Albany Legislative Update - March 24, 2023
Infant Lounger Ban
• The Assembly passed a bill (A.1287) that prohibits the sale or lease of any infant lounger and prohibits a childcare facility from having any infant lounger on the premises unless a medical professional has determined that the use of one is medically necessary for a particular child in such facility (vote: 104-40).
Automatic License Plate Readers
• Despite unanimous Republican opposition, the Assembly passed a bill (A.4157) that directs the Municipal Police Training Council to develop and disseminate a minimum standards policy governing the use of Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) (vote: 90-54).
Notice to Defendants of Nonreligious Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs
• The Assembly passed a bill (A.5074) that requires the court, as it relates to Judicial Diversion Program participation, to inquire, on the record, whether an eligible defendant mandated to attend a substance abuse treatment program has an objection to any religious element of that program (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous). Directs the court to identify an alternative program if the defendant objects. This bill is identical to the 2022 bill vetoed by Governor Hochul due to the overly rigid burden it would place on courts and judges (vote: 100-45).
Assembly Republicans offered the following rules reform package that was ultimately defeated by Assembly Democrats on March 22nd:
• 2/3 Vote for Messages of Necessity – Require a two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly for Messages of Necessity submitted by the Governor to be accepted (E.217, offered by Assemblyman Goodell, vote: 48-97).
• Extended Debate for Budget Bills, Messages of Necessity, and Rules Reforms – Make Budget Bills and bills with Messages of Necessity exceptions to the 5-hour debate limit. Make same exception to the one 15-minute speaking limit. Make Assembly Rules reform resolutions exceptions from the 30- minute debate limit (E.218, offered by Assemblyman Slater, vote: 49-96).
• Archiving Committee Meeting Video – Require Committee meeting recordings to be archived on the Assembly website (E.219, offered by Assemblyman Maher, vote: 53-92). • Committee Hearing Petitions – Allow one-third of the Members of a committee to petition for a hearing on a bill or an oversight hearing [Under current Rules, a majority is required] (E.220, offered by Assemblyman Tague, vote: 48-96).
• Motion to Discharge Reform - Spirit of 76 - Declare a motion to discharge to be in order if the bill or resolution is sponsored by at least 76 Members of the Assembly or by a vote of the majority of all Members in the Assembly (E.221, offered by Assemblywoman Walsh, vote: 48-97).
• Petition to Convene Session – Establish a petition process for a minimum of 76 Members to call the Assembly back to Session to address specific matters (E.222, offered by Assemblyman Hawley, vote: 47-98).
• Reporter Floor Access – Allow news reporters access to the Floor during session proceedings (E.223, offered by Assemblyman Ra, vote: 47-98).
• Committee Bill Removal Prohibition - Prohibit a bill from being removed from a committee agenda once voting on the bill has started (E.224, offered by Assemblyman Brown K., vote: 47-98).
• Timely Bill Introduction – Require all bills to be assigned a bill number within five business days after being delivered to the Index Clerk (E.225, offered by Assemblyman Brown A., vote: 48-97).
• Single Opportunity for Legislative Equality (SOLE) Act – Allow each Member of the Legislature, during each two-year term, to bring one substantive piece of legislation of his or her choosing to the Floor for a vote (E.226, offered by Assemblyman Durso, vote: 47-98).
• Despite unanimous Republican opposition, the Health Committee voted to report the following bills:
~ A.338-A – Allows the Department of Health to approve entities to operate “overdose prevention center” programs, more popularly known as safe injection sites.
~ A.5372 – Increases the civil penalties found in the Public Health Law (PHL), which apply to any violation of the PHL or any related lawful notice, order, or regulation that does not have a specific statutory penalty.
▪ Both bills were reported to Codes.
• Despite unanimous Republican opposition, the Higher Education Committee reported the following bills involving reproductive health:
~ A.1060-A – Allows pharmacists to dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptives based on a standing order from a physician, a nurse practitioner, or the Commissioner of Health.
~ A.1395-B – Requires all campuses of the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) to provide access to abortion by medication to all enrolled students at these institutions.
▪ Both bills were reported to Rules and subsequently to the Floor.
Consumer Affairs and Protection
• Despite unanimous Republican opposition, the Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee reported the following bills:
~ A.2118 – Requires private arbitration organizations performing 50 or more consumer arbitrations per year to collect and publish in a public, searchable database detailed information relating to such arbitrations.
~ A.5517 – Safeguards abortion access through data privacy protection and prohibits geofencing at healthcare facilities.
▪ Both bills were reported to Codes.
Corporations, Authorities and Commissions
• Despite unanimous Republican opposition, the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee reported a bill (A.3715) imposing numerous checks on all manner of public and private authorities, including the following:
~ Subjects all State and local authorities, plus their subsidiaries and affiliates, to the Open Meetings Law and Freedom of Information Law.
~ Expands the definition of "local authority" to include certain not-for-profit corporations, such as those where a majority of board members are appointed by elected officials of a municipality, or those paying staff of a local or State government to provide administrative support.
~ Enacts statutory requirements and limitations on contracts entered into between a local development corporation and a municipality, public authority, or district (note: this restraint would not apply retroactively to contracts already entered into pre-enactment of this law).
▪ This bill was reported to Ways and Means
WEEK IN FOCUS
• On Monday, Assemblyman Ra was joined by Assembly and Senate Colleagues along with local officials to rally against “Hochul’s High Rise Plan,” a devastating proposal the Governor is looking to force into this year’s state budget. To watch the press conference click here:
• On Thursday, Leader Barclay, Assemblywoman Walsh, Assemblyman Reilly, Members of the Assembly Republican Conference, and local district attorneys held a press conference to announce legislation that would bring necessary changes to New York’s flawed “Raise the Age” Law. To watch the press conference click here:
Thank you for reading! Stay involved!