June 02, 2020

Some New York State Legislature Laws Passed During the Pandemic that Benefit Seniors


The Senate and Assembly Majorities are committed to protecting New Yorkers’ rights. Legislation passed this week will continue to protect the rights of New Yorkers during this pandemic. The bills passed by the Senate and Assembly include:

S.8189, Hoylman/ A.10270, Rozic: This legislation will update New York’s anti-price gouging law to include medical supplies and services as well as goods and services used to promote public health.

·S.8130D, Myrie / A.10516A, Simotas:  This legislation will enable New Yorkers to apply for absentee ballots through an electronic application. This would ensure more New Yorkers are able to vote and participate in the democratic process despite the ongoing pandemic.

S.8397A, Savino/ A.10326A, Reyes: This legislation will prohibit health care employers from retaliating against health care workers speaking out about workplace safety or health violations including to the news media or on social media.

Affordable housing was a priority for the Senate and Assembly Majorities long before the arrival of COVID-19. Now, millions of New Yorkers are struggling to make rent or mortgage payments as a result of the pandemic and economic crisis. Included in this legislative package are bills that would address these concerns and help New Yorkers stay in their homes. The bills passed by the Senate and Assembly include:

S.8419, Kavanagh / A.10522, Cymbrowitz: This legislation will enact the “Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020” to establish an interim residential rent relief program for low-income tenants. The program will issue a subsidy for tenants who were rent burdened prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – or are paying more than 30 percent of their income toward rent – and are now experiencing an even greater rent burden due to a loss of income.

S.8192B, Hoylman / A.10290B, Dinowitz: This legislation will prohibit the eviction for nonpayment of rent of residential tenants who have suffered financial hardship and were in arrears on rent while New York on PAUSE imposed restrictions in their county. The tenant would remain liable for the rent owed, but this legislation will ensure New Yorkers are not made homeless due to these extraordinary circumstances.

S.8243C, Kavanagh / A.10351B, Rozic: This bill will require New York State regulated banking institutions to grant 180 days of mortgage forbearance, with the option for an additional 180 days, on a residential mortgage on their primary residence to any mortgagor who can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

S.8138B, Martinez/ A.10252A, Stern: This legislation will permit municipalities to defer certain property taxes during the COVID-19 State of Emergency and will also permit installment payments to be determined by the local legislative body. No additional interest or penalties will accrue during such deferment.

S.8113A, Parker / A.10521, Mosley: This legislation will prohibit a utility corporation or municipality from terminating or disconnecting services to any residential customer for the nonpayment of an overdue charge for the duration of the COVID-19 State of Emergency. This moratorium will last 180 days from the expiration of the COVID-19 State of Emergency for those residential customers that have experienced a change in financial circumstances, and the utility corporation or municipality must offer such residential customers the right to enter into, or restructure, a deferred payment agreement without the requirement of a down payment, late fees or penalties.

S.8427, Gounardes / A.10528, Abbate: This legislation will establish a COVID-19 pension benefit for families of public employees who die due to their workplace exposure to the disease. Where a member of a public retirement system was required to physically report to work, did in fact physically report to work as of March 1, 2020; contracted COVID-19 within 45 days of reporting to work; and COVID-19 caused or contributed to the member’s death, the member’s beneficiary will receive accidental death benefits.

Combating COVID-19 and Protecting New Yorkers’ Health 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions and exposed weaknesses in health care systems. This legislative package prioritizes protecting New Yorkers’ health during this crisis and will help New York prepare for future pandemics. The bills passed by the Senate and Assembly include:

S.8245A, Parker / A.10517, Aubry: This legislation will require the Department of Health to conduct a study on the health impacts of COVID-19 on minorities in New York State. This builds on the recent joint legislative hearing held on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities.

S.8182A, Hoylman / A.10508A, Paulin: This legislation will allow licensed pharmacists to administer a vaccine for COVID-19 no sooner than 90 days once a vaccine has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and after the Department of Health and State Education Department certify that having pharmacists administer the vaccine is in the best interest of public health.

S.8416, Metzger / A.10404A, Rosenthal: This legislation will ensure audio-only and video-only telehealth and telemedicine services will be eligible for reimbursement. This will help ensure that individuals will continue to be able to access needed health care services, to the extent such services are deemed appropriate by the Department of Health to provide through audio-only telehealth, while still maintaining proper social distancing to prevent to spread of COVID-19.

S.8289B, Salazar / A.10394A, Lentol: This legislation will require residential health care facilities to prepare and comply with an annual pandemic emergency plan. This will help residential healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, ensure the safety of their staff and residents during pandemics like COVID-19.

Maintaining Quality of Life and Important Services

S.8408, Comrie / A.7652A, Paulin: This legislation will allow cemeteries the option to provide sales of cemetery lots and related services over the internet. This would modernize cemetery operations as the existing Not-for-Profit Corporation Law does not contemplate website sales by cemetery corporations.

S.7996B, Carlucci / A.10189A, Ortiz: This legislation will ensure that school districts do not lose state aid for closing schools in the 2019-2020 school year in response to COVID-19.

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