How They Voted

Serino, Jacobson and Galef

Serino, Jacobson and Galef

Governor signs round of bills passed by state legislators

Through this week, Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul had signed 1,540 bills passed during the 2021-22 legislative session, which ended in June. Another 194 await Hochul’s signature. One hundred fifty-eight have been vetoed.

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).

The 2023-24 session begins Wednesday (Jan. 4). On Dec. 31, Galef will retire after 30 years in the Assembly, to be succeeded by Dana Levenberg, a fellow Democrat who won the seat in November. Serino’s district was redrawn so it does not include Beacon or Philipstown; instead, Rob Rolison, a Republican who is the mayor of Poughkeepsie, will represent the Highlands in the Senate. Jacobson ran unopposed for a third term. 

Pay raise
On Dec. 22, legislators voted to raise their annual salaries by $32,000, to $142,000 annually as of Jan. 1. Their most recent pay raise was in December 2018, when they voted to increase their salaries from $79,500 annually to $110,000, followed by $10,000 increases in 2020 and 2021. The bill was delivered to the governor on Dec. 22 but she has not acted on it as of Thursday (Dec. 29).

Passed by Senate, 33-23 | Serino No
Passed by Assembly, 81-52 | Galef Yes  Jacobson No

Marriage officiants
On Dec. 28, Hochul signed a law sponsored in the Assembly by Galef that allows any adult to be designated as the officiant for a wedding. The designation is good for one day on a specific date.

Passed by Senate, 52-11 | Serino Yes
Passed by Assembly, 129-15 | Galef  Yes  Jacobson Yes

Tax exemption
On Dec. 9, Hochul signed a law that allows municipalities, school districts and fire districts to offer a property tax exemption of up to 10 percent on the primary home of volunteer first responders who have been members of a fire department or ambulance service for at least two to five years. An earlier law allowed counties to offer the exemption, but only about half had done so (including Dutchess and Putnam, in 2002). That earlier law will be repealed on Dec. 9, 2025.

Passed by Senate, 63-0 | Serino Yes
Passed by Assembly, 148-0 | Galef  Yes   Jacobson Yes

Domestic violence
On Oct. 18, Hochul enacted a series of laws designed to protect victims of domestic violence, including those that: 

Require judges to order the seizure of firearms, including rifles and shotguns, when an abusive partner refuses to surrender them as required by an order of protection.

Passed by Senate, 46-15 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 110-34 | Galef  Yes   Jacobson Yes

Require criminal and family court judges to ask whether an individual named in an order of protection possesses a firearm. While state law requires these individuals to have their firearm licenses revoked or suspended, it did not require judges to ask this question.

Passed by Senate, 48-14 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 113-31 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Allows victims of sexual violence to apply to the state Board of Elections to have their voter registration information sealed. The previous law only applied to victims of domestic violence.

Passed by Senate, 63-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 138-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Catalytic converters
On Oct. 17, Hochul signed legislation that requires new-car dealers to sell etching kits at cost to add serial numbers to catalytic converters so they can be traced if stolen. The converters are a target because of their high resale value. The law also requires dealers in secondhand parts to keep a record of who sells them converters.

Passed by Senate, 63-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 145-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Student debt
On Oct. 13, Hochul repealed a state law that required the Civil Recoveries Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office to add a 22 percent fee to student loan debt that it collected. The fee was designed to allow the agency to recover its costs.

Passed by Senate, 56-7 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 107-37 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Opioid overdose prevention
On Oct. 28, Hochul enacted a law that requires public colleges to keep a supply of opioid antidotes such as naloxone in student housing facilities. In addition, resident assistants at SUNY campuses will be trained to administer the medication, which reverses overdoses.

Passed by Senate, 63-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 143-1 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

EV charging
On Nov. 22, Hochul signed legislation that prevents homeowner associations from creating universal bans on electric-vehicle charging stations. The law requires that any denial of an application to install a charger must be issued in writing within 60 days and include a detailed explanation.

Passed by Senate, 60-1 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 143-1 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

College athletes
On Nov. 21, Hochul enacted a law that allows college athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image or likeness without forfeiting their scholarships or eligibility.

Passed by Senate, 52-11 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 140-4 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Medical debt
On Nov. 23, Hochul signed legislation that bans medical providers from placing a lien on a person’s residence or garnishing wages to collect debts.

Passed by Senate, 47-15 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 106-41 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

On Dec. 9, Hochul enacted a law that requires employers to provide private breast-milk pumping spaces that include seating, running water, electricity and working space.

Passed by Senate, 62-1 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 147-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Space heaters
On Dec. 8, Hochul signed legislation that bans the sale of electric space heaters that do not have thermostats and automatic shut-offs. The bill followed a fire in January in the Bronx that killed 19 people.

Passed by Senate, 62-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 149-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Propane emergencies
On Dec. 8, Hochul enacted a law that allows homeowners who lease propane storage tanks to purchase fuel in emergencies such as severe weather from any supplier if their contract supplier cannot reach them within 24 hours. The measure takes effect April 8.

Passed by Senate, 48-15 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 112-33 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Affidavit ballots
On Dec. 6, Hochul signed legislation that requires election officials to count affidavit ballots cast by voters who show up at the wrong polling place, as long as they are in the correct county and Assembly district. Under the previous law, these votes were not counted.

Passed by Senate, 41-20 | Serino No
Passed by Assembly, 99-45 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

On Dec. 6, Hochul signed a bill into law that requires telemarketers to give customers the option to be added to the do-not-call list before the pitch. What often happens, according to the bill’s sponsors, is that a customer hangs up early in the call, allowing telemarketers to contact them repeatedly.

Passed by Senate, 61-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 149-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Warehouse speeds
On Dec. 21, Hochul signed the Warehouse Worker Protection Act. The law requires distribution centers to disclose to its employees its required work speeds and protects workers from being disciplined or fired because of a failure to meet quotas they weren’t told about or that do not account for breaks. According to the bill’s sponsors, “quotas may not interfere with a worker meeting basic human needs, like meal or rest periods, use of bathroom and preventing workplace injury.” The act takes effect on Feb. 19.

Passed by Senate, 45-18 | Serino No
Passed by Assembly, 119-30 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Pay transparency
On Dec. 21, Hochul enacted legislation requiring employers to list salary ranges for any advertised job, including promotions.

Passed by Senate, 46-17 | Serino No
Passed by Assembly, 96-48 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Land preservation
On Dec. 23, Hochul signed a law requiring state agencies to contribute to efforts to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030.

Passed by Senate, 58-3 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 137-8 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

More time
On Dec. 23, Hochul enacted legislation that reduces the time that a person must register to vote before an election from 25 to 10 days.

Passed by Senate, 44-19 | Serino No
Passed by Assembly, 102-42 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Opioid copays
On Dec. 23, Hochul signed a law that prohibits insurers from charging a copay for each visit during opioid addiction treatment.

Passed by Senate, 57-4 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 143-1 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Rape kit tracking
On Dec. 22, Hochul enacted a law that creates an electronic tracking system for sexual-offense evidence collection kits, or rape kits. State law requires the Office of Victim Services to store kits for at least 20 years.

Passed by Senate, 63-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 144-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Sexual conduct
On Dec. 22, Hochul expanded the definition of sexual conduct against a child to include insertion of a finger. A member of the state Assembly who sponsored the bill said he was contacted by a Hudson Valley resident whose 8-year-old daughter had been assaulted but learned during the prosecution that the penal code did not include fingers in the definition of “foreign object.”

Passed by Senate, 63-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 150-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Putnam generators
On Dec. 2, Hochul signed a bill introduced in the Assembly by Galef that adds Putnam County to the “lower Mid-Hudson region” in a law that provides financial assistance to gas stations to buy backup generators to keep their pumps operational if major storms knock out power.

Passed by Senate, 61-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 146-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Digital repairs
On Dec. 29, Hochul enacted the Digital Fair Repair Act, which requires “original equipment manufacturers” (e.g., Apple) to make diagnostic and repair information available to consumers and independent shops if the same information and parts are available to authorized partners. 

Passed by Senate, 59-4 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 147-2 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

Organ donors
On Dec. 29, Hochul signed legislation to create a program to cover costs associated with organ donation, such as lost wages (up to $125,000 annually), child care and medical expenses, for New York residents who donate to a fellow New Yorker. There are 8,253 people on wait lists in New York, including 7,192 people waiting for a kidney. The bill’s sponsors noted that New York ranks 49th among states in organ-donor registration.

Passed by Senate, 61-0 | Serino  Yes
Passed by Assembly, 150-0 | Galef  Yes    Jacobson Yes

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