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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications
518.465.7511

February 18, 2004

Council launches 'electronic advocacy' campaign to support workers' comp reform

The Business Council has launched a new Web-based electronic-advocacy campaign to show lawmakers the strong statewide support for cost-cutting workers' compensation reform.

The Council launched the initiative Feb. 17 from its Web page, www.bcnys.org. This initiative offers business leaders and others to send letters to elected officials voicing concerns about high workers' compensation costs in New York State and asking them to support reform legislation that would rein in those costs.

The Council is collaborating with local and regional chambers in the effort. Several dozen chambers affiliated with The Council through the Chamber Alliance of New York State (CANYS) will be promoting the e-advocacy effort to their own members.

The letters to elected officials can be sent from The Business Council's Web site and from the Web pages of participating chambers of commerce, said Skye Heritage, manager of regional affairs for The Council and The Council's liaison with chambers of commerce around the state.

"Workers' comp costs in New York remain significantly above national averages and continue to have a major impact on the competitiveness of the state's business community," an introductory message on the e-advocacy site says.

"It's time to tell our legislators that the business community won't stand by and watch as New York's economic climate grows worse. It's time to raise our collective voice for real reform -- before another business closes its doors or leaves New York for good," the message continues.

Visitors to this Web page can enter information on their address and company and automatically generate several letters to Albany, including:

The Libous-Schimminger bill (S.5320/A.8862) would:

The Council is also urging lawmakers to reduce state assessments that support the state's "Second Injury Fund." Assessments are surcharges on comp premiums that pay the expenses of the state's WCB and that support special purpose funds, such as the Second Injury Fund.

All letters generated through the e-advocacy campaign can be viewed before being sent. Copies of all letters are e-mailed to uers.

To participate in the e-advocacy, visit www.bcnys.org and click on the icon that says "Reform workers' comp now."

The Council is mounting this campaign in collaboration with Pinpoint Communications of Rensselaer County.