Federal Air Travel Subsidies: Is Essential Air Service ‘Essential?’

 By Hunter Raines, Albany Government Law Review 

Some may recall the shocking headline last year resulting from the failure of the United States Congress to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, costing thousands of jobs and foregoing billions of dollars in government revenue.[1]  Perhaps a few were more concerned with whether or not airlines should have adjusted their fares by the amount of the federal aviation tax that no longer applied upon expiration of the FAA’s bill to question what possible debate could exist with whether or not the FAA should be funded.[2]  In truth, however, the debate was centered not on whether or not to federally regulate aviation, but, inter alia,  how and where to subsidize certain large commercial airlines for flying routes that “just [do not] make sense” absent a government subsidy.[3]  This article argues that the proper role for the majority of these funds is not corporate (and community) welfare, but to undertake capital projects to improve infrastructure at existing, commercially sustainable airports without increasing the cost to the tenant airlines or the traveling public.  This article’s analysis will focus primarily on New York State.

Continue reading “Federal Air Travel Subsidies: Is Essential Air Service ‘Essential?’”

Colorado Regulatory Reform Embraces Community Collaboration

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is charged with the task of “preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado.”  As a result DORA has developed the initiative, “Cutting Red Tape in Colorado State Government: Making Government More Efficient, Effective and Elegant.”  A report published by DORA in december 2011, “Pits and Peeves Roundtable Initiative,” examined government reform ideas by collaborating with various business organizations, local governments, advocacy and community groups, non-profit groups, and academic institutions in a roundtable forum.  This forum allowed senior government officials to hear directly from businesses and community members what problems are causing government inefficiencies.

The report examines the issues, common themes, suggested solutions, progress thus far, and steps to be taken with respect to government and regulatory reform.  A few of the issues discussed were the need for change in government culture to focus on customer service, regulatory inefficiencies and delays, the need for greater coordination among agencies, the need for better coordination between federal and local agencies, the need for periodic review of agency rules and regulations to evaluate continuous need and effectiveness, making better use of available technology, the need for a go to person in each agency to help “customers,” the need to pay greater attention to economic/unintended adverse impacts of proposed regulations, requirements and procedures, and the need to pay more attention to ensuring that new regulations reflect legislative intent.

This reform tactic is founded on the belief that the problem must first be identified for any government reform to be successful.  To that end, Colorado is listening to the people who are on the front lines of governmental inefficiency and molding government reform actions around their collaboration.

The report is available here.

NLRB’s Reports on Social Media Policies: When Are Employers Crossing the Line and What Must Employers Consider?

By Hanok George, Albany Government Law Review

Introduction

Social media has become a topic of increasing interest among employers, as the employees’ statements within such media can have wide ranging impacts upon the employer.[1]  These statements can reach millions of people— including customers, venders, suppliers and many others.[2]  Due to the broad sweeping impacts associated with social media, employers have created social media policies for employees that restrict the employees’ ability to divulge work-related information on websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.[3]  However, these policies walk a fine line between protecting the employer’s interests and infringing on the employees’ rights to concerted activity under Section seven of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).[4]  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found many employers’ social media policies to constitute unfair labor practices.[5]   Continue reading “NLRB’s Reports on Social Media Policies: When Are Employers Crossing the Line and What Must Employers Consider?”

Toward Legislative Transparency: A Proposed Change to the New York State Constitution

By Anne Jeliff, Albany Government Law Review

The New York State legislature has become synonymous with inactivity and lack of transparency.[1]  Due to its role as host to this governing body, the city of Albany has seen its name suffer as well, having been labeled as “the capital of inertia,”[2] “Corruption Central,”[3] a town that “has. . .earned a special place” among the “pantheon of ethically challenged politicians,”[4] and a “culture” of “overall dysfunction.”[5]  Sadly, the city and its resident lawmakers have earned this reputation.  Albany has distinguished itself as one of the most inefficient and consistently corrupt seats of State government in the country.[6] Continue reading “Toward Legislative Transparency: A Proposed Change to the New York State Constitution”