Last week our firm highlighted the new ‘Green Light Law’, but that wasn’t the only legislation worth noting this year. As we wrap up 2019, take a look at some of the other significant bills and laws that have passed this year in New York:
Cash Bail Bill
New Yorkers will no longer be held on cash bail for most arrests. The new law eliminating cash bail aims to speed up trials and prevent low-income inmates from remaining in prison for minor crimes.
Child Victims Act
This law was a major win for victims of childhood sexual abuse who were previously unable to seek justice because of New York’s strict statute of limitations. The law not only extended the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse but allows victims of all ages a one year period to come forward against their abusers.
Immigrants brought illegally into the United States as children became eligible for college tuition aid this year under the DREAM Act. These students, also called Dreamers, are eligible for assistance including the Excelsior Scholarship and TAP but must attend high school in NY to qualify.
E-scooters and pedal-assist bicycles were on track to be permitted in the state thanks to a bill passed in June. But after Governor Cuomo vetoed the bill on December 26 over safety concerns, avid riders will have to wait a little longer.
Pay Equality Law
New York employers would no longer be allowed to request an employee’s salary history under a new bill aiming to establish equal pay for workers. The bill states employers must pay employees who perform identical work the same wage, regardless of sex or gender.
There’s no longer a ban on gravity knives in New York. These weapons were officially removed from the ‘dangerous weapons’ list was decided after a federal judge ruled the ban unconstitutional, particularly workers who carry folding knives for work.
The LGBTQ community saw a number of new laws passed this year. One law prevents mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change therapy. Another prevents defendants in criminal cases from claiming their actions were a result of being ‘surprised’ by someone’s gender or sexual orientation.
A new climate act will require New York State to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 85 percent by 2025. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act is one of the nation’s most ambitious laws and will require higher costs for power-plant owners and business among others.
Elimination of Vaccine Exemption
Another hot topic of debate in 2019 was the end of religious exemptions for vaccines. The legislation was sparked by the measles outbreak centered in Rockland County and Brooklyn, and even forced parents who refused the vaccination to remove their children from public schools.
Legislators did not fully legalize marijuana this year, but penalties for possession were reduced. Violations will no longer exceed a $200 fine for amounts less than two ounces.
Animal advocates are thrilled with the new bill going through that would make it illegal for New Yorkers to declaw cats. Declawing involves the removal of bone, tendons, nerves, and ligaments- not just the nail. Animal rights activists have been after this move for quite a while, claiming the procedure is ‘inhumane.’
For more laws and bills that have been passed this year, click here!
New York City and Long Island Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
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