Legislative Update - February 2019
ACEC Legislative Update

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New York State

Winter Conference: ACEC New York thanks all members who attended the 2019 Winter Conference and gathered at the annual Legislative Networking Reception to meet with New York State legislators, including Senate Transportation chair Senator Tim Kennedy, who also offered a special briefing to our Legislative Committee meeting.

Budget: Last month, Governor Cuomo issued the 2020 Executive Budget proposal. On February 15, the Executive’s 30-day amendments were released making minor amendments to the original proposal. Among these is language clarifying that the State University Construction Fund may use Design Build project delivery. ACEC New York continues to stay engaged in the budget making process and represent the industry’s interests.

State Policy Initiatives:

ESOP Expansion: Representatives of the Association’s Government Affairs and lobbying team met with Assembly Higher Education Committee staff members to continue their advocacy for A.3514(Lupardo)/S.2709 (Kennedy). This legislation seeks to allow a qualifying (design professional controlled) Employee Stock Ownership Plan to own a greater portion of a Design Professional Corporation while still ensuring that licensed professionals control the firm.

Indemnification: ACEC New York met with representatives of the Attorney General’s office earlier this month as part of our ongoing effort to facilitate the review of State agency contracts for issues of insurability and alignment with commercial standards. This meeting highlighted how unreasonable defense and indemnity demands impair the ability of Member firms to fairly and appropriately protect themselves from ruinous uninsurable obligations. This conversation remains ongoing, and we continue to work to press this case to client agencies.


Federal

2019 Federal PAC. Fundraising has begun for the 2019 ACEC PAC. ACEC New York has raised $5,255 of our new $90,000 goal. Thank you to our donors to date. Look for information on upcoming PAC fundraising events and visit the ACEC PAC webpage for more ways to give. For more information on donations, or to make a donation to the PAC, contact Campbell Wallace at campbell@acecny.org.


New York City

Mayor’s Office of Contract Services provides update on “PASSPort” Roll-Out.
On January 29, the City Council held a hearing entitled “Oversight - Roll-Out of the Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal (PASSPort).” The Council’s hearing report, testimony by the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) and hearing video are available online. MOCS testified they are currently developing PASSPort “Release 3” which is planned for launch in early 2020. Release 3 will include end-to-end procurement activities from solicitation and approval of awards to contract development and payment of invoices. It is intended to speed activities related to agency and oversight approval, registration package compilation, extensions, amendments and change orders. MOCS said PASSPort is being designed according to three principles: 1) Standardization of process and tools to ensure a predictable experience for vendors, 2) Transparency to improve communication and 3) Analytics to support real-time decision-making.

NYCDDC releases Strategic Blueprint to improve capital program. On January 24, the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) released a new “Strategic Blueprint for Construction Excellence.” DDC’s plan includes strategies to modernize procurement and streamline Change Order approvals and payments, which are recommendations ACEC New York submitted to DDC last year in our NYC Procurement Policy Paper. ACEC New York’s DDC Committee continues to meet with DDC leadership regularly and will monitor the implementation of this new strategic plan.

NYC PAC Update.
The NYC PAC is off to a strong start in 2019. Since launching last month, 33 members from 21 firms have contributed a total $5,550 to the NYC PAC. Thank you to our contributors! The PAC is an important tool enabling our association to take an active role in local politics. We encourage all members to contribute to the NYC PAC and help us reach our goal of raising $15k this year. To contribute contact Bill Murray, ACEC New York’s NYC Director of Government Relations.

ACEC New York writes Mayor, urges DOB Commissioner should be a Design Professional.
This month, ACEC New York sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio urging him that the Commissioner of Buildings should continue to be a licensed design professional. After DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler, PE, retired last month, First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fariello, RA, assumed the role of Acting Commissioner until the Mayor appoints a replacement. It has been our association’s longstanding position that the Commission of Buildings should be a PE or RA.