Government Affairs Committee Update
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
September 5, 2018
Business Council Events
Our 2018 Annual Meeting is fast approaching, to be held Sunday, September 23 to Tuesday, September 25 at the Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing. The agenda will feature: major party statewide candidates (Molinaro, DiNapoli, Trichter and Wofford confirmed); political analyst Michael Steele as our keynote speaker on Monday; sessions on recent tax reforms and emerging policy issues; and more. We urge members to join us at the Sagamore. Complete details, including the agenda and registration material, are available here. Staff contact: Maribeth Riley
Our HR webinar series is back from a summer break. Upcoming sessions include:
Paid Family Leave: End of Year One – Preview of 2019
Thursday, October 11, 2018, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Wage and Hour Law Update
Thursday, November 15, 2018, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Legislative Preview 2019
Thursday, December 13, 2018, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
These webinars are free for Business Council members and $75 for non-members.
Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
The Business Council has submitted comments to the Cuomo administration urging a veto of S.8380-A (Funke) / A.10639-A (Morelle), legislation that expands the state’s paid family leave law to include bereavement. Our letter was co-signed by 22 (now 28) other chambers and business organizations. Under this bill, employees could take up to 10 weeks of leave per year, effective January 1, 2020, for bereavement. We expect the bill to be presented to the Governor after the fall elections. There has been some discussion of potential chamber amendments.
Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
Independent Expenditure Committees
The State Board of Elections has issued information regarding implementation of new legislation governing independent expenditures, adopted as part of the FY 2019 budget, that take effect 9/9/19. The Board has also adopted emergency regulations (published in the August 29 State Register) reflecting these statutory changes (with a 30 day public comment period). These changes include expanded disclosure of IE sponsors, inclusion of internet and digital communications in definition of IEs, expanded weekly reporting requirements, new disclosure requirements for television and cable ads, and others. While this proposal generally tracks statutory changes, The Business Council is reviewing the proposal and may be submitting comments.
Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky
Paid Family Leave
On August 31, the Department of Financial Services announced 2019 Paid Family Leave benefit levels and employee contribution rate. The information is available online here.
As provided for in statute, the benefit rate will increase to 55 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage to a maximum of 55 percent of the state’s average weekly wage, effective January 1, 2019. In addition, employees will have up to 10 weeks of paid family leave in 2019 (subject to the 52-week look back). For 2019, the state’s average weekly wage will be $1,357.11. Therefore, the maximum weekly benefit will increase to $746.41. The employee contribution rate will increase slightly as well, from its current 0.126% of gross wages to 0.153% of gross wages up to the state’s average weekly wage, so that the maximum annual employee contribution will increase to $107.97 (about $2.07 per week).
Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
Sexual Harassment Policy and Training
The NYS Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights have released their draft sexual harassment policy, complaint form, and model sexual harassment training programs, which were mandated by statutory changes included in the state budget adopted in March 2018. These are available in draft form and can be found here. Public comments are being accepted through September 12, 2018.
The Business Council is developing comments, and had an initial meeting with DOL legal staff to raise key concerns identified to date. They include, but are not limited to:
- Unworkable timetable for training, including training of all employees by December 31, 2018, and training of all new employees within 30 days of hire.
- Need to recognize that employers are likely to offer comprehensive harassment training, not just sexual harassment training as mandated by statute.
- Need to reflect the importance of reporting incidents of sexual harassment by employees in order to not jeopardize outside legal remedies.
- Need to focus on “severe” and/or “pervasive” behavior, which case law has established as part of a “continuum” of bad behavior from “inappropriate” to “illegal,” which is key in identifying behavior that is actionable.
- An unworkable mandate that all investigations be completed within 30 days.
Feel free to contact Frank Kerbein with any questions or concerns you may have.
Recycling Stakeholder Process
The Business Council is participating in a Department of Environmental Conservation stakeholder process to review the state’s recycling program in general, and the impact of recent import restrictions placed on recyclables imposed by China in specific. This assessment will review impacts on recycling markets and potential strategies to address the situation going forward. Please see the Commissioner’s invitation attached, along with a list of invitees. An initial stakeholder meeting was held on August 29th, and there follow-up meetings addressing topics such as secondary markets, material transportation, haulers, producer responsibility, and others. These issues have the potential to impact numerous Business Council members.
Staff contact: Darren Suarez
The State Authorities Budget Office has issued proposed “consensus rules” that would require industrial development agencies to post detailed project-specific information on their web sites. The rules, published in the August 22nd State Register, also impose additional attestation requirements on project assistance applicants. Under the State Administrative Procedures Act, agencies can propose “consensus rules,” when they believe there will be no public objections to the rule as proposed. Consensus rules are exempt from certain SAPA requirements, such as the development of a regulatory impact assessment. The Business Council is reviewing the proposal and drafting comments. Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky
3rd Annual Tax Summit
The Department of Taxation and Finance has announced its 3rd Annual Tax Summit. While prior summits addressed a variety of issues, this year’s event will focus on educating tax professions on the use of the Department’s Online Services. Multiple sessions will be offered in Latham on October 10 and 11, and in Brooklyn on November 6 and 7. Information and registration is online here.