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BNP Advocacy Insider – October 2021

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Kristine Bieniek

October 6, 2021

Biden Mandates “Vax or Test” Requirement for Larger Employers 

On September 9th, President Joe Biden announced a new mandate: all employers with 100 or more employees must ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require weekly testing of unvaccinated workers. Biden announced he would also require contractors doing business with the federal government to be fully vaccinated.  

The details of this mandate will be in an OSHA regulation that has not yet been released. The BNP will alert you as soon as the details are released.  

Shortly after Biden’s announcement, the BNP hosted an HR expert to discuss how employers can navigate this mandate. The presentation is available here. 

The BNP has many resources to help you vaccinate your workforce, available here.  

Fate of Infrastructure Uncertain 

Speaker Pelosi planned to hold a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure framework by September 27th, but the House’s lack of consensus caused the vote to again be delayed. Progressive members have vowed to hold up the bipartisan infrastructure legislation until the Senate passes the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which contains key tenants of the President’s “Build Back Better” agenda. However, the reconciliation bill in its current form lacks majority support in the Senate.   

The BNP supports the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and has met with some of our regional representatives to explain its benefits. We will continue to keep you informed as these contentious negotiations unfold.  

To learn more and urge your representatives to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill, visit our site.  

Border Closure Extended Again 

On the same morning that the White House announced it would welcome vaccinated European travelers in November, DHS Secretary Mayorkas announced the U.S. was extending the closure of the Canadian border through October 21.  

The BNP has been outspoken about the need to reopen the border since the spring.  

In the BNP Annual Member Survey, administered two weeks ago, 57% of BNP members said they have been negatively impacted by the U.S.-Canada border closure.  

Minimum Wage Increased 

The minimum wage in upstate New York will increase to $13.20/hour, effective December 31. Because of a 2016 law, the state Department of Labor has the authority to raise the minimum wage annually, until all regions reach $15/hour. More information is available here.  

Comptroller: Employers May Face UI Rate Increases 

NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently released a study analyzing the state’s unemployment system. The findings were concerning and highlight a problem on which BNP has been sounding the alarm. In the report, DiNapoli concluded that “action is needed to avoid hiking costs for New York businesses and slowing the state’s economic recovery.” 

BNP partner organization Upstate United penned an op-ed in The Buffalo News explaining the report and the issue. 

In the BNP’s welcome letter to Gov. Hochul, we mentioned stabilizing the UI system as something she should prioritize in her first 100 days. Since then, the BNP has followed up with a detailed explanation on actions the state should take to prevent exorbitant rate increases. For more information, visit our blog. To contact state lawmakers about this crisis, use our one-click advocacy tool.

Key Elections Looming 

Election Day is less than four weeks away. There are many important local races this year, which will shape our communities mightily.  

To vote, voters must be registered by October 8. Mail-in ballot applications must be received by the county board of elections by October 18. Early voting is also available from October 23-31. 

The BNP urges all members to participate in these critical elections and support candidates who understand the needs of our regional economy.  

BNP Hosts Panel on Hochul 

In an effort to help members learn what to expect from our new governor, the BNP recently assembled a panel of Albany experts and insiders. Panelists included Bernadette Hogan (NY Post), Bob McCarthy (The Buffalo News), Karen DeWitt (NYS Public Radio), and Jack O’Donnell (O’Donnell & Associates).  

The insightful discussion can be viewed by BNP members here. 

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