This Week in Government Affairs
April 8, 2014

Top Story

The Business Council last week released its statement and analysis on the SFY 2014-15 budget.

Legislative Update

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act Passes Both Houses

The Senate and Assembly last week passed the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act. The bill would create a Division of Veteran Businesses within the Office of General Services and create an annual goal of 6 percent of state contracts for certified service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. The Business Council supports this legislation.

New York City Paid Vacation Mandate Introduced

On March 26, only days before the April 1 effective date of the new New York City Sick Time mandate, City Council members Jumaane D. Williams and Corey D. Johnson introduced a bill that would require those private sector employers with employees within the NYC limits to provide paid vacation time. After an initial six month waiting period, employees would accrue paid vacation time each pay period. Full-time employees would be entitled to 40 hours of paid vacation for the 12-month period following the initial waiting period; 60 hours of paid vacation time for the 12 month period beginning with the eighteenth month of employment; 80 hours of paid vacation for the 12-month period beginning after the thirtieth month of employment; and 120 hours of paid vacation for each 12-month period beginning after the sixtieth month of employment. Part-time employees’ vacation entitlement would be pro-rated by the employer. The proposal is also filled with additional notice requirements, rules, penalties and non-retaliation provisions.
Staff contact: Frank Kerbein

Federal Update

SCOTUS Decision on Aggregate Limits for Contributions

On April 2, the Supreme Court ruled that aggregate limits placed on contributors are unconstitutional in that they violate the First Amendment. The ruling does not affect contribution (receipt) limits, only aggregate limits placed on a contributor. The ruling strikes down aggregate limits because the Court has determined such limits restrict a contributor’s political speech by limiting how many candidates or causes they can support. New York State places aggregate limits on corporate entities and individuals; the individual limit is $150,000 year but the corporate limit is much more restrictive at $5,000 a year.

Business Council Comments on Constitution Pipeline Project

The Business Council last week issued comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in support of expeditiously advancing the Constitution Pipeline project. The project – a 124-mile long pipeline - would connect Pennsylvania gas fields to two important interstate natural gas lines, Iroquois Gas Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline systems, respectively, in the Town of Wright, Schoharie County. The Iroquois line is critical in meeting gas capacity needs in New York City and Long Island, while the Tennessee line runs east to New England. Projects like Constitution are vital to meeting the growing demand for clean burning natural gas and reducing the volatility of natural gas prices.
Staff contact: Darren Suarez

Business Council Comments on Proposed “Ambush Election” Regulation

The Business Council last week issued comments on this proposed rule, which could shorten the time from when the union’s petition is filed until the election to as little as 10 or 11 days, significantly limiting the employees' right to a "robust debate" of workplace issues. Requirements that employers turn over the personal contact information of their employees to the union are raising privacy issues as well. The rule was first proposed by the National Labor Relations Board in 2011 but was challenged in court with the court ultimately ruling that the Board used improper procedures in adopting the rule. Implementation of the rule was halted. Despite the Board receiving almost 66,000 written comments at that time with many expressing concern about the proposal, the current proposal is essentially the same as the 2011 version.
Staff contact: Frank Kerbein

Briefly Noted

Please note the following additional items of interest:

Statement on Common-Core Aligned Assessments

On March 28, in advance of students in grades 3 through 8 taking Common-Core aligned assessments for the second year, The Business Council released a statement urging continued implementation of the Common Core standards.

Gaming Consultant Announced

The New York Gaming Facility Location Board has selected the firm of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP to provide gaming advisory services for the review—and ultimate selection—of casino applicants for upstate New York. Click here to learn more.

Tourism Summit

The next New York State Tourism Summit will be held on May 7 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

New NYSUT President

NYSUT delegates elected a new president, Karen Magee, over the weekend. According to NYSUT’s release, Magee is a veteran elementary and special education teacher from Harrison. She will replace Richard C. Iannuzzi.

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