The 2023 NYS Legislative Session began on January 4. Governor Kathy Hochul was sworn in as the first woman governor elected to office in NYS. The November elections also resulted in 38 new legislators in office. We will be sending introductory outreach to them outlining our highest priority issues, and we will spend time meeting with them in-person and via Zoom, as well as during our Lobby Day on May 2. Due to changes from redistricting, we encourage all NRLA members to familiarize themselves with who their legislators are at their home address and their business address in preparation for Lobby Day or Action Alerts asking members to reach out to their legislators for a specific need.
Governor Hochul opened the session with her State of the State Address on January 10 where she outlined her blueprint for the upcoming session and hinted at some of her Executive Budget proposals.
Some of her State of the State priorities include:
- Requiring all new construction to be zero-emission starting in 2025 for small buildings and starting in 2028 for large buildings.
- Creating a small business portal to allow employers to work past the bureaucratic red tape which often dissuades reaching out to agencies in relation to problems or concerns
- Easing the burden of filing incorporation documents at the New York State Department of State
- Creating an incentive program that focuses on supply chain resiliency.
- An initiative that would tie the current New York State minimum wage to inflation.
2023 is the first year of a two-year session, so all bills from last year must be reintroduced. We have identified 4 main issue areas of concern that we will advocate for or against. In the last few months, NRLA leadership and members have met with legislators in various regions of the State to advocate on our priority issues. Legislators have been very receptive to our positions and in most cases, they have agreed to co-sponsor our legislation and assist in passage.
Not all last year’s bills have been reintroduced yet, but the following is an overview of the issue areas:
- Unemployment Amnesty Period for Employers – Not yet introduced in 2023. NRLA supports this legislation, which is a NYS Department of Labor Departmental Bill, to grant employers who are delinquent in payments to the unemployment insurance trust fund with amnesty on interest owed if paid between August 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023.
- Retainage – A.1194 by Assemblyman Braunstein / not yet introduced in the Senate. NRLA strongly supports this legislation to exempt materialmen from retainage on materials once they are delivered to a job site. We will focus efforts to add more co-sponsors to this legislation and work through them and other legislative allies to seek passage of this important bill. We will also meet with the Governor’s Office to secure support and encourage enactment into law.
- Workforce Development – Not introduced yet in 2023, similar legislation, A.868 / S.1121 (Lunsford/Cooney) addresses the need to increase salaries for BOCES teachers. Career and Technical Education (“CTE”) funding through Special Services Aid is allocated to certain large city school districts and other school districts which are not part of a BOCES system. This funding is used to provide students with a strong foundation of technical knowledge and skills to complement their academic studies and prepare them for both college and future careers.
Currently, CTE funding is capped at $3,900 per pupil from grades ten to twelve who attend career education programs offered by the school districts. This bill increases this amount to $4,300 and expanding to ninth grade, which will enhance opportunities for scholars and lead to improved graduation rates and employment opportunities post-graduation.
In addition to supporting these legislative proposals, NRLA is part of a coalition to work collaboratively with government, schools and guidance counselors, parents, BOCES and other workforce development agencies, along with our partners in the construction industry to advocate, educate and publicize to students young and old the benefits of a career in the trades.
- Deforestation – Not introduced yet in 2023. This bill will create a new statute requiring contractors that sell forest-risk commodities to state agencies or authorities to certify that they are not contributing to tropical or boreal intact forest degradation or deforestation directly or through their supply chains. While laudable, the legislation would create an onerous certification process and increase procurement costs, especially to small businesses. NRLA will continue to oppose or amend any proposals that increase construction costs, specifically for subcontractors/materialmen.
Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget proposal will be released on February 1. Joint Budget Legislative hearings are scheduled to begin on February 6 and the final Budget is due by March 31. The Governor vowed that she would not support any legislative budget proposals to increase taxes.