Legislative Update - October 2018
ACEC Legislative Update

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New York State

Defense/Indemnification Reform. In early October, ACEC New York began the next step of the Association’s efforts to engage government clients on the issue of unreasonable and uninsurable defense and indemnification demands. ACEC New York met with members of Governor Cuomo’s key transportation, operations, and legal counsel staffs and shared examples of unfair requests. We explained the negative legal and business effects of such improper allocations of risk and defense obligations. In the meeting, the attendees reviewed the language of the Veto message which “...direct[ed] the State's construction contracting agencies and authorities to review the indemnification clauses in contracts with design professional firms, to determine if they are representative of the industry standard, and reflective of scope of liability insurance coverage design professional firms are able to obtain...” and identified ways to bring this directive to the relevant State Agencies and Authorities. Following that meeting, ACEC New York representatives met with representatives of local municipal entities to gain a deeper understanding of their position regarding such contractual provisions. As the Association continues to pursue this effort, we encourage you to contact ACEC New York with examples of unreasonable or uninsurable defense and indemnification obligations – the more examples of these we have, the more effectively we can advocate for our industry’s position.

Other Legislation. ACEC New York continues to vigorously work with public and private stakeholders to educate them on the Cost-Benefit bill. This bill passed both houses of the Legislature at the end of Session, but has not yet been acted on. The bill would require State Agencies to conduct a cost-benefit study on any contract with an outside consultant over $750,000. This misguided legislation is duplicative of existing requirements, contains inherent conflicts and would impede the ability of State agencies to conduct taxpayers’ work in a timely and nimble manner. We encourage you to contact the Governor’s office and recommend that they veto this bill.


Federal

2018 Federal PAC. ACEC New York has already raised $53,525 of our $85,000 goal - less than half of our goal remains! 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, including the Fall Sweepstakes. For more information on donations, or to make a donation to the PAC, contact Campbell Wallace at campbell@acecny.org.


New York City

ACEC New York testimony on NYC M/WBE Efforts. On October 10th, ACEC New York submitted testimony at a New York City Council Contracts Committee hearing on “the Administration’s Efforts to Expand Contracting with Minority and Women-Owned Businesses.” The Mayor’s Office also provided testimony at the hearing. Previously, in September, Association leaders met with the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs and NYC Department of Small Business Services to discuss the 2018 NYC Disparity Study and requested data related to the study’s findings.

Metro Energy Codes Committee submits recommendation to NYC Council on Building Retrofit Bill. The New York City Council is planning to reintroduce a bill (formerly known as Intro. 1745) which would require thousands of buildings to undertake energy retrofits to limit their energy use. The City Council is developing the new bill and ACEC New York’s Metro Energy Codes Committee is poised to review it, when available. Meanwhile, the Committee submitted a recommendation to the bill-drafters suggesting a Task Force be created to publish a Reference Guideline for building designers. The Committee hopes the City Council will consider this recommendation when drafting the bill.

Electrical Codes Committee reviewing DOB Construction Project Guidelines. Back in April, a group of ACEC New York members met with NYCDOB to discuss concerns regarding a proposed rule change that would amend NYC’s Electrical Code. The rule change would shift responsibility for filing electrical submissions onto PEs; currently, the submissions are made primarily by Electrical Contractors. NYCDOB recognized our members’ concerns and has since drafted a Project Guideline outlining the submittals that would be compliant with the proposed rule. The committee provided extensive edits to the guideline and maintains its position that NYCDOB’s proposed rule change should be modified as originally requested.



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