BNP Advocacy Insider – June 2021
May 28, 2021
Advocacy Day 2021 a Success
The BNP recently hosted three virtual advocacy sessions with lawmakers. The BNP and various members met with Rep. Brian Higgins and Sen. Tim Kennedy to discuss infrastructure, with Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes to discuss workforce development, and with Assembly Member Bill Conrad to discuss energy. All three sessions were productive and helped lawmakers understand the BNP’s advocacy agenda and priorities. We are grateful to these leaders for their time and attention to these key issues.
Small Business Recovery Grant Application Available June 10
The BNP successfully advocated for the inclusion of small business recovery grants in this year’s state budget. Empire State Development recently released detailed information on eligibility criteria, possible grant amounts, necessary documentation, and allowable expenses. The state begins accepting applications for the Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program on June 10.
SWEAT Bill Would Allow Employees to Claim Liens
A new bill in Albany (S.2762/A.766) would allow employees to claim a lien on their employer for a wage theft claim. Under the bill, an employer would not even need to be found guilty: a simple claim would give an employee standing to claim a lien. The BNP opposes this legislation and co-authored a letter in opposition to this bill with numerous advocacy organizations from around the state. The letter can be found here.
What is the HERO Act?
The NY HERO Act was recently signed into law. This law will add new workplace safety requirements that apply to every employer in the state. BNP is hosting an event on June 24 to explore the HERO Act and train employers on how to comply. For an explanation of what the bill is and what advocacy steps the BNP took, visit our blog. You can register for the event here.
BNP Hosts Capital Conversation on Costs of Single Payer
The BNP hosted a Capital Conversation with Sen. Patrick Gallivan, the ranking member on the Senate Health Committee. We were also joined by Eric Linzer of the New York Health Plan Association and had an informative discussion on the New York Health Act. The discussion highlighted the steep costs associated with the New York Health Act and underscored why defeating the bill is so important.
BNP partner organization Upstate United released data showing how costly the New York Health Act would be to our state. The bill, which would implement a single-payer healthcare system in New York, would add $253 billion in new taxes and eliminate 161,000 jobs.
Constructing Consensus: Congressional Infrastructure Negotiations Continue
President Biden and Congressional leaders continue to debate an infrastructure package, sparring over appropriate spending levels. The President has indicated desire to pass the bill with bipartisan support, and Senate Majority Leader Schumer said he expects a vote in July.
The BNP has been in frequent communication with our Congressional delegation about the importance of passing an infrastructure package. The package has the potential to fund signature projects like finishing the Cars on Main Street Initiative, removing the Skyway, expanding Metro Rail into Amherst, covering the Kensington Expressway, and reimagining the Scajaquada Expressway. Additionally, the bill could fund smaller but important initiatives such as road and bridge repair, broadband buildout, and clean water infrastructure.
The BNP and other Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition members wrote to Congressional leaders to highlight the Coalition’s infrastructure priorities. In the letter, the BNP advocated for funding for our top priority project: finishing the Cars Sharing Main Street Initiative.
To get involved and urge Congress to pass an infrastructure package, use our outreach tool.
Senate Debates US Innovation and Competition Act
The U.S. Senate has begun formal consideration of the Endless Frontier Act, which was renamed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. The bill would make a substantial investment in research, technology, and the construction regional technology hubs. The BNP supports this legislation because of the significant benefits it could bring to the Buffalo Niagara region. President & CEO Dottie Gallagher joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at a press conference to advocate for the passage of this bill. To learn more about the bill, visit here.
BNP, Canadian Chambers Advocate for Border Reopening
BNP President & CEO Dottie Gallagher joined her counterparts from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in authoring an op-ed. The article, which appeared in the Buffalo News and several Canadian papers, urged the U.S. and Canadian governments to develop a border reopening plan immediately. You can read the op-ed here.
Immigration Policy Can Strengthen BN Economy
President & CEO Dottie Gallagher wrote to President Biden and our Congressional delegation to express the BNP’s support for immigration reforms that can grow our regional economy. The BNP supports expanded refugee resettlement efforts, which have helped stem our population loss and provide our region with valuable contributors to our economy and culture. The BNP additionally supports expansion of the H-1B visa cap, which can equip our region with high-skill workers. To read the full letter, click here.
In preparation for the 2023 elections, the BNP hosted an Erie County Executive Candidate Forum. Both candidates for Erie County’s highest office – incumbent Mark Poloncarz and challenger Chrissy Casilio – were given 45 minutes to address BNP members in a guided discussion.
After years of relentless advocacy to bolster Upstate NY’s innovation and manufacturing industries, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region have joined forces with a proposal to become a federally-designated Tech Hub in the first-of-its-kind nationwide competition created in his CHIPS & Science Bill.
The BNP organized a Capital Conversations event as part of our Government Affairs series to examine the workings of the H-1B program and explore potential reforms that could strengthen our regional economy.