New State Laws

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs a bill into law. (File photo)

The list below contains some of the state laws that have gone into effect since August. During the 2017-18 legislative session, the Legislature in Albany sent 1,244 bills to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo; he signed 904, vetoed 137 and has not taken action on 203.

  • Insurance agents and brokers no longer need to take continuing education courses for both their individual and agency insurance licenses.
  • School bus drivers are subject to random drug and alcohol testing. They also cannot drink alcohol or take drugs within six hours of going on duty.
  • “Culturally competent” safe house facilities will be created for victims of human trafficking.
  • Renting dogs or cats as pets is illegal, along with their “repossession” by a seller if the animal is used as collateral.
  • Anyone who fails to pay for barber or salon services can be prosecuted for theft.
  • The Department of Taxation and Finance will prepare a report on the impact of the closing of the Indian Point nuclear power plant on municipalities in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties and how they might be compensated for the loss of property taxes.
  • Female inmates will no longer be charged for feminine hygiene products.
  • During a state-mandated evacuation, people can bring their pets aboard public transportation run by the Port Authority.
  • The Department of Corrections will offer the same variety of rehabilitation programs at the state’s three female prisons as are provided at its 51 facilities for men.
  • Anyone younger than 18 cannot use indoor tanning salons, even with parental permission.
  • Smoking is prohibited in private homes licensed as child care facilities, even when children are not present.
  • The Commissioner of Health will issue a report by Oct. 1 that looks at any correlation between mental illness and tick-borne diseases such as Lyme.
  • After training, pharmacy interns may administer immunization shots.
  • The $500 given annually to Gold Star Parents who have lost a son or daughter in the Armed Forces during war will increase with the cost of living.
  • Auto lenders cannot remotely disable a vehicle without giving a delinquent borrower at least 10 days’ notice.
  • A person may not touch or require another person to engage in physical activity as part of the initiation process into any organization if it puts the inductee at risk of injury.

These laws take effect today (Jan. 1):

Minimum wage

The minimum wage in the Highlands and most of the rest of the state will increase from $10.40 to $11.10 per hour. In New York City, it will be $13.50 at smaller businesses and $15 at those with more than 10 employees. In Westchester County and on Long Island, the minimum will be $12. Fast-food workers will earn a minimum of $12.75 per hour through the state and $15 in New York City.

Paid family leave

The amount of paid family leave that an employee can take to care for a sick relative or spend time with a newborn, among other situations, will increase from eight to 10 weeks.

Firetruck warranties

Municipalities and fire districts will be protected by a “lemon law” that allows them to negotiate directly with the manufacturer (rather than the dealer) about newly acquired firetrucks or ambulances that do not function properly.

Gender X

In New York City, parents may choose to identify their newborns as gender “X” on city-issued birth certificates. The law also allows adults who have an affidavit from a doctor or mental health professional to change the gender on their certificates.