This Week in Government Affairs

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
June 16, 2017


Session Update

We have just three days left on the 2017 session schedule, with Wednesday June 21 the scheduled adjournment date, and all indications are that the legislature will adjourn on time or very close to it. Major outstanding issues include extension of mayoral control of NYC schools (set to expire June 30), extension of upstate and NYC local taxes, and an increase the number of charter schools, as well as improved oversight of economic development programs and governmental procurement.

The Business Council has been actively involved in discussions on economic development and procurement reform, as well as other issues that impact businesses operating in New York State. Our end of session priorities list, with links to bill memos, is available here.

Please feel free to reach out to myself at 518-465-7511, extension 205 or ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org, or other members of our government affairs staff, with questions or comments on these or other legislative issues of interest. Also, please feel free to share this EOS memo with your chamber’s members.

Recent Legislation

We wanted to call your attention to several bills that were recently introduced or amended that may be of interest.

Right of Publicity” -  This bill - S.5857-A (Savino) / A.8155-A (Morelle) – replaces the state’s “right of privacy” statute with a “right of publicity” law. In short it creates a property right for a person’s name, voice, signature and likeness which lasts 40 years post mortem; provides for the registration of a person’s “right of publicity” with the department of state; and allows for injunctions and damages for any unauthorized use of a person’s “right of publicity” within New York State. The legislation goes as far as to place in the civil rights law restrictions on the use of one’s “characteristic” to mean “distinctive appearance”, “gesture or mannerisms.” The bill raises concerns about significant litigation against entities inadvertently employing any likenesses in advertising, media, fundraising or other purposes.
Staff contact: johnny.evers@bcnys.org      

“Buy American”
Several “made in America” proposals were introduced but ultimately rejected in the FY 2018 budget process. This new  legislation -- S.6639 (Robach) / A.8427 (Morelle) --  has a much narrower focus, applying only to steel, iron and concrete used in contracts valued at $1 million or more for the construction or repair of roads and bridges, and requires that any such material that is “permanently incorporated into such road or bridge” be produced  in whole or substantial part in the United States. Staff contact: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org .

“Design Build”
This legislation - S.6427 (Lanza) / A.8134 (Benedetto) - authorizes New York City to use design build contracts for certain public works undertaken pursuant to project labor agreements. Specifically, it would allow the City of New York to undertake eight (8) projects, including an almost $2 billion portion of the BQE, to utilize the project delivery method known as design-build if project labor agreements (PLAs) are also put in place. While The Business Council supports the use of design-build as a cost-saving, and often faster, delivery method for public work construction, we have opposed the automatic coupling of PLAs as a condition for utilizing design-build. Staff contact: johnny.evers@bcnys.org

ZEC Fees
The Senate has passed legislation – S.6651/(Flanagan - that directs the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)to administer and finance a zero carbon emissions investment program, using existing funding streams, while preventing them from increasing additional fees, rentals, penalties, or other charges. The legislation would end the PSC imposed zero-emissions credits (ZECs) fees, although the legislation would not amend the renewable energy credits (RECs) the other part of the Clean Energy Standard (CES) mandate. If the legislation was adopted it would save energy consumers nearly $500M this year, leaving them with a little less than a $ 1 B in energy assessments. The legislation is not the only bill that will address the ZEC program. A.8190 (Paulin) requires the Public Service Commission to adjust the zero emissions credit based upon the customers benefit; S.6611 (Gianaris)/A. 8246 (Dinowitz) would transfer residential customers ZEC obligations to businesses, nonprofits, and government entities. Staff contact: darren.suarez@bcnys.org

Executive Order 162 Update

On June 1, 2017 the Cuomo Administration issued “preliminary guidance” on implementation of Executive Order 162. The guidelines, forms, instructions and FAQ document are accessible online at https://esd.ny.gov/doing-business-ny/mwbe/mwbe-executive-order-162. After considerable pressure from The Business Council and other organizations, the Administration established a 30-day public comment period prior to finalization, with comments due on June 30, 2017.

The Business Council will be submitting comments, and is working with a coalition of business associations to submit joint comments as well. We welcome input and questions from Committee members. Staff contact: ken.pokalsky@bcnys.org.

The EO, issued in January 2017, will require most state contractors to submit detailed information on pay levels for their employees working on state contracts, broken down by race/ethnicity and sex, and would apply to state contracts issued on or after June 1, 2017.

The Business Council has raised a number of serious concerns with the Administration with regard to both the Executive Order and its implementation plan. A summary of key provisions and major concerns is provided below.

Key concerns: