This Week in Government Affairs
December 9, 2014
- Two of the three undecided Assembly races have been settled.
- Incumbent Democrat Didi Barrett has won re-election in the 106th AD (Columbia and Dutchess counties), defeating Republican Michael Kelsey. Although results are not “official,” her lead of 400 exceeds the number of remaining absentee and affidavit ballots.
- Incumbent Democrat Addie J. Russell also retained her seat in the 116th AD (Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties), by less than 100 votes, over Republican John L. Byrne III. Again, the number of remaining absentee ballots was not sufficient to alter the final outcome.
- The remaining undecided race is the 98th AD, (Rockland and Orange counties) where Republican Karl Brabenec has a 164-vote lead over Democratic opponent Elisa Tutini.
Prior to Election Day, the Assembly breakout was 97 democrats, 41 republicans, 1 independent and 11 vacancies. If the current vote counts hold, the 2015 session will start with 107 democrats, 42 republicans and 1 independent, for a net change of one seat. Only one incumbent lost (with Dean Murray (R) defeating incumbent Edward Hennessey (D) in the 3rd AD), and two seats switched parties with Carrie Woerner (D) winning the 113th AD, a seat formerly held by Tony Jordan (R); and Angela Wozniak (R) willing the 143rd AD, the seat formerly held by Dennis Gabryszak (D).
- Update on workers’ comp mandate
The Business Council sent a veto request to the governor on legislation (S.7634-B/A.9721-B) that would mandate that employers and insurers pay for the services of licensed acupuncturists under the Workers' Compensation Law. Click here to read the opposition memo. Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg
- NYC enacts mandated pre-tax transit benefits
Last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation passed by the city council that requires New York City private sector employers with 20 or more employees to offer pre-tax transit benefits. Existing federal tax laws already allow businesses to offer workers $130/month as pre-tax income for transportation. This new requirement will be effective in January 2016. Several times since 2004, similar state-level legislation has been proposed, applicable to private sector employers with 50 employees or more. These bills have remained in committee. Here is more information on the new city law. Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
- DFS emergency rulemaking
The Department of Financial Services (DFS) promulgated an emergency rule creating a mediation program to facilitate the negotiation of certain insurance claims due to Hurricane Sandy arising in New York, Bronx, Kings, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Orange Counties between October 26, 2012, and November 15, 2012, due to Hurricane Sandy. Participation by the insured is voluntary and may be utilized for a claim for loss or damage to personal or real property: that the insurer has denied; for which the insured disputes the insurer’s settlement offer if the difference is more than $1,000; or that has not been settled within 45 days after the insurer received all information necessary to decide the claim. This proposal does not apply to motor vehicle claims. The mediation program is mandatory for insurers except participation is not required if: property valuation dispute; claim is the subject of civil litigation; or if the insurer has reason to believe or knowledge that a fraudulent insurance transaction has taken place. The emergency rule is effective as of November 7, 2014, and expires February 4, 2015. Click here to access the text of the emergency regulation.
- Comments on Clean Power Plan
The Business Council submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the potential adverse effects of its carbon pollution standards for existing power plants (“Clean Power Plan”). The Business Council supports efforts to reduce the carbon intensity of our economy in a manner that does not injure economic growth and maintains that there are more efficient and effective solutions to addressing the release of GHG than the Clean Power Plan. However, we raised concerns that the Clean Power Plan lacks statutory authority, penalizes early adopters, and does not truly support RGGI and “outside the fence” approaches as compliance mechanisms. Click here to view The Business Council’s comments. Staff contact: Darren Suarez
Please note the following additional items of interest:
- Common Core Event in Westchester
The Business Council of Westchester is hosting a joint forum on business engagement in education on Wednesday, December 10 from 8 – 10 a.m. that will highlight the importance of public-private partnerships and provide the employer community with information on the common core state standards. Guest speakers include Dr. Salvador Fernandez, executive director of the school of achievement (New York City Department of Education); Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of Th Business Council of New York State; and Allison Armour-Garb, education policy expert at the Public Policy Institute of New York State (PPI). The free event is sponsored by PPI and the Committee for Economic Development, and is free for Business Council members.