Legislative Wrap-Up Week Of May 10

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    The New York State Senate Democratic Majority passed 27 bills this week, including legislation that will identify specific criteria for the commissioner of environmental conservation in identifying environmental hazards, eases the process for organ donation and expands the definition of ATVs to include larger vehicles, among others.

    Identifying Environmental Hazards

    S1330 (Serrano) / A8489A (Peoples-Stokes): Identifies the criteria the commissioner of environmental conservation should consider in publishing a list of high local environmental impact zones as these are areas most adversely affected by existing environmental hazards. The analysis of environmental burdens experienced in various areas will be based on the best information available to allow more precise targeting of high local impact zones wherever practicable. DEC is required to publish the listing every two years, together with a report  identifying the factors considered and how those factors were weighed in compiling the list.

    Opening Up Organ Donation

    S4999A (Duane) / A10664 (Gottfried): Permits an electronic signature to register consent to make an anatomical gift. This bill would ease the process for organ donation and thereby increase the numbers of New Yorkers who will make anatomical gifts.  Increasing anatomical gifts is a vital public health goal for the State of New York.

    Expanding ATV Definition

    S4277 (Aubertine) / A8033 (Koon): Amends he definition of all terrain vehicle or "ATV" and increases the dry weight of such vehicle from 1000 pounds to 1500 pounds. Due to the increase in the weight of vehicles, the current one thousand pounds dry weight limit on "all terrain vehicles" and "ATVs" is enticing New Yorkers to register their vehicles in other states.  The proposed legislation would allow more New Yorkers to register their "ATVs" in New York State; which would provide for increased revenue for New York State due to the cost of registration.

    Other Legislation

    S4476 (Aubertine) / A6687 (Magee): Permits certain not-for-profit conservation organizations to apply for agricultural protection state assistance payments. More and more, not-for-profit conservation organizations are working with towns and counties in assisting them with protecting our vital farmland. As part of that, this legislation would allow not-for-profits to apply for funding from the farmland protection program provided that the municipal and the county agricultural and farmland protection board have both endorsed the project.

    S6215A (Savino) / A9174A (Abbate): Provides certain employees of the NYC school construction authority an opportunity to buy back service credit for time while suspended for economy measures on and after December 1, 2002 until their return to service prior to January 8, 2008. The New York City School Construction Authority employees should be permitted to purchase, as their own expense, the service credit toward their pension for the time that they were laid off from the employer for economic reasons.

    S7541 (Stavisky) / A10750 (DenDekker): Amends the proposed language in legislative bill number S.5688-D and A.8530-E to remove the provision requiring law enforcement to grant an arrestee access to their cell phone or other digital device for the purpose of locating a telephone number therein. Requiring law enforcement to permit an arrestee access to their cell phone for the  purpose of locating a telephone number in an effort to assist them in contacting counsel, a relative or friend to alert them of their arrest is favored whenever possible, however, it will not be mandated at this time.

    S6152B (Oppenheimer) / A9182B (Latimer): Allows the Village of Mamaroneck to reopen the optional retirement plan to police officers Scott Fraioli and Dominick Lanza. Both Scott Fraioli and Dominick Lanza were enrolled in the 375 (i) program when they should have been enrolled in the 384 (i) retirement program for reasons not ascribable to their own negligence and thus failed to make a timely application to participate in such optional retirement plan.

    S7140 (Huntley) / A10260 (Pheffer): Provides for the financing and construction of capital facilities for Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps, a not-for-profit corporation. The U.S. Department of Transportation previously allocated $2 million to the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps, Inc. for construction of a firehouse. At the recommendation of the New York State Department of Transportation, this legislation will allow for the funding to be channeled through the New York State Dormitory Authority so that the funds may be accessed by the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps, Inc. and will allow for greater oversight by the Dormitory Authority.

    S7191 (Dilan) / A9238 (Kellner): Requires contract carriers of passengers by motor vehicle to provide federal SafeStat results to potential customers. The purpose of this bill to require contract carriers of passengers by motor vehicle to provide and explain their most recent federal Safety Status Measurement System (SafeStat) scores before entering into a contract with a customer.

    S5833 (Huntley) / A8771 (Rivera): Notifies the local department of social services upon the death of an incapacitated person. Presently, there is no systematic way for the City to be promptly notified upon the death of an individual who, due to incapacitation, has been assigned a guardian. This notification is critically important when such individual has outstanding Medicaid liens.

    S6066A  (Perkins) / A10903 (Powell): Allows license to sell liquors at retail for consumption on certain premises, located at 1429 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, county, city and state of New York. While the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law prohibits the sale for on-premises consumption of alcohol at any location within 200 feet of a place of worship, exceptions have been made for certain establishments that do not pose problems for the place of worship, or the surrounding neighborhood. This bill would exempt Cucina Romana, Inc. in New York City from this provision of law thereby allowing sale and consumption of alcohol in the restaurant.

    S3868A (Montgomery) / A8524 (Scarborough): Provides a process for a petition to restore previously terminated parental rights under certain circumstances. This measure would amend provisions of the Family Court Act and the Social Services Law to authorize Family Court, in narrowly-defined circumstances, to restore a birth parent's parental rights after they have been terminated.

    S6903 (Valesky) / A6020 (Gottfried): Requires the secretary of state and county clerks to accept payment for any fee relating to appointment or reappointment as a notary public in the form of cash, money order or by certified, company, bank or personal check or by credit or debit card, which may include payment through the internet. This bill would accommodate the convenience of the public and help bring the Department of State and county clerks up to date with modern methods of financial transactions. By accepting renewal fees by credit and debit cards, as well as by internet transactions, paperwork could be drastically reduced.

    S5533A (Savino) / A7972A (Abbate): Provides that provisions relating to disability benefits, ordinary death benefits and post-retirement death benefits would be modified to be consistent with benefits currently paid by other retirement systems as required by OWBPA. The purpose of this bill is to amend provisions of the Retirement and Social Security Law relating to death and disability benefits payable to members and beneficiaries of the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System and the New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System in a manner that will comply with the requirements of the Federal Older Workers' Benefit Protection Act.

    S6058 (Adams) / A8531A (Destito): Expands protection of technology assets used to maintain public information. This bill broadens the exemption from public inspection and copying of any information, regardless of the source, where the exposure of that information would jeopardize an entity's capacity to guarantee the security of its information technology assets.

    S7332 (C. Johnson) / A10854 (Schimminger): Amends the alcoholic beverage control law, in relation to standards for premises licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption. This bill would eliminate existing requirements that package stores be located at street level and have no more than two entrances. The current language reflects an archaic requirement inconsistent with today's commercial reality, which provides for numerous appropriate venues for retail outlets, such as indoor malls.

    S7232 (Valesky) / A10447 (Gantt): Makes permanent certain provisions of law relating to transportation contracts. The original sunset provision was necessary to determine whether the use of RFPs for pupil transportation contracts would improve the delivery of private pupil transportation services and it has, over a decade later, proven to be a tremendous success in terms of providing our school districts with an efficient and safe transportation system. More than that, continuing to renew these provisions every five years is an unnecessary waste of resources in addition to creating an unnecessary sense of uncertainty for schools that want to utilize the RFP law to procure pupil transportation services.

    S7389 (C. Johnson) / A7885A (McEneny): Makes provisions regarding registration of local government historians and specifies duties and responsibilities as well as provides for designation of local government historians. This legislation will raise the standards of the position of local historians by allowing for the keeping of a central role of local government historians in order to ensure that all vacancies are filled by appropriate candidates.

    S1909C (Klein): Increases penalties for vandalism to a house of worship or theft of a house of worship, which includes any statues, menorahs and nativity scenes located outside the building or structure of worship on the property of the religious corporation. This bill creates a new E felony crime, aggravated interference with religious worship, for those instances in which a person damages property in the course of injuring, intimidating or interfering with religious freedom, and when property of a place of religious worship is damaged in an amount greater than $150.00.

    S4954B (Thompson) / A7611B (Englebright): Authorizes counties, cities, towns and villages to establish green loans programs to provide financing to residential property owners for the purchase and installation of solar energy generating systems and/or wind energy generating systems on such property and/or for the cost of the performance of an energy efficiency analysis of the dwelling on such property and the completion of energy efficiency improvements upon such dwelling by a licensed contractor.

    S1823B (Morahan) / A5414B (Englebright): Establishes a civil cause of action for employees who are subjected to an abusive work environment. This legislation will provide legal redress for employees who have been harmed, psychologically, physically, or economically. It will also provide legal incentives for employers to prevent and respond to mistreatment of employees at work.

    S5863B (Fuschillo) / A9010 (Hooper): Provides that the mayor of Freeport may appoint four members to the Freeport community development agency. This legislation would allow the Mayor of the Village of Freeport to appoint four members to the Freeport Community Development Agency, allowing them to fully comply with the Public Accountability Act of 2005.

    S5873 (McDonald) / A8935 (Jordan): Authorizes the town of Malta, county of Saratoga to discontinue the use of certain lands as parklands and to sell and convey such lands, including the historic residence known as the "Wiggins-Collamer House," which are no longer needed for park purposes. Allows the Town of Malta to discontinue and sell at fair market value municipally owned parklands which are no longer needed for park purposes.

    S7188 (Griffo) / A10297 (Destito): Extends from June 30, 2010 until June 30, 2012 the provisions relating to the Oneida Indian Nation real property tax depository fund. This bill extends the provisions of Chapter 521 of 2005 which created the Oneida Indian Nation real property tax depository fund consisting of real property tax payments on Oneida Indian nation taxable property.

    S7327A (Padavan) / A11041 (Silver): Extends New York city's energy cost savings program and lower Manhattan energy program from 2010 until 2013. This bill would amend provisions of the General City Law and the Administrative Code of the City of New York, to extend the sunset date of the City's Energy Cost Savings Program and Lower Manhattan Energy Program to July 2013.

    S6730 (LaValle) / A9817 (Thiele): Authorizes and extends the provisions of the town of East Hampton, county of Suffolk to issue certain serial bonds and permits the issuance of serial bonds to liquidate a deficit for the year 2009. This legislation is necessary to address the worse than anticipated condition of the Town of East Hampton's finances and operating fund deficits. In addition, the Town will be taking a number of significant actions to ensure the events of the last four years do not reoccur.

    S6826 (Seward) / A10141 (Magee): Authorizes a school district's website to be printed on school buses at the discretion of the owner or operator of such buses. The purpose of the legislation is to permit school districts to affix their websites on their fleet of school buses. This legislation will provide members of the community with yet another means of contacting their school district should they so desire. It is important to note that this legislation permits, but does not require, a school district to add their website to the school buses in its fleet School districts should be permitted to affix their websites on the back of their school buses if they so choose.