A00368 Summary:

Add §94-d, Exec L
Establishes a temporary state assistance fund to provide legal counsel for bankruptcy proceedings under chapter eleven of the federal bankruptcy code; provides for the administration thereof.
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A00368 Actions:

01/06/2023referred to judiciary
01/03/2024referred to judiciary
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A00368 Committee Votes:

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A00368 Floor Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A00368 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2023-2024 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     January 6, 2023
        Introduced  by  M. of A. CRUZ -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Judiciary
        AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to establishing a  tempo-
          rary  state  assistance fund to provide legal counsel in certain bank-
          ruptcy proceedings and providing for the administration thereof

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "save merchants and retail tenants (SMART) act".
     3    § 2. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 94-d to read
     4  as follows:
     5    § 94-d. Temporary state assistance to fund legal services  in  certain
     6  bankruptcy proceedings. 1. Definitions. As used in this section:
     7    (a) "Administrator" means the New York office of court administration.
     8    (b) "Covered business" means any small business, not-for-profit corpo-
     9  ration,  limited partnership, limited liability company, limited liabil-
    10  ity partnership,  as  well  as  other  miscellaneous  businesses,  which
    11  conducts  a  majority  of  its  business  in the state and was adversely
    12  affected by COVID-19 or public health restrictions enforced by the state
    13  during the COVID-19 pandemic, which are eligible for  relief  under  the
    14  federal Small Business Reorganization Act, as amended by the Coronavirus
    15  Aid,  Relief,  and  Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, and files for
    16  bankruptcy protection under such act prior to March twenty-seventh,  two
    17  thousand twenty-four.
    18    (c)  "Bankruptcy  court"  means the United States bankruptcy court for
    19  the northern, southern, eastern or western district of the state.
    20    (d) "Legal services" means individualized legal assistance in a single
    21  consultation and/or ongoing legal representation, provided  by  a  legal
    22  services provider to a covered business, and all legal advice, advocacy,
    23  and assistance associated with such service.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 368                              2
     1    (e)  "Legal  services  provider" means an individual, organization, or
     2  association that has the authority to  provide  legal  services  and  is
     3  designated by the administrator to provide such services.
     4    2.  Temporary access to legal services for small businesses in certain
     5  bankruptcy proceedings. All covered  businesses  shall  have  access  to
     6  legal  services  as provided in this subdivision and made available in a
     7  fund maintained by the administrator pursuant  to  subdivision  four  of
     8  this section.
     9    (a)   Covered   businesses  affected  by  COVID-19  or  public  health
    10  restrictions enforced by the state during the COVID-19  pandemic,  which
    11  file  for relief under the federal Small Business Reorganization Act, as
    12  amended by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and  Economic  Security  (CARES)
    13  Act, prior to March twenty-seventh, two thousand twenty-four, shall have
    14  access  to  legal services in connection with the filing and prosecution
    15  under chapter eleven of the federal bankruptcy code.
    16    (b) In all cases, access to legal services  established  in  paragraph
    17  (a) of this subdivision shall terminate:
    18    (i) upon the termination or dismissal of the bankruptcy proceeding;
    19    (ii) at the recommendation of the United States trustee; or
    20    (iii)  at  the recommendation of the assigned United States bankruptcy
    21  judge.
    22    (c) In all cases, the right to counsel established in paragraph (a) of
    23  this subdivision shall not extend to appeals.
    24    3. Powers and  duties  of  the  administrator.  The  administrator  is
    25  charged with implementing the requirements of this section no later than
    26  October first, two thousand twenty-three, and may promulgate such rules,
    27  policies,  and  procedures as may be necessary and appropriate to accom-
    28  plish such implementation. The administrator shall have  the  power  and
    29  responsibility to:
    30    (a)  ensure  independent,  competent,  and  zealous  representation of
    31  covered businesses receiving legal services provided  pursuant  to  this
    32  section;
    33    (b) examine, evaluate, and monitor legal services provided pursuant to
    34  this section;
    35    (c)  establish measures of performance to monitor the quality of legal
    36  services and the overall effectiveness of such legal services;
    37    (d)  target  grants  in  support  of  innovative  and   cost-effective
    38  solutions that enhance the provision of legal services; and
    39    (e)  investigate  and  monitor  any  other  matters  relevant  to  the
    40  provision of legal services which the administrator deems important.
    41    4. Funding. (a) The state shall establish a dedicated fund  and  shall
    42  appropriate  sufficient  sums  into  such  fund  to  fully carry out the
    43  requirements of this section. Funds necessary to  fully  carry  out  the
    44  requirements  of  this section shall be determined by the administrator,
    45  in consultation with the director of the division of the budget.
    46    (b) The administrator shall be charged with ensuring that appropriated
    47  funds are  timely  distributed  to  legal  services  providers  for  the
    48  provision of legal services.
    49    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
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