New York

Under Cover of Anti-Labor Proposals, Other Radical Measures May Sneak Through

.As we reported last week, legislators and advocates in several states are gearing up to oppose legislation that would roll back long-accepted labor standards and weaken prospects for a meaningful economic recovery. Proponents of those measures are polarizing the political climate by vilifying unions and public sector workers. While, in most of these cases, the subject legislation may never be enacted, there is a danger that under cover of such divisiveness, other major anti-labor initiatives could quietly squeak through by being packaged more moderately.

States Stand Up for Workers By Passing Wage Theft Protection Laws

This week, New York Governor David Paterson signed the Wage Theft Protection Act into law, ending a long grassroots and legislative campaign to address the myriad ways workers are routinely cheated out of a fair day's pay by their employers, all in direct conflict with federal and state wage and hour laws. The problem is widespread, and of colossal proportions in many low-wage industries, including the garment, retail, and service sectors.

In Recession, New York May Still Create Green Jobs While Retrofitting Homes and Businesses

During a special legislative session, New York state officials again have the opportunity to pioneer an energy efficiency policy that guarantees payment for retrofits for 1 million homes and businesses without touching the state budget.  The proposed legislation guarantees the creation and preservation of green jobs in the state while also providing healthier living and working environments for the people of New York.

Department of Justice to States: Don’t Sue Polluters

In a blow to states’ leadership over clean energy, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that states cannot sue power plant operators that generate pollution. The Justice Department alleges that: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency has already started to regulate greenhouse emissions; and (2) states lack standing to assert a federal nuisance claim.

NY: Senecas file suit to block state tax

Albany Times Union:

The Seneca Indian Nation sued the Paterson administration in U.S. District Court in Buffalo on Tuesday to block enforcement of a plan to gain tax collections on sales of cigarettes at Native American stores.

New York: One Signature Away from Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering

Legislation to end the practice of prison-based gerrymandering in New York, included within the 2011 state budget, passed both the Senate and Assembly last week. Once Gov. Patterson approves the budget package, the bill will go into effect in time for next year's redistricting efforts.

NY: State Set for Boon in Aid

The Wall Street Journal:

New York finally got some good news from Congress on Wednesday when the Senate pushed forward $2.6 billion in aid for the state, after two months of lost votes on the issue threatened to blow big holes in local and state budgets.

NY: 125 Days Late, a State Budget With New Taxes

The New York Times:

Lawmakers completed one of the latest budgets in New York State history on Tuesday night, passing a last piece of legislation that will raise an additional $1 billion — in part by increasing taxes on the sale of clothing and on a variety of businesses.