2021 New York State Legislative Session Recap: City Bar Policy Successes

City Bar supported bills signed by the Governor 2021

Signed Into Law By the Governor

  • LIBOR– addresses the cessation of the U.S. Dollar LIBOR, which impacts financial contracts. Supported by the following Committees: Futures & Derivatives Regulation; Investment Management Regulation; Securities Regulation; Structured Finance; Banking Law; Commercial Law & Uniform State Laws; Real Property Law; In-House Counsel; and Consumer Affairs. (A.164-B (AM Zebrowski) / S.297-B (Sen. Thomas), Chp. 94).
  • Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act – legalizes the production, distribution and use of marijuana for adults over 21 in New York State, while setting up a system to regulate and tax the product. Supported by the Drugs & the Law Committee. (A.1248-A (AM Peoples-Stokes) / S.854-A (Sen. Krueger), Chp. 92).
  • Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act – will restrict the use of segregated confinement and creates alternative therapeutic and rehabilitative confinement options. Supported by the Criminal Courts Committee, Corrections & Community Reentry Committee, Criminal Justice Operations Committee, and the Task Force on Mass Incarceration. (A.2277-A (AM Aubry) / S.2836 (Sen. Salazar), Chp. 93).
  • Restoring Voting Rights – will ensure that all formerly incarcerated individuals have the right to vote upon reentry into society, and it would increase clarity regarding franchise rights. Supported by the Corrections & Community Reentry Committee and Election Law Committee. (A.4448-A (AM O’Donnell) / S.830-B (Sen. Comrie), Chp. 103).
  • “Walking While Trans” Ban Repeal – repeals section 240.37 of the penal law, loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution offense, which will advance a more equitable New York by reducing the incidence of unwarranted police action against marginalized communities, in particular, women of color, both cisgender and transgender, and immigrants. Supported by the LGBTQ Rights Committee, Civil Rights Committee, Criminal Justice Operations Committee, Immigration & Nationality Law Committee, and Sex & Law Committee. (A.3355 (AM Paulin) / S.1351 (Sen. Hoylman), Chp. 23).
  • Uniform Foreign Country Money Judgments Recognition Act – revises and clarifies the Act. Supported by the Commercial Law & Uniform State Laws Committee. (A.4580-A (AM Lavine) / S.523-A (Sen. Hoylman), Chp. 127).
  • Less Is More Act – will provide much-needed reforms to parole by, among other things, eliminating incarceration for most technical parole violations. Supported by the Corrections & Community Reentry Committee, Criminal Courts Committee, Criminal Justice Operations Committee, and the Mass Incarceration Task Force. (A.5576 (AM Forrest) / S.1144 (Sen. Benjamin), Chp. 427).
  • Syringe Decriminalization – will decriminalize the possession and sale of hypodermic needles and syringes. Supported by the Drugs & the Law Committee, Mass Incarceration Task Force, Corrections & Community Reentry Committee, and Criminal Justice Operations Committee. (A.868 (AM Gottfried) / S.2523 (Sen. Rivera), Chp. 433).
  • Restricting Use of Restraints in Family Court – will restrict the use of restraints on children appearing before family court. Supported by the Family Court and Family Law Committee and Juvenile Justice Committee. (A.7796 (AM Meeks) / S.6498 (Sen. Bailey), Chp. 474).
  • Removing Procedural Bars from IAC Claims – will permit the court to grant post-conviction motions to vacate a judgment when the issue raised upon such motion is ineffective assistance of counsel. Supported by the Criminal Justice Operations Committee and Criminal Courts Committee. (A.2653 (AM Lavine) / S.1217 (Sen. Benjamin), Chp. 501).
  • Reporting Animal Cruelty – will require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty. Supported by the Animal Law Committee (A.5823-A (AM Rosenthal) / S.5023-A (Sen. Gianaris), Chp. 546).
  • Consumer Credit Fairness Act – will strengthen consumer protections in consumer debt collection proceedings. Supported by the Civil Court Committee and Consumer Affairs Committee. (A.2382 (AM Weinstein) / S.153 (Sen. Thomas), Chp. 593).
  • Removing Redundant Non-Profit Filing Requirements – will remove burdensome and redundant filing requirements placed on charitable 501(c)(3) organizations, and protect the privacy of donors to those organizations who do not engage in lobbying or political activities. Supported by the Non-Profit Organizations Committee. (A.1141-A (AM Paulin) / S.4817-A (Sen. Krueger), Chp. 612).
  • Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together (START) Act – will amend existing State law to extend the availability of post-conviction relief for survivors of sex and labor trafficking. Supported by the Corrections & Community Reentry Committee, Criminal Courts Committee, Immigration & Nationality Law Committee, International Human Rights Committee, and Sex & Law Committee. (A.459 (AM Gottfried) / S.674 (Sen. Ramos), Chp. 629).
  • Streamlining the Assignment of Appellate Counsel for Indigent Criminal Defendants – will bring the practice for criminal appeals in the intermediate appellate courts into line with the system that already works in other contexts, including family court appeals, criminal appeals to the Court of Appeals, federal courts and the courts of other states. Supported by the Criminal Justice Operations Committee, Criminal Courts Committee, and Mass Incarceration Task Force. (A.5689 (AM Cruz) / S.1279 (Sen. Bailey), Chp. 616)
  • Permitting Jury Trials for ‘B’ Misdemeanors – will eliminate the prohibition of a right to a jury trial for B misdemeanors in New York City Criminal Courts, promoting fairness and transparency for non-citizen New Yorkers in our criminal courts. Supported by the Immigration & Nationality Law Committee, Criminal Justice Operations Committee and Criminal Advocacy Committee. (A.4319 (AM Dinowitz) / S.689 (Sen. Hoylman), Chp. 806).
  • Changes to Admissibility of an Opposing Party Statement – will create a new section in the Civil Practice Law and Rules to relax the New York common law exclusion of hearsay statements of a party’s agent or employee that, if made by the party, would be admissible as admissions. Supported by the State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction Committee and Tort Litigation Committee. (A.8040 (AM Dinowitz) / S.7093 (Sen. Hoylman), Chp. 833).
  • Clarifying the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act in relation to Cooperative Housing Corporations – would exclude tenant-shareholders in cooperative housing corporations from certain housing provisions. Supported by the Cooperative and Condominium Law Committee and Housing and Urban Development Committee (A.350-C (AM Braunstein) / S.5105-C (Sen. Liu), Chp. 789, Approval Memo 142).
  • Providing for Electronic Notarization – will authorize qualified New York commissioned notaries to perform notarizations for remotely located persons using electronic signatures under regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of State. The Commercial and Uniform State Laws CommitteeLitigation Committee and Real Property Law Committee provided recommendations should the bill be enacted (A.399-B (AM Rozic) / S.1780-C (Sen. Skoufis), Chp. 767, Approval Memo 128).


  • Automatic Consent to Jurisdiction by Foreign Businesses Registering to Do Business in New York – would provide that a foreign corporation’s application for authority to do business in this state constitutes consent to jurisdiction of the courts of this state. Opposed by the Council on Judicial Administration, State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction Committee, and Litigation Committee (A.7769 (AM Weinstein) / S.7253 (Sen. Gianaris), Veto Memo 79).
  • Expanding the False Claims Act Into Matters of Tax Administration – relates to the liability of a person who presents false claims for money or property to the state or a local government. Opposed by the State and Local Taxation Committee (A.2543 (AM Weinstein) / S.4730 (Sen. Krueger), Veto Memo 83).
  • Preserving Family Bonds Act – would establish procedures regarding orders of post-termination visitation and/or contact between a child and such child’s parent and for modification of such orders. Supported by the Children & the Law Committee, Council on Children, and Family Court & Family Law Committee (A.6700 (AM Joyner) / S.6357 (Sen. Savino), Veto Memo 84).

Constitutional Amendments; Put on Ballot for Vote in November Election

  • Permitting “No-Excuse” Absentee Voting – would remove from the Election Law any requirement that voters provide an excuse before being issued an absentee ballot. Supported by the Election Law Committee and Government Ethics & State Affairs Committee. (A.4431 (AM Vanel) / S.360 (Sen. Comrie)). This ballot proposal was ultimately rejected by voters.
  • Same-Day Voter Registration – will remove the 10-day advance voter registration requirement to provide for same-day voter registration. Supported by the Election Law Committee and Government Ethics & State Affairs Committee. (A.502 (AM Carroll) / S.517 (Sen. Gianaris)). This ballot proposal was ultimately rejected by voters.

For information on policy successes achieved through the Budget, read 2021 New York State Budget Recap: Funding Education and Avoiding Problematic Policies