This Week in Government Affairs
August 18, 2016
- The Business Council welcomes the newest members of its GAC staff, Meghan Kayser, in her role as government affairs administrator. Meghan was most recently employed as an office assistant at the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals. She received her B.A. in political science and international affairs from the University of New Hampshire. Meghan can be reached at email@example.com or 518.465.7511, ext. 202.
- Restricted period bill signed into law - Governor Cuomo recently signed into law a clean-up bill supported by The Business Council to clarify the definition of “restricted period” in State Finance Law (SFL) Section 139-k (Ch. 156, 2016). The FY 2017 enacted budget included language amending SFL 139-j to stipulate that the blackout period on communications during a procurement begins only at the earliest posting of an RFP on a government entity’s website or in a newspaper or procurement opportunities newsletter.
- Superfund site bill signed into law – The governor signed into law legislation opposed by The Business Council, which adds Section 214-f to the Civil Practice Law and Rules with respect to Superfund sites (Ch. 128, 2016). Specifically, the bill provides that a personal-injury action based on contact with or exposure to any of the substances found within an area designated as a Superfund site may be commenced: “within the period allowed pursuant to section 214-c of this article;” or “within three years of such designation of such area as a superfund site,” whichever is latest. Staff contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Business Council to re-establish its Construction Council - On November 17, The Business Council will host its first meeting of the re-constituted New York State Construction Industry Council (NYSCIC). The NYSCIC represents a vast cross-section of The Business Council’s membership including: construction companies; home builders; engineering, surveying and architectural firms; construction materials suppliers and cement companies; heaving highway construction; and, all of the state trade associations dedicated to the construction industry. The major focus of the meeting will be the development of a 2017 legislative and regulatory program. Some of the key topics will include the recently adopted state transportation funding master plan(MTA and upstate), state mandated percentage MWBE levels within construction contracts and tort reform. The committee will also recap the legislation from the 2016 session with an emphasis on a number of bills related to the construction industry. The location and guest speaker will be announced in the near future. Staff contact: email@example.com
- Assembly holds hearing on economic development - On August 3, the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry held a hearing in Albany on oversight of the FY 2017 state budget and the agencies and programs related to economic development. The Business Council testified at the hearing on the programs operated by Empire State Development(ESD) and the overall business climate in New York State. The full testimony can be accessed here. While largely supportive of several ESD programs such as Excelsior Jobs and the Global NY Fund, The Business Council reminded the committee that the Excelsior Jobs program was cut by $150 million in the state budget and the threshold for jobs and investment under Excelsior seemed too high for some small to mid-sized manufacturers. To counter this problem this past legislative session, The Business Council had legislation (S.7583/A.10156) introduced to expand Excelsior Jobs by lowering the entry thresholds in regards to investment and jobs required thus opening the door for more applicants. However, neither house of the Legislature enacted the changes. Much of The Business Council’s testimony focused on the overall economic issues impacting business, particularly the parts of the state budget making New York’s business climate more difficult for employers: an increased minimum wage, paid family leave, a failure to address both workers’ comp and business tax relief and New York’s costly energy policies. Staff contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Upcoming Assembly hearing on water quality issues - The New York State Senate recently announced that it will hold a legislative hearing to discuss Hoosick Falls water quality issues. The joint hearing of the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 30, at the Hoosick Falls High School located at 21187 NY-22. The hearing will be examining PFOA drinking water contamination in the Hoosick Falls. The committees are expected to hear from state and federal officials and experts, local residents and others on what can be done to assist affected communities and mitigate future incidents.
- Upcoming webinar on TASC - In January 2014, the TASC exam replaced the GED exam as New York’s official high school equivalency test. But what does this mean for test-takers and the employers who hire them? Webinar participants will hear from three Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) representatives: David Seitter, senior VP of sales, marketing and product development; Deedra Arvin, test development director; and Lori Fritts, TASC product director. These guest speakers will discuss what is different about the new test, what employers should know, and how DRC is working to ensure adherence to new, higher standards for Adult Education.
DRC is one of the largest educational assessment and curriculum/instruction companies in the industry. The company is a full-service provider of customized, K-12 statewide assessments in 20 states and serves the needs of Adult Education with the products TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) and TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion), New York’s High School Equivalency test.
- Final DFS regulation - The Department of Financial Services (DFS) has adopted a risk-based anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulation that requires all banks, private banks, trust companies, savings and loan associations chartered pursuant to the New York Banking Law; all licensed branches and agencies of foreign banking corporations licensed to conduct banking operations in New York and all licensed money transmitters and licensed check cashers to maintain programs to monitor and filter transactions for potential Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) violations and prevent transactions with sanctioned entities. The final regulation requires these regulated institutions annually to submit a board resolution or senior officer compliance finding confirming steps taken to ascertain compliance with the regulation.
The Business Council, along with many of its members, submitted comments to DFS raising concerns that the proposed regulations were an overly-broad response to the department’s findings of discrete compliance issues in an area that is already robust with such rulemaking on the state and federal levels.
Under the new rule, which will be effective January 1, 2017, regulated institutions are required to review their transaction monitoring and filtering programs and ensure that they are reasonably designed to comply with risk-based safeguards. The institutions also must adopt (at the institution’s option) an annual board resolution or senior officer compliance finding to certify compliance with the DFS regulation beginning April 15, 2018. The resolution or finding must state that documents, reports, certifications and opinions of officers and other relevant parties have been reviewed by the board of directors or senior official to certify compliance with the regulation. The key requirements of the new DFS anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulation requires each relevant regulated institution to maintain a reasonably designed program for the purpose of monitoring transactions after their execution for potential BSA/AML violations and Suspicious Activity Reporting. Also, each relevant regulated institution must maintain a reasonably designed filtering program for the purpose of interdicting transactions that are prohibited by federal economic and trade sanctions; adopt and submit to the Superintendent of DFS a board resolution or senior officer compliance finding by April 15 of each year; and maintain for examination by DFS all records, schedules and data supporting adoption of the board resolution or senior officer compliance finding for a period of five years. Staff contact: email@example.com
Public Policy Institute Update
- Upcoming skills gap event - The Public Policy Institute of New York State (PPI) is co-sponsoring an upcoming event — Jobs, Education and the Skills Gap — along with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the Committee for Economic Development. The event will be held from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. on September 8 at Baruch College’s Newman Vertical Campus in Manhattan. Daniel Culbertson, U.S. economist with indeed.com, will provide data on job trends in New York City and on the state level, which will be followed by a panel discussion including Allison Armour-Garb, senior fellow at PPI; Chauncy Lennon, managing director of workforce inititaives and global philanthropy at JP Morgan Chase; and Merrill Pond, senior vice president for research at the Partnership for New York City. Jessica Walker, president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, will provide closing remarks. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Click here for more information on the event and on how to register.
- Verizon app challenge - Verizon recently announced a nationwide app contest, which challenges middle and high school students to develop concepts for mobile apps that solve a problem in their community. The submission deadline is November 18, 2016. Eligible participants include teams of students in grades 6 through 12 (with five to seven members, plus an advisor). Teams can register with their school (public, private, or parochial) or any non-profit group of club that is tax-exempt. The “best in state” winning teams receive prizes of $5,000 for their school or nonprofit group/club program and mobile tablets for every team members, plus the chance to compete for “best in region” and “best in nation.” The “best in nation” and “fan favorite” teams receive an additional $15,000 award for their school or nonprofit group/club, in-person coding training from MIT experts, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the National TSA Conference for each team member and a parent/guardian in the summer. Click here for more information on how to enter and for FAQs.
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