This Week in Government Affairs
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
August 23, 2017
We look forward to seeing our Government Affairs Committee members at the 2017 Annual Meeting. If you plan on attending, you may want to make your room reservations today, as our room block will be released today. Reservations should me made directly with The Sagamore using group code BCNYS2017, or call 866.385.6221 and identify yourself as being with The Business Council of New York State, Inc. The theme of this year’s conference is “The Future of New York State Business” and you will hear from top-flight experts in transportation, health care, cyber security and much, much more. The agenda is coming together and includes speakers like our Opening Keynote: Gabrielle Bosché, The Millennial Solution and Beth Smith, General Manager, IBM Watson AI, IBM Corporation and much more. You do not want to miss this Annual Meeting. Registration is available here.
Two new regulations proposed by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) were published in today’s (8/23/17) State Register, with a 45 day public comment period. The Business Council is requesting input from member companies as we prepare comments in advance of the October 16, 2017 submission deadline. The Business Council submitted comments on initial draft rules circulated last fall, and testified at JCOPE’s 12/7/16 public hearing. Our comments and testimony, as well as those submitted by other organizations, are all posted on the JCOPE website here.
Please feel free to contact email@example.com, or 518-694-4460 (new direct dial number) with any questions or comments.
The proposed Part 943 is a compilation of regulatory provisions addressing definitions, client reporting, lobbyist registration and reporting, procurement lobbying and other provisions. Key issues/provisions include the following:
- As was proposed in the initial draft, this proposal modifies the Lobby Act’s statutory exemption for commissioned salesperson by limiting it to person’s for whom “commissions paid as portion of sales constitute, or is intended to constitute at least 50% of the person’ total annual compensation” (proposed Part 943.8(c)(2)(i)(d))
- In provisions related to lobbyists bi-monthly reports (proposed Part 943.11(f)(7)(i)) and client semi-annual reports (proposed Part 943.12(f)((9)), the proposed rule says that lobbyists need to identify “the name of the public official or public official’s office or the legislative committee . . . with whom the lobbyist engaged in direct communications.” JCOPE explained that you would need to identify specific legislative offices (e.g, Office of Senator Jones), but not the specific individuals. While an improvement over the initial draft rule, we still see this as inconsistent with statutory provisions.
- The revised draft rule reflects a number of recommendations made by The Business Council, including: excluding volunteer participants in lobby days and similar activities from reporting requirements; clarification of provisions related to “coalitions” that will avoid most additional reporting and/or the double reporting of lobby expenses; use of the State Finance Law’s updated definition of “restricted period” relative to procurement contracts.
JCOPE is also proposing amendments to its existing Part 938 rule regarding “source of funding” disclosure, which is made consistent with provisions of Part 943, and updates provisions related to requests for exemption from this disclosure mandate. Our concerns regarding Part 938 mostly apply to pre-existing provisions on calculating the source of funding threshold, which result in a significant over-reporting of lobbying income.