How They Voted

Governor signs round of bills passed by state legislators

Through this week, Gov. Kathy Hochul had enacted 521 bills passed during the 2023-24 legislative session, which ended in June.

Below are summaries of select laws and the votes cast by Republican Rob Rolison (whose Senate district includes the Highlands), Democrat Dana Levenberg (whose Assembly district includes Philipstown) and Democrat Jonathan Jacobson (whose Assembly district includes Beacon).

Levenberg Jacobson Rolison

Levenberg, Jacobson, Rolison

Wage theft

Hochul on Sept. 6 enacted legislation to make “wage theft” a form of larceny, allowing prosecutors to pursue stiffer penalties. Wage theft can include not paying overtime to hourly workers, paying less than the minimum wage, not providing required breaks, misclassifying employees as contractors, withholding final paychecks or not providing reimbursement for expenses. According to the bill’s sponsors, the practice is pervasive among undocumented and low- income workers and in the construction industry.

Passed by Senate, 61-0 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 140-4 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Red-flag fees

On Sept. 15, Hochel enacted legislation to remove a $210 fee charged to make a request for an Extreme Risk Protection Order, or a red flag. Since June 2022, family or household members, school officials, police officers, district attorneys and some health care workers can request that a court temporarily prevent people they believe are at risk of harming themselves or others from possessing or purchasing a firearm. But to do so, applicants had to pay an “index number fee.” The law eliminated the fee.

Passed by Senate, 45-17 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 133-14 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Worker rights

On Sept. 14, Hochul signed legislation that requires employers to notify employees that they are eligible for unemployment whenever the employer makes “a permanent or temporary separation of the employee” or substantially reduces that person’s hours.

Passed by Senate, 51-10 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 143-0 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Hochul also signed legislation that prohibits employers from requesting or requiring from employees their personal social media, email or other online usernames, login information and passwords as a condition of hiring, employment or promotions, or for use in a disciplinary action. Rolison said he voted against the bill because “it was amended to specifically exclude law enforcement agencies, fire departments and corrections from its provisions, a clear double standard. The New York State School Boards Association also opposed the legislation.”

Passed by Senate, 43-18 | Rolison No
Passed by Assembly, 123-25 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Red-light cameras

On Sept. 29, Hochul signed legislation allowing Westchester County to install red-light cameras at up to 50 intersections that photograph license plates but not inside the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle is liable for a fine of up to $50. Eighty percent of the fee goes to the county and 20 percent to the town or village where the violation occurred.

Passed by Senate, 60-2 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 111-38 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Flood risk

On Sept. 22, Hochul signed legislation that requires sellers to inform homebuyers whether a property is located in a flood risk area or has flooded. Before the law was enacted, sellers could provide a $500 credit at closing to “opt out” of disclosure. The legislation eliminates that provision and requires the seller to share information about flood risk, history and insurance.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, in 2021 in New York more than 7,500 homes that had been flooded were sold. Rolison said he voted “no” because “this is about seller and buyer choice. Most homeowners choose not to fill out the property disclosure form and credit the buyer. One reason is because they feel it is safer to credit the buyer rather than risk a claim from the buyer for misrepresentation.”

Passed by Senate, 42-21 | Rolison No
Passed by Assembly, 106-38 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Voting reforms

On Sept. 20, Hochul enacted a package of bills concerning voting rights, including:

■ A law that allows absentee ballots to be counted if the envelopes are sealed with tape and show no signs of tampering. Rolison said he voted no because “common sense suggests that tape or paste is an indication that a ballot has been tampered with, yet this legislation would claim the opposite.”

Passed by Senate, 42-21 | Rolison No
Passed by Assembly, 100-48 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

■A law that allows residents on a “Golden Day” — the first day of early voting — to register to vote and vote on the same visit to the polling station. Rolison said he voted no because “under the current law, an individual submits a voter registration to their local Board of Elections within 10 days of an election. This is a much more secure way of registering individuals to vote as the voter’s data can immediately be entered into the board of elections system. It prevents potential irregularities and imposes no additional burden on the individual voter.”

Passed by Senate, 40-18 | Rolison No
Passed by Assembly, 95-45 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

■ A law that requires election officials to provide at least five days’ notice if they change the location of a polling place for early voting.

Passed by Senate, 61-0 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 140-0 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

■ A law that created a system for early voting by mail that will take effect Jan. 1. Voters will be able to request early voting ballots in any election up to 10 days before an election. The ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day and received no later than seven days after the vote. The ballots will be distinct from absentee ballots, which are issued when a voter anticipates he or she will not be able to vote in person. (Republicans in Albany have filed suit to block the law.) Rolison said he voted against the bill because “in 2021 voters in our state overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional amendment that would establish no-excuse absentee voting, which is akin to what this bill does.”

Passed by Senate, 41-21 | Rolison No
Passed by Assembly, 94-51 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

■ A law that requires local jails to provide voter registration information to adults who are being released. Rolison said he voted no because the measure “mandates local correctional facilities to maintain records of inmates who decline a voter-registration form, a violation of privacy and the spirit of the secret ballot.”

Passed by Senate, 41-21 | Rolison No
Passed by Assembly, 102-46 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

■A law that requires the state Board of Elections to develop a mandatory training program for poll workers, with the goal of having a standard curriculum that covers polling place operations, voting systems, diversity and assisting voters with disabilities.

Passed by Senate, 49-12 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 137-4 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

■ A law that requires school boards and private schools to adopt policies that encourage students to register to vote, or pre-register if they are not yet 18 years old. Rolison said he voted no because “young people can pre-register to vote when they are 16 or 17 years old, or when they apply for a driver’s license. This bill, however, would place mandates on charter and private schools to run registration drives, whether they wanted to or not.”

Passed by Senate, 40-21 | Rolison No
Passed by Assembly, 128-15 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

■A law that bans “forum shopping” in constitutional challenges for election cases by designating specific courts to hear challenges. Rolison said he voted against the bill because “our state constitution provides for a system of checks and balances. The courts have a right, when it acts outside the boundaries of the law, to check the legislature. This bill takes away that right, and limits a plaintiff’s choice of courts to just four venues, hand-picked by the legislature, in a state of 19 million people.”

Levenberg said she voted no because, “while it is important to stop the practice of forum-shopping, this bill came up late in the session and we didn’t spend much time discussing it. Since it is a big change to the way that challenges had been handled in the past and did deal with some constitutional issues, I would have liked more time to research the implications of it before voting. But I am satisfied that the new law will enable claimants to have their cases adjudicated fairly.”

Passed by Senate, 41-19 | Rolison No
Passed by Assembly, 82-62 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg No

■ A law that prohibits “faithless electors.” New York has 29 electoral votes that go to the presidential candidate who receives the highest number of votes within the state. However, in the past, individuals chosen as members of the Electoral College have cast votes for candidates who did not win. This law requires electors who do that to resign. “Our democracy is under attack; it is up to us to preserve it by ensuring that each and every person’s vote is counted the way it was intended,” said Jonathan Jacobson, whose Assembly district includes Beacon and who sponsored the bill.

Passed by Senate, 57-1 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 145-0 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Telemarketing calls

On Sept. 13, Hochul signed legislation that increased the fine for telemarketers who violate the Do Not Call Registry ( from $11,000 (established in 2004) to $20,000. A law signed by Hochul in December requires telemarketers to give people the option to opt out of future calls before they begin their spiel.

Passed by Senate, 58-0 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 146-1 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Work meetings

On Sept. 6, Hochul signed legislation to prohibit employers from disciplining employees who choose not to participate in meetings reflecting the employer’s political or religious views, such as rallies or recruitment events for parties or civic, labor, and church groups. Non-partisan events such as “get-out-the-vote” drives are still permitted.

Passed by Senate, 53-9 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 112-28 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Student councils

On Sept. 7, Hochul enacted a law that requires every high school to have a “peer-selected” student government.

Passed by Senate, 63-0 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 128-15 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes


On Sept. 29, Hochul enacted a bill that makes it illegal to distribute, without a person’s consent, sexually explicit digital images created with artificial intelligence, aka “deepfakes.” The crime carries a penalty of up to a year in jail. The law becomes effective Dec. 13. It has been illegal in New York since 2019 to distribute explicit images of a person without his or her consent, aka “revenge porn.”

Passed by Senate, 61-0 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 148-0 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

Lunar New Year

Hochul on Sept. 9 signed legislation making the Asian Lunar New Year a public school holiday. The next Lunar New Year, on Feb. 10, falls on a Saturday but in 2025 will be on a Wednesday (Jan. 29) and in 2026 on a Tuesday (Feb. 17).

Passed by Senate, 62-0 | Rolison Yes
Passed by Assembly, 144-0 | Jacobson Yes Levenberg Yes

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