February Legislative Updates from NYC
Friday, February 28, 2014
Posted by: James Versocki
In New York City, our team constantly advocates on behalf of the hospitality industry at City Hall, before the City Council, and with numerous City agencies. Here is our February recap of what’s going on in the New York City political scene for the month of February.
New Administration and New Council
2014 brings a new perspective and agenda to the Council and City Hall. The Association has continued its work at City Hall, in Albany, and in Washington D.C. to advocate on your behalf. Agencies have continued to wait for new commissioners to take office which has greatly slowed down new initiatives by the city. That being said, the Association continues to meet with the New Business Acceleration Team (now a part of the City’s Department of Small Business Services) to reduce fines and streamline the regulatory morass that accompanies many of your dealings with city agencies. We are also working to further generate new training materials for restaurants such as the NYC Restaurant Guide
Earned Sick Time Act
Late February saw the passage of an addition to the Earned Sick Time. The Speaker’s office asked the Association to meet with them prior to the enactment of the new bill. The bill retains much of the same structure as the previous bill but extends coverage to operations with five or more employees (instead of the old law’s twenty). This law takes effect April 1, 2014! Many technical questions remain to be answered and we will all have to wait for rule making through the Department of Consumer Affairs to get that guidance. Our team is organizing a seminar and a detailed FAQ guide to help restaurants understand this new law. Stay tuned for more details.
Waste Management and Sanitation
Last year saw the passage of the City’s first organic separation bill and polystyrene ban. Both have phase-in periods but you should prepare your operations for these changes now. The Association can assist you through the Green Hospitality Initiative
On February 24, 2014, the Association submitted testimony to the City Council’s Sanitation Committee regarding the future of garbage practices over the next four years. The implementation of organic separation/composting was discussed but the issue stealing the show is where transfer stations are located and a trial program for the franchising of city garbage routes. Franchising means the City would receive competitive bids from haulers to service particular neighborhoods. The Association is in contact with other state restaurant associations where franchising is implemented to determine if franchising is a worthwhile goal. We will continue to monitor that pilot program.
Farm to Table and Local Sourcing
The Association remains dedicated to assisting the growth of the Governor’s Taste NY
and Pride of New York
initiatives. The Taste NY program will be at the International Restaurant & Food show this Sunday – Tuesday at the Jacob Javits center. Association members get a free ticket to the Show so please come and see how the second largest food show in the country can assist your business.