Recently Enacted Legislation

Last week, Governor Cuomo signed a number of bills into law that were the subject of City Bar committee reports.  Congratulations to all of our members involved in these efforts.

Maternal Mortality Review Board

New York has established a Maternal Mortality Review Board which will review the cause of each maternal death in the State and make recommendations to the Department of Health on strategies for preventing future deaths and improve overall health outcomes. This bill was supported by the Committees on Bioethical Issues (Alan Brudner, Chair), Health Law (Brian T. McGovern, Chair), Science and Law (Aileen Nielsen, Co-Chair and Dr. Marta Delsignore, Co-Chair), and Sex and Law (Mirah E. Curzer, Co-Chair and Melissa S. Lee, Co-Chair) and was an item in the City Bar’s 2019 New York State Legislative Agenda. The United States experiences a disproportionately high rate of maternal mortality, with New York ranked 30th among the states in maternal death rate. Poor women and women of color are victims of maternal mortality at far higher rates than are their affluent and white counterparts. The Committees supported establishing the Review Board as necessary both as a means to improve health outcomes for New York’s female population and to rectify the economic and racial disparities in those outcomes. 

Labor Protections for Immigrants

This new law will explicitly prohibit immigration-related threats against employees in retaliation for protected activity under the Labor Law, and explicitly prohibit reporting an employee to federal immigration authorities in retaliation for protected activity under the Labor Law. Currently, Labor Law section 215 prohibits discrimination or retaliation against an employee who has made a complaint of a violation of the Labor Law. The new law amends this section to make clear that a threat to report an employee to U.S. immigration authorities or the act of actually reporting that employee to immigration authorities is covered by this provision.  This bill was supported by the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee (Victoria F. Neilson, Chair). 

Artificial Intelligence Commission

This legislation has been enacted to create a temporary state commission to study and investigate how to regulate artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation.  Among other things, the Commission will consider the potential effect automation and artificial intelligence will have on the workforce and the economy, and how government can best respond.  Last year, the Science and Law Committee (Aileen Nielsen, Co-Chair and Dr. Marta Delsignore, Co-Chair) wrote a letter to the Governor recommending that New York’s government consider and craft policies for developing and implementing this fast-growing area of technology.  The letter suggested the development of a New York State policy statement regarding fair and transparent implementation of AI in both governmental and private sector use in order to ensure uniform, fair, and transparent use of AI for the benefit of New Yorkers.