Should This Be a Law?

Bills focus on Beacon sewage, mobile polling, Indian Point

Nearly two months into the 2021-22 session of the state Legislature, which began on Jan. 6, Sen. Sue Serino, a Republican whose district includes the Highlands, has introduced 71 bills; Assembly Member Sandy Galef, a Democrat whose district includes Philipstown, 20 bills; and Assembly Member Jonathan Jacobson, a Democrat whose district includes Beacon, 34. 

Below are a select few. Each bill was introduced for the first time or introduced in 2020 and resubmitted.

Galef is proposing bills that would:  

Require that Holtec, the Florida company that will decommission the Indian Point nuclear power plant over the next 12 to 15 years, pay employees the prevailing wage rate and abide by collective bargaining agreements in effect for the plant’s current workers. The plant is scheduled to be shut down in April (A02684). The prevailing wage requirement was included in a bill that passed the Assembly and Senate during the 2019-20 session but Gov. Andrew Cuomo declined to sign it, effectively vetoing it.

Give counties the power to establish mobile polling locations for at least three consecutive days during early voting. The limit on mobile sites would be based on population as determined by the state Board of Elections and counties would be prohibited from allowing a mobile site to “replace or otherwise decrease” the number of polling places. Galef said the legislation would allow counties to expand voting access in hard-to-reach locations (A04568). 

Allow counties, municipalities and school districts to pass laws placing a moratorium for up to five years on tax lien sales and tax foreclosures caused by the pandemic (A05314). The clock would start with the end of state executive orders that have placed restrictions on businesses and gatherings. Galef said the bill would provide relief to property owners whose taxes are delinquent because of hardship during the pandemic. 

Jacobson is proposing bills that would: 

Allow Beacon to sell its excess sewage capacity to private companies and individuals outside city limits. Beacon lost the ability to do so in 1993, when its law was amended to free it from the obligation of having a Plumbing Board, according to Jacobson. Regaining that authority will give the city a source of revenue, he said (A05399). 

Require that employees or independent contractors who test positive for COVID-19 notify their employers either within three hours of getting the result, by 10 a.m. on the next business day or three hours after the employer or contractor’s business opens if they open after 10 a.m. Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor and/or a $1,000 fine for each day they do not give notice (A05616). 

Require the state to reimburse municipalities and volunteer fire companies for the costs of medical treatment and lost time when firefighters are injured after responding to mutual-aid calls. The bill also requires that the state reimburse municipalities for overtime costs. Jacobson cited the costs to Newburgh’s fire department when it lost firefighters to injuries after they responded to an explosion and fire at a New Windsor cosmetics factory in 2017 (A00283). 

Require that sellers of property provide a certificate of occupancy issued within 30 days of the transfer of ownership. The law would not apply in certain conditions, such as transfers made to a relative of the owner or those made by court order (such as in foreclosures), by a municipality or by an executor of an estate. Jacobson said the law would force owners to keep their properties up to code and, when the property is a rental, protect tenants (A00360). 

Allow part-time students attending college or a training program, including BOCES, to apply for aid through the state Excelsior Scholarship Program. The program now is only available to full-time students attending the State University of New York and City University of New York (A601A).

Serino is proposing bills that would: 

Reverse part of the bail reform law passed in 2019 by giving judges discretion to set bail in domestic abuse cases for offenses such as third-degree assault; stalking in the second, third and fourth degree; and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation (SB3842). 

Require that the state Department of Labor provide at least five years of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to residents whose information was “inappropriately disclosed” by the department in March and April 2020 (SB3847). 

Require that the state Department of Health establish “step-down” facilities where COVID-19 patients can recuperate until it is safe for them to return to nursing homes, adult-care facilities or assisted-living residences (SB4828). 

2 thoughts on “Should This Be a Law?

  1. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your feature articles about what our state legislators are up to. It is imperative that a light be shined on them especially while so much of our government is under lockdown and our elected representatives get to do their dirty work under cover of COVID darkness.

    Regardless of what party they are in, it seems that all of our local reps have lost whatever respect they may have had for the Constitution that they took an oath to defend. The height of their contempt for the citizens of New York was when they abdicated all of their legislative parties to the governor and effectively gutted all the checks and balances that exist to protect the residents/taxpayers of our state.

    Nearly all of their laws and regulations seem designed to tighten the noose around the collective neck of the taxpayers of New York. A perfect example is the bill they want to pass requiring a new certificate of occupancy (CO) withing 30 days of sale of the property. This is going to create massive problems for homeowners, many of whom are desperate to leave the New York gulag just because of onerous taxes and regulations like this one.

    This bill will create a huge burden on local building departments and inspectors but more important, is the burden it will place on the homeowner who may have owned the home for decades and is just now selling. The most affected group of people will be senior citizens who have had their homes since the 1960s, 70s, 80s and who are just now selling them.

    The building codes have changed dramatically over the years and often have little to do with actual health and safety. Even today I have seen some of my older neighbors have to pay thousands of dollars to the town to update their CO for some minor changes so they can sell their property. Which, by the way, they have been paying exorbitant taxes on for decades.

    I hope that more people are reading your articles and becoming aware of the dangers we face due to uncontrolled and irresponsible legislators who have no regard for our basic property rights, liberties and freedom.

  2. I’m grateful that Galef is in the Assembly — our tax bills are unfair when the state hasn’t even been giving unemployment!

    While Johnson is great at protecting renters who occupy a changing property. I hope both of their bills pass!

    But why is Serino worried about “credit monitoring”? Does she not know we need help recovering from a pandemic?