Following several all-nighters in Albany, the NYS Senate and Assembly have concluded their work for the 2019 Legislative Session.
Following several all-nighters in Albany, the NYS Senate and Assembly have concluded their work for the 2019 Legislative Session. While our government affairs team is still evaluating the flurry of bills passed over the final hours of the session, we did want to send just a quick initial update on legislation with potential impacts on our members. Both bodies are hailing this session as the “most progressive in history” and as you have probably read in the press, there were a historic number of bills passed now that the Democrats control both houses. As you might also imagine, it was an extremely challenging session for representatives of the small business community, but The Alliance worked tirelessly – with numerous calls, meetings, email campaigns and opposition memos – to make it clear that putting New Yorkers to work and creating economic prosperity is, at the end of the day, a “progressive” policy.
PASSED BOTH HOUSES – PENDING GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE
As you already know from our prior update, one of the highest profile bills passed by both houses was the SWEAT bill which would allow private liens on business owners accused of wage violations. We were strongly opposed but are proud that we ultimately were able to secure significant amendments to the bill to make it “less bad” and now we will continue these conversations on the bill with the Governor’s office as it makes its way to his desk. Other bills include an additional requirement for posting liquor license renewal notices on premises.
and an omnibus package of sexual harassment bills negotiated by the Assembly, Senate and Governor. Finally, after a significant amount of discussion, the Legislature also legalized e-bikes and electric scooters, which advocates and industry stakeholders had been urging in response to concerns from delivery workers.
DID NOT PASS BOTH HOUSES – NYC HOSPITALITY ALLIANCE OPPOSED
We are pleased to report that despite the challenging new environment in Albany, the NYC Hospitality Alliance was able to make its case on the negative impacts of a number of bills that ultimately did not move forward in both houses. As noted above, The Alliance issued an unprecedented number of Opposition Memos and undertook a number of campaigns (our legislative team was monitoring more than 125 bills with potential impacts on our industry!) on bills that were stopped in one or both houses, including:
- Legislation to eliminate the tip wage in all of New York State (as you know, this was a major priority!)
- Primary source legislation that would have impacted wine costs and access for restaurants
- Amendments to make the 500 ft. rule more onerous
- Extensive allergy awareness training for employees and numerous new signage and menu notice requirements
- Loosening of “tied-house” laws that would have increased competition from major international corporations on our local small businesses
CONCLUSION: HOSPITALITY ALLIANCE MEMBERS NEED TO CONTINUE TO BE ENGAGE ON STATE AND CITY LEVEL
As you can see, our industry continues to be challenged from all sides – whether it’s the tip wage in Albany or two-weeks paid vacation in New York City – and so we will need the continued involvement and support of all of you as we fight to protect small businesses across NYC.