New Year, New Laws in New York State

Madison West, Reporter

Every year, new state laws go into effect. Below are the ten of the significant changes that New Yorkers can expect to see this year. These are not federal laws, so they only apply to New Yorkers.  Some of them are scheduled increases that were passed years ago but change incrementally over the years. Laws are always changing and being improved based on things that have happened in the past. If we learn from past mistakes we can change our laws to fix the state. 

  1. Minimum wage increase: Long Island and Westchester County will see their minimum wage rise to $14 from $13 an hour on Dec. 31. That will mean an extra $40 a week for a person working full-time in a minimum wage job. Long Island and Westchester are scheduled to go to $15 an hour at the end of 2021.
  2. Paid family leave increase: Paid Family Leave Eligible employees  will receive 67% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 67% of the current Statewide Average Weekly Wage of $1,450.17 ($971.76).
  3. Section 485: A property tax exemption. This law makes sure that commercial businesses are paying taxes on the property they own. 
  4. Stretch Limousine Safety: This law started January 1st. It makes sure that there are two safety belts in the front of the limo and a belt for every passenger in the back of the limo. 
  5.  Increased ThruwayTolls: This law started January 1st. People who are traveling in New York with an out-of-state EZ-pass pay 15% more. People who use mail-in-tolls will have to pay 30% more than EZ-pass users. 
  6. Election Recount: If the margin of victory is less than 20 votes, less than 0.5%, or when “one million or more ballots have been cast and the margin of victory is less than 5,000 votes,” then the ballots will be recounted. 
  7. Brianna’s Law: Any person born after January 1st, 1988 must take a boating safety course before getting their boater’s license. 
  8. Child Parent Security Act: This law goes into effect on February 15. This law gives the intended parents of third-party reproduction such as sperm or egg donation, embryos, or surrogates full parental rights to make medical decisions for the child or children that are technically theirs. 
  9. Automatic Renewal Law: This law goes into effect on February 9. This law makes sure that subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney plus, etc. and some “free-trial” offers make it easy for consumers to cancel automatically renewing offers. It prohibits renewing a contract if a consumer’s “affirmative consent” to the automatic renewal is not obtained. 
  10. Capped Price of Insulin: This law caps the out- of-pocket price of insulin at $100 for patients with state-regulated commercial health insurance.