The New York State Legislature wrapped up last week, capping off an incredibly busy session. This session was the first time in a decade that the Democrats simultaneously controlled the Senate, Assembly, and Governorship, and legislators successfully moved long-stalled priorities.
Here at Tech:NYC we’ve advocated for changes to our state’s antiquated voting laws and were encouraged to see the legislature expand votings rights for New Yorkers. Work remains to be done, and we’ll be up in Albany next year making sure further voting reforms are passed.
We were also excited to see the legislature pass a robust climate protection plan in the closing days of the session. The climate plan, coupled with congestion pricing in New York City, will put New York State far ahead of the country in mitigating climate change and should serve to further spur our local economy.
Beyond voting reforms and a climate plan, the legislature passed several notable measures, including:
granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, an important step for immigrants rights likely to have positive economic repercussions;
increased sexual harassment protections, expanding the definition of sexual harassment and extending the statute of limitations;
codification of a woman’s right to choose in state law, protecting against any federal changes; and
These laws will have a major impact on New Yorkers everyday lives and we look forward to seeing how they are implemented.
This year the legislature also saw an influx of younger members and an increase in interest in technology issues. There were a number of new technology related legislative proposals and a few key laws passed. Most notably, the legislature passed the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (SHIELD Act), which heightens data security requirements for companies, protecting New York residents from data breaches. It’s a good outcome for the sector and for all New Yorkers.
The legislature also passed legislation to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters, demonstrating they could craft legislation balancing innovation and safety concerns.
Separately, towards the end of the legislative session, we saw a series of proposals—around privacy, independent contractors, and user-generated content—that would have negatively impacted the tech sector and New Yorkers. To their credit, legislators decided not to advance these ill-considered proposals and demonstrated a willingness to engage in further conversation and fact-finding. We look forward to working on these issues in Albany next year.
The next legislative session starts in January 2020, and it’s already shaping up to be a busy one for tech. Before the session kicks off we will be meeting with a range of stakeholders and thinking through the policies that make sense for New York and our technology ecosystem. If you’ve got any ideas or want to discuss, send us a note and we’ll be in touch.
State Capitol of New York, Albany by Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock