NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
July 8, 2003
NYS Assembly Significant Legislation 2003

Last Updated On: 12/19/03



Adult Home Resident Protections This bill would establish protections for adult home residents who are vulnerable to mistreatment and neglect. The legislation would require background investigations of all current adult home owners and operators and authorize the Department of Health to include in their annual inspections a review of the nursing home operator's character and ability. It also would conduct a criminal background search on individuals seeking to operate an adult care facility.

The bill also would increase penalties up to $10,000 for facilities that provide inadequate care. In addition, the bill would give the state attorney general increased powers to prosecute crimes in adult homes and require deaths, attempted suicides, and suspected felony crimes to be reported within 24 hours. (A.8689; Passed Assembly)

SCRIE This bill would increase the income eligibility for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program to $24,000 from $20,000. The SCRIE program exempts rent-controlled/stabilized and Mitchell-Lama tenants who are over 62 and are spending at least one-third of their net monthly income on rent from increases resulting from lease renewal, higher fuel costs, landlord hardship, major capital improvements and calculation of their Maximum Base Rent.

The bill raises the income eligibility exemption to ensure that low-income seniors who benefit from moderate cost-of-living increases in pensions or Social Security will not be forced out of their apartments. (A.6348-A / S.2696-A; Chapter 382)

Extension of SCRIE Eligibility to Persons with Disabilities This bill would allow local governments currently offering the SCRIE program the option to expand it to people with disabilities. (A.6240; Passed Assembly /S.3280; Aging)

Locating Missing Disoriented Adults This bill would authorize the State Office for the Aging to develop a prompt notification and response plan for locating missing, disoriented adults, similar to the Amber Alert program for missing children. (A.3507-A/S.2833-A; Veto #159)

Five-Day Extension for Senior Citizens This bill would allow localities to provide a five day extension to pay real property taxes for senior citizens granted a School Tax Relief (STAR) exemption if the locality so provides. (A.4529; Passed Assembly/S.1814; Aging)

Green Thumb Program Eligibility This bill would increase the annual income limits for seniors to be deemed eligible for employment through the Green Thumb Environmental Beautification Program and automatically increase these income eligibility limits every year thereafter to reflect the annual Social Security cost of living percentage increase. (A.6743-A; /S.3121-A; Chapter 216)

Senior Property Tax Exemption This bill would grant local governments the option to raise the maximum income eligibility limit for a 50 percent senior citizen real property tax exemption from $21,500 to $24,000. (A.8930-A/S.5592; Chapter 512)


Agricultural Land This bill would allow newly established farms to be eligible for an agricultural assessment, which requires a $10,000 gross value minimum over a two-year period to qualify. The bill allows new farm operations to receive the assessment if they meet the gross value minimum in the first year of operation, rather than having to wait an additional year to receive the benefit. The bill would include farm land that is not less than seven acres and is being used to produce crops or livestock. This legislation aims to encourage farming careers, promote farm ownership, preserve farmland and strengthen the state's agriculture industry. (A.6455-A/S.3599; Chapter 479)

Wind Conversions, Agricultural Assessments The bill would add wind energy generation to the list of eligible activities that would not receive a conversion penalty on farms receiving an agricultural assessment. Currently, farmers are eligible for agricultural assessments to stabilize their real property tax bills, but are penalized when they convert the use of their property from agriculture to other operations. The bill would encourage investment in a developing and renewable energy source. (A.6456/S.3597; Chapter 565)

Fruit Growing This bill would provide for the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to enhance fruit growing and permit the cultivation of black currants in certain areas to promote New York's agricultural industry. (A.6462/S.2592; Chapter 290)

Definition of Milk This bill would exclude any product containing milk protein concentrates, casein or caseinates from the state definition of milk. (A.7308-A/S.4063-A; Veto #174)

Agricultural Liming Material This bill would reduce the minimum calcium carbonate requirements for wood ash for use and sale as an agricultural liming material in New York State. (A.8295/S.4979; Chapter 396)

New York State Domestic Animal Health Assurance Program The bill would authorize the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture to establish the New York State Domestic Animal Health Assurance Program to take whatever action is necessary to prevent, control and suppress any communicable diseases in domestic animals.(A.8358 /S.4825; Chapter 361)

Adequate Shelter for Dogs This bill would protect dogs from health risks and death due to exposure to inclement weather by requiring appropriate shelter. The legislation would provide that the breed of the dog be considered when determining if a shelter is suitable. (A.8679/S.4549-A; Chapter 594)

Agricultural Compost Exemption This bill would exempt compost from the state definition of fertilizer and from certain labeling requirements. The proposal would help farmers sell off this byproduct in its natural state while also helping them meet stringent federal Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) regulations. (A.8497/S.5290; Veto #162)

Creation of Micro-Wineries This bill would provide for the creation of a micro-winery license, which would allow small farmers and farm stand operators to make very limited amounts of wine or other wine products for sale with unsold surplus fruit without having to apply for a farm winery license. (A.6454/S.2569; Chapter 522)

Agricultural Districts This bill would provide for a legislative body to designate an annual 30- day period within which a land owner may submit a proposal relating to viable agricultural land within a certified agricultural district. The legislation would retain the necessary procedures required for the initial establishment of an agricultural district and provide a more streamlined and appropriate process for adding parcels of land to existing districts. (A.3550-B/S.2836-A; Chapter 523)

Milk Producers Security Fund This bill would conform provisions of state law that are related to the operation of the Milk Producers' Security Fund to the federal Northeast Milk Marketing Order. The bill would ensure that New York dairy farmers receive fair compensation for their product and is essential to the dairy industry's financial security. (A.8362/S.3821; Chapter 506)

Kosher Law Protection Act of 2003 This bill would enact the Kosher Law Protection Act of 2003. The bill would require vendors to disclose on Kosher food product labels the name of the person who has designated the food as Kosher. The bill aims to ensure that consumers of these products can be certain that required preparation procedures are in compliance with Kosher Law. (A.9041; Passed Assembly)


Wildcard This bill would extend for four years provisions of the state banking law that afford state-chartered banks the same powers as national banks with the approval of the Banking Board. (A.8890-A;/S.5387-A; Chapter 241)

ATM's This bill would require ATM machines to use both an audio and visual system to relay messages to customers so that individuals that are visually impaired can use ATM's without the assistance of another person. (A.3863; Passed Assembly)

ATM Surveillance Tapes This bill would require that recordings made by surveillance cameras at automated teller machines be retained for 45 days rather than the current 30-day period. (A.8442/S.808-A; Chapter 553)

ATM Facilities Emergency Service This bill would require banks operating ATM facilities to equip such facilities with 911 or E-911 emergency access buttons wherever such emergency service is available. (A.4571-A; Passed Assembly)


Assembly Passes Clergy Reporting This bill would add clergy to the list of individuals who are required by law to inform the state child abuse hotline when they become aware of these types of incidences. The measure also would require information of abuse committed by an official of a religious organization be reported to law enforcement.

The bill also would mandate that church organizations review their records over the past 20 years for reports of child abuse by clergy members who continue to provide services to their religious institution. The measure would charge violators who fail to report incidents of child abuse with a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. The bill was delivered to the Senate. (A.1516; Passed Assembly)

Relinquishing Custody of Disabled Children This bill would allow parents to seek and obtain the necessary services for their disabled children without having to relinquish custody, as the current law now requires. (A.5320; Passed Assembly/S.3843; Rules)

Dual Track Response Demonstration Project This bill would create the Dual Track Response Demonstration Project, conceived as an innovative program for the delivery of child welfare services by localities. The legislation aims to establish a more effective and flexible way for counties to provide services to children and families when child abuse has been reported. (A.5315-B/S.4542-B; Veto #146)

Grandparent Custody Standing This bill would clarify the circumstances under which a grandparent can obtain standing in a custody proceeding regarding his or her grandchild or grandchildren. (A.8302-B/S.4224-A; Chapter 657)


Buffalo Control Board The bill would create the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority to supervise the fiscal affairs of the City of Buffalo. The legislation would give the authority the ability to oversee the city's budget and finances and could require certain financial and administrative actions be implemented to ensure Buffalo's solvency. The authority will be comprised of a nine-member board of directors, seven of which will be appointed by the governor, one by the state comptroller and another jointly appointed by the speaker of the Assembly and the Senate majority leader. (A.9117 / S.5695; Chapter 122)

City of Buffalo This bill would extend authorization for the private sale of bonds and notes of the City of Buffalo from June 30, 2003 to June 30, 2004. (A.4341/S.1938; Chapter 108)

Annual Water Rates for New York City This bill would require New York City Water Board to wait at least 30 days after adoption of the city budget before setting its annual rates. (A.3791; Passed Assembly)

NYC Van Cortlandt (VC) Park Alienation/Water Filtration Plant This bill would authorize New York City to discontinue the use of Van Cortlandt Park as park land and require that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) be completed in preparation for the construction of a water filtration plant. (A.8069-C/S.4791-C; Chapter 175)

NYC Energy Cost Savings Program (ECSP)/NYC Lower Manhattan Energy Program (LMEP) This bill would extend the Energy Cost Savings Program (ECSP) to provide discounted energy rates to qualified commercial and industrial businesses that relocate to Manhattan north of 96th Street or the other boroughs or that occupy new or improved space in these areas. Building owners who qualify are required to pass the savings on to their tenants. Under the bill, New York City would pay for the associated costs by providing utility companies with a credit against their gross receipts tax. This bill also would extend the Lower Manhattan Energy Program to provide similar energy cost savings benefits to Lower Manhattan. (A.9093/S.5682; Chapter 107)

Emergency Financial Aid This bill would provide $26,523,963 of Emergency Financial Aid to cities that have reached their constitutional taxing limit: Albany - $1,461,975; Buffalo - $13,712,805; Rochester - $3,225,915; Syracuse - $5,642,685; and Yonkers - $2,480,583 (A.6833/S.2656; Chapter 110)


Rockefeller Drug Law Reform This bill would enact the Drug Reform, Drug Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2003. It makes sentence changes that would increase possession thresholds required to meet Class A-I and A-II felony sentences from four to eight ounces and two to four ounces respectively, a provision that would not be applicable to major drug peddlers. The bill would increase penalties for major drug traffickers from 15-to-25 years to life to 15-to-30 years to life. The legislation also would impose a five-year minimum sentence on offenders who carry a loaded handgun while selling or attempting to sell drugs.

In addition, the bill would provide prosecutors, in all cases involving eligible defendants, the first chance at deciding whether low-level, non-violent drug offenders may be diverted from a potential prison term to drug-abuse treatment. Only after this initial prosecutorial determination has been made would the judge be empowered to make a decision on treatment. (A.7078; Passed Assembly)

Sexual Assault This bill would strengthen provisions of the Sexual Assault Reform Act of 2000 (SARA) by closing gaps in the law with more effective safeguards and tougher penalties. Its provisions include stronger protections for individuals who are sexually assaulted by their spouses, the creation of sexual assault forensic payment program and the setting of effective penalties for forcible touching and persistent sexual abuse. (A.9116 / S.5690; Chapter 264)

Sex Offender Registration The bill would require that a contemporaneous photograph be taken of a released sex offender when the offender files required registration information under New York's Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), known as Megan's Law. (A.8758; Passed Assembly)

Sex Offender Notification This bill would require that under SORA, when a released sex offender resides in the community, a photograph of the offender be included in any notification made to community organizations. (A.707-A/ S. 5571; Chapter 316)

Stalking Bill This bill would allow stalking and other crime victims to seek a special order of conditions against a defendant who has been found not guilty of the crime due to mental disease or defect. Currently, the law invalidates orders of protection if their target is found not guilty by reason of insanity or accepts a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease. (A.6895-A / S.2970-A; Chapter 525)

Video Voyeurism This bill would make it a class E felony to photograph or video tape individuals secretly in most private circumstances without their consent. It also would make it a felony for a photographer or an accomplice to distribute these photographs or video tapes, and bans anyone from knowingly disseminating such unlawful images. The bill also would require criminals who repeatedly commit video voyeurism crimes be charged with a class D felony and face up to seven years in prison. (A.8926 / S. 3060-B; Chapter 69)

Community Policing The Assembly police community relations legislative package, which aims to provide law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to serve their communities effectively, includes legislation that would:

  • help police departments compensate employees with certain language skills (A.5367; Passed Assembly);
  • impose reporting requirements and certain restrictions on "no-knock" search warrants (A.8848; Passed Assembly);
  • prohibit racial or ethnic profiling by police agencies and require the collection of data regarding traffic stops and "stop and frisk" incidents. (A.6989; Passed Assembly); and
  • authorize the attorney general to investigate and prosecute police misconduct (A.6488; Passed Assembly).

Longer Prison Sentences This bill would increase the minimum sentences for juveniles of 14 and 15 years of age who are convicted of second degree murder to at least seven-and-one-half years to life and up to 15 years to life. Under current law, the minimum prison sentence is between five years to life and nine years to life. The measure mandates that juvenile murderers receive life sentences and allows for them to repeatedly be denied release for the rest of their natural lives after serving the minimum terms of imprisonment. The measure aims to ensure that young people convicted of murder can not use their youth to shield themselves from stiff prison sentences. (A.7482-A/S.3230; Chapter 174)

Crime Victims Support The Assembly approved legislation aimed at assisting crime victims and ensuring they receive the support they need and that is available to them. The legislation would require the establishment of programs that would:

  • provide necessary forensic examinations for sexual assault survivors by enacting the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Payment Act of 2003. (A.11; Passed Assembly/S.958; Rules);
  • allow parents whose children are victims of crimes to seek restitution for lost earnings from the Crime Victims Board. (A.3097; Passed Assembly), and
  • enhance efforts to make crime victims aware of their rights and the services and programs available to them. (A.1739; Passed Assembly)

Indoor Pyrotechnics Safety Permit This bill would establish a permit process to authorize the indoor use of pyrotechnics. To ensure the safe use of pyrotechnics at sporting, cultural and theatrical events, this legislation would require the state and its municipalities to designate permitting authorities to oversee the use of these devices. Under the bill, individuals seeking to use pyrotechnics could only do so upon receiving a permit, detailing the conditions and instructions that must be followed for performances involving fireworks. The bill also increases penalties for those who ignite indoor fireworks and fail to obtain a permit. (A.6893-B / S.2956-B; Chapter 584)


Consumer Privacy To protect the privacy of New York State residents and limit the dissemination of consumer information, the Assembly approved legislation that would:

  • prohibit the sale, lease or exchange of a consumer's electronic mail address and other personal identifying information obtained on-line without consent (A.5153; Passed Assembly / S. 4557; Consumer Protection);
  • restrict the dissemination and collection of Social Security numbers (A.532; Passed Assembly); and
  • ban the sending of unsolicited advertising through fax machines (A.2266; Passed Assembly)

Do-Not-Call List This bill would authorize the state Consumer Protection Board (CPB) to transfer telephone numbers from the state's "do not call list" to the data base maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so that a nationwide "do not call registry" is established. The bill would discontinue the CPB's practice of maintaining a data base of names and numbers in order to comply with the federal registry requirements, which only records numbers. The bill would notify a greater number of vendors across the country of consumers who do not want to be solicited over the telephone, and it also would provide consumers with more control over the calls they receive. (A.8986 / S. 5484; Chapter 124)

Ephedra Ban This bill would prohibit the sale of ephedra, a dietary supplement that has been linked to many serious health problems, including increased blood pressure, abnormal heart beat, stroke and death. According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), from January 1993 through October 2000, it received 1,398 reports of adverse reactions linked to herbal supplements containing ephedra, including 32 heart attacks, 62 reports of cardiac arrhythmia, 91 reports of hypertension, 69 strokes and 70 seizures. (A.6921-C / S.3294-B; Chapter 385)

Pre-Need Funeral Issues This bill would make provisions in the law to protect consumers when making pre-need funeral arrangements permanent. The legislation would continue protections in the general business law that require all money used to purchase funeral merchandise to be held in trust in an interest bearing account and extend for four years provisions that prohibit funeral directors from accepting any consideration from an insurance company for the promotion of an insurance policy that is payable at the death of the insured for burial or funeral expenses. (A.9063/S.5637; Chapter 105)

Sale of Personal Information This bill would prohibit sale of personal information by credit card companies. The bill aims to protect the personal information of consumers from being distributed by credit card companies to marketers without authorization. (A.2837; Passed Assembly/S.3195; Consumer Protection)


MTA Reform/Metropolitan Transportation Authority Review Board This bill would create the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Operating Program Review Board, an independent budget office, and allow for the appointment of the MTA inspector general by the attorney general. (A.7998-D; Passed Assembly)

Public Authorities Reform Package To bring about better financial disclosure and openness to the management and operation of public benefit corporations, the Assembly approved legislation that would create a central procurement office within each authority (A.9010; Passed Assembly) and establish the Office of the Public Authorities Independent Budget Officer. (A.9012; Passed Assembly).


Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision This bill would enact and enter the state into the "Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision," which would establish the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision to control and regulate the interstate movement of probationers and parolees released into the community through the cooperative efforts of member states. (A.851-A/S.5202-A; Chapter 688)

Custody of Persons in Correctional Facilities This bill would prohibit the transfer and supervision of individuals in the custody of a state or local correction officer to private correctional facilities. (A.7428-A/S.4734-A; Veto #185)


Empire Zone Reform The bill would replace the current Empire Zone Development Board with a new, three-member Economic Development Control Board, providing the governor, the Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader each with one appointment. The measure also would require zones to reconfigure themselves into three, distinct contiguous areas, as originally envisioned by the legislation; de-certify those businesses that simply reincorporated, without adding any new jobs, in order to obtain benefits; enhance the role of the Department of Tax and Finance to include the certification of businesses and decertification where appropriate; and require comprehensive reports by both Empire State Development Corporation and Taxation and Finance so that taxpayers are able to know the number of jobs created and the true cost of the program. (A.9021-A; Passed Assembly)

Farm Winery Sunday Satellite The bill would authorize winery operated retail satellite stores located outside of New York City to remain open on Sundays. (A.6461/S.2734; Chapter 672)

Winery License to Sell Beer, Wine or Liquor This bill would authorize retail winery- establishments that are licensed to sell and serve wine for on-premises consumption to also serve and sell liquor. (A.8527/S.1978; Chapter 206)

Licensing and Regulation of Persons Practicing Electrology This bill would provide for the licensing of persons who practice electrology and provide regulation for the practice of electrology. (A.490/S.1677; Veto #170)

Excelsior Linked-Deposit Program Loan Extension This bill would extend certain loan periods under the Excelsior Linked-Deposits Program. (A.6035; Passed Assembly/S.3333; Finance)

Bed and Breakfast Liquor Licensure This bill would authorize the granting of liquor licenses to bed and breakfast establishments. (A.7983/S.3613; Delv. To Governor)

Federal Grant Match Program for New York Universities for Technology Development This bill would create in the Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research, a program that would match federal grants awarded to New York universities for technology development. (A.7987; Passed Assembly)

Motor Fuel Marketing This bill would enact the New York Motor Fuel Marketing Practices Act. This legislation would prohibit pricing practices designed to diminish or eliminate the independent sector, which over time would yield higher prices and an overall less efficient marketplace. Independent marketers of motor fuel are vital to a healthy and competitive marketplace. (A.8398/S.4974; Chapter 691)

Economic Development Performance Plans This bill would establish the New York State Private Industry Review Council. The bill would require the council to establish economic development program performance plans, make evaluations and submit them to the governor and the Legislature with recommendations on how to improve the success of the state's economic development policies. (A.3470; Passed Assembly)


School Aid This bill would restore more than $1 billion of the $1.4 billion the governor proposed to cut in aid for public schools for the 2003-04 school year. Specifically, the bill would ensure full funding for LADDER programs, such as universal pre-kindergarten, class size reduction and extended day programs. In addition, the bill would provide a $56 million increase for building aid over the governor's proposal and restore funding for teacher support aid, teacher centers, libraries and public broadcasting. (A.2103-B / S.1430-B; Veto Override, Chapter 62)

Delay School Districts Budget Vote This bill would postpone the May 20, 2003 deadline for school districts to conduct a vote on their budgets to June 3, 2003. The measure would delay budget votes to allow school districts to have a better understanding of the Legislature's state education aid restorations. The two-week extension also will allow districts to provide taxpayers with a more accurate financial plan before the budget is put before voters. (A.8023/S.4286; Veto Override, Chapter 61)

New York City School Governance This bill would create a Community District Education Council in each community district, comprised of 11 voting members and one non-voting member. To increase parent participation, nine of the voting council members will be parents, selected by representatives from parent and parent-teacher associations. Two of the voting members will be appointed by the borough president and the non-voting member will be a high school senior appointed by the school district superintendent. The New York City school chancellor is directed to develop an election process for the parent and parent-teacher associations.

Under the bill, the community councils will continue to possess the current powers of community school boards and increase their role in community involvement. The duties of school-based leadership teams, including the development of comprehensive educational plans, are also specified in the legislation.

The measure also would create a city-wide council on special education that will consist of 11 voting members and one non-voting member. Nine of the voting members will be parents of special education students. Two voting members will be appointed by the New York City Public Advocate. The one non-voting member would be a special education high school student. (A.9113 / S.5688; Chapter 123)

Regulation of Private School Bus Drivers This bill would apply the safety regulations of the state commissioner of education that presently apply to public school district school bus drivers to private school bus drivers. (A.1082/S.392; Chapter 270)

Dignity for All Students Act This bill would enact the "Dignity for all Students Act" to prevent harassment and discrimination on school grounds, based on a person's actual or perceived race, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender.(A.1118; Passed Assembly/S.1925; Education)

Full-Time Day Instruction This bill would provide all school districts with the power to require minors from 16 to 17 years of age, who are not working, to attend school on a full-time basis. (A.1892-A; Passed Assembly/S.1487; Rules)

Vocational Rehab Services for the Disabled This bill would allow the cost of a lease, purchase or rental of a vehicle to be covered within the vocational rehabilitation services for the disabled. The legislation would allow individuals with severe disabilities a more flexible form of transportation than is currently available from special transportation providers. The legislation would help address the disabled community's limited transportation options, which is a major impediment to employment. (A.5474; Passed Assembly)

Pupil Transportation in Child Safety Zones This bill would extend child safety zones for pupil transportation until June 30, 2005. Child safety zone designations allow school boards to provide transportation services to students who live too close to a school to qualify for taking the bus, but, if the children were to walk, would encounter hazardous traffic situations. The zones are used by boards to make exceptions to transportation policies, without having to transport all students at a significant financial burden to the school district. (A.7224-A/S.4005; Chapter 97)

Salary Cap for District Superintendent The bill would allow for a salary increase for BOCES superintendents, not to exceed the lesser of a six percent increase above the existing salary cap level, or 98 percent of the New York State Department of Education commissioner's salary in the 2003-2004 state fiscal year. (A.8410/S.4452; Chapter 698)


Help America Vote Act (HAVA) To bring New York State into compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) and be eligible for up to $230 million in federal funds, the Assembly approved legislation that would:

  • require polling places to be accessible to physically disabled voters (A.5473-A; Passed Assembly);
  • create paper-ballot instructions to ensure that voters are notified of the impact of an "overvote," or marking a ballot twice, and the right to a replacement ballot (A.9061/S.5617; Chapter 244);
  • provide that an application for a military ballot will be effective through the subsequent two federal elections after the submission of the application and makes various technical changes to comply with the new federal law (A.8832/ S.5539; Chapter 262); and
  • establish the Election Administration Consolidation and Improvement Act of 2003, which would place the responsibility for the care, custody and control of voting machines with the county boards of elections. It would require election inspectors, poll clerks and election coordinators to receive training and requires the county to be responsible for paying all poll workers. (A.8833; Passed Assembly);
  • guard against "undervotes," as occurred in the 2000 presidential election in Florida, and to protect voting machines from undetected mechanical problems, a mechanism would be on machines to notify a voter that his or her vote was not recorded (A.8834; Passed Assembly);
  • require each polling place to post information relevant to the voting process, the Voter's Bill of Rights and general state and federal laws. It also would require that the information be posted in every language that appears on any general, primary or special election ballot. (A.8840 / S.5541; Chapter 263);
  • establishes a statewide administrative complaint procedure. (A.8841; Passed Assembly)
  • bring New York State into compliance with federal regulations for new voter identification requirements that include establishing a statewide voter registration list, changing the voter application form and authorizing the state Board of Elections to administer a system that allows a voter's registration record to be confidential (A.8842; Passed Assembly); and
  • create the Voting Systems Standards Act of 2003, which includes provisions that would require the examination of voting machines and ballot counting, establish performance levels a voting machine must meet to receive state Board of Election approval, provide for uniform voting technologies to be used statewide, ensure persons with disabilities will be able to cast a secure secret ballot, provide a voter-verifiable audit trail and eliminate all punch-card voting systems. (A.8847; Passed Assembly)

Military Ballot Deadline Extender This bill would provide additional time for military ballots to be received by the county boards of elections and permits a witness signature to be used in place of a postmark for date of authentication. Under the bill, military ballots would be allowed to arrive seven days after a primary election and 13 days after a general election. (A8455-B/ S.5509-A; Chapter 256)

Write-In Vote This bill would provides boards of elections with the flexibility necessary to canvas write-in votes without damaging voting machines and automatically provides for write-in vote opportunities for every contested public office. (A.7229/S.4143; Chapter 58)

E-Mail Filing This bill would clarify that the electronic financial filings system supported by the state Board of Election can accept filling by e-mail. (A.6435/S.4552; Chapter 249)

Presidential Primaries This bill would provide for the election of delegates to a national party convention or conference. It also sets March 3 as the presidential primary date in the state for 2004. (A.9118-A/S.5698; Chapter 637)


Power Plant Siting Reform The bill would require the state Health Department and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct a joint study on the cumulative impact of emissions in areas affected by generating facility construction and on "environmental justice" issues, which involve the disproportionate siting of plants in disadvantaged communities. The measure also would reduce the size of a power plant for which the process applies from 80 to 30 megawatts and instruct DEC to adopt "four pollutant" regulations in order to implement emissions reductions from power plants and other sources of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and mercury. (A.6248-A; Passed Assembly)

Utility Rate Increase This bill would prohibit automatic rate increases by utilities and requires the state Public Service Commission to review certain electric and natural gas rate increases in order to ensure they are just and reasonable. (A.1702; Passed Assembly)

Long Island Utility Oversight Panel The bill would provide increased accountability and transparency in the operation of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). To provide ratepayers with critical information about their utility, this legislation would require LIPA to conduct and make public its financial audits. It also would mandate that public hearings and a public review be conducted on rate increase proposals that are before the state Public Service Commission. (A.8005-A; Passed Assembly)


Superfund/Brownfield This bill would refinance and reform the state Superfund program and create a new Brownfield program to cleanup contaminated industrial and neighborhood sites and return them to productive use. The legislation would refinance the Superfund to maintain the historical 50 percent industry and 50 percent public funding to provide $120 million per year to cleanup seriously contaminated sites, with the state share to be financed with bonds issued by the state Environmental Facilities Corporation and state debt service costs offset by industry fees.

The bill would provide community organizations access to $15 million each year through the new Brownfield Opportunity Areas planning program that would provide grants for neighborhood planning and brownfield site assessments, as well as technical assistance grants so these organizations could participate in the Superfund and brownfield cleanups. It also would improve grants available through the Clean Water / Clean Air Bond Act, which provided $200 million in 1996 for municipal brownfield clean-ups, yet failed to attract municipal participation. At the Assembly's urging, to increase participation, municipalities would receive 90 percent of eligible clean-up costs and be allowed to keep any profit realized from the sale of rehabilitated property. More than $168 million is still available in this program. (A.9120; Passed Assembly / S.5702; Rules)

Banning Insect Repellents with High Concentrations of DEET This bill would ban the sale of insect repellents with high concentrations of chemical DEET. Under the bill, products designed for human use would be banned if they have a DEET concentration of more than 30 percent. (A.5963; Passed Assembly)

Freshwater Wetland Protection The bill would strengthen the state's freshwater wetland laws by imposing stiff fines on individuals who violate these environmentally sensitive lands. The bill would increase fines to violators from $3,000 to $10,000 and the maximum criminal fines would be hiked to $10,000. The measure aims to ensure that current law is able to protect the state's wetlands effectively from criminal activities that could impede or endanger the critical role wetlands play in maintaining a safe water supply. (A.645; Passed Assembly)

Urban Pesticides This bill would create a state urban pesticide board to study and report on the application of pesticides in urban areas. (A.1110-B; Passed Assembly/S.2095-A; Environmental Conservation)

Electronic Recycling Standards These bills would direct the commissioner of DEC to promulgate rules and regulations providing for recycling, reuse and remanufacturing of electronic equipment. (A.3073; Passed Assembly/S.897; Rules and A.3633; Passed Assembly/S.890; Environmental Conservation)

Low-Sulfur Fuel The bill would require the DEC to adopt regulations prohibiting any person from manufacturing, selling or offering for sale gasoline, diesel fuel and home heating fuel that does not meet requirements for reduced sulfur content. (A.3923-A; Passed Assembly)

Water Conservation/Reuse This bill would to promote the reuse of reclaimed wastewater. The legislation would require the DEC to develop and implement regulations regarding the use of reclaimed wastewater and gray water to promote water conservation. (A.4081; Passed Assembly/S.893; Rules)

Canned Shoots This bill would remove the acreage limitation on the existing ban on canned shoots. This bill would expand the restriction on canned shoots on fenced preserves of 10 acres or less by removing the current acreage requirement and prohibit the deliberate release of an animal confined to a fenced-in location or other area from which there is no reasonable means for such animal to escape in the presence of a hunter. (A.4609-A/S.2735-A; Veto # 134)

Ballast Water This bill would provide for the management of ballast water from shipping vessels in an effort to prevent introduction of nonindigenous species. (A.5659-A; Passed Assembly/S.2567-A; Environmental Conservation)

Open Burning This bill would prohibit open burning of solid waste. (A.5884; Passed Assembly/S.3340; Environmental Conservation)

Four Pollutant Bill This bill would direct the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to implement air pollution standards for power plants regarding nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and mercury. (A.5933; Passed Assembly)

State Pesticide Phase-Out This bill would provide for the phase-out of state use of pesticides on state property and for state agency pest management plans. (A.5969; Passed Assembly)

Light Pollution This bill would enact the Healthy, Safe and Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting Act to reduce harmful outdoor lighting. (A.6950-B; Passed Assembly/S.3003-B; Rules)

Invasive Species Task Force This bill would create the New York State Invasive Species Task Force to assess the nature, scope and magnitude of the environmental, ecological, agricultural, economic, recreational and social impacts caused by invasive species in the state. The bill aims to address the invasion of these invasive pests that pose a threat to the state's economy and environment. (A.6988-A/S.3522-A; Chapter 324)

Environmental Justice Study This bill requires DEC to publish a list of those areas in the state that are most adversely affected by existing environmental hazards and requires the state and local agencies to consider whether a proposed project or activity will negatively impact environmental conditions in those communities. (A.7862-A; Passed Assembly)

Pine Barrens Penalties This bill would provide penalties for failing to comply with the environmental laws that regulate the Long Island Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve. Under the bill, violators would face fines of up $1,000 a day. (A.8074-A /S.4784-A; Chapter 434)

Timber Theft This bill would require the commissioner of the DEC to examine proposed penalties and ordinances for the unlawful taking down of trees. The bill also would impose penalties on individuals who steal trees. (A.3969-B/S.1783-A; Chapter 602)


Permanent Agency Shop This bill would make agency shop fees permanent in all public employee units within the state since the employee organizations representing those units are responsible for the costs of representing both members and non-members. (A.3533; Passed Assembly/S.199; Civil Service and Pensions)

Temporary Salary Employee Agency Shop Fees This bill would extend the right of public employee organizations to deduct agency shop fees from salaried employees for two more years. Under the bill, agency shop fees would be made payable by all public employees until 2004. (A.4897/S.2315; Chapter 342)

Disability Presumptions This bill would render employees working on rescue and recovery at Ground Zero to be presumptively eligible for an accidental disability. (A.8517-A/S.4970-A; Veto 186)

Pension Financing Reform This bill would authorize the state comptroller to make structural changes in the pension contributions that public employers make to employee retirement plans and also would reduce the near term cost of these contributions. (A.8352/S.4902: Chapter 49)

NYC Employees Retirement Program This bill would include in a 25-year retirement program members of the New York City Employees Retirement System employed as urban park rangers or associate urban park rangers. (A.7920/S.4123; Chapter 640)


Lobbying Reform This bill would expand the definition of lobbying to include any effort to influence the action of any public official, state or municipality, regarding procurement of goods and services. The legislation also includes changes to the definition of lobbying to include efforts to influence enactment or content of an executive order. (A.9062; Passed Assembly)

Crime Victim Counseling This bill would authorize the use of crime victim assistance funds for financial counseling for elderly and disabled victims of fraud or economic crimes. The bill would help New Yorkers who are victims of crimes related to telemarketing fraud or identity theft. (A.8136/S.3217; Chapter 391)

Minority Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) Contracts This bill would require state agencies, authorities and departments that expend $2 million a year in state contracts to submit biannual studies to the Legislature, governor, the Department of Economic Development and the Office of General Services regarding the progress of small business and MWBE businesses in securing state service and construction contracts. (A.9057 / S.2697-A; Delv. to governor)

Executive Law, Article 15-A Minority-and-Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) This bill would extend the provisions of Article 15-A until 2018, and require the Urban Development Corporation be added to the list of state agencies that must comply with the article's provisions. Article 15-A of the Executive Law was enacted in 1988 to ensure that a fair share of state contract dollars are spent with businesses that are owned and controlled by minorities and women in order to provide equal employment opportunities to minority group members and women on all state contracts and to promote the development of minority-and women-owned businesses. (A.7233-A/S.5684; Delv. to governor)

State Contract Waivers This bill would amend Article 15-A by prohibiting agencies from using automatic waivers of MWBEs when entering into contracts and would require agencies to file annual reports to the Division of the Minority and Women's Business Development. Under the bill, the reports would be required to detail the number of state contracts that were awarded to certified MWBEs, the maximum dollar amount obligated by all contracts and the total expenditures made for all contracts. In addition, this bill would create a state registry to enable certified MWBEs to be made aware of contract opportunities and require recertification of MWBEs every three years. (A.8715-B; Passed Assembly)

Comptroller State Contract Study This bill would require the state comptroller to conduct an audit on the compliance of state agencies with Article 15-A, including a study on the disparity of MWBEs that participate in state contracts. (A.6750;Passed Assembly)

Joint Legislative Committee On Preparedness The resolution would establish the Temporary Joint Legislative Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Response. This joint legislative committee, comprised of Assembly and Senate members, would work in a bipartisan way to ensure the state has a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to prevent, prepare and respond to any disaster. The committee would identify, evaluate and make recommendations as to the effectiveness of the structure of the state's disaster preparedness response and the most productive use of state expenditures. The committee is required to submit a report of its findings to the majority leader of the Senate and the speaker of the Assembly by December 31, 2003. (Resolution 897, Senate Resolution 1911; Passed Both Houses)

Disability Legislation As part of the Assembly's continuing efforts to address the difficulties the disabled community encounters in their daily lives, legislation was approved that would:

  • improve access to public and government buildings (A.5469; Passed Assembly, A.5468; Passed Assembly);
  • provide better availability of off-street handicapped parking at retail stores (A.5479; Passed Assembly);
  • extend wheelchair warranties to motorized and non-motorized chairs (A.6232; Passed Assembly);
  • set the minimum width for handicapped parking access aisles at eight feet (A.5476; Passed Assembly, A.5471; Passed Assembly); and
  • establish a statewide disabled telephone service program to meet the needs of the hearing and visually impaired (A.3215; Passed Assembly).

Fire Prevention And Control This bill would prohibit the use of a person to portray a victim in firefighter training when it is done under live fire conditions. (A.8145/S.5027; Chapter 125)

Community Services Block Grant This bill would extend provisions providing for the distribution of federal community services block grant program funds by the Department of State for another year. Community Services Block Grants provide services to the poor in New York State. (A.2407/S.306; Chapter 196)


Smoking Ban This bill would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The bill aims to dramatically reduce the serious health risks of secondhand smoke to which many employees are exposed. The smoking ban would become effective on July 24. (A.7136 / S.3292; Chapter 13)

Gutka Sales Restriction This bill would prohibit the sale of gutka to minors, but allow it to be purchased by adults from tobacco businesses. Gutka is a smokeless tobacco product legally imported from India. Its chewing gum form is sweet and can contain three to four times the amount of nicotine as a cigarette and can contain unhealthy additives like magnesium carbonate. (A.4789-B/S.2887-A; Chapter 549)

Stem Cell Research This bill would foster biomedical research, while setting critical guidelines in the use of human stem cells in efforts to cure some of the world's most debilitating diseases. The measure would clarify the differences between human stem cell research and reproductive cloning. The legislation would allow this research to continue, while completely prohibiting reproductive cloning. (A.6249-A; Passed Assembly)

Hospital Emergency Contraception This bill would require hospital emergency departments to inform rape victims about the availability of emergency contraception and dispense it on site to those who choose it. Currently, the state Department of Health guidelines call for hospitals to inform rape victims about the use of emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, but allow hospitals to decline dispensing the medication. (A.15, Passed Assembly / S.202; Health)

Medicaid Managed Care Enrollee Rights The bill would require Medicaid Managed Care enrollees be made aware of their right to appeal decisions that deny coverage for medical procedures. The bill would mandate that Medicaid Managed Care patients be informed that they can request an independent appeal of Medicaid's decision not to cover a medical procedure based on medical necessity. The bill aims to ensure that patients know they can demand a fair and independent review of their case when health coverage for a medical procedure is rejected. (A.5583; Passed Assembly)

Day Care Center Air Quality This bill would prohibit child day care centers from obtaining or renewing their licenses if environmental hazards are present in their buildings or outdoor recreational areas. (A.392-A; Passed Assembly)

Comprehensive Asthma Disease Management This bill would create a comprehensive asthma disease management and control program which would consist of asthma disease management, education and outreach services for individuals with asthma, their families and the general public. (A.2695; Passed Assembly)

Annual School Lead Tap Water Testing This bill would mandate annual school lead tap water testing in order to monitor for lead contamination. (A.1898; Passed Assembly)

Hospice Availability This bill would extend the authority to discharge hospital patients to hospice and, on a demonstration basis, to residential health care facilities (RHCFs) under the Medical Assistance (Medicaid) Presumptive Eligibility program. The bill would extend this discharge operation to July 31, 2006. (A.7151/S.4196; Chapter 113)

Hospice Assistance Program This bill would extend the Supplemental Assistance Program to permit hospice to care for persons with special needs. (A.7150-A/S.2757-A; Chapter 112)

Childhood Immunization This bill would extend for two years a demonstration program under which the commissioner of the Department of Health is authorized to test the feasibility of establishing a statewide immunization registry for tracking and monitoring the immunization of children. (A.7004/S.3014; Chapter 78)

School-Based Health Centers This bill would extend for two years projects that provide improved and expanded school health services for preschool and school-aged children through local school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services. (A.6442/S.2662; Chapter 67)


SUNY/CUNY Tuition This bill would restore nearly $400 million of the governor's $703 million cut to higher education, thereby reducing the need for tuition increases. The bill would restore nearly $80 million in support for SUNY, CUNY and community colleges and provides new capital appropriations for improvements to SUNY and CUNY facilities. (A.2103-B / S.1430-B; Veto Override, Chapter 53)

TAP - Tuition Assistance Program This bill would restore $262 million the governor proposed to cut from TAP for the 2003-04 academic year. The bill would reject the governor's plan to defer one-third of all TAP awards and maintains the maximum student award at $5000, or 100-percent of tuition. (A.2103-B / S.1430-B; Veto Override, Chapter 53)

Community College Peace Officers This bill would authorize the Board of Trustees of community colleges to designate peace officers for their respective campuses. (A.2317-B/S.4245; Chapter 689)

Admission to Professional Practice This bill would provide for the consideration of prior disciplinary history in evaluating an application for admission to professional practice. (A.7515; Passed Assembly)

Bias-Related Crime Prevention Measures This bill would provide that colleges shall inform incoming students about bias-related crime prevention measures that are available through various programs. (A.7517/S.281-A; Chapter 590)

Professional Licensing Examination This bill would direct the New York State Education Department to accommodate applicants for special administration of a professional licensing examination or reexamination when the examination is on a day of religious observance. (A.9011; Passed Assembly)


Rent Regulation Extender This bill would extend existing rent-regulation laws from June 15, 2003 to June 15, 2008 and eliminate "high rent" vacancy decontrol, a provision that has allowed 84,000 units in New York City to be removed from rent regulation. The measure also extends the rent and eviction protections to Mitchell-Lama developments occupied on or after January 1, 1974 and to tenants living in former federal "Section 8" housing projects.

The legislation would affect rent regulations in 51 municipalities throughout the state that have rent protections, including New York City, Albany, Buffalo and various cities, towns and villages in Albany, Erie, Nassau, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Westchester counties. (A.2716-A; Passed Assembly / S.2954; Housing, Construction and Community Development)

Eight-Year Rent Control Extender This bill would continue to provide rent regulations until June 15, 2011, for rent-controlled apartments. The bill also would allow housing units to be deregulated upon vacancy if the legal regulated rent exceeds $2,000, even if the actual rent paid is less than $200. The measure also would allow an owner who charges a rent that is less than the legal rent to increase the rent to the legal rent when the lease is renewed. (S.5693; Chapter 82)

SONYMA Authorization Extender/Bond Cap Increase The bill would extend from July 16, 2003 to July 16, 2004, SONYMA's authority to issue new tax-exempt bonds and increases SONYMA's tax-exempt bonding authority by $50 million to a maximum amount of $6.945 billion. (A.8649/S.4009; Chapter 141)

SONYMA Mortgage Insurance Fund Authorization Extender This bill would authorize the extension of the existing powers of the Mortgage Insurance Fund until July 16, 2005. (A.8027 /S.4798; Chapter 145)

HFA Authorization Extender/Bond Cap Increase This bill would increase the bonding authority of the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) from $6.48 billion to $8.08 billion. The bill also would extend from June 30, 2003, to June 30, 2005 the HFA's and New York City's Housing Development Authority authorization to finance housing developments. (A.8830/S.4832; Chapter 99)

HPD Extender This bill would extend until June 30, 2006, Historic Preservation Development's (HPD) authority to make loans for neighborhood projects, including commercial and community facilities, which would have to be designated by the City of New York prior to June 30, 2004. (A.8006/S.3968; Chapter 96)

HDC Bonding Increase This bill would allow the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to increase the maximum amount of its outstanding notes and bonds from $3.8 to $4.4 billion. (A.8617/S.5020; Chapter 398)

Affordable Housing Development Loans This bill would permit the City of New York to continue to finance up to 100 percent the total development cost of affordable housing projects until July 1, 2008. (A.8768/S.5383; Chapter 118)

Participation Loan Program This bill would allow the New York City Housing and Preservation Developments (HPD) authority to expand the scope of its Participation Loan Program to allow for loans to be used for new construction in addition to rehabilitation. (A.8956/S.5576; Chapter 456)


Auto Insurance Reform This bill would increase penalties for individuals who stage accidents ("runners") and health-care providers who file fake medical bills. The bill also would target fraud by closing loopholes that work against insurers who fight phony claims, bar unscrupulous insurance providers from billing under the state's no-fault law, require carriers to disclose ties to "medical mills," establish timely access standards to accident reports and permit whistleblowers to be rewarded for tips resulting in successful prosecutions. (A.4807-A; Passed Assembly)

NY Property Insurance Underwriting Assoc. (NYPIUA) And Reinstatement Of Auto Provisions The bill would extend until April 30, 2004 the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA), an insurance program to provide insurance "of last resort" to property owners throughout the state, particularly in Long Island coastal areas and in some urban areas of the state. Under the bill, insurance coverage would be continued for basic fire and extended coverage insurance for residential and commercial properties.

The bill also would reinstate provisions relating to auto insurance rates and consumer protections. In addition, it would reinstate provisions allowing auto insurers to cancel two percent of their policy holders to keep auto insurance rates competitive and to stabilize the insurance industry. (S.5700; Chapter 85)

Medical Malpractice Program Extended This bill would extend authorization to the commissioner of the Department of Health and the Superintendent of Insurance to purchase excess medical and dental malpractice insurance coverage. The legislation will ensure that New York State residents continue to have access to high-risk specialty care by providing secondary medical malpractice insurance coverage to physicians and dentists with hospital affiliations. (A.9009; Chapter 119)

Genetic Discrimination Outlawed The bill that would forbid life and disability insurance companies from using genetic information to deny insurance coverage to New Yorkers. Under the bill, insurance companies would be banned from using genetic information to deny or cancel an individual's insurance coverage and would not be able to require genetic testing. (A.280; Passed Assembly)

Captive Insurance Company for NYC This bill would authorize the City of New York to establish a captive insurance company to address the liability claims connected to the cleanup of the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. (A.8592 /S.5363; Chapter 188)


18-B Attorney Fees This bill would increase fees for attorneys appointed by a court to represent individuals who are unable to afford their own legal representation. The bill would replace the $40 per hour for in court legal work and $25 per hour for out of court work rates with a $60 per hour for misdemeanors and a $75 per hour for felonies, and a cap of $2,400 and $4,400 respectively. (A.2106-B; Veto Override, Chapter 62)

9/11 Victims Law Suit Extension This bill would extend the time period of filing of wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This bill will effectively postpone the deadline for lawsuits by an additional six months, until March 11, 2004. (A.8021/S.4285; Chapter 114)


WTC Recovery Volunteers This bill would provide compensation benefits for volunteers who aided in the rescue and recovery efforts following the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. Under the legislation, individuals who served on a voluntary basis between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 and, as a direct consequence of their rescue and recovery work in Lower Manhattan are no longer able to work, would be eligible for workers' compensation. (A.8844; Passed the Assembly)

Fair Pay Act The legislation approved by the Assembly to enact the New York State Fair Pay Act includes measures that would:

  • ensure that pay differentiation is not based on a person's sex, race or national origin (A.6701; Passed Assembly/S.4568; Labor);
  • propose a constitutional amendment providing comparable work wage protections (A.379; Passed Assembly);
  • implement a state policy of equal compensation for public employees (A.737; Passed Assembly);
  • require private employers to pay comparable wages for comparable work (A.3998; Passed Assembly, A.3998; Passed Assembly); and
  • urge the U.S. Congress to enact legislation eliminating wage discrimination nationwide (K.459; Passed Assembly).

Omnibus Farmworker Rights This bill would provide farm workers overtime, an eight-hour day, collective bargaining rights and host of other labor protections enjoyed by other workers within the state. (A.2859; Passed Assembly/S.3351; Rules)

Maximum Worker's Compensation Benefit Level This bill would increase the maximum workers' compensation benefit payable for work-related disabilities in several steps until December, 2005. Under the bill, the benefit would equal two-thirds of the state average weekly wage. (A.6255; Passed Assembly)


Enhanced 911 Wireless Emergency Network This bill would create the Wireless 911 Expedited Deployment Funding program to establish an emergency response system capable of pinpointing the location of emergency cell phone callers across the state. The bill would provide immediate grants to local wireless emergency dispatch centers, known as public safety answering points (PSAPs) for the development of enhanced wireless 911 systems. The bill would provide $100 million through bonds financed by the state Dormitory Authority. The bonds would be repaid using a portion of the existing wireless 911 surcharge monies. (A.2106-B/S.1406-B; Veto Override Chapter 62)

Snow Removal Costs The bill would allow local governments to finance this year's extraordinary snow and ice removal costs over a five-year period in order to help municipalities avoid the need to increase property taxes. (A.4887-A / S2643; Chapter 42)

Volunteer Firefighters' Benefit Law This bill would extend disability provisions relating to heart disease in volunteer firefighters until 2005. (A.4590/S.2067; Chapter 89)

Period of Probable Usefulness for Certain Judgments This bill would extend the authorization for municipalities to finance costs related to tax certiorari and other tax-related judgments until 2008. (A.5258/S.3818; Chapter 83)

Absentee Ballots for Fire District Elections This bill would require fire districts to provide absentee ballots. (A.6332; Passed Assembly)

Sewage Facilities To address the sewage facility financing needs of local governments, the Assembly approved legislation that would authorize municipalities to exclude sewer-related debt from constitutional debt limits. (A.5255/S.3383; Delivered to Secretary of State) (A.7158-A/S.3929; Chapter 550)

Course Credit for Volunteer Firefighters This bill would increase the amount of service award credit available to volunteer firefighters taking EMT courses. (A.1503/S.868; Chapter 514)

Death Benefits This bill would increase special accidental death benefits for surviving spouses and children of police and fire personnel. (A.5435/S.3903; Chapter 139)


Community Reinvestment This bill would allow funds realized from the downsizing of state-operated inpatient, adult and children psychiatric facilities to be used to fund workforce recruitment, retention and training, as well as community-based programs. (A.2106-B/S.1406-B; Override, Chapter 62)

"Timothy's Law" This bill would require health insurance companies to provide a level of coverage for the treatment for mental illnesses, emotional disorders and alcoholism and substance abuse that is comparable to the coverage currently provided for other physical ailments. The bill would eliminate the discriminatory practices of the health insurance industry that limit coverage for mental health and chemical-and substance-abuse treatment. (A.8301; Passed Assembly / S.5329; Rules)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) To ensure adequate safeguards are in place for the protection of individuals who are receiving ECT, a procedure used to treat certain mental illnesses that involves passing an electrical current into a patient's brain the Assembly approved legislation that would require facilities administering electroconvulsive therapy to have access to emergency medical treatment and inpatient psychiatric units (A.5943; Passed Assembly) and mandate that facilities administering electroconvulsive therapy report to the state Office of Mental Health on an annual basis. (A.7906-A/S.2691; Veto #153)


Video Lottery Modifications/Racing Law Modifications This bill would modify existing video lottery terminal (VLT) authorization by reducing the Division of the Lottery's share from 15 percent of the proceeds to ten percent and increase the amount available to track/vendors and education programs. The bill aims to encourage track operations to make the necessary capital investment for VLT gamming so as to generate revenues for the state and increase lottery contributions to primary and secondary education.

As part of the 2003-2004 state budget legislation, the bill also would assess fees on pari-mutuel pools that will pay all of the operating expenses of the Racing and Wagering Board so that it will no longer be supported from the general revenue fund, expand out-of-state simulcasting of thoroughbred races and authorize a new teletheater for the Nassau County Off Track Betting (OTB). (A.2106-B/S.1406-B; Veto Override; Chapter 62)

Proposition Wagers This bill would provide for proposition wagers, approved by the Racing and Wagering Board, at tracks, off-track betting facilities and other "guest" simulcasting facilities. Under the bill, proposition wagering is when bets are placed on the outcome of a certain proposition that is horse racing related: jockey of the year, trainer of the year or other contests. (A.6510/S.2129; Veto #173)


Real Property Tax Exemption for New Multiple Dwellings This bill would add the definition "New Multiple Dwelling" to the real property tax law in order to provide tax exemption benefits to multiple-housing projects involving new construction or the rehabilitation of existing dwellings. (A.6954/S.3069; Chapter 447)

J-51 Housing Program This bill would provide tax exemption benefits under the J-51 Housing Program of the Real Property Tax Law to property owners who have expanded a dwelling's living space and maintained 50 percent of its original floor area. (A.8179/S.4829; Chapter 450)

Abatement Limitation for Multiple Dwellings The bill would eliminate the zoning resolution for determining the number of rooms eligible for a tax abatement under the law and replaces it with a methodology to calculate the value of the abatement. (A.8554/S.5055; Chapter 490)

Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program (ICIP) This bill would authorize the City of New York to extend the Existing Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program (ICIP) to June 30, 2007. The ICIP provides developers critical real property tax exemption benefits to encourage commercial and industrial development in New York City. (A.8931/S.5214; Chapter 103)

Commercial Expansion Program This bill would authorize the City of New York to extend for four years, the existing tax abatement for industrial commercial property used by industrial, manufacturing and commercial tenants. (A.8944/S.5415; Chapter 440)

Training for Assessors of Real Property This bill would require minimum qualifications and training for assessors evaluating properties in New York City. The bill also would provide state funds to reimburse assessors for the training. (A.3802-A; Passed Assembly/S.3969-A; Rules)

Statement of Financial Disclosure This bill would require assessors licensed in New York State to file an annual statement of financial disclosure. (A.3803-A/S.4046-A; Chapter 548)


Help For Small Businesses Employing Reservists The bill would require the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to make available loans and other financial assistance to help businesses that are adversely impacted by the absence of management or workers who have been activated to serve their country. The bill aims to ensure that small- and medium-sized businesses are not driven to financial ruin because they do not have the services of their employees who are fulfilling their military obligation. (A.1884; Passed Assembly / S.1419; Finance)

Small Business Information and Assistance on Environmental Compliance This bill would provide for regional offices to offer information and assistance to small businesses in environmental compliance and pollution prevention. (A.314; Passed Assembly)

Small Business Deferred Payments This bill would require deferred installment payment plan be offered to small businesses for telephone service installation, initiation and nonrecurring maintenance. (A.4531; Passed Assembly/S.3334; Energy)

Credit Union Excelsior-Linked Deposit Program This bill would authorize credit unions to participate in the excelsior liked-deposit program and raises the limit on the amount permitted to be on deposit at any given time. (A.2078; Passed Assembly)

Small Business and Entrepreneurs Preference This bill would require state economic development agencies to provide preferences to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the programs that they administer. (A.3913; Passed Assembly)


Child Support Collections This bill would prohibit local social services districts from asserting any claim to recover public-assistance payments if such payments were reimbursed by child support collected by the district on behalf of the public assistance household. (A.4304-A /S.1821; Chapter 340)

Nonrecurring Lump Sum This bill would allow public assistance recipients who receive a nonrecurring lump sum to utilize the income toward resources, such as buying an automobile or saving for post-secondary education tuition. The bill aims to help public assistance recipients to invest in ways that will enhance their ability to secure employment. (A.6341-B/S.5442; Chapter 373)

Education Programs for Welfare Recipients This bill would expand access to basic education programs for welfare recipients. It also would require local districts to count the time spent in adult literacy, English-as-a-second-language and high school equivalency programs toward a recipient's overall work requirement. (A.6503; Passed Assembly/S.4626; Rules)

Food Assistance Program This bill would extend the State Food Assistance Program (FAP) September 30, 2003 to September 30, 2005. New York State created FAP as part of the Welfare Reform Act of 1997 in order to give districts the option of providing food assistance to individuals who were made ineligible for federal Food Stamps as a result of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. (A.6505-A/S.4625-A; Chapter 360)

Foster Family Demo This bill would extend the Foster Family Care Demonstration Program from December 30, 2003 to December 31, 2005. Foster family care providers serve one or two individuals who are medically eligible for residential health care or personal care services and who lack a home or the resources or family support to live in the community. Caregivers provide room and board, supervision and assistance with personal care in their home. A sponsoring agency supervises the care and is also responsible for recruitment and training. Foster family care is financed from a combination of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid or private pay. (A.6692/S.3919-A; Delivered to governor)

Child Assistance Program Extension This bill would extend the enforcement of child support and combined child and spousal support orders by the Department of Taxation and Finance from June 30, 2003 to June 30, 2005. (A.7480/S.1824; Chapter 88)

Child Support Enforcement This bill would extend the penalty of suspending driving privileges to parents who fail to make child support payments from June 30, 2003 to June 30, 2005. (A.7481/S.1820; Chapter 87)


State Official Ban from Media Advertising This bill would prohibit statewide elected officials from appearing in television, radio, Internet or print public-service announcements paid for by taxpayers. Under the bill, the likeness, picture or voice of a statewide elected official or a member of the official's family would be prohibited from appearing in public-service announcements produced or distributed by the state. In addition, the bill also would require state agencies to submit a 12-month advertising inventory to the governor, Assembly and Senate that fully discloses a public-service announcement's content, cost and distribution. (A.3223; Passed Assembly)

Ticket Scalping This would extend the prohibition on ticket scalping from June 30, 2003 to June 30 2005. The bill would continue the Ticket Consumer Protection Act to protect New Yorkers from ticket resellers using fraudulent methods to obtain tickets and seeking to gouge the public with outrageous ticket resale prices to sporting, cultural and entertainment events. (A.8370/A.3868;Chapter 68)

Extension of Western Erie Canal Heritage Planning Commission This bill would extend the Western Erie Canal Heritage Planning Commission from June 30, 2003 to June 30, 2004. The bill would provide the commission with additional time to complete plans for the organizational structure and management of the canal in conjunction with the interests and needs of the region's communities. (A.9075; Chapter 120)

Uniform Athletic Agents Act This bill would enact the Uniform Athlete Agents Act. The bill would formulate a uniform system for the regulation of athlete agents, establishing a more open and efficient process for the recruitment of student athletes. The bill would set certification requirements for athletic agents and require agents to register with the state. (A.4399 /S.2831; Chapter 642)

Misrepresentation of Models/Performing Artists This bill would provide local law enforcement agencies the authority to bring actions against unscrupulous individuals who misrepresent employment opportunities for models and performing artists. The bill would allow for better enforcement against these fraudulent activities that under the current law are exclusive to the state attorney general's jurisdiction. (A.6571; Passed Assembly/S.5021; Rules)

State Boxing Commission This bill would increase the three-member State Athletic Commission to five. The bill would require that all members demonstrate a longstanding interest and knowledge in the sports of boxing and wrestling. (A.537; Passed Assembly)

Unsportsmanlike Practices This law requires the prohibition of unsportsmanlike practices in boxing, especially biting, and would provide for penalties for violations. (A.686 / S.3302 Chapter 74)

Safety and Finances of Boxers This bill would make a number of changes expanding the jurisdiction and authority of the State Athletic Commission to improve safety and finances of boxers. (A.7939/S.3016-A; Chapter 673)


DWI .08 This bill would seek a crackdown on drunk driving in New York State by reducing the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level at which persons are deemed to be driving while intoxicated from .10 percent to .08 percent. The measure would take effect on July 1, 2003. (A.2106-B/S.1406-B; Chapter 62)

Boating While Intoxicated .08 This bill would lower the threshold for operating a vessel while intoxicated from .10 to .08 percent. (A.6279-B/S.4990-B; Chapter 458)

Snowmobiling While Intoxicated .08 This bill would lower the threshold for operating a snowmobile while intoxicated from .10 to .08 percent. (A.8591-A/S.4991-A; Chapter 683)

Guy Kyler Act This bill would enact the "Guy Kyler Act," suspending vessel operation privileges and motor vehicle licenses for any person convicted of operating a vessel or vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (A.1593; Passed Assembly/S.563; Rules)

NYS Canal System Speed Limits This bill would prohibit careless boating on the state canal system, and set a five miles per hour speed limit on all portions of the Canal within 100 feet of the shore, a dock, raft or moored vessel. (A.8877/S.4795; Chapter 486)

Boat Accident Reporting This bill would clarify that boating accidents resulting in serious physical injury or death have to be reported immediately to police or judicial officers or bay constables. (A.7050-A/S.4636-A; Chapter 587)

Seat Belts in Taxis and Liveries This bill would require every taxicab and livery car to have visible and accessible seat belts maintained in good working order, prohibit the removal of seatbelts from such vehicles, and require a notice to be posted to passengers "Seatbelts Must be Available for Your Use. Please Buckle Up." (A.1466-B/S.257-A; Chapter 495)

65 MPH Speed Limits This bill would authorize the Department of Transportation and the state Thruway Authority, on highways under their respective jurisdictions, to set 65 mph speed limits where it is deemed appropriate. It also would make this authorization permanent. (A.732/S.1690; Chapter 464)

New York City Truck Routes This bill would increase the fines for operating a truck on a street that is not part of a designated truck route. Under the bill, violators would face fines of up to $2,000. (A.1433-A/S.1505-A; Chapter 203)

No Parking In Disabled Parking Access Aisles This bill would prohibit any person with or without a disabled parking permit or license plate, from parking in a disabled parking access aisle. Under the bill, violators would face fines of up $150. (A.8985/S.4921; Chapter 613)


Patriot/Merit This bill would provide new and enhanced benefits to New York State military personnel that will minimize the disruptions that military activation may cause in their lives and the lives of their families.

This legislation would establish a family liaison office at the Department of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA); require at least one library in every county to designate a computer for the use of family members of those called to active duty; direct DMNA to negotiate bulk telephone service rates for persons in military service; provide facilities in armories for teleconferencing between active duty personnel and their families; allow students to remain in the same school district if a parent relocates due to being called to active duty; help veterans transfer their military training and experience to civilian jobs; and extend the certification period for emergency medical technicians who have been ordered to active military duty.

The bill also would waive continuing professional educational requirements to armed forces personnel who are on active duty; establish a hotline to provide information on the Persian Gulf syndrome, Agent Orange, Hepatitis C and other war-related illnesses; establish the Military Enhanced Recognition, Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) scholarship program that makes scholarships available to the military personnel who are legal residents of New York State and to their children when a soldier has died, been declared missing or permanently and severely disabled during active duty in a combat theater or combat zone of operations on or after August 2, 1990.

In addition, the bill also would establish a New York State supplemental burial allowance program to help defray the cost of burial of a resident who died in combat. (A.9110/S.5679; Chapter 106)

Gold Star Mothers This bill would require the Commissioner of the Office of General Services to modify the existing World War II monument to appropriately recognize gold star mothers. (A.8441/S.2775; Chapter 651)

Memorial and Veterans' Day This bill would extend the eligibility to war-time veterans who are employed by school districts, board of cooperative educational services, charter schools or other educational employers receiving state funds to receive Memorial and Veterans' Day off. (A.5039; Passed Assembly/S.4294; Rules)

Disabled Veterans This bill would provide that disabled veterans who are certified by the US Department of Veterans Affairs or a military department may present such certificate as evidence of their disability. The bill also would ensure that Purple Heart recipients are given priority employment status that is in accordance with the state Civil Service Law. (A.5044; Passed Assembly)


Clothing/Foot Wear Tax This bill would reinstate the state and local sales tax on clothing and footwear items that cost under $110 during the period of June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004. The bill also would authorize a sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear under $110 during two seven day periods: Tuesday, August 26 to Monday, September 1, 2003 and Monday, January 26 to Sunday, February 1, 2004. (A.2106-B; Veto Override, Chapter 62)

State Sales Tax Increase This bill would increase the state sales tax by .25 percent to 4.25 percent, from June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2005. (A.2106-B; Veto Override, Chapter 62)

Temporary Personal Income Tax Increase This bill would set a new personal income tax rate of 7.5 percent in Tax Year 2003 for income of $100,000 or more for single taxpayers, $125,000 for head-of-household taxpayers and $150,000 for married filing jointly taxpayers. The new rate imposed drops to 7.375 percent in 2004 and to 7.25 percent in 2005. It also would impose a new rate of 7.7 percent on all income of taxpayers with an earned income of $500,000 or more for 2003, 2004 and 2005. The new rates are completely phased out in 2006. (A.2106-B; Veto Override, Chapter 62)

NYC Sales Tax Increase This bill would allow the City of New York to increase its sales tax by one-eighth percent from June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2005. (A.8388/S.4968; Veto Override; Chapter 63)

NYC Personal Income Tax Increase The bill would allow the City of New York to set a new income tax rate of 4.25 percent for Tax Year 2003 on income of $100,000 or more for single taxpayers, $125,000 for head of household taxpayers, and $150,000 for married filing joint taxpayers. The rate drops to 4.175 percent in 2004 and to 4.05 percent in 2005. (A.8388/S.4968; Veto Override; Chapter 63)

State Budget Reform In an effort to bring about a more efficient, public and accountable state budget process, the Assembly approved a series of budget reforms that would:

  • mandate public hearings on state agency budgets, require the governor to include more detail in his budget submission, increase the amount of money the state can deposit in the Tax Stabilization Reserve fund and deny the governor his salary until the budget is passed (A.8991; Passed Assembly);
  • change the state fiscal year from April 1 to May 1 (A.8989; Passed Assembly);
  • establish an independent, non-partisan state legislative budget office to provide an objective analysis of state revenues and budget policies A.8446; Passed Assembly /S.1611; Government Operations);
  • create a strategic planning and performance measurement system to analyze and evaluate the operation of state agencies (A.8990; Passed Assembly);
  • require detailed reports on the state's purchase of information technology to provide state officials with financial information that explains how the money was spent. (A.6977-A; Passed Assembly); and
  • direct the state Comptroller to create and maintain a computer data base of information on contracts entered into by a state agency or public authority. (A.3730; Passed Assembly)

New York State Assembly
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