STATE ASSEMBLY RELEASES JOB PLAN
The New York State Assembly has released a comprehensive plan called “NY@Work” that would create tens of thousands of jobs, according to Central Labor Council President Brian McLaughlin.
The objectives for NY@Work are to establish a new economic development model; reform the Empire Zones Program; develop a workforce for the 21st century; invest in capital projects that create jobs; create a comprehensive manufacturing assistance program; reform and extend the Power for Jobs Program for an additional three years; and support community-based economic development.
Nearly $525 million is earmarked for the plan, which proposes setting up an Economic Policy Coordination Board to develop a strategic plan for economic growth and oversee the state’s investments in research and development projects.
SMOKING LAW REMAINS FIRM
New York legislative leaders rejected legislation that would have weakened the worker protections and public health protections of the existing Clean Indoor Air law (which took effect July 24, 2003), creating exceptions and making that law harder to enforce.
“Why would you want to undo something that is in the public’s best interest?” asked Senate Republican majority leader Joseph Bruno, who has become an increasingly vocal opponent of smoking. Bruno’s counterpart in the state assembly, Democratic speaker Sheldon Silver, said he also opposed weakening the smoke-free workplace law. “I think the law works well. Period,” said Silver.
In addition to an exemption for air-filtrated bars, the amendment proposed by state rep RoAnn Destito and state senator Raymond Meier, would have permitted smoking in separately ventilated rooms in billiard parlors and bowling alleys.
COPYRIGHT ENFORCEMENT COULD INCREASE
The EnFORCE Act (S. 1933) was reported out of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary near the end of May. This bill, sponsored by Senators Hatch, Cornyn and Feinstein, helps Local 802 members in three fundamental ways. First, it expands the current antitrust exemption that the music industry has to DVD’s and other new forms of distributing music for the purposes of negotiating mechanical royalty rates in these developing markets.
Secondly, the EnFORCE Act allows a court, when computing statutory damages for copyright violations, to determine that all the parts of a compilation or derivative work do not constitute one work but rather should be considered as separate, individual works if the court concludes that they have distinct, independent, economic value from one another.
This bill also adds weight to the intellectual property enforcement at the Department of Justice. The bill stipulates that any unit within the DOJ that is responsible for investigating intellectual property crimes is assigned at least one full-time agent to support the investigative unit. That agent must have received specific and proper training for dealing with intellectual property crimes. To support the enhanced enforcement of copyright law, the EnFORCE Act allocates an additional $5 million per year for the next five years to the DOJ.