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New Laws Take Effect in New York in 2021


It’s been a busy year for lawmakers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislation was passed that prevents evictions, provides testing, treatment, and vaccination against COVID-19.

It may be easy to forget heading into the new year there are other laws that will be taking effect. Below is a recap of laws that will be taking effect beginning in 2021.

Minimum wage

On December 31, 2020, the state’s minimum wage increased to $12.50 an hour outside of New York City. In Long Island and Westchester County, the minimum wage increased to $14 an hour.

Paid family leave

Eligible employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid family leave beginning January 1, 2021. Employees who use paid family leave will be able to receive 67% of their weekly earnings- up to $971.61 a week.

Section 485-A property tax exemption

Revisions to the residential-commercial urban exemption program forcing yearly recertification to make sure applicants are in compliance with the rules of the tax exemption program. A percentage of renovated buildings with this exemption must be used for residential.

Stretch limousine safety

Stretch limousines altered on or after January 1, 2021, will have to have at least two safety belts in the front seat and a safety belt in the rear for each passenger.

Increased Thruway tolls

With the exception of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, NY EZPass rates will be frozen as of January 1, 2021. Travelers with an EZPass from out of state will pay 15% more than current NY EZPass rates. Travelers who choose tolls by mail will pay 30% more than NY EZPass customers.

Election recount

Effective January 1, 2021, a recount of elections will take place if the margin of victory is less than 20 votes, is 0.5% or less, or “where one million or more ballots have been cast and the margin of victory is less than 5,000 votes,” according to the state Senate website.

Brianna’s Law

Persons born after January 1, 1988, must take a boating safety course before getting a boating license.

Child-Parent Security Act

As of February 15, 2021, the Child Parents Security Act gives the “intended” parents of children born through “third party reproduction” methods like sperm or egg donation, embryos, or surrogacy full parental rights and obligations which include the ability to make medical decisions for the child(ren).

Auto-renewal of service contracts

Beginning February 9, 2021, companies (ie. Netflix, Hulu, Disney+) must notify customers at least 15 days in advance before auto-renewing service contracts.

Capped price of insulin

Beginning in 2021, the out of pocket cost for insulin cannot exceed $100 for a 30-day supply for patients with health insurance.

New York Bail Reform

New York’s bail law eliminates pretrial detention and money bail for the vast majority of misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases. The law also requires release for certain violent felonies – second-degree burglary and second-degree robbery.

The law would still require cash bail for major drug trafficking offenses, sex offenses, criminal contempt in a domestic violence case, witness tampering or intimidation, and certain offenses against children.

Cuomo estimates the new law will keep about 90% of defendants out of jail at least until their case gets resolved.

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