2024 Legislative Session Ends

After a busy week of late nights, the New York State Senate finished their work around 8:30 P.M. on Friday, June 7th and the Assembly finished around 7:15 A.M. on Saturday,  June 8th, officially bringing an end to the regular 2024 Legislative Session. What appeared to be a typical final week of Session took an unexpected turn when on Wednesday,  June 5th , Governor Hochul announced she would be pausing congestion pricing in New York City, which was set to begin this month. The shocking announcement was met with opposition from many Democratic lawmakers and leaves a $1 billion hole in funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
(MTA). On Thursday, it was reported that there were discussions between the Governor and legislative leaders about potential legislation to either use $1 billion from the State General Fund or revenue from other sources to provide the funding. However, ultimately no legislation was introduced before both Houses concluded their work. In total, 805 bills passed both Houses during the 6-month Session, with 489 of them passing during the final week of Session. Some notable bills that now await delivery to Governor Hochul’s office include pieces of legislation that would:

  • Establish the Retail Worker Safety Act, which would require all retail worker employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence;
  • Require training to reduce abusive conduct and bullying the workplace as part of a written workplace violence prevention program;
  • Require a business to provide notification of a data breach within 30 days of such breach and includes the Department of Financial Services to the list of entities that must be notified of a data breach that affects any New York resident;
  • Enact the Tropical Rainforest Economic & Environmental Sustainability Act, which would require that companies contracting with the state do not contribute to tropical forest degradation or deforestation directly through their supply chains, and would establish the Supply Chain Transparency Assistance Program to assist small and medium-sized businesses and minority and women-owned businesses in achieving compliant supply
  • Require restaurants that offer online delivery services to post on their website or mobile application a hyperlink to view recent sanitary inspection grades;
  • Enact the Food Retail Establishment for Healthy Communities Act, which would provide loans, loan guarantees, interest subsidies and grants to businesses, municipalities, not-for-profit corporations or local development corporations for the purpose of attracting, maintaining or permitting the expansion of food retail establishments in underserved areas;
  • Prohibit the use of social media websites for the purpose of debt collection;
  • Establish the New York Child Data Protection Act to protect minors from having their
    personal data accessed;
  • Require social media companies to post terms of service for each social media platform owned or operated by the company in a manner reasonable designed to inform all use of the platform of the existence and contents of the terms of service, and would require social media companies to submit to the Attorney General certain terms of service reports;
  • Establish the New York State Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Study Task Force;
  • Require a study of the utilization of state government payments as an opportunity to transition unbanked and underbanked state residents into the banking system;
  • Prohibit fees for any service rendered through a banking organization relating to the use of an electronic benefit transfer care issued by the state;
  • Expand the types of damages that may be awarded to the persons who benefit an action for wrongful death is brought;
  • Require all advertisements for gambling and sports betting to include warnings about the potential harmful and addictive effects of gambling, and would require the Gaming Commission to cooperate with the Commissioner of Addiction Services and Supports to ensure that all advertisements for gaming activity state a problem gambling hotline number;
  • Require payment card networks to use certain merchant category-codes for firearm and ammunition dealers;
  • Extend the lengths of temporary retail permits from 90 days to 180 days;
  • Authorize the direct intrastate and interstate shipment of liquor, cider, mead, and braggot;
  • Authorize the Cannabis Control Board to issue a cannabis showcase event permit to certain licensees authorized to conduct retail sales of adult-use cannabis, cannabis products and cannabis merchandise;
  • Authorize distributors of cannabis products to file electronic returns annually instead of quarterly;
  • Establish the Homeowner Protection Program to ensure the availability of free housing counseling and legal services to homeowners for the purposes of mitigating threats to homeownership;
  • Repeal the crime of adultery;
  • Require motor vehicle franchisors to fully compensate franchised motor vehicle dealers for warranty service agreements;
  • Require new construction that includes dedicated off-street parking to provide electric vehicle charging stations and electric vehicle ready parking spaces;
  • Establish the Climate Change Adaptation Cost Recovery Program and the Climate Change Adaptation Fund;
  • Establish the People with Disabilities Access to Programs Commission to examine, evaluate and make recommendations for new laws with respect to how the state should streamline eligibility requirements and processes for its programs and services to assist people with disabilities;
  • Establish an Advanced Residential Health Care for Aging Adults Medical Fragility Demonstration Program to construct a new facility or repurpose part of an existing facility to operate as an adult residential health care facility for the purpose of improving the quality of care for aging adults with medical fragility;
  • Require certain health and casualty insurers to provide coverage for prenatal vitamins;
  • Require menstrual products in all public college and university buildings;
  • Require maternal health care facilities provide expecting and new mothers access to their doulas;
  • Exempts credit card debt from the definition of medical debt unless the credit card is issued under an open-ended or closed-ended plan offered specifically for the payment of health care services, products, or devices provided to a person;
  • Add medical and health information to the definitions of identity theft; and
  • Establish conditions under which resident or non-resident pharmacists and pharmacies may participate in shared pharmacy services.

Although the regular Legislative Session has come to a close, it is still unclear whether the Legislature will return before the end of the year for a Special Session to address the funding hole to the MTA. It’s unknown whether any legislation using funding from other sources would even pass, given that 13 of the 40 Democratic State Senators have said they would not vote for any such bill.