While the New Year brings the start of a new Legislative Session, January 1st also represents the effective date for many of the laws that were passed during the 2005 Session. I would like to highlight a few of these laws.
The Transfer-on-Death (TOD) Security Registration Act (Chapter 325) will allow owners of investment securities to register their securities so that they automatically pass through to a beneficiary upon the owner's death. This will reduce the burden on beneficiaries as they will not have to go through probate.
Another new law (Chapter 179) that will go into effect on January 1st will help bring New York into compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Among its many provisions, the new law will require 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.
Also taking effect on New Year's Day, January 1st, will be a new restriction on the operation of personal watercraft (PWC) (Chapter 248). Only persons who are ages 14 and over will be able to operate a PWC, provided that they hold a boating safety certificate or are accompanied by a person over the age of 18 who holds a boating safety certificate.
Today's personal watercraft can be as long as twelve feet in length, and can be capable of speeds of up to 60 mph. In many cases, youngsters lack the physical height and strength needed to properly handle a PWC. By increasing the minimum age of operation of a PWC, the bill is intended to give children the time to mature both physically and mentally before safely operating a PWC, as well as ensuring they are educated on the rules and regulations of the State’s waterways.
Chapter 378, also effective Jan. 1, will expand the existing solar electric generating equipment personal income tax credit to include equipment utilizing solar radiation to provide heating, cooling, and/or hot water. The new law also increases the maximum amount of the credit from $3,750 to $5,000.
Chapter 729 is known as the "Manufactured Housing Advancement Act of 2005." This law will establish an advisory council within the Department of State and provide for the certification and training of persons employed in the manufacture, sale, installation, and repair of manufactured homes. It also establishes a dispute resolution procedure in the manufactured-home industry.
Finally, a minimum wage increase will take effect on Jan. 1, 2005. This increase was enacted as part of a 2004 law (Chapter 747). Under this law, the minimum wage rate (currently at $6 an hour) will increase to $6.75 per hour. On Jan. 1, 2007, it will increase again to $7.15 per hour.