Legislative Update: January 2020

ACEC Legislative Update

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New York State

Legislative Session Begins. The 2020 legislative Session commenced on January 8, 2020, and ACEC New York has already been hard at work in the Capitol and across the State connecting with Legislators and sharing our legislative agenda. Our annual Live Legislative Committee meeting will be held on January 26, 2020 at our Winter Conference. Members of the ACEC New York Legislative Committee are invited to participate in this important kick-off to this year’s legislative Session.

Joint Design Meeting. Representatives of ACEC New York, AIA New York State, New York State Society of Professional Engineers, New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors, New York State Council of Professional Geologists, and the New York State Council of Landscape Architects met in early January to review industry-wide topics of interest and develop strategies to advance shared legislative priorities.

 

On January 10, the ACEC New York Western Region held their annual Legislative Luncheon. From left to right: Keith Harlock, State Board Member; Kirk Wilson, Western Region Chair; Assembly Member Angelo Morinello (145th District); Dan Duprey, ACEC New York Legislative Committee Chair; Campbell Wallace, ACEC New York Director of NYS Government Relations.

Regional Legislative Programs. Across the State, ACEC New York regional legislative receptions are occurring. On January 10, the Western Region hosted a Legislative Luncheon moderated by State Director of Government Relations, Campbell H. Wallace. Esq. Assembly member Angelo Morinello (R-145) addressed the assembled group and offered insight into the legislative process and upcoming Session. The Central Region is holding a Legislative Luncheon on February 7 with a number of legislators confirmed as attendees. Please contact Central Region Chair Martin Meriwether for registration information. Rochester region is holding their legislative event on February 28 with confirmed attendance by a number of Rochester area legislators. Please contact Patrick Waterman for more info. The Mid-Hudson region is holding their event on February 7th, with confirmed attendance by multiple legislators. Please contact Mia Nadasky for more info.

DPC ESOP Expansion. ACEC New York government affairs staff is continuing to communicate with policymakers about the manner in which this bill would function and the how this business ownership structure would operate and benefit New York’s professional design community. In these conversations, ACEC New York government relations staff has brought attention to a report from then City Advocate and current Attorney General Leticia James which highlights the advantages of employee ownership through an ESOP model. The report advances many of the same arguments made in our advocacy efforts.

Grandfather Firm Geologist Legislation. ACEC New York continues to refine this legislation to ensure that grandfather Engineering firms are able to provide geology services equivalent to those provided before the 2014 licensure of Professional Geologists.

Indemnification. ACEC New York government relations staff and member firm representatives are exploring redrafted legislation intended to protect ACEC New York member firms from unreasonable defense obligations related to their provision of professional services.

Qualifications-Based Selection.
Expanding Qualifications Based Selection procurement remains a top policy initiative and ACEC New York along with representatives of other allied design profession associations explored how to best advance this procurement policy.

New York City Design-Build. On December 31, Governor Cuomo signed S.6293, legislation granting wide-ranging design-build authorization to a number of New York City agencies. This bill differs from earlier versions, which sought to require all QA and CI work to be done by City employees. This provision was removed following ACEC New York’s advocacy efforts. The bill that was signed retained other concerning elements though, including the imposition of a 5% quantitative factor on technical merit scores on proposals. This policy upends well-established QBS principles and shifts selection away from technical merits.


Federal

Congratulations Federal PAC Champions! Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our donors, ACEC New York set yet another record for most raised by a member organization with a final year-end tally of over $92,000 dollars. This exceptional outcome was the result of the membership’s efforts across every region of the State and donors at all levels. Fundraising efforts for 2020 have already begun - watch your email and visit the ACEC PAC webpage for new opportunities to support the Federal PAC.


New York City

ACEC NYC PAC 2020 kick-off! The NYC PAC has launched its annual fundraising effort. The PAC is a powerful tool for advocacy, benefitting all member firms. Principals and key employees of Metropolitan Region firms are asked to contribute $100 a year and Board Members $250. Contributions can be made via check or credit card by contacting Bill Murray. Thank you for your support!

Metro Region Public Policy Committee. On January 8, the Public Policy Committee held its third meeting of the year. Minutes are available on our website. They provide a snapshot of recent Metro Region advocacy efforts relating to procurement, legislation, Design-Build and other issues.

NYC’s MWBE Goal Update to Take Effect in mid-April 2020. The City’s MWBE goals were first established by Local Law 1 of 2013. Last year, the City enacted Local Law 174 of 2019 updating Local Law 1 and the goals. One significant change is that the participation of Asian-Male owned firms on agency contracts will become eligible to count toward MWBE goals. The Mayor’s Office of MWBEs informed us that when this change is put into effect, an updated version of Schedule B will be included in RFPs to reflect the changes in law. ACEC New York’s 2019-20 list of MWBE Member Firms is available to members on our website. Details about every member firm including specialties are available in our Member Directory.

The Procurement Policy Board (PPB) adopted a rule change related to Bids, Proposals and M/WBEs which took effect this month. The rule expands the Noncompetitive Small Purchase program allowing agencies to award MWBEs contracts up to $500,000 outside the competitive procurement process. The previous limit was $150,000. The rule also provides MWBE proposers a 5% point preference in technical evaluations.