BILL NUMBER: S264
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to direct the law revision commission to make recommendations
to the legislature concerning proposed revisions to the general city
law, the town law, the county law, the village law, the general
municipal law, the local finance law and any related statutes
To direct the Law Review Commission to examine the existing statutes
which govern local governments and offer recommendations to the
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
Section 1 - states the legislature hereby finds and declares it to be
the policy of the state that the present statutory structure of the
laws which relate to local government have evolved in an disorganized
manner, contain overlapping statutory provisions, contain outdated
provisions, and that there is a need for a new state policy on local
Section 2 - directs the law revision commission to review all the
general laws that relate to local government, determine the
effectiveness of such laws, and to further review such laws to achieve
the objectives of simplicity, ease of administration, fairness and
equity. The commission is to make recommendations to the Legislature
for such action, including proposed revision of such laws, as it deems
Section 3 - requires the commission to make a report to the Governor
and Legislature of its findings, conclusions, and recommendations no
later than December 1, 2010.
Section 4 - contains the effective date.
The State Legislature in the case of the State's local governments,
has enacted general consolidated laws that empower local governments.
The last complete review of all the laws was in 1909. The County Law
was last revised in 1950, the Town Law in 1932 and the Village Law in
1972. The General City Law and the General Municipal Law have not been
completely revised since 1909.
The question arises whether the present law and structure of local
government has kept pace with emerging technology and demographic
shifts as well as the evolving need for more services for our
It is the responsibility of the State Legislature to insure that the
general laws under which municipalities operate are clear, concise and
make sense in the 21st century. The local general consolidated laws
have been amended thousands of times in the last 30 years often to
make exceptions for a certain municipality to exercise a certain power
that is not provided in the general statutes and which cannot be done
under home rule authority. This patchwork approach has created a
number of legal anomalies. For example, a small city with a population
of less than 10,000 might have more power in certain areas of service
than a large suburban town that has a population eight times as large.
While a city or a village can establish its own fire department, a
town cannot. Towns also cannot set their own speed limits, but village
can within certain limitations.
The Law Revision Commission was created by the State Legislature in
1934. The role of the Commission is to examine the existing law the
purposes of discovering defects and anachronisms and recommending to
the Legislature needed reforms, by integrating the ideas of government
officials as well as all interested persons including bar associations
and academics. It would be the appropriate agency to review any state
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2007/08: S.1099-A; A.11386 Ways & Means
2006: S.6286 Passed Senate
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have
become a law.
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