New York passes Its Own DREAM Act
The New York State Assembly and Senate pass the Jose Peralta DREAM Act. Under the proposed legislation, state tuition assistance programs would be available to undocumented immigrants who have attended high school within the state for at least two years and either graduated from high school or obtained an equivalency diploma.
The legislation also creates a DREAM fund, which is funded by private contributions, in order to provide college scholarships to immigrant children.
It is expected that Governor Cuomo will sign the bill into law this spring.
Governor Cuomo Signs the Child Victims Act
On February 14, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Child Victims Act, which was a central component of his 2019 Justice Agenda. This legislation substantially impacts the rights of child sex abuse victims.
Prior to the bill being signed into law, child sex abuse offenses could not be prosecuted if more than five years had elapsed from the date of the occurrence. Civil lawsuits for such conduct were also subject to a three-year statute of limitation running from the date of the victim’s 18th birthday.
Under the new law, victims can now seek criminal prosecution against their perpetrator until the victim reaches the age of 28. Additionally, the new law substantially increases the time in which to commence a civil lawsuit, which can now be commenced at any time prior to the victim reaching age 55.
Another key aspect of the legislation provides a one-year window for those victims who had been previously time-barred to prosecute their claims.
New York Senate Majority Passes Legislation Aimed at Helping Small Businesses
On March 7, 2019, the Senate passed three new bills all aimed at helping the small business community.
Senate Bill S.3163, introduced by Senator Anna Kaplan, allows small businesses the opportunity to contribute to a small business tax-deferred savings account, which permits withdrawals during times of specified economic hardship, for the purpose of job retention or creation, or during times when the Governor has declared a natural disaster, thereby warranting assistance from the federal government.
The second bill, Senate Bill S.1087, was introduced by Senator Roxanne Persaud, and provides for organizational and financial resources necessary to deliver cost-effective crime prevention programs to New York’s small businesses.
Lastly, Senate Bill S.1265 would enhance the ability of businesses and the public to participate in a more meaningful way relative to the rule-making process. Specifically, the bill would afford state agencies the ability to use innovative techniques for organizing public hearings on the proposed rules.
Prepared by Nicholas M. Hriczko