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Senator Fuschillo Announces New Laws For 2006


Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) announced that as 2006 begins, New York State residents will be able to take advantage of several new laws. The new laws were sponsored or cosponsored by Senator Fuschillo and will enhance consumer protections and strengthen penalties for DWI. The laws include the following:

Information and Security Breach Notification Act
As of December 7, 2005, this law will require businesses and government entities to notify consumers if any of their private, personal information, such as name, in combination with other information, such as social security number, driver’s license number, non-driver identification number and account information, was either stolen or compromised. This notification will help these consumers protect themselves from identity theft.

New Lemon Law Protections
Will make it easier for consumers to defend themselves if a manufacturer challenges an arbitration award. Under the new law, court proceedings must be held either in the county where the consumer resides or where the original arbitration took place so that consumers rights are better protected.

Vasean’s Law
Eliminates the requirement that prosecutors must prove a drunk driver committed an additional criminally negligent act and greatly increases the ability of law enforcement to bring felony charges against drink drivers who kill or injure another.

Senator Fuschillo also announced that a number of other new state laws, including lobbying reforms, tax exemptions for alternative energy use, an increase to the minimum wage, and a measure to bring New York State into compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) took effect on January 1, 2006. The new laws include the following:

Lobbying Reform
New, comprehensive reforms have been enacted to more effectively regulate the lobbying of government entities. This new law represents the most sweeping reform and overhaul of the State’s lobbying law in generations.

The law curtails lobbying for government contracts, discloses more information about lobbying, provides new penalties for violations of the lobbying law, and establishes an Advisory Council on Municipal Lobbying to advise the state lobby commission on the implementation of the new procurement lobbying provisions.

Alternative Energy Tax Exemptions
The existing solar electric generating equipment personal income tax credit has been expanded to include equipment utilizing solar radiation to provide heating, cooling, and/or hot water. The maximum amount of the credit has also been raised from $3,750 to $5,000.

Enhanced Tax Exemptions for Volunteer Firefighters
School districts, at a local option, are authorized to grant a partial real property tax exemption for real property owned by enrolled members of certain volunteer fire companies or ambulance services.

Single Sales Factor
A major tax reform that will help New York businesses and help to prevent the outsourcing of jobs took effect on January 1, 2006. The single sales factor is expected to save New York businesses $26 million in the coming year and $130 million when fully implemented.

This new measure reforms the previous law, which caused businesses that increased payroll or capital investments in New York to incur a higher State income tax liability. The old policy encouraged job outsourcing, especially in the crucial manufacturing, broadcasting and securities industries.

The single sales allocation formula law will be phased in over a three year period. The first phase requires firms to use an allocation formula applying a sixty percent weight to sales. This will increase to 80 percent in 2007 and 100 percent in 2008.

Minimum Wage Increase
On January 1, 2006 New York’s minimum wage increased from a rate of $6.00 per hour to $6.75 per hour. The rate will again increase to $7.15 per hour on January 1, 2007.

Help America Vote Act
A new law took effect on January 1, 2006 to bring New York into compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The law requires voters to provide their driver’s license number, or the last four digits of their social security number when registering to vote. Also, first-time voters who registered by mail will have to produce evidence of their identity before voting.

Campaign Finance Reform
Candidates and committees for local elections that raise or expend more than $1,000 are now required to file their campaign finance statements in an electronic format.

Personal Watercraft Safety
Operation of personal watercraft will only be allowed by persons over the age of fourteen who hold a boating safety certificate or are accompanied by a person over the age of eighteen who holds a boating safety certificate. This will give children more time to mature both physically and mentally before safely operating a personal watercraft, and ensure that they are properly educated on the rules and regulations of the State’s waterways.

New Conveniences for Paying Court Fees
Court-related payments, such as bail, fines, surcharges, and court fees, can now be paid using a credit card, making it easier and more convenient for people to pay their court costs.