Legislative Update - July 2019
ACEC Legislative Update

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New York State

MWBE Reauthorization: As described in the June legislative update, the Senate and Assembly passed legislation (A8414 – Bichotte / S6575 – Sanders) to renew the State’s MWBE program (Executive Law Article 15A) through 2024. The bill was delivered to Governor Cuomo on Friday, July 12 and signed into law on Monday July 15 as Chapter 96 of 2019.

NYC Design-Build: New York City’s design build expansion (A7636B – Braunstein / S6293A – Comrie) passed both houses late in the Session. The bill extends New York City’s design-build authority to the NYCDDC, the NYCDEP, the NYCDOT, NYC Parks, the NYC Health and Hospitals corporation, the NYCSCA and the NYC Housing Authority. The bill has not been sent to the Governor for signing.

DPC ESOP Expansion: ACEC New York’s efforts to expand ESOP ownership of DPC engineering firms passed the State Senate but did not advance out of Assembly Higher Education committee at the end of Session. ACEC New York staff and lobbyists have begun scheduling meetings with the Sponsor’s staff and Assembly Higher Education staff to work through the details and operation of the bill and advocate for its passage next session.

Grandfather firm Geology: Legislation (S6084 – Stavisky / A 7865 – Engelbright) was introduced and seeks to remedy this issue facing grandfather engineering firms and their inability to practice geology, despite the presence of qualified Geologists on staff. The bill passed the Senate, but did not advance out of the Assembly Higher Education committee. The bill remains a top priority for our government relations efforts in the off-Session.

Damages for Delay: Legislation (A2040A – Kim / S5933A – Comrie) authorizing contractors to recover reasonable damages for delay under limited circumstances passed the Senate and the Assembly. This version of the bill is significantly revised from prior years’ versions and removes troublesome wording that had the potential to implicate design professionals in delay claims. The bill has not yet been sent to the Governor.

Cost-Benefit: The bill (A5459 – Bronson / S6048 – Breslin) that seeks to require State Agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before procuring consultant services over $750,000 once again passed both houses. This version of the bill is nearly identical to the version that passed last year and was vetoed by Governor Cuomo. Our government affairs staff is preparing outreach to the Governor’s office to again remind them of the profoundly harmful public policy implications of this legislation.

Contractor Spyware: ACEC New York worked diligently to educate legislators on the significant flaws of legislation (S.5398 - Savino) that sought to mandate the installation of software on state contract holders’ computers that would capture keystrokes, mouse movement and screenshots. Through outreach, coalition-building and direct lobbying, our Government Relations staff helped encourage a groundswell of opposition against the bill and it died in the Senate Finance committee, without an Assembly companion.


Federal

2019 Federal PAC. ACEC New York has raised $42,350 of our $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 NYS Director of Government Relations Campbell Wallace at campbell@acecny.org.


New York City

Energy Audits and Retro-Commissioning. As of August 4, a new rule will take effect regarding Energy Audits and Retro-Commissioning. Upon enactment, the rule requires energy auditors and retro-commissioning agents performing or supervising audits or retro-commissioning pursuant to Local Law 87 of 2009 to be registered design professionals. Other certified professionals will still be allowed to work under the supervision of registered design professionals. Prior to this change, energy auditors and retro-commissioning agents did not need to be registered design professionals. ACEC New York submitted comments to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) on this rule change, which were supportive with a few recommended technical changes. The DOB was responsive to most of our suggestions. Thanks to the Metro Region Energy Code Committee for their leadership on this.

Local Law 97 (LL 97), Building Retrofit Law. The City Council passed Intro. 1619 on June 26, making “technical amendments” to the City’s new landmark LL 97 in relation to building retrofits. ACEC New York advocated for the City to open a position for a Professional Engineer to serve on the Advisory Board established by LL 97, and this change has been made to the law. ACEC New York will continue to monitor.

Contractor Spyware legislation. Legislation (Intro. 1602) has been introduced at the City Council to create a Task Force to study the feasibility of using “transparent billing software” on computers to verify the accuracy of time billed for work performed on public contracts. The software is intended to be a tool for City to audit work performed by consultants by tracking computer keystrokes, mouse activity, screenshots and other functions. This creates significant privacy and data security concerns for our members. It also fails to accurately capture the value of a consulting engineer’s work on City contracts. ACEC New York is part of a coalition of concerned stakeholder groups that is working to oppose this bill. 

NYC Battery Storage bill. ACEC New York provided testimony to the City Council on Intro. 49, in relation to the installation of utility-scale battery storage systems on City buildings and a feasibility study on installing such systems throughout the City. Thanks to the Electrical Code Committee for its leadership reviewing the bill and developing comments.