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 June. According to a tally by the state Senate, he has enacted 182 bills so far this year, with another 53 waiting for his signature. None has been vetoed.

Serino, Jacobson and Galef

Below are summaries of select laws enacted since Aug. 8 and 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). We asked Serino to comment on her votes in the minority, but she did not respond by press deadline.

Religious attire

Cuomo, a Democrat, on Aug. 9 signed legislation that prohibits workplace discrimination based on religious attire, clothing or facial hair. Lawmakers cited the case of a follower of the Sikh religion who works for the MTA and was told he had to replace his turban with an MTA cap. When he objected, the MTA said he could wear the turban if he affixed his badge to the front, which the employee said would be improper. The law takes effect on Oct. 8.

Passed Senate 60-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 140-2 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Domestic violence

On Aug. 8, the governor signed three bills designed to assist victims of domestic violence. The first expanded the definition of the crime to include forms of “economic abuse” such as identity theft, grand larceny and coercion; the second allows victims to vote by mail with a special ballot; and the third allows victims to report abuse to any law enforcement agency in the state regardless of where the violence took place.

Passed Senate 61-1 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 141-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Passed Senate 59-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 141-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Passed Senate 61-0 (Serino did not vote; excused)
Passed Assembly 147-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Cuomo on Aug. 20 enacted a law that adds victims of domestic violence as a protected class to employment provisions of the state Human Rights Law. It provides reasons that an employer might need to give a victim time off from work, including medical attention, counseling, relocation and appearing in court.

Passed Senate 59-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 140-1 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

On Aug. 28, the governor enacted a law that requires companies to allow victims of domestic violence who are fleeing and have an order of protection, a police report or a signed affidavit to terminate multi-year or bundled telephone, cable or satellite TV contracts without fees.

Passed Senate 59-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 134-7 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Pet dealers

Cuomo on Aug. 8 enacted a law that sets standards for pet dealers and breeders that includes the cleaning of enclosures daily and sanitization every two weeks, annual vet exams, regular grooming and maintaining separate spaces for pregnant dogs.

Passed Senate 61-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 139-1 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

River billboards

Cuomo on Aug. 20 enacted a law that bans vessels from operating digital billboards or other advertisements that use flashing, intermittent or moving lights. “Billboards belong in Times Square, not in the middle of the Hudson and East Rivers,” said state Sen. Brad Hoylman, the Manhattan Democrat who introduced the bill.

Passed Senate 42-20 (Serino voted no)
Passed Assembly 143-1 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

A floating billboard on the New York waterfront (Ballyhoo Media)

Infant safety

On Aug. 13, the governor enacted three laws related to infant safety. The first requires furniture retailers to sell tip-restraint devices for furniture that doesn’t already have safeguards and takes effect on Nov. 11; the second requires child care facilities to anchor heavy dressers and tube-style televisions and takes effect on Feb. 9; and the third bans the sale of non-mesh crib bumper pads and takes effect on Oct. 12.

Passed Senate 52-6 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 142-1 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Passed Senate 49-12 (Serino voted no)
Passed Assembly 143-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Passed Senate 61-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 129-13 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Child abuse

Cuomo signed legislation on Aug. 22 making it illegal for a court to place a child in the custody of or have unsupervised visits with a person convicted of felony sexual assault against a minor. Known as Marie’s Law, it arose from case in which a grandchild of a Long Island man convicted of molesting a 12-year-old girl was allowed to live with him.

Passed Senate 62-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 144-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

On Aug. 29, Cuomo enacted a law requiring public schools to teach age-appropriate classes on sexual abuse and exploitation prevention to students in kindergarten through 8th grade. It takes effect on July 1.

Passed Senate 62-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 143-1 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Sexual harassment

On Aug. 12, Cuomo signed a bill that eliminates the requirement that workplace sexual harassment be “severe or pervasive” for legal action; requires all nondisclosure clauses in employment agreements to allow workers to file complaints and prohibits mandatory arbitration; extends the statute of limitations for claims for one to three years; and extends protection to contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others providing services.

Passed Senate 62-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 128-20 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Protections for victims

Cuomo on Aug. 21 signed legislation that (1) allows victims of domestic violence to sue individuals who violate an order of protection (it takes effect on Oct. 20); (2) expands the crimes eligible for victim compensation to include “unlawful surveillance,” in which a person is recorded without his or her knowledge; and (3) expands the definition of “child victim” eligible for compensation to include minors who witness a crime. The latter two laws take effect on Feb. 17.

Passed Senate 42-17 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 129-12 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

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

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

Homeowner protection

On Aug. 14, the governor signed three measures related to the ownership of  homes. The first closes what legislators described as loopholes to prevent “deed theft and mortgage scams” and to more easily return a home to its owner; the second requires banks to continue paying homeowner association fees on vacant or abandoned properties during foreclosure; and the third adds requirements for banks if a loan is sold or transferred while being modified to prevent a foreclosure.

Passed Senate 61-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 134-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Passed Senate 43-18 (Serino voted no)
Passed Assembly 104-44 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Passed Senate 62-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 142-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Scamming vets

Cuomo on Aug. 23 signed legislation to protect veterans from “pension poaching” in which scammers “reposition” assets while claiming it will help the vet qualify for federal benefits. In fact, in many cases the veterans lose their eligibility for Medicaid while paying high fees for services provided at no charge by the state. The law takes effect on Dec. 21.

Passed Senate 61-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 133-0 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

Child support

Cuomo on Aug. 14 extended a law for two years, until Aug. 31, 2021, that allows courts to suspend the driver’s license of anyone who fails to pay child support.

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

Marriage-license fees

Cuomo on Aug. 20 signed a law eliminating the state marriage-license fee for active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces or their spouses. The bill also gives local governments the ability to waive their fees.

Passed Senate 62-0 (Serino voted yes)
Passed Assembly 145-1 (Galef voted yes, Jacobson voted yes)

One Response to "How They Voted"

  1. Larry Lebow   September 5, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    As far as banning “floating billboards,” why stop with our river? In 55 years of driving the roads in New York state, I have abhorred the billboards and advertisements that line each side. As State Sen. Brad Hoylman said of the bill he introduced to ban floating advertisements: “Bill-boards belong in Times Square, not in the middle of the Hudson and East Rivers.” So, too, do the ones that surround our roads and distract from the natural beauty of our landscapes.

    Imagine how wonderful and beautiful it would be to drive unimpaired by the ugliness these advertisements create. How about we get our legislators to approve a bill that bans roadside billboards?

    Reply

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