May 10, 2019

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In the News – State

New York State Construction Industry Booming

Comptroller:  NYC Metropolitan Area Tops the Nation in Construction Employment

NYC Council Votes to Delay Compliance with NYC DOB Safety Education

The construction industry in New York State has set employment records for four consecutive years with New York City accounting for half of the state’s construction job gains since 2010, according to a report released this week by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

In 2018, New York had the fourth-largest construction industry in the nation, following California, Texas, and Florida. The state added 91,600 construction jobs between 2010 and 2018, reaching a record of 398,400. This represents an increase of 30 percent, nearly twice as fast as job growth in the rest of the state’s private sector.

Construction employment in the greater New York City metropolitan area totaled 409,100 in 2018, the highest in the nation, followed by Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago. In addition to the five boroughs, the metropolitan region includes Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and most of northern New Jersey.   

The metropolitan areas in New York accounted for about 95 percent of the construction jobs in the State.  Construction employment grew faster in the Kingston (43 percent), New York City (40 percent), Orange-Rockland-Westchester (39 percent) and Nassau-Suffolk (35 percent) areas than in the State (29 percent) between 2010 and 2018.   In New York City, the construction industry added 45,300 jobs between 2010 and 2018, increasing by 40 percent.

This week, the New York City Council approved legislation (Introduction 1533sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams) to delay the existing compliance dates for City-mandated safety education and training.   Local Law 196 of 2017 requires that construction workers complete an Occupational Safety and Health Thirty-Hour Course (OSHA-30), Occupational Safety and Health Ten-Hour Course (OSHA-10) course with an additional 20 hours of safety training, or a 100-hour training program approved by the Department of Buildings.

The legislation passed this week would extend the deadline for these training requirements to December 1, 2019, and would allow the Department of Buildings (DOB) to further extend the deadline to June 1, 2020.   The bill now goes to Mayor Bill de Blasio for consideration.

Construction was the fourth highest-paying employment sector in New York City, with an average salary of $80,200 in 2017 (latest available data). More than one-fifth (22 percent) of the workers earned more than $80,000.

The construction industry in the city had a much higher share of minority-owned firms (63 percent) than in the rest of the state (13 percent) and the nation (24 percent). Nearly two-thirds of the workers were Hispanic, African-American or Asian.

Immigrants held 59 percent of the construction jobs in New York City in 2017, higher than in the rest of the state (20 percent) and the nation (25 percent). Overall, the construction industry had the highest share of foreign-born workers of any sector in the city.

Bills Passed by Both Houses

A1619 (M of A Rozic / Senator Biaggi) — Requiring insurance companies to provide full coverage for all the aspects of eating disorders treatment.

A2285 (M of A Rozic / Senator Sepulveda) — Allows state prison inmates entering solitary confinement in special housing units (SHU) and in residential mental health treatment units to make a telephone call upon admission into SHU and at least once a week thereafter.

A3486 (M of A Paulin / Senator Harckham) – Provides that Civil Practice Law and Rules provisions apply to all licensed contractors in Westchester County.

A4988 (M of A Paulin / Senator Ramos) – Provides that in case of any health care procedure or examination, the fact that the procedure or examination is performed in the course of education or training does not diminish the requirement for informed consent for the procedure or examination.

A5386 (M of A Abbate / Senator Gounardes) — Allows  Metropolitan  Transportation  Authority (MTA) employees  represented by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority’s Superior Officers Benevolent Association (SOBA) to elect to  be covered by the binding arbitration.

A6358 (M of A Cruz / Senator Salazar) – Extends through 2024 the regulations limiting the engines of school vehicles to remain idling while parked or standing on school grounds.

S4060 (Senator Hoylman / M of A Dinowitz) — Establishes a reminder mechanism for renewal for senior citizens enrolled in the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program.

Cuomo Administration Appointments

Marie Therese Dominguez, Commissioner of the Department of Transportation

Ms. Dominguez has worked in the transportation, water and energy infrastructure, safety, and logistics sectors for over 20 years. She most recently served as Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation.  She has also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works at the U.S. Department of Defense; Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy at the United States Postal Service; Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Special Assistant to the Chairman at the National Transportation Safety Board and as a Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton and Associate Director of Presidential Personnel in the White House.  She currently serves as the Chief Strategy and Operations Officer for YWCA USA, where she sets the strategic vision and drives innovation and growth for the national organization.  Marie Therese obtained her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law and her B.A. in American Studies from Smith College.

David Yassky, Director of State Policy

Prior to his appointment Mr. Yassky served as Dean and Professor of Law at Pace University School of Law. From 2010 to 2013, he led the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and from 2002 to 2009 he represented a Brooklyn district in the New York City Council, chairing the Council’s Committee on Waterfronts and its Committee on Small Business. Mr. Yassky served as Chief Counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime under then-Representative Charles Schumer. He earned a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Princeton University.

Madhuri Kommareddi, Director of Workforce Development

Ms. Kommareddi previously served as Director and Head of Credit Investor Relations & Product Management at BlackRock. She previously worked at the Clinton Foundation as the Director of Job One and the Director of Program Development for the Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Earlier in her career, Ms. Kommareddi served as a Director for International Economic Affairs at the White House National Security Council and National Economic Council. She also has worked as Associate Staff Secretary in the White House, policy aide on the Obama for America 2008 presidential campaign and the Obama-Biden Transition Project, as Policy Coordinator in then-Senator Obama’s office, and in a variety of capacities on political campaigns. She is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Law Journal, and Northwestern University.

Molly Marcy, Director of Legislative Affairs for Agency Operations.

Ms. Marcy served as a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Democratic Leader of the New York State Senate.  Previously, she was an Assistant Vice President at MirRam Group and Hamilton Campaign Network. She has a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany.

Niall O’Hegarty, Deputy Secretary of Financial Services

Mr. O’Hegarty previously served as the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cara Equity Partners.  He previously served in Governor Cuomo’s Administration as Acting First Assistant Counsel to the Governor.  Mr. O’Hegarty attended University of Toronto where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and Osgoode Hall Law School, York University where he received his Bachelor of Laws.

Eric Galarneau, General Counsel of the Division of Criminal Justice Services

Mr. Galarneau has served in the Office of the Albany County District Attorney for nearly two decades. He currently serves as the Bureau Chief of the Financial Crimes and Special Investigations Unit in the Office of the Albany County District Attorney. He received his Bachelor’s degree from McGill University and his Juris Doctor from Albany Law School. 

Joanne Hernandez, Senior Policy Advisor for Transportation

Ms. Hernandez currently serves as a Senior Safety Engineer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Prior to this role, she was a New York State Excelsior fellow at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Ms. Hernandez received a B.A. from New York University and a M.P.A. from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs Baruch College. 

In the News – City

Mayor DeBlasio Appoints Melanie La Rocca as Commissioner of the Department of Buildings

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week announced the appointment of Melanie La Rocca as Commissioner of the Department of Buildings. The New York City Department of Buildings regulates and promotes the safe and lawful use of nearly 1.1 million buildings and more than 45,000 active construction sites in New York City. She will begin June 3. 

Ms.  La Rocca currently serves as Vice President of Development and External Affairs at the School Construction Authority (SCA), where she oversees the Real Estate Group and all site development, as well as Design and Construction Services and special projects.   She joined the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) in January of 2014 as Chief of Staff to the President and CEO, Lorraine Grillo. Since then, she has risen to the position of Vice President of Development and External Affairs

While at SCA, La Rocca was instrumental in the implementation of the Mayor’s Universal Pre-K initiative (UPK), where she oversaw the creation of more than 8,800 new UPK seats across the five boroughs, and the implementation of 3K for All, where the SCA will again identify, design, and construction early childhood centers serving.

Prior to joining SCA, Ms. La Rocca served as Chief of Staff to Christine Quinn, former Speaker of the New York City Council. She previously served as a member of Queens Community Board 1.

Ms. La Rocca obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, where she majored in Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration.  Melanie is a native New Yorker and a lifelong Queens resident.

NYC Council Passes 17 Bills to Assist Tenants

The City Council this week passed 17 bills aimed at protecting the City’s tenants.  The legislation comes as the State Legislature is conducting public hearings across New York to hear from stakeholders regarding the State’s rent control laws that expire next month.

“This legislative package seeks to prevent tenant displacement by giving them valuable tools to stay in their homes and in their communities,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said.

Meanwhile, the State Legislature is conducting statewide hearings on the State’s rent control law which expires in June.   The Assembly continued its set of public hearings this week, with meetings in Albany and Rochester. New York City stakeholders met last week.    The Senate began its hearings Upstate, convening in Syracuse yesterday. The hearing docket moves to Brooklyn next week and concludes in Albany and Newburg the following week.  

The City legislative package approved by the Council includes:

Introduction 59, sponsored by Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr, would require persons making buyout offers to make certain disclosures. This bill would also require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to report on median asking rents and number of bedrooms.  

Introduction 975, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, would require the Department of Buildings to deny a building permit when a building of fewer than 35 units has an average of at least three open, immediately hazardous or major housing maintenance code violations.

Introduction 977, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, would permit the Department of Buildings (DOB) to sanction registered design professionals who submit professionally certified applications for construction document approval within any 12-month period that contain errors that result in a stop work order.

Introduction 1107, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would shift the responsibility of retaining a design professional to prepare a tenant protection plan from building owners to contractors.

Introduction 1241, sponsored by Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, would expand penalties for violating the Department of Buildings’ professional certification program to apply to the offending professional’s supervisor as well as the professional personally.

Introduction 1247, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would require owners of residential buildings to provide copies of any notice of violation issued against a property to the residents of that property.

Introduction 1257, sponsored by Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr, would require the Department of Buildings (DOB) to issue a stop work order if an inspector is unable to gain access to a construction site and has reason to believe that work is being done in violation of the law.

Introduction 1274, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, would require owners of multiple dwellings to obtain the previous four years rent history from the department of housing and community renewal for each dwelling unit, if available, and provide such information to the current tenant of each such dwelling unit.

Introduction 1275, sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers, would deny permits for 1 year for a building following a determination that a false statement about the occupancy status was made on a construction application for that building.

Introduction 1277, sponsored by Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, would require the Department of Buildings to perform preliminary inspections to verify the occupancy status of purportedly unoccupied buildings undergoing construction.

Introduction 1278, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would require the Department of Buildings to approve Tenant Protection Plans prior to construction and periodically inspect construction sites to ensure compliance with approved Tenant Protection Plans.

Introduction 1280, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would require that construction documents for alterations contain a statement signed by the owner and applicant identifying any occupied units in the building. The bill would also establish specific civil and criminal penalties for submitting false information to obtain a building permit of no less than $10,000 for the first offense, and no less than $25,000 for each subsequent offense.

Briefs

State Lawmakers Reach Agreement on School Bus Camera Bill

State Legislators have reached an agreement on proposal to add cameras to the exteriors of school buses in an effort to crack down on drivers who illegally pass stopped buses.  Sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (S4524B/A4950B0), the legislation is expected to pass next week.

The legislation allows for counties to opt in to a demonstration program that would allow municipalities to install and operate school bus photo violation monitoring systems (stationary or mobile), which could be installed on school buses owned or operated by the school district.  First offenses will be punished by a $250 fine, repeat offenders will need to pay $275, and each subsequent violation will cost $300. The equipment will be paid for with the fines.

In a statement, Governor Andrew Cuomo voiced his support.

“The safety of our children is paramount, and we are committed to ensuring our youngest New Yorkers make it to and from school safely and that motorists who endanger these students are held accountable for their reckless actions,” the Governor said. “I commend the Legislature for reaching an agreement on this critical issue and I look forward to seeing it passed and to signing it into law, making New York one of the first states to use this technology to protect the safety of our school children.”

NY Faces Pipeline May 15th Deadline

By Zack Fink 

The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is facing a May 15th deadline in relation to the controversial Williams Pipeline proposal.  The 24-mile pipeline, known as the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project, is contracted to supply National Grid customers on Long Island and New York City. The Northeast Supply Enhancement project still needs state water quality certificate approvals from both New Jersey and New York. The deadline for a decision from New York is May 15 and New Jersey’s is June 20.

“DEC is reviewing that, and that decision is in the hands of DEC,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in responding to questions this week, according to published reports.

National Grid asserts that it may be forced to declare a moratorium on new gas service if the pipeline is not approved. The Association for a Better Long Island, the Long Island Builders Institute, New York State Laborers’ Union and SEIU 1199 have come out in support.   However, the project faces opposition from environmental groups and lawmakers in both New York and New Jersey.  Opponents have raised concerns about the emissions impacts of the added gas supply from the pipeline.

State Lawmakers Plan Hearing on Single Payer Health Plan

State lawmakers will hold a public hearing on May 28th in Albany on the New York Health Act, a bill that would create a system of single-payer health care. The hearing will be led by Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

The hearing will allow the Legislature to assess the creation of a single-payer health care program, which supporters say will ultimately lead to a more cost-efficient delivery system for insurance. The Realities of Single Payer, a coalition of business groups and labor unions opposed to the plan, has raised concerns with the legislation.

Mayor de Blasio Unveils NYC Care Card, Details Progress Toward Launch of Guaranteed Health Care

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week unveiled the NYC Care card, “the key” to his plan to provide guaranteed health care to an estimated 300,000 New Yorkers who are ineligible for insurance.  NYC Care launches in the Bronx on August 1, and residents will be able to use their NYC Care Card to receive their own doctor, get preventative screenings and tests, and connect to a 24/7 service to help make appointments.

The $100 million program – one of two major components of the City’s Guaranteed Care commitment – will be fully implemented across all five boroughs by the end of 2020.  To prepare for the August 1st launch in the Bronx, NYC Health + Hospitals has doctors hired in the Bronx to serve approximately 10,000 patients expected to enroll in NYC Care in the first six months.

GetGoveredNYC, the City’s health insurance outreach and enrollment initiative, has enrolled more than 19,000 New Yorkers into coverage in 2019, a 19 percent increase from the same time period last year.

NYC Expanding List of Crimes that Allow for ICE Cooperation

The de Blasio Administration is expanding the list of crimes that trigger cooperation with federal immigration authorities, according to published reports.  Specifically, the city plans to add seven infractions to the current 170-crime list, including felonies such as patronizing a minor for prostitution, patronizing a person for prostitution in a school zone, and the sex trafficking of a child.

As part of its status as a “sanctuary city,” the City maintains a list of approximately170 crimes that — when committed within the last five years by someone suspected of violating federal immigration statutes — prompts local law enforcement to work with either the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.   Department of Corrections or the NYPD notifies federal authorities when someone can be arrested upon release from local custody.

“This minor administrative update aligns our local laws regarding federal detainer requests with serious or violent felonies recently adopted by the state legislature,” according to a statement released by the Mayor’s office.  All seven crimes were created by the State after the City initially limited its cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Coming Up  

New York State

The Legislature is in session from Monday May 13th to Wednesday May 15th

Thursday May 16th   

Rent Regulation and tenant protection legislation

Senate Standing Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development

Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 1 p.m.

Friday May 17th    

Climate Change

Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation

Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, 19th Floor, New York, 11 a.m.

New York City

Monday May 13th

Committee on Finance, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

NYC Housing Preservation & Development; Department of Buildings; Mayor’s Office of

Immigrant Affairs

Committee on Housing and Budget, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Buildings

Committee on Immigrations, Council Chambers – City Hall, 2:30 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs

Tuesday May 14th

Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, Committee Room – City Hall, 9:30 a.m.

Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses, 250 Broadway, 16th Floor, 1 p.m.

Committee on Finance, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Parks and Recreation; Department of Information and Technology  

Telecommunication

Committee on Parks and Recreation, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Parks and Recreation

Subcommittee on Capital Budget, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Parks and Recreation

Committee on Technology, Council Chambers – City Hall, 2 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Information and Technology Telecommunication

Committee on Fire and Emergency Management, Council Chambers – City Hall, 3 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing

Wednesday May 15th  

Committee on Finance, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

New York Police Department; Office of Civil Justice (Human Resources Administration)

Committee on Public Safety, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

New York Police Department; Office of Civil Justice (Human Resources Administration)

Committee on Justice System, Council Chambers – City Hall, 12 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Office of Civil Justice (Human Resources Administration)

Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, Council Chambers – City Hall, 1 p.m.

Thursday May 16th

Committee on Finance, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Youth and Community Development; Department of Small Business Services;

Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Committee on Youth Services, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Youth and Community Development

Committee on Land Use, Committee Room – 250 Broadway, 16th Floor, 11 a.m.

Committee on Small Business, Council Chambers – City Hall, 11 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Small Business Services

Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction, Council Chambers – City Hall, 2 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Committee on Health, Council Chambers – City Hall, 2 p.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Friday May 17th  

Committee on Finance, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Citywide Administrative Services; New York City Law Department; New York

City Board of Elections; New York City Campaign Finance Board

Committee on Government Operations, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.

Executive Budget Hearing – Testifying Agencies:

Department of Citywide Administrative Services; New York City Law Department; New York

City Board of Elections; New York City Campaign Finance Board

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