Legislative Update

Volume CV, No. 12December, 2005

Heather Beaudoin


In the Nov. 8 elections, New York State voters approved the $2.9 billion Transportation Bond Act that will finance transportation projects statewide, including part of the Second Avenue subway and a link between the Long Island Rail Road and Grand Central Terminal.

Supporters said the new borrowing, which will be repaid over decades from the state’s general revenues, was essential to acquire, build or repair subways, trains, buses, highways and bridges.

According to the New York Times, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which will get half the money, has committed to completing the first segment of the Second Avenue subway, from East 96th to East 63rd streets, jump-starting a project that was abandoned during the city’s fiscal crisis of the mid-1970’s.

Vote Yes for Transportation, a coalition of business, labor, environmental and transportation groups, raised more than $1.8 million for advertisements, flyers and mailings.


Local 802 testified at the Department of Cultural Affairs Libraries and International Group Relations Committee, chaired by Councilmember Dominic Recchia, on an oversight hearing in October entitled “In Search of a Blueprint for a Cultural Community, Part II: Issues Facing the Performing Arts Community in New York City.”

Local 802 explained how professional musicians in New York City make a living and their contribution to the economy of the city, detailed why Local 802 actively promotes live music, outlined the threats to live music and how the council can be helpful, and stressed the need for attainable, affordable housing for entertainment industry professionals.


Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy on Friday signed into law the “Fair Share for Health Care Act” — a law to ensure that large supermarkets and “big box” retailers in Suffolk County help pay their employees’ health care costs. The new law marks a response by communities to eroding employer health care and the resulting costs for taxpayers as the uninsured turn to safety net programs for care. New York City recently adopted a similar law, and lawmakers are considering proposals in Maryland, New Jersey and San Francisco.

The new Suffolk law — supported by Gristedes, Pathmark and other industry leaders — requires supermarkets and “big box” retailers that sell groceries to spend at least $3 per hour on employee health care costs. Most supermarkets in the New York area currently contribute at that rate. The law aims to ensure that workers at large supermarkets, most of whom currently receive some form of health care, do not see their coverage taken away in an industry-wide race to the bottom.