Legislative Wrap-Up:Week of April 12: Election Law Reforms, Delinquent Tax Collection And More

Legislation passed this week by the State Senate Democratic Majority included bills to ensure voters are not disenfranchised as a result of outdated election laws, the authorization of municipalities to collect delinquent property taxes, and the establishment of new rights regarding phone calls of defendants upon arrest, among others.

Reforming State Election Laws

S4960B (Krueger): Relates to applications for absentee ballots. The purpose of this legislation is to change the absentee ballot application deadline to provide more voters with additional time and means to vote via absentee ballot. The strength of a democracy is the level of participation by its citizens so it is incumbent upon government to ensure that all citizens are afforded with the means to vote including by absentee ballot. This legislation will provide voters with the opportunity to request an absentee ballot by telefax or other written instrument in addition to
the currently stipulated means of a letter.
S2868B (Addabbo) / A5276B (Galef): Simplifies the absentee ballot process to make it easier to vote by removing requirement for certain information on circumstances for the voter's absence. The bill removes the requirement that applicants for an absentee ballot disclose those personal details of their need for it, which invade their privacy and compromise their safety and security.
S5988 (Klein) / A4015A (Kavanagh): Provides that an affidavit ballot submitted on election day at a polling place shall also constitute an application to register to vote. This bill provides that the affidavit ballot envelope be designed to serve as an application for registration and enrollment and that if a prospective voter who completes the affidavit is determined by the Board of Elections not to be registered or enrolled as the voter claims, that the voter is to be registered or have his enrollment changed pursuant to the information on the affidavit envelope.
S6910 (Addabbo): Allows the board of elections to administratively set standards for the change of mailing address and requires a candidate to provide the board with depository information. The bill allows the Board to determine how changes to mailing addresses are made to promote administrative efficiency, and requires candidates who are required to file campaign financial activity disclosure reports to provide the name and address of the depository where they maintain the accounts from which they conduct their campaign financial activity.
S3252 (Addabbo) / A4313 (Galef): Provides for the inclusion, at a voter's option, of an email address in the voter registration application and record, so that notices and other communication required to be sent to the voter by the state board of elections will be sent by email in addition to postal mail. Many people now rely on their e-mail as much as their postal mail to stay connected to the world. By providing an optional entry for e-mail addresses on voter registration forms, boards of elections will be able to reach voters via e-mail with all pertinent election information.

Raising Revenue for Municipalities

S6225 (Klein) / A9460 (Gunther): Authorizes cities and villages to collect delinquent real property taxes. The purpose of this bill is to expand the number of options available to municipalities to efficiently and effectively manage the collection of delinquent real property taxes and also provide protections to those property owners that are subject to real property tax collections by such municipalities or third parties.

Ensuring Rights of Defendants

S5456 (Diaz) / A217 (Latimer): Requires insurers to notify a designated third person before the termination of health insurance policies held by a person 65 years of age or older and imposes a system of notifying the insurer by certified mail of the third party designation. This bill would require insurance companies to authorize their senior citizen clients to designate a third party for written notification in the event such companies forward notifications concerning the impending
cancellation of the senior citizen clients' long-term care and health insurance policies.

Other Legislation

S6948 (Breslin): Enacts provisions relating to reciprocal insurers having a corporate attorney-in-fact wholly owned by subscribers at the reciprocal insurers. The proposed bill includes a new provision in insurance law that will help to avoid transition difficulties that would otherwise ensue for insurers who have attorneys-in-fact wholly owned by their subscribers, but who currently are not expressly authorized to issue renewal insurance policies with the notice that the acceptance of the policy with the subscribers' agreement attached constitutes the signing of the
subscribers agreement.
S1736B (Stavisky) / A1249C (Lancman): Relates to qualifications for certain appointed positions with the board of trustees for the state university and CUNY, and prohibits trustees from being employees of the appointing authority. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that the trustees of the Boards of Trustee of the state university and the city university serve with objectivity.
S6139 (Foley) / A10316 (Murray): Provides that Lighthouse Mission, Inc. may file an application for exemption from real property taxes for a certain parcel of land located in the town of Brookhaven, county of Suffolk, for the 2008-2009 assessment roll. The closing on this building was done after the tax exempt status date had passed because the funds to purchase the building were not made available on time; as a result the not-for-profit is facing a significant tax bill that they cannot afford to pay.
S1789D (Stewart-Cousins) / A8871C (Brodsky): Authorizes Greenburgh North Castle Union free school district to lease certain real property. This legislation will authorize the Greenburgh North Castle Union Free School District to continue leasing property outside of district boundaries for the purpose of providing instruction to students. This bill refers specifically to the locations at one hundred eight Shonnard Plance in the city of Yonkers, and 1700 Old Orchard Place in the village of Valhalla.
S4301A (Libous) / A7713A (Crouch): Relates to the dissolution of the town of Sanford fire district and the establishment of a fire protection district by such town and provides for the transfer of certain assets and liabilities of the dissolved fire district.
S2721 (Volker) / A1069 (Destito): Exempts manufacturers of firearm silencers from being charged under certain sections of the penal law in certain situations. This bill will permit New York manufacturers, where properly licensed, to manufacture, possess, transport, repair and dispose of firearm suppressors for governmental use only.
S6039 (Bonacic) / A9003 (Gunther): Relates to capital awards to vendor tracks. The bill will allow the video lottery vendor track located at Monticello Raceway to participate in vendor's capital award.