The “No Dragging People From Planes” Legislation

Assemblyman Steve Englebright won’t let the United Airlines controversy die.

One month after a man was dragged off a plane, the Long Island Democrat introduced a bill on Friday prohibiting the involuntary removal of a passenger because the airline overbooked the flight. Anyone who violates this prohibition, under the proposed law, could be required to pay damages

“There is no excuse for an aircraft operator to forcible remove any person who has paid for an assigned seat on such aircraft,” read the bill memo, which goes on to note that people often make “specific arrangements” to travel and interruptions can be  “extremely inconvenient.”

The prohibition would only apply if a person paid for their fare and had an “assigned seat.”

Continue reading “The “No Dragging People From Planes” Legislation”

Trump and his Taxes

Could New York post President Donald Trump’s state tax returns online?

That’s what a bill from Sen. Brad Hoylman would require the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance to do.

Following up on his proposal to require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to qualify for New York’s votes in the Electoral College, Hoylman has introduced a bill that would require the state to post online the income tax returns for the president, vice president, the state’s senators in Congress and any other statewide elected officials, such as the governor.  The state income tax returns would be posted for every year the elected official remains in office, according to the legislation.

“New Yorkers deserve to know whether elected officials represented the state are paying their fair share of taxes or hold potential financial conflicts of interest,” reads the bill memo. Continue reading “Trump and his Taxes”

UPDATED: State considers loans for Hoosick Falls

Hoosick Falls may be allowed to borrow money to cover more than $1 million in unexpected expenses while the village continues to negotiate with two local polluters.

Legislation from Sen. Kathy Marchione and Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin would permit the village to issue serial bonds for “extraordinary expenses incurred by the village as a direct result of the discovery of the contamination of the village’s municipal water supply,” according to the bill memorandum. The unplanned expenses since 2014 include engineering, testing, legal services and public relations services.

At the behest of residents and outside advocates, the village has delayed agreeing to a settlement with the polluters, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International. The potential agreement would cover these unplanned costs, which are approximately more than $1.1 million at this point. The companies have already paid for water purification systems as part of an order of consent and administrative settlement.

UPDATE: Marchione’s bill was advanced from Senate Local Government Committee to Senate Finance Committee.

During the meeting, Marchione explained, “The reason for this bill is that currently with having to pay for some of their legal bills, Hoosick Falls can only borrow for a two-year period of time without having special legislation allowing them to borrow longer.”

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Assembly Dems and Ridesharing: Take 2

Assembly Democrats have staked out a new bargaining position in the negotiations to bring ridesharing to upstate New York.

Late on Friday night, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill introduced a bill that would allow companies like Uber and Lyft to operate north of New York City. Cahill, who chairs the Assembly Insurance Committee, was seen as trying to sabotage the expansion in 2016 and his new bill adds additional caveats that haven’t been proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo or the Senate Republicans.

A key provision of the Assembly bill deals with local control for municipalities. The bill would “authorize localities to regulate TNC vehicles and drivers in the same manner as they are currently authorized to regulate taxicabs and liveries,” according the bill memorandum.

As reported, the bill also imposes sales tax on rides with companies like Uber and Lyft. The proposal would generate revenue for local municipalities, who likely wouldn’t see the same benefits from the governor’s plan.

Cahill’s proposal also requires the TNC company to pay for criminal background checks and forbids passing those costs to the applicants.

Upon the request of a municipality, ridesharing companies must provide information about pick-ups and drop-offs, including locations, dates and times.

It’s also interesting to note the timing of the bill, which was introduced in time for the Assembly to pass it on Monday. It might be too soon to assume this bill can pass the chamber though, as Cahill’s bill from last year died in the committee process when it was taken off the Insurance Committee’s agenda after failing to generate enough support during a June meeting.

The Senate Republicans passed ridesharing legislation earlier this year.

Mayor .. errr.. Senator Avella brings back NYC minimum wage bill

Queens Senator (and mayoral hopeful) Tony Avella wants to let New York City set its own minimum wage.

Avella has reintroduced a bill that would allow the city to set a rate above the state approved wage that was increased last year.

“The cost of living in the city of New York is significantly higher than many other regions throughout the state and the New York City Council should be empowered to legislate a higher minimum wage rate to address this increased cost of living if it chooses to do so,” read the justification in the bill’s memorandum.

If approved, this level of local control would fly in the face of actions taken this session by the legislature, which stripped New York City of the ability to impose a bag tax. (FYI: Avella voted to impose the state’s authority when it came to plastic bags.)

The proposal, which failed to advance out of the Senate Labor Committee in previous sessions, doesn’t currently have a same-as version in the Assembly.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has never signaled a willingness to let municipalities set their own rates, although the state’s recent minimum wage legislation did set the rates based on regions.

(For legislation nerds: the memorandum for this bill was likely copy and pasted from past sessions, as the legislative history portion fails to note the earlier versions of the bill.)