518-436-6673 brescia@nyall.com

On May 1, Senate bill 7395D – Tedisco, was referred from the Senate Agriculture committee to the Senate Energy Committee.  The NYPGA and Suburban were recorded “in support” of the measure.

The NYPGA memo describes the bill’s provisions identifying several that are difficult to reconcile with its goal of assuring deliveries during emergency conditions which require, among other declarations, a gubernatorial “Declaration of Emergency” that suspends laws and regulations perceived to interfere with or delay provision of critical services and products. Such declarations specify which laws and regulation are suspended, however due to Governor Cuomo’s vetoes of two “container law” proposals placed before him, there is nothing to suspend. That is why the sponsor, Senator Tedisco, inserted “container law” language.

Without such a law a dealer, who is not the owner, who fills the tank of another company faces no sanctions except for possible compensation to recover costs, theft of service, conversion of property, etc. The retail customer might be held to the terms of the contract where the company’s recourse would be to recover its tank and impose any penalties.

To “protect” residential customers the bill would have to cancel the terms of the contract during the duration of the emergency, a provision at odds with ordinary contract law but particularly tentative given a case now before the US Supreme Court’s that may establish if and when states may interfere with private contracts. The decision will come in
May or June.

Janus, another consequential case due for a decision in this term, will determine if public employees will be free not to become members of unions. Because of the enormous political power expressed in the influence public sector unions – state, teacher, local – (Janus v. AFSME) – have over state legislators and governors, the legislature passed and the governor signed legislation to blunt the impact of a likely adverse ruling. Because the death of Justice Scalia the court deadlocked 4-4 in 2016 in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Ass’n, a case legally indistinguishable from Janus. To meet this potentially devastating blow to the unions and democrats, the new law provides that public unions will be entitled to – or the state must divulge -names and home addresses of non-union members and denies non members representation in certain matters. (Whatever happened to privacy?) Of course this is an Albany iteration of “card-check” that would have brought union ‘recruiters’ to your door step. This, presumably, to keep labor peace. A similar argument was made by the liberal wing of the court but existence of the civil service laws with their extensive protections were not offered at oral argument in DC or at floor debate in Albany. It may be an exaggeration to describe union reps at the door as intimidation but failure to recruit public sector workers will not exactly mean sending them down the mine.

Mr. Cuomo’s motives are political of course, he wants to be re-elected, he wants to run in 2020 for president, in his estimation he needs to move left, yet If he does not, his record is hardly a bad one: fiscally sound, proponent of a liberal democratic society, all perhaps voiced at three times the decibel level needed to convince the progressives and keep his primary opponent at bay. But if he moves any further left California may be pushed into the Pacific. If he seems bombastic consider this: he and President Trump are from Queens, so it might be something in the water.



Bills of Interest

A10423  Schimminger  Same as S 7908-A  FUNKE
TITLE….Directs the empire state development corporation to study a proposed rule of the department of labor relating to call-in pay prior to its adoption.

To delay the implementation of the NYS Department of Labor employee call in regulations until completion of a study conducted by Empire State Development Corporation. The NYPGA is on record “in opposition” to the regulations as written.


A10402  Lupardo (MS)  Same as S 8057  RITCHIE
Transportation Law
TITLE….Relates to establishing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) class A young adult licensing pilot program.

The purpose of this legislation is to create a pilot program to allow young drivers, 18 to 20 years of age, to operate commercial vehicles within intrastate commerce, as is allowed in 48 other states.

A10484  Hyndman  Same as S 8177  COMRIE
TITLE….Directs the metropolitan transportation authority to identify flammable or hazardous materials near above-ground and grade level tracks. (Ref. to Corporations and Authorities)

This is a companion to S8177 described in the last Report from the Hill. The sponsor’s memo refers to an accident and fire next to a railroad in Queens involving lithium batteries stored improperly. The bill calls for a study to evaluate such risks along the right of way of the LIRR at grade. There is no mention of short-line railroads or sidings.


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