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Advocacy Alert: End of Session: What We’re Watching

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May 30, 2023

All eyes are on Albany as the Legislature enters the final two weeks of the 2023 legislative session. Amid the hundreds of bills that will pass in the coming days, the BNP is keeping an eye on the following issues:

  • Manual Worker Pay Requirements. Currently, manual workers are required to be paid on a weekly basis. After the 2019 decision in Vega v. CM & Associates Construction Management, employers who do not pay on a weekly basis are liable for wage theft claims – even if workers are paid their duly-owed amounts on a less-frequent basis. The BNP is working to find a legislative solution to ensure workers are paid fairly without subjecting employers to undue penalties.
  • COVID Sick Leave Policy. Requiring employers to grant extra sick leave for employees who contracted COVID made sense during the heat of the pandemic. However, case numbers have plummeted, and federal and state governments have ended their pandemic state of emergency declarations. The BNP has asked lawmakers to repeal the extraneous COVID sick leave policy.
  • Recycling Reforms. Extended producer responsibility (EPR) proposals, such as S.4246/A.5322, would radically transform waste management in our state. It would add major costs onto manufacturers and consumers, while failing to deal with our plastic pollution problem. The BNP has told state leaders that a change of this magnitude should not be rushed through without ample research, public examination, and consultation with the industry.
  • Penalties on Unsubstantiated Claims. The SWEAT Act (S.1977/A.46) would allow employees to obtain a lien against their employer due to an unsubstantiated claim of wage theft. While proven wage theft should be penalized, this bill would cause significant problems for employers before claims are ever investigated. This proposal runs contrary to America’s foundational legal principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” The BNP has asked lawmakers to oppose this legislation.
  • Bridging the benefits cliff. Lawmakers should build upon the success of the state budget on this issue by passing S.2144/A.5875. This legislation would allow workers who complete job training programs and begin work to maintain social service benefits for six months, empowering them to avert a benefits cliff.
  • GHG Accounting. If New York uses the 20-year accounting of greenhouse gases, our state would be a national outlier, and our climate efforts will cause unnecessary economic harm to New York consumers and employers. The success of New York’s climate action push depends on keeping energy affordable and reliable. To achieve that goal, New York must conform to national standards by using a 100-year GHG accounting.
  • Housing Issues. No major housing deal is expected this week due to the large rift between the Governor and Legislature on this issue. However, given the attention that bills like Good Cause Eviction have received this session, the BNP continues to watch for developments on housing.

In a letter, the BNP recently shared its priorities with lawmakers. The BNP will keep you informed of any important updates out of the state capitol over the next two weeks.

To share your concerns with lawmakers, use the BNP’s one-click tool here.

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