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New York Assembly Passes COVID-19 Relief Package

Below you will find an general outline of the bills passed

Remembering those we’ve lost and honoring our heroes

  • 10528: Establishes a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) public employee death benefit for the beneficiaries of any public employee who worked in person on or after March 1 and died of COVID-19 and whose COVID-19 diagnosis caused or contributed to their death
    • Regardless of where or how the employee contracted the virus, any employee who meets the above criteria qualifies
    • The death benefit is a pension benefit equal to 50% of an employee’s monthly salary
  • 855: Remembers all the New Yorkers, Americans and people around the world who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and offers heartfelt condolences to their loved ones
  • 856: Honors first responders for their heroism and selfless dedication, and for risking their own lives, to provide lifesaving care and comfort during this public health crisis

 Providing financial relief for families

  • 10522: Establishes the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020
    • The bill creates a short-term rental assistance program for renters whose income was less than 80% of the area median income (AMI) and spent more than 30% of their income on rent prior to March 7
    • Using federal money from the CARES Act, vouchers would be paid directly to landlords to cover rent through July
    • $100 million would be made available for the program and preference is given to households with the greatest economic and social need
  • 10241: Extends the deadline for filing applications for real property tax exemption and abatement programs
    • Authorizes local governments to extend application filing deadlines by 90 days for real property tax abatement programs, such as the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE)
  • 10252: Authorizes local governments to defer taxpayers’ scheduled property tax payments or create installment payments during a declared state of emergency
  • 10351/A.10530: Requires state-regulated mortgage lenders and servicers to provide a six-month forbearance period with the option to extend it another 180 days to any mortgage payer who can show they have suffered financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis and provides mortgage payers with options to pay off the arrears
    • This would include those who are currently struggling to make payments
  • 10290: Prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for unpaid rent during the COVID-19 state of emergency
    • Landlords can still seek a money judgment for unpaid rent, but these tenants can’t be evicted during the business shutdown phases of the state of emergency


Protecting New Yorkers from predatory business practices

  • 10270: Extends price gouging regulations during an abnormal disruption in the market to include medical supplies and services, as well as other essential goods and services needed for the health, safety and welfare of the public
    • Increases civil penalties for instances of price gouging by allowing penalties up to $25,000 per violation or three times gross receipts for relevant goods and services, whichever is greater. –

Helping unemployed New Yorkers navigate these uncertain times

  • 10521/A.10530: Prevents utility companies from terminating services for New Yorkers who are unable to work or have had their wages reduced due to a state of emergency
  • 10348: Suspends forfeit day penalties for unemployment insurance (UI) during the COVID-19 declared state of emergency
    • This bill seeks to remove obstacles that claimants face when applying for UI benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic due to prior penalties
    • Forfeit day penalties prevent individuals from receiving UI benefits for a specified number of days and, for each forfeit day assessed, total weekly benefits are reduced by 25%

Providing support for local governments and schools

  • 10189: Ensures that schools that have closed in the 2019-20 school year due to COVID-19 will not have state aid withheld
  • 10492/A.10530: Provides local governments with budgetary and financial flexibility to address shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
    • This would include the ability to extend the rollover period for bond anticipation notes issued between 2015 and 2021, and to spend or temporarily transfer money in certain capital reserve funds
  • 10519: Delinks New York City’s business corporation tax (BCT), general corporation tax (GCT), unincorporated business tax (UBT) and bank tax from the federal tax code
    • If these changes are not made, New York City will likely lose at least $50 million in federal aid during the current fiscal year and at least $25 million in the next fiscal year
  • 9789: Allows New York City to create a revenue stabilization (“rainy day”) fund and provides the city with the flexibility to withdraw and deposit contributions as needed
    • The city would be required to deposit any budget surplus into the fund
  • 10465: Extends library project deadlines by 12 months for libraries that received library construction grant funds in the last three fiscal years and are unable to complete the project during the proscribed period due to COVID-19

Providing financial relief for small businesses

  • 10294: Allows industrial development agencies (IDAs) to implement a state disaster emergency loan program that provides up to $25,000 loans to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations
    • IDAs would also be authorized to offer grants for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other fixtures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • 7652: Allows nonprofit cemetery organizations to conduct sales of cemetery lots and services over the internet in order to secure revenue streams
  • 10409: Authorizes governments to issue a single resolution extending all building permits and zoning approvals issued before March 7, 2020, for an additional 120 days

Protecting health care workers and patients

  • 10326: Expands whistleblower protections for health care workers who disclose improper practices concerning patient care and workplace safety to the public, including the disclosure of a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • 10394: Requires residential health care facilities to prepare an annual pandemic emergency plan
    • The submitted plan must include a communication plan to provide updates on patients’ conditions to their families or guardians twice daily
  • 10404: Expands the definition of telehealth services to allow for audio-only or video-only communication, and to allow for such services to be eligible for reimbursement. This will help certain patients who have a lack of access to video-enabled devices and individuals with a disability, who may have limited ways to effectively access telehealth services.

Protecting those whose voices aren’t always heard

  • 10517: Requires the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct a study on the health impacts of COVID-19 on minority communities statewide, which would be completed within one year
    • DOH would be tasked with identifying state and regional rates of infection, hospitalization, recovery and mortality, including any racial or ethnic disparities in those rates and their potential causes
    • The study must also determine if these disparities could be addressed through increased access to health care and mitigation and prevention policies, and include recommendations to address the disparities in COVID-19’s impact
  • 9036: Extends, by one year, to August 2021, the length of time available for the filing of civil lawsuits for past child sexual abuse initiated under New York’s Child Victims Act
  • 10303: Authorizes temporary changes to paratransit service provided to disabled riders by public transit authorities
    • Extends the period of validity of paratransit certifications through Aug. 31, 2020, for paratransit riders whose certification would otherwise expire between March 1 and July 31 of this year
    • Suspends in-person eligibility assessments through Aug. 31, 2020, and instead requires that paratransit eligibility be determined solely based on information contained in written applications and submitted medical documentation
    • Requires paratransit providers, until July 31, 2020, to dispatch and route individual rides rather than shared paratransit rides, to the maximum extent possible
      • Customers must be notified, as soon as practicable, in advance if they’re scheduled to share a ride
      • Customers can refuse or reschedule shared rides without penalty
    • Requires paratransit providers to provide paratransit drivers and personnel with hand sanitizer, disposable sterile gloves and face masks, as well as training on preventive measures to protect riders and drivers from contracting COVID-19 and other infectious diseases

Additional COVID-19-related legislation

  • 10447: Requires state and local agencies tasked with hiring COVID-19 contact tracers to hire residents who are representative of the linguistic and cultural diversity of the community they’re working in, to the greatest extent possible
  • 10509: Adds the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) commissioner to the executive’s disaster preparedness commission
  • 10516: Allows for easier access to voting by mail, complementing an Executive Order that allows electronic applications for absentee ballots. Also, for this year, allowing ballots to be postmarked by Election Day, rather than the day before
  • 10508: Authorizes licensed pharmacists to administer any approved vaccine for COVID-19 no sooner than 90 days after 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
  • 10438: Allows volunteer firefighters and emergency responders to earn up to 5 points per month toward their length of service award programs (LOSAP)
    • Many of the credit-earning activities that volunteers would normally be able to attend have been canceled, and procedures for responding to emergency calls have changed, making it difficult for volunteers to earn the 50 points necessary to qualify for LOSAP benefits
  • 10446: Repeals criminal penalties for wearing a mask
  • 10493/A.10530: Allows courts to hold certain virtual hearings for felony complaints during the declared state of emergency
  • 10498: Allows business corporations, not-for-profit corporations, religious institutions and cooperatives to hold virtual meetings for the duration of the declared state of emergency

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