With state legislative session scheduled to adjourn on June 19th, only seven full session days remain. Expect a flurry activity on bills, both supported and opposed, in the coming weeks.
Big I NY and our members continue to fight business liability expansion bill:
This week, we continued our call-in campaign to oppose legislation that would significantly increase independent agencies' liability exposure by allowing lawsuits for a sweeping and broadly defined array of “unfair, abusive, or deceptive" business practices. Well over 100 agents called Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins to voice their concern, while other business and insurance groups did the same. Big I NY signed on to a joint letter calling on legislators to reject this devastating bill, and spent the week meeting with key lawmakers. The bill currently is on the “floor calendar" in the Senate, meaning it can be placed on the “active list" (the list of bills to be voted on for the day) at almost any time on short notice. In the Assembly, the bill sits in the Rules Committee, where it must pass a majority vote before being sent to the full chamber for a vote. We continue to vociferously oppose this bill and will have more opportunities for Big I NY members to get engaged when lawmakers return to session next week.
New data breach notification bill passes Senate:
On Wednesday, the New York Senate passed the SHIELD Act, which imposes new data breach notification requirements on all businesses. Big I NY worked with insurance industry partners to support amendments to the bill to help harmonize it with the NY Cyber Regulation. The final version of the bill imposes significant requirements on NY businesses, but the majority of these are already required of agencies under the Cyber Regulation. The main provisions that will affect our members are a requirement to notify the Attorney General in the event of a breach that affects over 500 customers, as well as a presumption that failing to comply with the SHEILD Act, and by extension main provisions of the Cyber Regulation, will be a considered a violation of the General Business Law, enforced by the Attorney General. We believe this legislation is likely pass and be signed by the governor.
Big I NY meets with key lawmakers on anti-arson application repeal and “storm chaser" bill:
This week, we continued our efforts to advance two affirmative priorities, meeting with key senators to help push the bills to a vote before the end of session. The first is legislation to repeal the anti-arson application in NYC, the last remaining jurisdiction in the state where it is required. This bill passed the Assembly last week, and has cleared all key committee votes in the Senate, requiring only a passage by the full chamber before being sent to the Governor for signature. The second bill relates to protecting consumers from fraudulent or unscrupulous roofing contractors, often referred to as “storm chasers."
Costly wrongful death bill continues to advance in Assembly:
On Tuesday, legislation to expand the categories of damages which a plaintiff may recover in a lawsuit for alleged wrongful death passed the Assembly Codes committee. Big I NY is working with a broad coalition of insurance, business, and local government groups to strongly opposes this legislation as it would have a significant impact on New York's insurance market. A recently-released study found that the bill could lead to an 12.6% average increase in annual premiums for New York policyholders, or $2.2 billion.
Small business cure period bill gains momentum:
A measure designed to protect small businesses from fines for first-time regulatory violations, which Big I NY supports, is gaining traction in the final days of the session. The bill would waive fines for small businesses that are facing infractions for violating regulations for the first time. It would also provide a grace period for the business to come into compliance. It does not apply to regulatory violations that are considered to be done on purpose, threaten safety and health or the environment. Fraud and civil rights violations are also not protected.
Contact Scott Hobson with any questions