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Hawley says State Assembly has left much to accomplish

Posted 2 August 2013 at 12:00 am

Editor:

With the State Assembly in session from the beginning of January to the end of June, it’s hard to believe that any stone could go unturned. Unfortunately, due to the misplaced priorities of the Assembly Majority, the legislature failed to address a number of critical topics facing our families and job creators in 2013. In fact, the Assembly left Albany with so much unfinished business that I believe we should return to the Capitol for a special session as soon as possible.

Perhaps the most dismal failure of the 2013 Legislative Session was the Assembly’s inability to pass nine critical pieces of legislation in support of women. While the Senate passed individual pieces of legislation that would combat human trafficking, expand protections for victims of domestic violence and prevent housing discrimination, the Assembly chose to play politics with a controversial catch-all bill that prevented the nine widely-supported measures from becoming law. This was a major disappointment for women, who deserve the basic protections and support passed by the Senate. These bills would easily pass the Assembly if voted on individually, and that alone is reason enough to call the chamber into special session.

However, the disappointment in the 2013 session didn’t end there. Job creators took a hit as a significant anti-business cost-driver survived session. A provision passed in 2011 forces businesses to issue a written statement to their employees informing them of their pay level every year, even if their pay, already required to be printed on individual paychecks, hasn’t changed. The state is literally forcing private businesses to waste supplies and manpower to remind their employees how much money they make, even though it’s written out for them every single payday. This is the kind of illogical, job-killing overregulation that earns New York its anti-business reputation, and it needs to be repealed immediately.

Taxpayers were negatively impacted by the 2013 session as well. A hidden fee on utility bills, set to expire in 2014, was extended for four years, costing families and businesses $1.7 billion. I advanced a budget amendment to undo this disastrous extension and have sponsored a bill to repeal the surcharge with bipartisan support since the fee was created in 2009. A special session agenda should include an immediate repeal of this fee, as well as address the continuing problem of unfunded mandates, which drive local taxes through the roof and rob our communities of power over our own finances and programs.

It shouldn’t take six full months for the Assembly to pass legislation supporting women, businesses and taxpayers, but this year’s session left too much unfinished business to wait until 2014 to reconvene. The Assembly must return to the Capitol and finish the people’s business as soon as possible. Anything less is a failure for all New Yorkers.

Steve Hawley
State Assemblyman
District 139