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Bill Brings More Transparency to Apparel Task Force

A bill signed into law by Gov. David A. Paterson on Thursday requires the state Labor Department's Special Task Force on the Apparel Industry to submit an annual report to the legislature concerning its activities to allow the Assembly and Senate to...

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ALBANY, N.Y. — A bill signed into law by Gov. David A. Paterson on Thursday requires the state Labor Department's Special Task Force on the Apparel Industry to submit an annual report to the legislature concerning its activities to allow the Assembly and Senate to evaluate the effectiveness of its labor laws.

The report must state the amount of complaints, investigations and dispositions handled by the Task Force; the number of filled and unfilled investigator and other staff positions; a statement of how many investigators are bilingual and in what languages; the amount of money allocated by the Labor Department and spent by the task force, and recommendations for improving enforcement.

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Serphin R. Maltese, a Republican representing Queens, said there are 34 positions authorized for the task force, but eight are vacant.

"The legislature needs to understand how the money it appropriates for sweatshop enforcement is being used," Maltese said. "Each year since 1995, the legislature has appropriated more money to the department than was requested by the governor in his budget and each year the department has spent less than the amount appropriated."