Plus, how lawmakers voted
By Chip Rowe
Sandy Galef, who represents Philipstown in the state Assembly, shared a list of state laws that take effect this month, which are described in more detail below.
Frank Skartados, who represented Beacon in the Assembly until his death in April, voted on two of the bills, and Jonathan Jacobson, who succeeded him, voted on one. The votes of Galef, Jacobson and state Sen. Sue Serino, whose district includes the Highlands, are noted when the results were not unanimous.
- Requires state agencies, when dealing with a client or customer, to ask if he or she has a family member who is a veteran. This information will be used only to inform the veteran and/or family members of assistance and benefits available through the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs. (Feb. 3)
Passed Senate 60-0 | Passed Assembly 146-0
- Enacts the Living Donor Protection Act, which prohibits discrimination by life, accident or health insurers based on a person’s status as a living organ or tissue donor. It also authorizes the use of paid family leave to provide care during preparation and recovery from transplant surgery when a person donates an organ or tissue. (Feb. 3)
Passed Senate 62-0 | Passed Assembly 143-0
- Establishes a working group to review best practices for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. It will include the commissioners of the Department of Health, Office of Mental Health, and Environmental Conservation, as well as the superintendent of Financial Services. In addition, the governor will appoint six members and leaders in the Senate and Assembly will appoint eight. The group will include an infectious disease specialist, general practitioner, mental health practitioner, entomologist, epidemiologist, a representative of health insurance providers and a representative of a tick-borne disease advocacy organization. (Feb. 3)
Passed Senate 62-0 (sponsored by Serino) | Passed Assembly 143-0
- Authorizes nurse practitioners to witness health care proxies and allows them to determine the competency of a patient. (Feb. 3)
Passed Senate 57-4 (Serino voted yes) | Passed Assembly 133-5 (Galef voted yes)
- Requires the installation of Lyme and tick-borne disease warning signs at all state parks, including at trailheads and campgrounds. (Feb. 3)
Passed Senate 61-0 (sponsored by Serino) | Passed Assembly 133-10 (Galef voted yes)
- Allows victims of domestic violence to be reimbursed by the state Office of Victim Services for shelter costs and crime-scene cleanup. (Feb. 18) | Passed Senate 61-0 | Passed Assembly 138-0
- Adds landscape architecture services to the list of professional services procured through a qualifications-based selection process, rather than one based strictly on cost. (Feb. 19)
Passed Senate 59-0 | Passed Assembly 128-0
- Requires insurers and health plans to submit data to the state to measure compliance with laws that require that claims for mental health and substance abuse treatment are handled in the same way as physical health claims. An attorney general investigation found that some insurers rejected mental health and substance abuse claims at higher rates than physical injury claims, or demanded higher co-pays. (Feb. 20)
Passed Senate 60-0 | Passed Assembly 137-1 (Galef voted yes)
- Establishes an official but optional Disabilities Identification Card for adults and parents of children with disabilities such as autism to provide information to first responders and others. (Feb. 20)
Passed Senate 62-0 | Passed Assembly 137-0
- Creates a Sept. 11, 2001, remembrance license plate. A portion of the fees will fund college scholarships for family members of Sept. 11 victims. (Feb. 24)
Passed Senate 62-0 | Passed Assembly 128-0
- Enacts the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression. It also adds gender identity or expression to the list of offenses that qualify as hate crimes. The law will prohibit discrimination in employment, places of public accommodation, housing, real estate sales, volunteer fire department membership and public schools. (Feb. 26)
Passed Senate 42-19 (Serino voted no) | Passed Assembly 105-43 (Galef and Jacobson voted yes)
- Allows veterans to show proof of a service-connected disability only when initially applying for a $5 deer-hunting license and not for renewals.
Passed Senate 61-1 (Serino voted yes) | Passed Assembly 135-0
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