Senator Gianaris Passes Bill Requiring Agencies to Hold Hearings When Petitioned By New Yorkers

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator Michael Gianaris announced the State Senate passed his legislation (S.2397) allowing state agencies to use new methods to engage New Yorkers in decision making. The bill, which passed unanimously, allows residents to petition agencies to hold public hearings during rulemaking. The legislation also permits agencies to use new technologies, including livestreaming and teleconferencing, to hold hearings.

“More public input in agency decision-making will help government make better decisions,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “This proposal would empower New Yorkers to force a public discussion of important proposed regulations before they are decided. I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to pass this important measure so policy-making can benefit from more public input.”

Senator Gianaris’ proposal would require agencies to hold public hearings if 125 or more New Yorkers sign a petition requesting one. This would mark the first time New York State residents could petition their way into an agency’s rulemaking process. Similar measures exist in other states including California, Arizona, New Hampshire, Idaho, Illinois, and Utah.

The three-year pilot also allows seven different agencies to utilize modern technologies to engage New Yorkers at public hearings. The affected agencies are the Workers' Compensation Board and the Departments of Education, Environmental Conservation, Health, Financial Services, Labor, and Family Assistance.

The legislation is currently awaiting a vote in the State Assembly.

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