As Amazon Deal Falls Apart, Political Repercussions Just Beginning
The big news around New York State last week was that the retail monolith Amazon has scrapped their plan for building a second headquarters in Long Island City. The deal, which was announced late last year after a lengthy and highly competitive search process, was said to be the largest economic development project in the State’s history. The plan hit a snag when a number of local politicians expressed displeasure over the tax breaks the company would be receiving and their lack of commitment to using organized labor. The chorus of concern continued to grow in the weeks following the deal, and reached a boiling point last week when Amazon decided to put an end to the New York project.

While the Amazon story appears to have reached a conclusion, we haven’t even begun to see what the political fallout will be – and it could be more significant than anybody could’ve foreseen when this deal was first announced. For the first time since gaining control last November, this issue firmly pits Governor Cuomo against the Senate Democrats. Cuomo, who put a lot of effort in to getting Amazon to commit to New York, is portioning a large amount of the blame for the failure of this project at the feet of the Senate Democrats, even going so far as to say that Senator Todd Kaminsky “lacked courage” when he decided to not fight for the project.

During the first few months of the legislative year, the Democratic legislature and the Governor have been unified, passing and signing many big ticket items. Those days are now over and insiders are gearing up for a contentious budget season. What that means for the restaurant industry is tough to say, but neither the Governor, the Assembly or the Senate appear to be too keen to work with each other right now, which usually means nothing gets done. The mood around the Capitol is tense between all parties and there doesn’t appear to be relief on the horizon.

NYC Council to Hold Hearing on Bill to Prohibit Pre-Employment Drug Testing
On February 27, City Council will hold a hearing on a number of marijuana-related proposals. One of these is Intro 1445, co-sponsored by Council Members Jumaane Williams, Laurie Cumbo, and Carlina Rivera. It would prohibit employers in New York City from requiring pre-employment drug testing for THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana.

There would be some exceptions, and occupations that are safety or security related, or involve heavy machinery, that would still be able to require THC testing. Also exempt are employers with federal contracts or grants that include a THC testing requirement.

Would this affect you or your business? Please let us know your thoughts by contacting our New York City Government Relations Coordinator, Kathleen Reilly, at kathleen@nysra.org .

Sugar Menu Labeling Set for Council Discussion
Next week, the NYC Council will also hold a hearing on menu warning labels in regards to sugar. The bill, if passed, would mandate that chain restaurants with more than 15 locations nationwide post a symbol next to menu items with more than 25 grams of added sugar. This bill mirrors the sodium bill the City Council passed a few years ago that mandated chain restaurants put a salt shaker next to items that exceeded 2,300 mg of sodium. 
 
The NYS Restaurant Association has taken the position that menu warning labels are not the best way to educate consumers on making healthy choices and we will be testifying to that effect next week. If you have any questions on this bill please contact Kathleen Reilly at Kathleen@nysra.org .

NYSRA Compliance Hotline
833.682.6411 | advocate@nysra.org