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Advocacy Alert: Albany’s Busy New Year’s

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January 10, 2023

In the waning moments of 2022, Governor Hochul acted on multiple issues of importance.

Albany Gives Self Raise

The state legislature convened for a special session to give themselves a 29% raise – up to $142,000 annually. Governor Hochul supported the raise, stating that legislators deserve it because “they work extremely hard.” The new salary is nearly double the state’s median household income of $75,157, and will be higher than that of any other state. They did not use the extraordinary session to address any outstanding policy issues.

Hochul Acts on 2022 Legislation

Gov. Hochul began making decisions on the bulk of legislation passed in 2022.

The following bills were signed into law:

  • Mandating pay ranges in job listings.
  • A bill to micromanage warehouses that use work quotas. It requires written description of any quotas, such as "tasks to be performed" or "materials produced." Further, the bill blocks employers from using quotas that allegedly prevent employees from taking rest periods or bathroom breaks. It also requires significant recordkeeping on work speed data for employees, and current and former employees would have the right to request this data. The BNP opposed this legislation.
  • A bill that requires contractors and subcontractors to register with the state to be able to bid on public works jobs. The state could deny registration to contractors for past infractions like prevailing wage or worker’s compensation, or other business dealings. The BNP opposed this legislation and will provide more information when the state publishes it.
  • A ban on the permitting of facilities that would yield a disproportionate and inequitable burden on a disadvantaged community. This well-intentioned legislation is problematic as written, and the BNP asked for Governor Hochul’s veto. Hochul signed the bill under the condition that the Legislature would agree to amendments to address concerns the BNP highlighted.
  • An expansion of liability on construction sites. The BNP and partner organization Upstate United opposed this legislation.
  • Expansion of the Comptroller’s authority over state contracts.
  • New rights for nursing mothers in the workplace.
  • A requirement that public agencies using rock salt must use American-mined salt.
  • Banning the collateral estoppel doctrine and increasing workers’ compensation liability for third parties.
  • Requiring manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and equipment available to independent repair providers and consumers.

The following bills were vetoed:

  • A major workers’ compensation expansion package. The BNP urged the Governor to consider these bills in aggregate, which would collectively result in a major increase in workers’ compensation costs. The package includes the following bills:
    • Coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder from work-related stress. This benefit, currently afforded to police officers and firefighters, would be extended to workers in any industry.
    • Workers’ Compensation coverage for massages. 
    • Perpetual increases in the minimum benefit by indexing it to average wages around the state.
    • Providing workers’ compensation benefits to any worker at a “total disability” rate regardless of the severity of their disability.
  • Contract adjustments for state contractors who suffered from unexpected materials costs in March 2020. Hochul noted that this bill would result in significant expenses for which the state did not budget. This issue could be revisited during budget season.
  • A duplicative workforce reporting bill that the BNP opposed. 

On Thursday, the BNP will unveil its 2023 Advocacy Agenda. Don’t miss it – register today!

 

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