End-of-year legislation signed by Hochul

Understand the legislation set to go into effect in 2023

By Alicia Venter

[email protected]

January 1, 2023 – Albany, NY – Governor Kathy Hochul takes the oath of office and delivers an inaugural address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

As the year came to a close, Governor Kathy Hochul had a busy two weeks. She became the first woman to be sworn into a full term as governor of New York on Jan. 1, and in the month prior, she signed numerous pending state legislation into law.

Notably, she signed a bill that prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status and immigration status is illegal in New York.

This law will expand the protections from the NYS Division of Human Rights, which currently investigates cases in which individuals have been potentially discriminated against due to their immigration status.

State Senator John Liu and State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz came together with activists on Dec. 29 in front of Flushing Library to applaud the signing of this bill (S6586A/A6328A).

​​“We appreciate Governor Hochul for signing this legislation in recognition that our state is made greater by the vast contributions of talented and aspiring people from everywhere in the world who adopt New York as their new home,” Liu said in a statement. “Unfortunately, even as they pursue the American Dream, they are stymied by obsolete federal laws and byzantine bureaucracies that prolong their path to citizenship and subject them to bias and discrimination. This bill will help provide equal opportunity in employment, housing, and other needs that all New Yorkers should have access to.”

The first state program in the nation allowing individuals to be reimbursed for the costs of kidney and liver donations came from the governor’s office this week.

The legislation (S.1594/A.146A) amends the public health, tax and social services laws to enact the “New York State Living Donor Support Act,” which will establish a program to cover the extra costs that come with organ donation for New York residents who donate to a fellow New Yorker. The law comes in an effort to eliminate financial barriers to organ donation and, as a result, reduce wait times for organ transplants and address the organ shortage in New York.

As of publication, there are over 8,000 people on transplant wait lists, most of whom are awaiting a kidney, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

A legislative package (S.3897/A.8936-A) supporting pedestrians, bikers and transit riders included increased funding for “Complete Street” projects.

A Complete Street is a roadway designed for all roadway users — not just drivers.

This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit riders as well as motorists. It also makes an effort to focus on children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

With this legislation, the state’s contribution to the non-federally funded portion of the project increases to 87.5 percent.

New legislation (S.3959-B/A.7822-C) will require the non-voting transit dependent representative be moved into a voting position on transportation authorities’ boards. In short, this new legislation will provide a vote — and a voice — to riders who permanently rely on transit services including bikeshares, buses and paratransit.

To protect existing labor laws on behalf of workers, Hochul signed legislation (S.5994C/A.1338C) that establishes a registration system for contractors and subcontractors engaged in public work and covered private projects. This law will require contractors and subcontractors to provide a series of disclosures about their businesses every two years with the Department of Labor.

The department will determine whether a contractor or subcontractor is fit to registers based on previous labor law and workers compensation law violations, including prevailing wage requirements. This law will create a publicly available database.

Furthermore, notable previously signed laws that are set to go into effect in 2023 include the establishment of a task force and annual report to examine social media and violent extremism.

The Electric Vehicle Rights Act, which prevents a homeowners association from adopting or enforcing any rules or regulations that would effectively prohibit, or impose unreasonable limitations on the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station, is set to go into effect on Jan. 21.

In this year, student-athletes will be able to receive endorsement compensation, and New York schools will be prohibited from taking away the scholarships or eligibility of any athlete making money from such endorsements.

New York bans selling of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores

By Alicia Venter

[email protected]

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Bill S1130 into law on Dec. 15, in an attempt to bring an end to the sale of animals by commercial breeders, a business often accused of keeping the animals in inhumane conditions. (Photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

By the end of next year, New Yorkers will be unable to purchase dogs, cats and rabbits in retail pet stores.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Bill S1130 into law on Thursday, Dec. 15, in an attempt to bring an end to the sale of animals by commercial breeders, a business often accused of keeping the animals in inhumane conditions.

Introduced by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, the legislation states that a retail pet shop “shall not sell, lease, offer to lease, offer to sell, barter, auction or otherwise transfer ownership of any dog, cat or rabbit.”

The bill passed both the state Senate and Assembly last spring, and is an attempt to bring an end to inhumane breeding conditions.

“Today is a great day for our four-legged friends and a big step forward in our fight against abusive and inhumane puppy mills,” Gianaris said in a statement. “My thanks to Governor Hochul for standing up for the voiceless loving animals who are members of our families and deserve the respect we’ve shown them today.”

A retail pet shop is defined in the legislation as any for-profit location that offers to sell animals to be kept as household pets, pet food or supplies. There are approximately 80 pet stores registered in New York State, according to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The law does not prohibit a retail pet shop from collaborating with certain entities to showcase such animals for the purpose of adoption: societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane societies and animal protective or rescue tax-exempt associations. Pet stores will be allowed to charge shelters rent to use their spaces for adoption.

New York joins California, Maryland, Illinois and other states who have also passed retail pet sale bans.

The New York Times reported in July that pet stores fiercely objected to the legislation, stating the bill would put them out of business and could potentially lead to an underground market of pet sales as it became more difficult for people to obtain a pet in the state.

People are still permitted to buy animals directly from breeders, but the legislation encourages people to adopt pets from shelters and rescue organizations.

According to The Humane Society of the United States, puppy mills often lead to an array of painful and life-shortening veterinary problems due to unsanitary conditions and the lack of proper oversight.

“Dogs, cats and rabbits across New York deserve loving homes and humane treatment,” Hochul said in a statement. “I’m proud to sign this legislation, which will make meaningful steps to cut down on harsh treatment and protect the welfare of animals across the state.”

The legislation will take effect in December 2024.

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