senate Bill S924

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Establishes a process for the regulation of collecting, recording, and disclosing confidential information by state employees

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to codes
Jan 09, 2013 referred to codes

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S924 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Codes
Law Section:
Civil Rights Law
Laws Affected:
Add §50-f, Civ Rts L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S2719
2009-2010: S1327

S924 - Bill Texts

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Establishes a process for regulating the collecting, recording, and disclosing of confidential information by state employees.

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BILL NUMBER:S924

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend
the civil rights law, in relation to regulating the collection, recording
and disclosing of confidential information obtained
by state employees in the course of official duties

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill will make it the policy of state employees to keep sensitive
information they encounter while performing the functions of their
job confidential. Exceptions are made for disclosures necessary to
perform essential tasks and those that are required by law.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Adds a new section 50-f to the civil rights law.

JUSTIFICATION:
This bill will protect sensitive information and allow individuals to
rest assured that the information they provide to agents of the state
will be held in confidence. Encouraging greater candor in dealings
with state agencies will result in increasingly effective agencies,
safer streets and greater protections of privacy within New York.

Confidential information under this law includes any information
obtained by a state agency, officer or employee, concerning an
individual's health or disability status, income tax records, sexual
orientation, status as a crime victim or witness, public assistance
status, immigration status, or any information otherwise protected
from disclosure by any provision of federal, state, or local law.

Additionally, a mechanism to allow individuals to register complaints
about uncooperative employees and a civil penalty to be levied
against non-compliant agencies will help to enforce this legislation.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2008: S.6738 Serrano - Referred to Codes
2009-10: Senate referred to Codes & Assembly Referred to
Governmental Operations
2011-12; S.2719

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that
effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any
rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on
its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and
completed on or before such effective date.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   924

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. SERRANO, ADAMS, DILAN, KRUEGER, PERKINS, STAVISKY --
  read  twice  and  ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to
  the Committee on Codes

AN ACT to amend the civil rights law,  in  relation  to  regulating  the
  collection,  recording  and  disclosing  of  confidential  information
  obtained by state employees in the course of official duties

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  The  civil  rights law is amended by adding a new section
50-f to read as follows:
  S 50-F. DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION BY STATE EMPLOYEES.  1.
DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS SECTION:
  A. "CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION"  MEANS  ANY  INFORMATION  MAINTAINED  OR
OBTAINED  BY A STATE AGENCY, OFFICER, OR EMPLOYEE CONCERNING AN INDIVID-
UAL'S HEALTH OR DISABILITY STATUS, INCOME  TAX  RECORDS,  SEXUAL  ORIEN-
TATION,  STATUS  AS  A  VICTIM  OF  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, STATUS AS A CRIME
VICTIM OR WITNESS, PUBLIC ASSISTANCE STATUS, IMMIGRATION STATUS, OR  ANY
INFORMATION THAT IS OTHERWISE PROTECTED FROM DISCLOSURE BY ANY PROVISION
OF FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL LAW; AND
  B.  "LINE  WORKER" MEANS ANY PERSON EMPLOYED BY ANY STATE AGENCY WHOSE
DUTIES INVOLVE CONTACT WITH THE PUBLIC.
  2. PROCEDURE FOR THE DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.
  A. EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH B OF  THIS  SUBDIVISION,  NO  STATE
OFFICER  OR  EMPLOYEE  SHALL DISCLOSE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION TO ANYONE
EXCEPT ANOTHER STATE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ACTING IN THE SCOPE OF  HIS  OR
HER OFFICIAL DUTIES.
  B.  OTHER  THAN AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH A OF THIS SUBDIVISION, CONFI-
DENTIAL INFORMATION MAY BE DISCLOSED ONLY IF:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00555-01-3

S. 924                              2

  (I) THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S AGENCY IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO  DISCLOSE
SUCH CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION AND PROVIDED THAT SUCH DISCLOSURE SHALL BE
LIMITED TO THAT REQUIRED BY LAW; OR
  (II)  THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S AGENCY HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED, IN WRIT-
ING SIGNED BY THE INDIVIDUAL OR, IF THE INDIVIDUAL IS A MINOR OR  OTHER-
WISE INCOMPETENT, SUCH AUTHORIZATION HAS BEEN SIGNED BY THE INDIVIDUAL'S
PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN, TO DISCLOSE SUCH CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION, AND
PROVIDED  THAT  THE  DISCLOSURE  SHALL  BE LIMITED TO THAT AUTHORIZED IN
WRITING BY THE INDIVIDUAL; OR
  (III) THERE IS REASONABLE SUSPICION OR PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE  THAT
A  PERSON  IS ENGAGING IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AND THE DISCLOSURE OF CONFI-
DENTIAL INFORMATION IS NECESSARY TO COOPERATE  WITH  A  LAW  ENFORCEMENT
AGENCY OR AGENCIES INVESTIGATING THAT CRIMINAL ACTIVITY; OR
  (IV)  SUCH CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IS TO BE USED BY A FEDERAL, STATE,
OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY, AND SOLELY  FOR  THE  PURPOSE  OF  COMPILING
STATISTICAL  INFORMATION,  PROVIDED THAT THE DISCLOSURE SHALL BE LIMITED
TO THAT NECESSARY TO COMPILE SUCH STATISTICAL INFORMATION, AND  PROVIDED
FURTHER  THAT  THE  RECIPIENT  OF THE INFORMATION ENSURES, IN WRITING IN
ADVANCE OF ANY DISCLOSURE, THAT THE CONFIDENTIAL  INFORMATION  DISCLOSED
WILL NOT BE FURTHER DISCLOSED TO ANY OTHER AGENCY OR OTHER INDIVIDUAL.
  3.  PROCEDURE  FOR  THE  COLLECTING  AND/OR  RECORDING OF CONFIDENTIAL
INFORMATION. THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL APPLY TO  ANY  DOCUMENTATION,  QUES-
TIONNAIRE,  INTERVIEW  SHEET, OR OTHER FORM USED IN RELATION TO BENEFITS
OR SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE STATE.
  A. NO STATE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL MAKE INQUIRIES REGARDING  CONFI-
DENTIAL  INFORMATION  OF ANY INDIVIDUAL, WHEN SUCH INDIVIDUAL, ON HIS OR
HER BEHALF OR ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER, IS APPLYING FOR,  OR  IS  RECEIVING,
ANY  SERVICE  OR BENEFIT PROVIDED BY THE STATE, UNLESS SUCH CONFIDENTIAL
INFORMATION IS SPECIFICALLY REQUIRED BY FEDERAL OR STATE LAW AS A CONDI-
TION OF RECEIPT OF SUCH SERVICE OR BENEFIT.
  B. IF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IS REQUIRED BY FEDERAL OR STATE LAW  AS
A  CONDITION  OF  RECEIPT OF A SERVICE OR BENEFIT PROVIDED BY THE STATE,
THE STATE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL MAKE ONLY THOSE INQUIRIES  NECESSARY
TO DETERMINE IF AN APPLICANT OR RECIPIENT IS QUALIFIED FOR AND OTHERWISE
MEETS THE CONDITIONS FOR RECEIPT OF SUCH SERVICE OR BENEFIT.
  C.  NO  STATE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL COLLECT AND/OR RECORD INFORMA-
TION REGARDING THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF AN APPLICANT FOR, OR  RECIPIENT
OF, ANY SERVICE OR BENEFIT UNLESS SUCH IMMIGRATION STATUS IS REQUIRED BY
FEDERAL  OR STATE LAW. WHERE FEDERAL OR STATE LAW REQUIRES THE RECORDING
OF SUCH CONFIDENTIAL IMMIGRATION STATUS INFORMATION, ONLY THAT  INFORMA-
TION SPECIFICALLY REQUIRED SHALL BE RECORDED.
  4.  DESIGNATION  OF  ACCESS  OFFICER  RESPONSIBLE  FOR AUTHORIZING THE
RELEASE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. THE HEAD OR GOVERNING BODY OF  EACH
AGENCY  SHALL  DESIGNATE ONE OR MORE PERSONS WITH SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY,
AND ASSIGN TO SUCH PERSONS THE FURTHER AUTHORITY TO APPROVE AND  AUTHOR-
IZE  THE  RELEASE  OF  CONFIDENTIAL  INFORMATION.  THE DESIGNATION SHALL
INCLUDE THE NAME, SPECIFIC JOB TITLE,  TELEPHONE  NUMBER,  AND  BUSINESS
ADDRESS  OF  EACH  SUCH  DESIGNATED  ACCESS  OFFICER. WHEN APPROVING AND
AUTHORIZING THE RELEASE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION, A DESIGNATED ACCESS
OFFICER SHALL SPECIFY,  IN  WRITING,  THE  SPECIFIC  INFORMATION  TO  BE
DISCLOSED,  AND THE PERSONS OR ENTITIES TO WHOM SUCH DISCLOSURE SHALL BE
MADE. THE DESIGNATED ACCESS OFFICER SHALL ENSURE THAT ANY DISCLOSURE  IS
AUTHORIZED BY LAW AND WITHIN THE LIMITS AS PROVIDED BY LAW.
  5.  DISCLOSURE  BY  LINE  WORKERS OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. NO LINE
WORKER EMPLOYED BY A STATE AGENCY SHALL DISCLOSE  CONFIDENTIAL  INFORMA-
TION  WITHOUT  OBTAINING PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FROM A DESIGNATED ACCESS

S. 924                              3

OFFICER RESPONSIBLE FOR APPROVING AND AUTHORIZING THE RELEASE OF  CONFI-
DENTIAL INFORMATION FOR THAT AGENCY.
  6. REVIEW OF A COMPLAINT. UPON RECEIPT OF A COMPLAINT, THE STATE AGEN-
CY  SHALL DETERMINE IMMEDIATELY WHETHER THERE ARE REASONABLE GROUNDS FOR
AN INVESTIGATION. SUCH INVESTIGATION SHALL  BE  CONDUCTED  IN  A  MANNER
PRESCRIBED  IN  THE  REGULATIONS  SET FORTH BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE STATE
AGENCY OR AN AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE. IF THE  DIRECTOR  OR  AUTHORIZED
REPRESENTATIVE  DETERMINES THAT THE INVESTIGATION AND RESOLUTION OF SUCH
COMPLAINT IS MORE SUITABLY HANDLED BY ANOTHER STATE  AGENCY,  THEN  SUCH
DIRECTOR  OR  AUTHORIZED  REPRESENTATIVE  SHALL IMMEDIATELY FORWARD SUCH
COMPLAINT TO THE APPROPRIATE AGENCY. THE STATE AGENCY SHALL  MAINTAIN  A
FILE  CONCERNING  SUCH  COMPLAINTS  THROUGH  SUCH AGENCY'S COMPLETION OR
ACTION THEREON. ANY STATE AGENCY RECEIVING A COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO  THIS
SUBDIVISION  SHALL  PROVIDE  UPON  REQUEST,  WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE FINAL
DETERMINATION OF OR ACTION UPON SUCH COMPLAINT.
  7. VIOLATION. ANY STATE AGENCY WHICH EMPLOYS A  PERSON  WHO  HAS  BEEN
CHARGED  WITH THE DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IN VIOLATION OF
THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A CIVIL PENALTY OF AN
AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.
  8. OTHER LAWS RESPECTING CONFIDENTIALITY. NOTHING  HEREIN  REDUCES  OR
ABRIDGES ANY OTHER PROTECTION IN FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL LAW RESPECTING
THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION.
  9. SEVERABILITY. IF ANY SECTION, SUBDIVISION, SENTENCE, CLAUSE, PHRASE
OR  OTHER PORTION OF THIS SECTION IS, FOR ANY REASON, DECLARED UNCONSTI-
TUTIONAL OR INVALID, IN WHOLE OR IN PART,  BY  ANY  COURT  OF  COMPETENT
JURISDICTION, SUCH PORTION SHALL BE DEEMED SEVERABLE, AND SUCH UNCONSTI-
TUTIONALITY OR INVALIDITY SHALL NOT AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF THE REMAINING
PORTIONS  OF  THIS  SECTION,  WHICH REMAINING PORTIONS SHALL CONTINUE IN
FULL FORCE AND EFFECT.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately; provided,  however,  that
effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule
or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effec-
tive  date  are  authorized  and directed to be made and completed on or
before such effective date.

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