Senate 7395 (Tedisco), a one-house bill, passed two nights before the session ended but died in the assembly agriculture committee. The measure was in response to A 7940a (Santabarbara), passed in haste on January 17th, that would have allowed access by any dealer to tanks they do not own during a declared “emergency”. Senator Tedisco narrowed the conditions under which such incursion could occur and added “container law” language. Santabarbara’s bill was hastily and poorly drafted but he used our comments to render the bill less incoherent and appealed to the Speaker to pass a bill vital to his constituent who had purchased from a cooperative with a contract with Ferrell Gas, a combination that left several customers without deliveries for weeks from early December to January. The customer and Santabarbara appeared on local news decrying the inadequate protections for propane customers. The matter was resolved when another company mounted tanks and took over the account. This knee-jerk political opportunism occurred at a time of year when managerial time is used to supply the product without having to worry about a self-absorbed politicians.

Sanatabara’s office was approached three times, given a solution to the problem (call another company), advised to consult with us in the future on such complaints and importuned to pursue policies that increase supply. It was pointed out he was absent in the matter of the Watkins Glen permit submitted in 2009 (and denied in 2016) a year before he took his seat -2010 – in 111 assembly district (Amsterdam/Schenectady)
The bill passed the assembly but with rigorous opposition from Assembly republicans, using our memo to criticize the lack of clear liability, the dangers presented by unauthorized personnel entering a tank owned by others and the implied cancellation of existing contracts by state action. By coincidence the Supreme Court docket included a case to reestablish the “obligation of contracts” clause of the Constitution but the case was decided otherwise, but narrowly. It might have preempted a state action to cancel propane/customer contracts. It is an issue with a double edge sword since state cancellation of contracts may be allowed to abrogate say, teacher contracts or public sector contracts with benefits so excessive that states will soon start to default (New Jersey). We cited the case in our MEMO-IN SUPPORT of the Tedisco bill because the outcome may have influenced the fate of the measure.

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The democrat primary produced one surprise in the defeat of Congressman Joe Crowley (Queens/Bronx) a long-time member of the house and mentioned as a successor to the speakership. He was beaten by a Bernie Sanders clone. He was expected to win but these outcomes have more to do with organized turnout rather than express the will of most democrats.

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The paid family leave law was amended to cover absences for bereaved family members adding such rights to existing family leave care of the ill. [see below]

The Albany session ended with little accomplished since the senate republicans were left one seat short of a majority with the reactivation by the US Navy of Long Island Senator Thomas Croci.

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There are two recent consequential matters: who will control the NYS senate and what are the implications of the Janus decision handed down today.
Several long serving senator are retiring in what were once republican strong holds but now show enrollments favoring democrats, true in particular of the Hudson Valley counties. Turn out is the key to who will hold these seats and dems, apoplectic about the consequences of the Janus decision that will weaken public union influence over the state legislature, may turnout strongly to blunt its impact.

Janus will bar governmental jurisdictions, like a state, from requiring workers to pay union dues since those dues are used to reflect political positions with which some may not agree. A “free speech” issue according to the majority in the 5-4 right/left split. The left’s argument, among others, is the government is inserting itself into an economic issue, as if the govt. doesn’t do that all the time. Price controls, subsidies, accommodating rent-seekers, and incomes policies that favor certain sectors of the economy are but a few examples.
The democrat party has become a subsidiary of the public unions – teachers, American Federation of State and Municipal Employees (the respondent in this case) and their myriad off spring and allied units. Through political support – contributions, phone banks, campaign volunteers – the unions have controlled budgets, employment numbers, regulatory programs and policies, effectively declaring through legislative budgeting, the value of their own worth. New Jersey and Illinois are two of the worst examples of public sector excess driven by unions. And open seats filled by special elections are grist for organized public labor unions whose concentration of workers invariably yield wins when most other voters skip elections not held on traditional election days.

The unions are organized in what may be their last chance to dominate the unprotected. They have enjoyed a concentration of benefits with costs dispersed among the unorganized. Govt. facilitates this because power is retained by the incumbents.

LEGISLATION THAT PASSED

S4120 Section 1 amends the executive law by adding a new section 170-c that reads that no state agency shall fine a small business for a first violation of such agency’s regulations, unless the agency determines that the violation directly affects public health or safety. The agency must provide literature or an in-person meeting to inform such small business of its regulations.

S8380-A  FUNKE  Same as A 10639-A  Morelle
ON FILE: 06/13/18 Workers’ Compensation Law

This legislation allows time off for bereavement as a part of Paid Family Leave (PFL). This legislation looks to allow the use of PFL where (1) if a family member, as defined by current law, passes away suddenly then PFL may be taken for bereavement or (2) if PFL is used to take care of a family member and that family member passes away, any remaining PFL may be used as bereavement time.