New Laws NY State 2012

The BLS Library Blog wishes readers a Happy New Year. The first of the year is when many new laws take effect. New York passed the Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2011 enacting personal income tax cuts for about 4.4 million people and tax relief for manufacturers (Chapter 55, L.2011). A 2% cap on property tax increases levied by school districts and local governments also starts this year (Chapter 97, L.2011).

New regulations amend Section 7807 of the Education Law to require massage therapists to take at least 36 hours of mandatory continuing education every three years. Section 70.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner on Public Accountancy now requires all accounting firms to participate in a mandatory quality review program. A new law (Ch. 65, L.2011) requires dental offices to keep a defibrillator on hand in case any patient has a cardiac emergency.

New legislation (Ch.205, L.2010) goes into effect banning household dishwashing soap containing phosphorus, which has been deemed hazardous to lakes, rivers and other water sources. New laws give the New York State Department Environmental Conservation new powers: one, (Ch. 220, L2011) bans products that contain mercury; another (Ch. 383, L.2011) limits the number of commercial fishing licenses and permits issued by DEC to protect the viability of the commercial and consumer fishing industry.

Another new law (Ch. 131, L.2011) amends the Public Health law to prohibit minors from buying hookahs and water pipes — and the tobacco that goes inside them.

There is a new law (Ch. 459, L.2011) that requires drivers to move over to adjacent lanes when approaching or passing hazard vehicles. It also provides extra safety measures for drivers and workers helping a broken-down vehicle, removing snow or performing other road maintenance.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a measure that goes into effect in early February requiring state and local agencies to make available all resolutions and related documents to be discussed at public meetings to be made available before or at the meeting – on the agency’s website, if it has one that it regularly updates. Currently, documents in many instances are made available following the meeting or not at all. Agencies are exempted from the requirement if compliance is too expensive or exceedingly onerous. Under the state open meetings law, anyone can sue an agency that fails to provide the required documents; a court could then order the agency to provide staff training, as well as cover the plaintiff’s legal costs.

The Brooklyn Law School Library has related material on the issue. See Open Meeting Laws 2d by Ann Taylor Schwing and Constance Taylor (Call # KF5753.Z95 S38 2000) a reference tool that covers meeting requirements, litigation procedures and has a list of defenses that typically fail. The book provides an invaluable table of statutes, cases, attorney general opinions and a comprehensive listing of secondary authorities to aid in research.