This Week in Government Affairs
May 13, 2014
- Movement on employment-related bills – Last week, legislation that would expand the current protections for whistleblowers contained in the state’s labor law was reported out from the Assembly Labor Committee to Codes (A.5696-A). The Business Council has consistently opposed enactment of this bill. At the last Senate Labor Committee meeting, two bills opposed by The Business Council were reported to the Senate Finance committee: the New York State Fair Pay Act, a pay equity bill that would mandate a comparable worth approach to private sector pay systems and require the state’s labor department to create a single job comparison system for private employers (S.1491) and legislation that would extend collective bargaining rights to the state’s farm workers as well as provisions concerning unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, overtime pay and time off (S.1743-A). The Business Council has opposed enactment of these bills; memos can be found here and here. Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
- Workers’ comp - Legislation on this week’s Senate Labor Committee agenda would mandate awards in cases former employees with partial disabilities who have voluntarily withdrawn from the labor market and simply enrolled in one of the Department of Labor's reemployment services, One-Stop Career Centers, retraining programs, rehabilitation program by VESID or other board approved rehabilitation programs, job services or for full time attendance in an educational institution (S.5294/A.7961). The bill in effect eliminates long-standing legal precedent that recognizes that the issue of wage-loss is case-specific and should be a factual determination by the Board. We will be issuing a memo in opposition to this bill. Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg
- Workers’ comp – Legislation on this week’s Senate Labor Committee agenda would create a fee schedule for massage therapy services, essentially expanding the comp system to include yet another group of workers compensation providers and mandating that employers and insurers pay for the services of licensed massage therapists (LMTs) under the Workers’ Compensation Law (S.1114-A/A.6634). The Business Council will issue a memo in opposition to this bill. Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg
- Workers’ comp - Legislation that would direct the Workers’ Comp board to adopt existing medical treatment standards where state standards do not exist is reappearing on the Senate Labor Committee agenda this week (S.6997/A.9068). 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.
Please visit the The Business Council’s Regulatory Agenda page for more information
Please note the following additional items of interest:
- Gaming - The Gaming Facilities Location Board today released the minimum capital investment for gaming facilities by zone and region as required by law. The board reviewed data on recently constructed and proposed gaming facilities in other states including Massachusetts, Maryland and Ohio, as well as in-state developments by Native American gaming facilities. Click here to view the minimum capital investment and factors related to their determination.
- Spring Environment Conference recap – On April 30, The Business Council held its Spring Environment Conference at the Hilton Albany. Commissioner Martens, who gave opening remarks, provided insight into the steps the Department of Environmental Conservation has recently taken to implement its mission in a better, faster, and more efficient way. The Commissioner was followed by a variety of speakers from the private sector, the state and the Department, who discussed the latest trends in process and permitting reforms. The keynote speaker, Xerox Corporation’s Chief Process Officer Gregory D. North, provided the audience with insight into the "Lean" process and efforts to Lean New York's government. “Lean” refers to a collection of principles and methods that focus on the identification and elimination of non-value added activity (waste) in any process. While Lean process improvement was developed for manufacturing processes, numerous environmental agencies at federal, state, and local levels have used Lean methods to work more effectively and efficiently by eliminating waste in government processes. It is often said that Lean is “common sense uncommonly applied.”
- Member news – Tony Collins, president of Clarkson University, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a member of the Advisory Board of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.