2022 End of Session Update

Thursday, June 2 was the last scheduled day of New York’s 2022 legislative session. Both houses ran into Friday, June 3 before officially concluding all their business. The Senate finished at 2:30 a.m. on Friday, June 3, while the Assembly returned for another full day of session on June 3 and will adjourn at some point during the day, likely in the early morning hours.

Although the end of session was conducted largely in person, the atmosphere of the Capitol was noticeably changed from the pre-COVID years.  The halls were quiet, but the pace of legislation passing through the chambers was breakneck.  In the final weeks of session, both houses passed hundreds of bills on a wide variety of subjects, including the Adult Survivors Act to allow adult victims of sexual assault to sue their abusers and banning the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. 

There were also several major issues the Legislature ended up addressing during the final week of session because of recent developments.  Following the horrific mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, a package of ten bills passed the Legislature to tighten New York’s gun laws.  Among other things, this package of bills will do the following: 

  • Raise the age to 21 to purchase a semiautomatic rifle;
  • Require information sharing between state, local and federal agencies when guns are used in crimes;
  • Require microstamping for new guns;
  • Prohibit the purchase of body armor for anyone not engaged in an eligible profession; and
  • Make threatening mass harm a crime.

 Another major issue the Legislature tackled was expanding abortion and other reproductive health rights in New York given the leaked Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. Lawmakers passed a series of legislation protecting those who travel to New York for abortions and the New York health practitioners providing reproductive care. One such bill that passed will block New York courts from issuing subpoenas in connection with out-of-state criminal abortion prosecutions.  The Legislature also passed a bill prohibiting the extradition of abortion providers to other states. 

Legislators passed numerous bills dealing with local legislative issues such as local sales and hotel/motel taxes and renaming of roads. For New York City, there were significant local issues that were also addressed.  Mayor Eric Adams, with the backing of the Governor, requested that the Legislature extend mayoral control of New York City schools four more years.  The Legislature passed a two-year extension.  The Legislature also passed a cap on class sizes in New York City schools, which Mayor Adams had concerns with.

The Mayor also asked for an extension on the real estate tax subsidy 421a, which is designed to subsidize affordable housing construction.  The Legislature did not pass the extension but did pass legislation to create the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust, which will allow the New York City Housing Authority to seek higher levels of funding from the federal government to renovate and manage up to 25,000 apartments. Finally, per the Mayor’s request, the Legislature passed legislation to authorize the continued use of speed cameras in New York City and expanded the hours of operation for the cameras. 

As on the national level, voting rights were also a big issue in New York this legislative session.  The Legislature passed additional election reform measures, including the Rep. John Lewis Voting Rights Act.  This bill will establish rights of action for denying or abridging the right of any member of a protected class to vote. The bill also provides language assistance to those that need it.  Further, the bill requires preclearance of certain voting policies for select jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. 

Additionally, the Legislature passed significant legislation impacting the business community in New York.  Issues addressed include passage of a bill giving the Department of Labor more power to enforce the New York HERO Act.  Under the bill, the Department of Labor will now be able to investigate, impose fines and find violations of the HERO Act. Further, the Legislature passed a narrowly tailored two-year moratorium on issuing new cryptocurrency mining permits to those using proof-of-work mining.  Proof-of-work mining is often set up in former power plants and use an extraordinary amount of fossil fuels. Additionally, the Warehouse Worker Protection Act passed, which will regulate warehouse worker productivity quotas used by companies such as Amazon.  The bill was passed due to the high reports of injuries of Amazon warehouse workers in New York. 

Another high-profile bill that passed during the last day of session will provide further consumer protections to live-event ticketing.  The bill will require ticket sellers to promptly disclose the full ticket price of a ticket to consumers, rather than adding fees at the end of the purchase and surprising consumers. Further, the bill will require companies reselling tickets to disclose the initial cost of the tickets. Companies will no longer be allowed to charge delivery fees for tickets that were not physically delivered, and it will be illegal to sell tickets initially handed out for free. 

Now that session has concluded, all will turn to focusing on the upcoming elections. Those running for New York State Assembly and statewide office facing a primary challenge will have their primary elections on Tuesday, June 28. For the New York State Senate and Congress, their primary elections will be held on Tuesday, August 23.  While everyone will be focused on the elections, there is a chance the Legislature could reconvene during the summer. There is a Supreme Court case decision pending related to New York’s century-old ban on concealed-carry handguns.  Should the Supreme Court find that this ban unconstitutional, it is likely that both house would return to take up additional gun control issues and address whatever issue the Supreme Court highlights in their decision.

Once we clear primary season, the remainder of the year will be dominated by the 2022 general election, which will take place on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.  While we wait to see what happens in the primary and general elections, we already know that there are many members of the Legislature who are retiring or seeking other office.  As such, we are anticipating that there will be many new members joining the Legislature for the 2023 session. 

We will be in touch regarding specific legislative issues of importance to you. We will also discuss next steps on key issues and plans regarding the meetings and hearings that will take place in the next few months.  For those who are marking their calendars, the 2023 legislative session will begin on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. 

As always, if you have any question, please feel free to reach out.

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