After a few unusual final weeks, the regular 2023 New York State Legislative Session has officially come to an end. Scheduled to end on June 8th, the Senate and Assembly spent the last scheduled week engaging in long debates and voting on hundreds of bills. The Senate completed their work just before 3:30 A.M. on Saturday, June 10th. The Assembly, however, abruptly adjourned around 4:30 P.M. on June 10th without completing all of their end-of-session work.
The Assembly then returned to Albany Tuesday, June 20th and Wednesday, June 21st to complete what remained of their 2023 Legislative priorities. After two long days, the Assembly adjourned just before 8:30 P.M. on June 21st, bringing the 2023 Legislative Session to a close. Some of the most notable legislation that passed both Houses during the last weeks of Session include:
- The Clean Slate Act, which would provide for the automatic sealing of certain convictions after a certain passage of time from either the imposition of sentence or release from parole or probation, so long as the defendant does not have any charges that are currently pending;
- A bill that, if signed, would prohibit non-compete agreements and certain restrictive covenants and authorize covered individuals to bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against any employer or persons alleged to have violated the prohibition;
- The LLC Transparency Act, which would require the names of limited liability company owners to be added to a public database;
- The Housing Affordability, Resiliency, and Energy Efficiency Investment Act of 2023, which would authorize financing for the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing;
- Legislation that would require sellers to clearly post the credit card price inclusive of any surcharge at the location a sale occurs;
- A bill that would prohibit consideration of a law of another state that authorizes a child to be removed from their parent or guardian based on the parent or guardian allowing their child to receive gender-affirming care in custody cases, prohibit law enforcement agencies from cooperating with or providing information to any individual or out-of-state agency or department regarding the provision of lawful gender-affirming care performed in New York, prohibit the issuance of a subpoena in connection with certain out-of-state proceedings relating to seeking health or related information about people who come to New York to receive gender-affirming care, prohibit the arrest of a person for performing or aiding in the lawful performance of gender-affirming care within New York, and prohibit insurance providers from taking adverse action against a health care provider who provides gender-affirming care;
- Legislation that would establish the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, and People Living with HIV Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights;
- A bill that would require the Office of Addiction Services and Supports to assure that persons who suffer from a substance use disorder have the right to seek and receive addiction services, care, treatment and rehabilitation services based on their gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation;
- Legislation that would prohibit medical debt from being collected by a consumer reporting agency or included in a consumer report, and prohibit medical service providers from reporting medical debt directly or indirectly to a consumer reporting agency;
- Legislation that would authorize the Office of Cannabis Management to share licensee and applicant information with requesting financial institutions upon consent of the licensee or applicant;
- A bill that would require the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in coordination with NYSERDA, to submit an annual agency climate expenditure report containing a comprehensive estimate and summary of findings needed and funds spent to achieve the State climate goals;
- The Birds and Bees Protection Act, which would prohibit the sale of certain pesticides or use of seeds coated with such pesticides, and require DEC to review the latest scientific information concerning the active ingredients of pesticides;
- The Planned Offshore Wind Transmissions Act, which would require the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to establish a plan for improved transmission planning and coordinating systems for an offshore grid, and would require NYSERDA to conduct a benefit-cost-analysis and ratepayer impact study to determine the overall costs of implementing planned transmissions and coordinated systems for an offshore grid;
- Legislation amending New York State’s public campaign financing system by changing certain thresholds and procedures, permitting retention of matching funds for future use, specifying when a candidate is opposed by a competitive candidate and requiring a disclosure on political communications;
- A bill that would provide that certain local elections outside of New York City shall be held in an even-numbered year;
- The New York Early Mail Voter Act, which would establish early mail voting and authorize registered voters to obtain early mail voting ballots through application to the board of elections; and
- Two bills that would establish the Diwali and the Asian Lunar New Year as school holidays in New York City and New York State respectively.
One piece of legislation the Assembly did not act on was the approval of the Seneca Gaming Compact Renewal bill. The legislation, which the Senate had passed, faced significant pushback in the Assembly after the Rochester delegation expressed frustration with a lack of transparency surrounding the negotiations and contents of the agreement, as well as a lack of public input. “We feel very strongly that any potential agreement between the State and the Seneca Nation must be made with full transparency of all relevant information, and include the input of our community,” the Rochester delegation said in a statement, continuing “More information is expected from the Governor’s office.”
Governor Hochul has recused herself from discussions regarding the agreement because her husband is General Counsel of the concessions and hospitality company Delaware North that has connections to racinos that compete in gaming halls run by the Seneca Nation. Meanwhile, the Seneca Nation continues to push the agreement. In a statement, Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. said, “we have come to fair deal with the State, and it is incumbent of them to hold up their side of the bargain. The State Senate has already passed the bill providing the Governor authority to complete the deal, and we strongly encourage the Assembly to do the same.”
It has been rumored that there could possibly be a Special Session later this year to consider the renewal once legislators’ concerns are addressed.