How They Voted

Serino, Jacobson and Galef

Serino, Jacobson and Galef

Governor signs round of bills passed by state legislators

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has so far signed 111 bills passed during the 2021-22 legislative session, which began in January.

Below are summaries of select laws 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).

Loitering

Cuomo on Feb. 2 signed legislation that repealed portions of a loitering law — known derisively as the “Walking While Trans” ban — that opponents said led to arbitrary arrests of transgender women on prostitution charges. Passed in 1976, the law was vague enough that it allowed officers to “stop-and-frisk trans women of color and other marginalized groups for simply walking down the street,” according to one of its backers in the Senate. 

Senate passed 43-20 (Serino voted no)

Assembly passed 104-45 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

Right to vote

On May 4, Cuomo enacted a law giving convicted felons the right to vote after their release. In addition, before a judge can accept a guilty plea, defendants must be informed that a conviction will cause them to lose their right to vote while imprisoned. “With this new legislation, a clear rule of law has been established: if you are living in the community, you can vote in all local, state and federal elections,” said the New York Civil Liberties Union. Before a 2018 executive order and this law, convicted felons could only vote if they were pardoned by the governor, their maximum prison term had expired or they had completed parole.

Senate passed 43-20 (Serino voted no)
Assembly passed 97-52 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

Debt collection

Cuomo on May 13 signed legislation that prevents debt collectors from garnishing COVID-19 stimulus payments, tax refunds or rebates. The law does allow stimulus funds to be collected for child and spousal support or in situations that involve fraud.

Senate passed 48-15 (Serino voted no)
Assembly passed 112-38 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

Early voting

Cuomo on May 21 signed legislation allowing county boards of elections to create early voting sites for special and primary elections in the most populous municipality in which voters are eligible to participate. Under the previous law, boards had to establish sites in the most populous municipality regardless of where the election was actually taking place.

Senate passed 62-1 (Serino voted yes)
Assembly passed 150-0 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

Retiring ‘incorrigible’

On April 6, Cuomo signed legislation to remove the word incorrigible from Family Court proceedings. “This is a term that, at least implicitly and in practice, singles out girls of color for not matching expectations of stereotypical ‘feminine’ behavior and labels them as ‘uncorrectable’ or ‘unreformable,’ ” said the bill’s Senate sponsor. The word “is completely out of line with the current understanding of the goals of our Family Court system.”

Senate passed 53-10 (Serino voted yes)
Assembly passed 147-2 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

Veteran courts

Cuomo on March 29 enacted a law sponsored in the Assembly by Galef that allows veterans who live in counties without Veterans Treatment Courts to transfer their cases to neighboring counties that do. The courts allow veterans who are struggling with mental illness or substance use and charged with certain crimes (excluding domestic violence) to receive treatment instead of jail time. The district attorneys of both counties must approve the transfer. The first Veterans Treatment Court was established in Buffalo in 2008; there are now about 30 across the state (not including in Puntam or Dutchess counties).

Senate passed 63-0 (Serino voted yes)
Assembly passed 150-0 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

Solitary confinement

Cuomo on March 31 signed legislation that limits the time an inmate can be kept in solitary confinement to 15 days; reduces the number of infractions that can be punished with solitary; and exempts younger and elderly prisoners, pregnant inmates and people with disabilities or serious mental illness from being segregated as punishment. The law also established Residential Rehabilitation Units to “provide incarcerated individuals with therapeutic and trauma-informed programming in a congregate setting.” 

Senate passed 42-21 (Serino voted no)
Assembly passed 101-49 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

No parking

This legislation, which was enacted last year and went into effect April 5, bans non-electric vehicles from parking in electric-vehicle charging spaces.

Senate passed 57-3 (Serino voted yes)
Assembly passed 138-0 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

Prepaid cellular

On Jan. 28, Cuomo enacted a law that requires the expiration date on prepaid cellular phone cards to appear in at least 14-point print. The law was a compromise after the governor expressed concern about a version that stated the expiration date must be twice as large as the company logo, which he found “overly burdensome.”

Senate passed 56-7 (Serino voted no)
Assembly passed 148-2 (Galef voted yes; Jacobson voted yes)

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