Stewart-Cousins and A.8746 Heastie). Enforcement could be done at either the municipal or state level. Another bill would also authorize municipalities to establish and enforce a minimum wage higher than the state level (S.6537 Sanders); additional legislation introduced would add a provision to the Labor Law sections on the operation of Wage Boards permitting municipalities to set minimum wages up to 25 percent higher than the state levels (A.8767 Kavanagh). Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
- Accelerating minimum wage increases- A bill has been introduced by Senator Espaillat and Assemblyman Heastie that would accelerate the implementation of last year’s minimum wage increases and add some other new provisions. S6518 (Espaillat/A8343 (Heastie) would move the effective date of the state’s $9.00 per hour minimum wage to December 2014 from December 2015 and skip the $8.75 per hour minimum wage increase due this year. In addition, the state’s minimum wage would be indexed annually thereafter. Tip workers cash would also increase to $6.20 per hour in December 2014 and be indexed annually thereafter. Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
- Women’s equality- As the Senate coalition did last session, members of the Assembly Minority have just introduced individual bills covering employment related components of the Governor’s 2013 women’s quality agenda. While not same-as bills, they pair up as follows:
- S5880 (Hannon) & A8792 (Walter) -Requires reasonable accommodation for pregnancy-related medical conditions.
- S5874 (Little) & A8796 (Borelli) - Awards attorney fees in employment cases
- S5873 (Valesky) & A8799 (Corwin) - For sexual harassment cases in the human rights law , removes the small business exclusion.
- S5875 (Little) & A8811 (McLaughlin) - Adds family status as a protected class in the human rights law.
On June 20, 2013 and again on January 27, 2014, the Assembly passed A8070 (Titus), the Women’s Equality Act, a single bill containing these and other individual provisions plus controversial reproductive rights provisions not passed by the Senate.
- Opioid abuse - The Senate Health Committee will take up a one-house bill that- in an effort to control opioid abuse— would allow medical professionals to dispense schedule II or III controlled substances to patients for time periods of between three and ten days, expressly excluding chronic pain, cancer pain, or palliative care patients (S.2949-A Hannon). The legislation, which passed the Senate last year, would also prohibit additional co-payments for prescriptions that would subsequently complete a 30 day supply.
- Universal pre-K – The Business Council issued a memo in support of the Executive Budget proposal that would allocate $1.475 billion for statewide universal pre-K (S.6353-A/A.8553-A), and recommends a further amendment that would allow charter schools to provide pre-K programs as well. Research shows that high-quality programs have positive effects that remain substantial by the third grade and a benefit-cost ratio of up to 17:1.
- Enhanced tax credit – The Executive Budget includes language that would enhance the successful New York Youth Works Tax Credit, which provides employers with a tax credit for hiring youth age 16-24 for full- or part-time work in Albany, Buffalo, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, New York City, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Utica, White Plains and Yonkers. The Business Council supports the enhanced credit, which would provide employers an additional $1,000 for each full-time employee if he or she is employed for at least an additional year after the first year of employment; and an additional $500 for each part-time employee (20 hours/week, or 10 hours/week for high school students) employed for an additional year (S.6359-A/A.8559-A, Part U).
- P-TECH funding – The Business Council issued a memo in support of the Executive Budget proposal to provide $5 million for the New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School Program (contained in S.6353-A/A.8553-A). The flagship P-TECH school — a partnership among IBM, New York City Department of Education, City University of New York and City Tech — is already achieving impressive results: 97 percent of students from the initial 9th grade class are now juniors, and they are passing Regents exams at a higher rate than their peers.
Bill memos - The legislative memo section on The Business Council’s website includes updated information on bills of interest and/or concern to members.
- JCOPE - The Joint Commission on Public Ethics continues to move forward with its Part 934 regulations governing the Lobbying Act's "gift" exemption, with a revised rulemaking going out for a final 30 day public comment period. It modifies its definition of "nominal value" from $10 to $15. This rule includes provisions objected to by The Business Council as inconsistent with underlying statute, including limitations on what constitutes a political event and a professional program, and establishes uncertain provisions regarding multiple gifts. The Business Council will be submitting comments on the revised rules. Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky
- More information on The Business Council’s Regulatory Agenda.
Visit The Business Council’s Political Action Committee (PAC) page for information on upcoming PAC events.