How They Voted

After passage by state legislators, governor signs more laws

By Chip Rowe

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been busy signing legislation passed by the state Senate and Assembly before both went on summer hiatus in late June. According to a tally by the state Senate, he has enacted 147 bills so far this year, with another 12 waiting for his signature. None has been vetoed.

Serino, Jacobson and Galef

Last week The Current shared summaries of 19 newly enacted laws, along with the votes cast by Republican Sue Serino (whose Senate district includes the Highlands), Democrat Sandy Galef (whose Assembly district includes Philipstown) and Democrat Jonathan Jacobson (whose Assembly district includes Beacon). Here are six more enacted since July 27.

Mammogram coverage

This legislation, known as “Shannon’s Law,” requires large group insurers to cover annual mammograms ordered by doctors for women ages 35 to 39. It is named for Shannon Saturno, a Long Island woman who died of breast cancer in her 30s.

Many insurance companies are only required by law to cover annual mammogram screenings for women over 40, lawmakers said, noting that more than 12,000 cases of breast cancer are detected each year in women under 40 and are often in later stages and more aggressive.

Passed Senate 62-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 146-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Immigrants at work

This law, which takes effect on Oct. 25, makes it a misdemeanor for employers to tell a worker they are going to contact immigration authorities after being confronted with allegations of wage theft, sexual harassment or safety violations.

The state attorney general proposed the legislation, arguing that in the current political climate, “predatory employers are newly emboldened to exploit the culture of fear the federal government has created.”

The attorney general cited two cases as examples. In one, an employer threatened to report workers to immigration authorities when they requested the pay they were owed for weeks of work. In another, an employer told workers who refused to sign a document waiving their rights that he planned to meet with a U.S. marshal who would deport them.

State law already bans employers from firing, threatening or retaliating against a worker who files a complaint (or is suspected of filing a complaint) about labor law violations, or who assists with a state investigation.

Passed Senate 59-3 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 104-42 (Galef voted yes,  Jacobson voted yes)

Ceramic knives

On Aug. 6, Cuomo signed legislation banning the manufacture, transport, shipment and possession of knives that are made of materials such as ceramics or nylon that cannot be detected by metal detectors. It mirrored legislation he signed on July 30 banning guns that cannot be detected, such as those made with 3D printers.

When the law goes into effect on Nov. 1, possession of the knives by anyone other than members of the military or police officers, who use them for covert operations, will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Passed Senate 44-19 (Serino voted no)
Passed Assembly 137-11 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

School bus cameras

Cuomo on Aug. 6 enacted a law allowing school districts to install cameras on the stop-sign arms of buses to record the license plates of drivers who illegally pass while students are getting on or off.

The governor cited a one-day enforcement program in April 2018 in which police observed and ticketed 850 people ignoring the stop sign and flashing lights of a school bus, which would equate to 150,000 violations statewide during a school year.

Last fall in Brewster, a bus driver was credited with saving the lives of three students on Route 22 when a motorist ignored the bus’ stop sign. In July, the Putnam County Legislature tabled a proposal to add $100 to the standard fine for passing a stopped school bus.

Passed Senate 58-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 143-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Powerboat safety

On Aug. 6, Cuomo enacted what is known as Brianna’s Law, which by 2025 will require anyone operating a powerboat in the state to have completed a safety course. It is named for Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year-old Long Island girl who was killed in a 2005 accident. The law takes effect on Jan. 1.

“There should be a basic level of knowledge that you have before you’re given the permission to go out there and operate a boat,” Cuomo said in a statement. Boaters can take the safety course at or in a classroom.

An earlier law required boaters born after May 1, 1996, to receive safety certification; Brianna’s Law adds a phase-in schedule by birthdate. Boaters who don’t take the course will face a fine of $100 to $250.

Passed Senate 43-18 (Serino voted no)
Passed Assembly 145-2 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Staged accidents

Cuomo signed legislation on Aug. 8 making it a felony punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison to stage an automobile crash to commit insurance fraud. The measure also created a separate felony offense punishable by 5 to 25 years when the staged accident causes serious injury to someone who was not involved.

The legislation, known as Alice’s Law, was named for Alice Ross, 71, a Queens woman who was killed in 2003 when her car was intentionally struck by a driver who hoped to collect an insurance payout on his vehicle. He was convicted in 2006 of manslaughter and released in 2012.

Passed Senate 62-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 139-2 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

One thought on “How They Voted

  1. I am happy to see Sue Serino serving, as a woman, in government. Unfortunately, in reviewing her recent voting record in the state Senate, I ponder whether she is capable of thinking for herself or needs to follow a list of marching orders from party honchos.

    Serino voted against a number of items that passed in the Senate and Assembly. Among these votes was a puzzling nay to cannabis decriminalization while voting nay to raising the tobacco age from 18 to 21. Concern for citizen health? Dubious, if not confused. She voted against climate action; farm workers’ rights; and salary history, meant to prevent wage discrimination, which usually impacts women in the workplace.

    She voted nay on data protections. And, again, confusing concern for citizen health, she went negative on ceramic knives (safe air travel) and powerboat operation courses (safety on the recreational waters).

    Obviously, she has an agenda, one that barely speaks to the overall welfare of her constituents and suggests she is in the back pocket of the corporate world, reading the menu from the Republican Party that could care less about the citizens of Putnam County, much less the citizens of this country. She is a disappointment.