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Apr 19
Legislative Updates - Anti Arson, Sexual Harassment, Single Payer

imageThe state legislature is on recess and will return to session Monday, April 29th. Here are the latest on what's happening in Albany:

Senator Sanders Sponsors Bill to Repeal Anti-Arson Application Requirement

Senator James Sanders (D, Queens) has sponsored legislation to repeal New York City’s anti-arson application. Senate bill 5126, which Big I NY supports, would repeal section 3403 of the Insurance Law. This section requires property owners to fill out a lengthy anti-arson application as a condition of obtaining property insurance. While originally intended to deter arson by providing insurers with information to assist in an investigation, the application has long outlived its usefulness. Insurers now have access to a vast amount of information via third parties, and no longer rely on the information included in on the anti-arson form. 

The anti-arson application has outlived its usefulness, is burdensome for customers and agents, and puts property owners at risk of losing coverage if it is not submitted properly. To date, Rochester and Buffalo have repealed this requirement, leaving NYC as the last remaining jurisdiction in NY to require it. Big I NY is working with other carrier and producer groups to advance this bill in the 2019 session.

New Sexual Harassment Bill Introduced

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Senator Andrew Gounardes have introduced legislation to define what constitutes sexual harassment. The bill (A.7167/S.3377) would also make sexual harassment and sexual discrimination a part of New York Human Rights Law.
 
Under the bill, where a case is brought for sexual harassment or for unlawful employment discrimination based on sex, liability would attach if the plaintiff demonstrates that the conduct complained of was motivated in whole or in part by the person’s sex, regardless of the level of pervasiveness or severity of conduct. The removal of the “severe and pervasive” standard that is currently applied in sexual harassment cases is sure to cause concern for many businesses.
 
However, the bill would permit an employer to assert an affirmative defense to liability if the conduct consisted of “no greater than what a reasonable victim…would consider petty slights or trivial annoyances.”

New Poll Finds 48% of New Yorkers Support Single-Payer Healthcare, Majority Believe it is Harder for Businesses to Succeed

recent Siena poll found that 48% of New Yorkers support a state single-payer healthcare system, while 44% are opposed and 8% are undecided. Legislation to enact single-payer healthcare, which would replace the existing private healthcare system with a single, government-funded system, has passed the Assembly in previous years. The Senate intends to hold public hearings on the issue, while the Governor has not indicated support for single payer, and has instead created a committee of experts to study a universal health care plan. While the issue has grabbed headlines and enjoys vocal support from progressive lawmakers and activists, this latest poll demonstrates that the New Yorkers, overall, have mixed feelings. 

Asked about the ability of businesses to succeed in New York, only 11 percent say it’s gotten easier in the last five years, while 51 percent say it’s gotten harder and 29 percent say it’s stayed about the same.​


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