This Week in Government Affairs
April 14, 2014

Legislative Update

Purchase of Prescription Drugs

Legislation was reported out of the Assembly Insurance Committee last week that would prevent health insurance plans from requiring retail pharmacies to meet the same terms and conditions as mail order pharmacies, and joining a provider network, ultimately resulting in higher prescription drug costs to consumers (S.3995-A Maziarz/A.5723-A Heastie). The Business Council submitted a memo in opposition to the bill.
Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg

Pharmacy Benefit Managers

A one-house bill that would place significant restrictions on pharmacy benefit managers in placing prescription drugs on a maximum allowable cost price list was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health Committee last week (A.9264/Rosenthal).
Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg

Medical Treatment Guidelines

A bill that would allow for the use of nationally recognized medical treatment guidelines for workers compensation when there isn’t an existing state guideline for a particular conditions or body part was introduced to the Senate Labor Committee (S.6997 Savino)/A.9068 Bronson). We are currently assessing the impact of the bill and encourage members to contact us with input. Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg

Bill memos - The legislative memo section on The Business Council’s website includes updated information on bills of interest and/or concern to members.

Regulatory Update

JCOPE Update – The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has several new rulemakings pending (their listing of proposed and final rules is available here).

Part 934 – Gift Regulations

On April 9, JCOPE issued a notice of revised rulemaking for its rule related to the Lobbying Act’s restrictions on clients and lobbyists providing “gifts” to public officials. JCOPE addressed our most significant concerns during their informal public input process However, we still have concerns with the proposal’s definition of political events, and its treatment of professional/education events and multiple exempt gifts. We will be submitting comments prior to the May 9 submission deadline. Input from members is welcome.
Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky

Part 938 – Source of Funding

JCOPE adopted emergency amendments, effective March 10, 2014, to its existing “source of funding” rule, and is accepting comments on the permanent adoption of these changes through April 26. The only amendments being adopted affect the appeals process for entities whose application for an exemption from donor disclosure requirements was denied. The Business Council will not be commenting on those provisions, but will reiterate its concerns about the excessively broad disclosure requirements adopted in the original rule, which for a trade association requires the disclosure of contributors of over $5,000 in aggregate, rather than $5,000 used for lobbying expenses as stipulated in statute.
Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky

Supreme Court Decision on DOH’s Executive Compensation Cap

On Friday, Judge Thomas Feinman, Supreme Court, Nassau County, issued a decision that could have far-reaching implications for Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order #38 regarding executive compensation and administrative costs. In Agencies for Children's Therapy Services, Inc., Plaintiff v. New York State Department of Health, a non-profit industry association representing more than 25 providers sued the health department and Governor Cuomo over DOH’s promulgation of 10 NYCRR sections 1002.2(a) and 1002.3(a), which among other things directs that state funded compensation for executives is to be capped at $199,000. Judge Feinman found that DOH violated separation of powers and failed all measures of a four-pronged test established by the Court of Appeals' 1987 ruling in Boreali v. Axelrod. The Legislature has "made clear how service providers are chosen and how conflicts of interest are best avoided, leaving no provision for the [health department] to have any regulatory role in this area." Feinman further concluded that DOH "acted in an area in which the legislature had repeatedly tried—and failed—to reach agreement." DOH "cross[ed] the line from administrative rule making into legislative policy making." The state has indicated that it would appeal this decision. Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg

Please visit the The Business Council’s Regulatory Agenda page for more information

Briefly Noted

Please note the following additional items of interest:

New Common Core Initiatives

State Education Commissioner John King last week announced three initiatives to support transition to the Common Core as he addressed guests and students at the Wagner School at New York University. These include: a $16 million grant program, Teaching is the Core, to reduce local testing; a plan to take teachers from across the state to help shape the state’s curriculum and instruction supports around the new standards; and a challenge to local administrators and union leaders to build time into school schedules for more professional development. King’s full speech is available here.

Change of Leadership at DOH

State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah has announced that he is leaving his post in June to take a position in the private sector. Dr. Howard Zucker, first deputy commissioner, will act as interim Commissioner until a new Commissioner is appointed and confirmed.

Environmental Excellence Awards

The DEC last week issued a press release announcing that it is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Environmental Excellence Awards. Applications are due no later than May 9; according to the release, DEC is especially interested in “projects that achieve significant environmental benefits through: green infrastructure projects; initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; cutting-edge pollution prevention technologies; initiatives to ‘green’ businesses, farms, schools, recreational, health care and hospitality facilities; innovative wind, solar and biomass projects; creative natural resource/habitat protection or restoration efforts; energy efficiency improvements; innovative education and training programs; waste reduction and recycling efforts; manufacturing process improvements; creative approaches to urban forestry or farming and programs advancing ‘grown locally.’” Click here to download application materials.

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