Agents Advocacy Week(S)
This week, Big I NY member agents from across the state descended on Albany (virtually) to urge lawmakers to support several pro-consumer bills. Agents urged members of the Senate to co-sponsor our bill to make auto photo inspections (CARCOs) optional at the discretion of insurance carriers. This bill recently passed the Assembly for the first time ever, and we are ramping up the pressure to pass the bill through the Senate before the end of session in June.
Our agents also urged for the passage ofbills to eliminate the 30-day notice to withdraw from the State Insurance Fund, eliminate the diligent effort requirement when placing commercial excess coverage, shorten the excess lines affidavit, and repeal the burdensome NYC anti-arson application.
Agents participated in over a dozen meetings with lawmakers this week, with more scheduled next week.
Senate Unanimously Passes Big I NY-Supported Excess Lines Diligent Effort Bill
Also this week, the NY Senate unanimously passed a priority bill to eliminate the requirement to obtain three declinations on commercial excess policies placed through an unaffiliated wholesale broker. The bill now must pass the assembly insurance committee and a vote by the full assembly. Big I NY agents are meeting with key members of the Assembly Insurance committee this week and next to urge passage of this important pro-consumer reform.
State Budget Deal Reached
On Thursday afternoon, Governor Hochul announced that she and the Legislative Leaders have come to a “conceptual agreement" on a $220 billion state budget. Earlier in the day, two of the final budget bills were introduced – Public Protection and Good Government (PPGG) and Revenue. The language of the remaining seven budget bills is still being finalized and they are expected to be introduced later tonight or early tomorrow morning. The Legislature has signaled that they plan to begin voting on the budget bills tonight and hope to finish up voting on the entire budget today.
Some of the most notable provisions included in the PPGG and Revenue bills are:
- Legalizing alcohol-to-go sales;
- The creation of a State Commission to examine the State's alcoholic beverage control laws;
- Requiring polling sites on college campuses;
- Extending the New York City Musical & Theatrical Production Tax Credit;
- Establishing a tax credit for the conversion from grade no. 6 heating oil usage to biodiesel heating oil and geothermal systems;
- Amendments to the State Tax Law permitting deductions for commercial cannabis activity;
- Creation of the Restaurant Return to Work Credit; and
- Implementation of a Gas Sales Tax Holiday.
Some of the issues that the Governor has confirmed will be in the budget, but have not yet had language introduced include:
- Replacing the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government;
- Changes to the State's bail reform laws;
- Funding for a new Buffalo Bills Stadium;
- $800 Million in funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP);
- The authorization of three casino licenses downstate;
- An accelerated tax cut for middle-class families;
- Pay increases for health care workers;
- Expanding tuition aid for part-time students;
- $31.5 billion in school aid;
- An additional $400 million in funding for SUNY and CUNY;
- $7 billion over the next four years to expand child care; and
- $32.8 billion in infrastructure funding over the next five years.
Big I NY and our retained lobbyists will continue to monitor the state budget process as it plays out.