Monday, December 26, 2022

New year, new laws: Legal changes affecting New Yorkers

Nexstar Media Inc. reports on a number of changes to legislation look out for in 2023:
• Social Security payments get a boost: About 70 million Americans can expect to see an increase in their monthly Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for 2023.
• Minimum wage is going up: Minimum wage will be jumping to $14.20 — up a dollar from $13.20 — for most upstate workers.
• New York’s Paid Family Leave Law is expanding: Federally, 1993’s Family and Medical Leave Act gives workers the right to take twelve unpaid workweeks off for a birth or adoption, for a serious health condition, or to care for a seriously ill spouse, child, or parent. 2023 brings siblings into the mix.
• E-waste recycling is getting cheaper: Starting January 1, most manufacturers who make or sell their own tech in New York State will now have to provide and pay for “free and convenient” e-waste recycling for New Yorker

Other changes going into effect include:

• New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act: College athletes can receive compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness without the risk of having to give up their scholarships or eligibility.
• Telemarketing calls: This new law requires telemarketers to give customers the option to be added to their do-not-call list immediately after the telemarketer says their name and company.
• Lactation rooms in airports: The new law requires airports to provide a nursing space for breastfeeding mothers.
• Electric Vehicle Rights Act: Prohibits homeowners’ associations from preventing homeowners from installing EV charging stations on their properties.
• Pedestrian and bicyclist safety: This law requires new drivers to learn about pedestrian and bicyclist safety awareness as part of their pre-licensing course.
• Polling places: This law allows registered voters to cast their ballot at the wrong polling place as long as they are in the correct county and State Assembly district.
• Brianna’s Law: Beginning January 1, 2023, those born on or after January 1, 1983 need the boating safety certificate to operate mechanically propelled boats.

Monday, December 12, 2022

New York State Bar Association sues to raise assigned counsel pay

New York State Bar Association Commences Lawsuit To Raise 18-B Rates
Through this legal action, the New York State Bar Association is seeking a pay rate of $158 per hour retroactive to Feb. 2, 2022 in the 57 counties outside of New York City for what is commonly referred to as 18-B lawyers. Pay has remained at $60 per hour for misdemeanors and $75 for felonies since 2004. By comparison, assigned counsel rates in the federal courts in New York in those same years have been raised 14 times to the current rate of $158 per hour.

“The New York State Bar Association has long supported sufficient pay for assigned counsel,” said Sherry Levin Wallach, president of the association. “Failing to provide adequate compensation for representation to children and indigent adults is a flagrant violation of the U.S. and New York State constitutions.”

“Rates have only been increased once in 35 years, which is a travesty. While we welcome the higher rates in New York City as a result of Justice Headley’s decision, it should be applied statewide. There is now a significant discrepancy in pay across the state for assigned counsel resulting in attorneys not being able to accept court appointed assignments. Ultimately, it is the clients — children and indigent adults — who suffer because their constitutional rights are not being protected,” she said.

The failure to raise rates in 18 years has led to fewer attorneys who are willing to take on the cases. Those who remain are overburdened and don’t have sufficient time to devote to each case.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Second Amendment Legal Update, December 2022

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State. For a complete copy of this month's report, click here.