Friday, December 30, 2016

NY 2017 New Laws

As of Saturday, the New York's Minimum Wage, currently $9 outside of New York City, rises to different levels depending on the region:

- $9.70 for Upstate New York
- $10 on Long Island and Westchester County
- $10.50 for Small businesses in New York City
- $11 for the rest of New York City

The first weeks of 2017 will see the effective dates of other laws, including some that at first glance may sound bizarre.

Starting Jan. 17, Funeral Homes statewide will be allowed to serve light fare, such as baked goods, sandwiches, snacks and food platters, and nonalcoholic beverages, making New York one of the last States in the Nation to legalize such services. The sponsors of the New Law say food and beverage service will help "provide nourishment to sustain the family of the deceased at their time of need. This would be especially helpful for elderly family members during these long hours."

Taking effect Jan. 7th will prohibit the sale under any other name of the fish known to marine taxonomy as Escolar. The fish, sometimes marketed as "White Tuna," has a unique metabolism that makes it difficult for some diners to digest, often leading to what the Bill's authors term "purgative effects that are not associated with eating tuna."

Some new laws are uniquely designed for the 21st century, such as a Provision that takes effect Feb. 26th that cracks down on the use of so-called "Ticket Bots" to unscrupulously scoop up Event Tickets for resale.

Other laws are designed to affect those who interpret them, such as the Provision that takes effect Feb. 26th that creates a rotating schedule of Courts to hold off-hours arraignments in Counties outside of New York City to ensure that stakeholders, including Judges, Prosecutors, and Public Defenders, are not strained by nighttime arrests and the poor, particularly in sparsely populated Counties, have access to adequate representation.

As State lawmakers get ready to return to the Capitol on Wednesday to consider passing hundreds of new measures in the months ahead, here's a look at when 2016's enacted Legislation will go into effect:

- Heroin laws (Jan. 1st): Part of a package of bills signed into Law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last summer will begin affecting how insurers cover treatment for Opioid addiction. Insurers will be required to cover necessary inpatient services to treat substance abuse without giving Pre-Authorization. Instead, Insurers can review a request for treatment only after the first 14 days of substance abuse treatment. Also, Insurers will be mandated to cover the costs of the anti-overdose drug Naloxone that is prescribed to a person who is addicted to Opioids and to family members on the same Insurance plan.

- EpiPen law (March 28th): Public venues ranging from Restaurants to Sports Arenas and some organizations will be authorized to stock Epinephrine Auto-Injectors, known by the dominant brand name EpiPen, and allow a trained employee to administer an Auto-Injector in an emergency situation. The Law builds on a similar authorization the Legislature gave to School Personnel in 2014, but it does not mandate that such public venues have Auto-Injectors on hand. Other venues and groups authorized to simply carry Auto-Injectors include Youth Organizations, Sports Leagues, Theme Parks, Day Cares and other Educational facilities.

- Move-Over Law expansion (Jan. 17th): Motorists will be required to use caution and, when safe on certain roadways, move over when approaching a Stopped Vehicle with the Blue or Green Flashing Lights that denote Volunteer Firefighters and EMTs. The law already requires motorists to move over when approaching other types of Emergency vehicles, including Police cruisers.

The list of new laws taking effect in the new year may grow before 2016 is over. As of Thursday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo still had 24 measures on his desk that must be acted on by Friday. That includes Legislation that would require the State to cover the cost of Indigent Legal services, estimated at $500 million with additional funding to adequately staff Public Defenders' offices.

The Governor has until the end of January to act on a 25th and final bill passed in 2016:

- Legislation that would re-privatize the New York Racing Association, which oversees operations at the Saratoga Race Course, Aqueduct, and Belmont Park. Following a period of fiscal and ethical controversy, New York Racing Association (NYRA) went under State control in 2012.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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