Government Affairs Council Update - April 27, 2018
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
Special Election Results – Shelley Mayer, the Democrat nominee, won the hotly contested election for SD-37, defeating Julie Killian (who was endorsed by The Business Council’s PAC). This victory, plus the Democrat candidate, Luis Sepulveda, winning SD-32 in the Bronx, produced a 32 to 31 Democrat majority in the Senate, but Senator Simcha Felder announced that he would continue to conference with the Senate Republicans for the remainder of the 2018 session, leaving the current majority in place.
Nine open Assembly seats were also filled in the April 24 special election. Only one seat changed party, AD-10 in Suffolk County, changing from Republican to Democrat.
Our report on the election results is available here.
Staff contact: Darren Suarez
Ban on Salary History - Governor Cuomo has released legislation (not yet introduced) that would prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s prior earnings history, and – unless such information was provided by the applicant “voluntarily and without promoting,” from considering salary history in hiring decisions or salary offers. Presented as a means to address pay equity issues, The Business Council sees this as having limited impact on the hiring process. Moreover, we are concerned that the bill does not pre-empt inconsistent local statutes addressing similar issues, nor does it provide an exemption where such inquiries are specifically authorized in law, or for internal transfers and promotions. We welcome member input as we continue to review and respond to this proposal. Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
"Call Center" Bill Moving in Assembly - The Business Council is opposing a “call center” bill, S.6282-A (Boyle)/A. 615-A (Rosenthal), that has passed the Assembly in past sessions is again active, now on the Assembly floor. Under its provisions, any employer that relocates call center operations from New York State to a location outside of the United States would be ineligible for any “tax benefit,” state grant, or other form of “governmental support” for a five year period. This prohibition would apply regardless of the business’ ongoing level of in-state employment, wages, capital investment, or other business presence, and regardless of the business reasons for the relocation and any beneficial impact that the relocation would have on overall customer services. Further, the legislation would also require any such call center operators to repay the value of any tax credits, grants or state support received after the effective date of this bill. Therefore, this bill would impose significant financial penalties on businesses with significant ongoing New York State business operations. We urge input from members impacted by this legislation. Staff contacts: Johnny Evers and Lev Ginsburg
Drug Take-Back Mandate - The Senate this week passed S.6673 (Hannon), a sensible drug-takeback bill that directs the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation to establish a statewide web listing of drug disposal sites, events and other disposal options in the state. We support an encourage passage in the Assembly. Staff contact: Lev Ginsburg
Plastic Bag Bill - On April 23, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo advanced a program bill (memo here) that would ban all single-use, plastic carryout bags at any point of sale in New York State. The legislation amends the current State preemption to clarify that fees and “other measures associated with reducing the use of single use bags.” The bill exempts garment bags, trash bags and any bags used to wrap or contain certain foods, such as fruits and sliced meats, and provides the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to exempt any other bag. The bill would go into effect on January 1, 2019. The Business Council is interested in hearing from members on their view of the legislation. You can find the The Governor’s press release here. Staff contact: Darren Suarez
P-TECH Update - This week the State Education Department and the Governor’s office put into writing what they had previously committed to with regard to grant extensions for P-TECH schools. In a memo issued April 23 by SED Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth R. Berlin, the administration committed funding for students enrolled in P-TECH schools to support these program past their current grant expiration dates, a measure that ensures that all enrolled students will be able to get their associate degree. The Business Council had advocated for an extension of existing grants, in order to assure continuation of the program for all current participants.
Staff contact: Amber L. Mooney
Final Lobby Rules - The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has adopted final “comprehensive” lobby rules. They are intended to apply to lobbyist registrations for the 2019-20 biennial period and all reports filed after January 1, 2019. The final rule is expected to be published in the May 9 State Register. The Commission is planning on guidance documents, training programs, and an outreach Conference this fall, all aimed at bringing the regulated community up to speed with its new provisions.
Key provisions of Part 943:
- the rule for the first time will require that lobbyist’s bi-monthly reports list specific elected officials and agency leaders lobbied, as well as specific public offices and legislative committees,
- it applies a modified definition of “commission salesperson” (for purpose of exemption from the prohibition on contingent fee contracts) that includes workable criteria recommended by The Business Council and others (e.g, primary purpose of employment is sales, and they are compensated in whole or part by commission),
- it will require that an organization’s board members, directors, and officers that lobby on behalf of the organization will have to be included on the organization’s statement of registration, whether they compensated or not for such lobbying activities,
- it adopts new financial disclosure requirements applicable to “coalitions,” defined as unaffiliated entities that pool funds for the primary purpose of lobbying,
- it adopts new provisions related to disclosures for grass roots lobbying (including social media based lobbying) and lobbying days,
- it maintains, and slightly modifies, JCOPE’s expansive application of “reportable business relationship” requirements to organization’s managers and board members.
- previously proposed language related to government procurement involving investments in securities and issuance of public debt were deleted from this rule, and will be subject to separate rulemaking.
We will update GAC members as JCOPE releases additional information on their outreach efforts.
Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky
Second Clean Energy Standard Solicitation - On April 25, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the second solicitation for large-scale renewable energy projects under the State's Clean Energy Standard. The solicitation is expected to procure 1.5 million megawatt-hours of renewable electricity per year. The new solicitation will include new provisions requiring that workers associated with the construction of any awarded facility be paid the prevailing wage. Bonus points are provided for renewable energy projects that avoid overlap with land of agricultural use, and developers to demonstrate that they have engaged host communities and have commenced the associated permitting processes.
Staff contact: Darren Suarez
Energy Efficiency Targets – On April 20, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new energy efficiency targets. The goal will be to reduce energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs (British thermal units) below forecasted energy use in 2025. Following the announcement, the DPS and NYSERDA have issued a White Paper [PDF] to the PSC energy efficiency proceeding to determine the mix of programs, policies and regulations that will be necessary to achieve the 2025 target while reducing consumer costs. Additionally, Governor Cuomo committed an additional $36.5 million to train over 19,500 New Yorkers for clean energy jobs. The Governor’s press release is available here. Staff contact: Darren Suarez
UPCOMING GAC MEETINGS
With the 2018 session scheduled through June 20, we have scheduled two additional Government Affairs Committee meetings: May 14 and June 11. Both will be 10:30 am to 12 noon at the Fort Orange Club in Albany. Guest speakers will be announced. We would appreciated it if you could RSVP on line if you plan on attending.
Staff contact: Meghan Kayser
ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON STATE TAXATION
The Business Council’s annual tax conference is Thursday, May 3 in Albany. Agenda and registration are available here. Notably, the agenda will be covering important compliance issues and options stemming from the recently enacted budget agreement, as well as other regulatory and compliance concerns impacting New York’s business community. We urge you to pass this information on to your tax team, and encourage their participation. Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky
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