New York Note – Vetoed Bills, Start of State Session, Council Charter Meeting

January 3, 2024

Governor Hochul Vetoes Wrongful Death Act

On Friday, Governor Hochul vetoed the Wrongful Death Act, in one of her final acts of 2023. The legislation would have altered the state’s wrongful death statute and made it easier for families to sue for emotional damage after loss of a loved one. In her veto memo, Hochul noted that the bill had “potential for significant unintended consequences,” leading to the veto. She also vetoed another version of the bill last year. The Governor vetoed 44 bills in the final week of December, and her Communications Director delivered the following statement: “Governor Hochul has been clear: she will always do what’s right for New Yorkers, even if it’s unpopular in the halls of Albany. This year the State Legislature passed 896 bills – more than 500 of which passed in the final days of the session – most without a single hearing or opportunity for public comment. These included a number of extreme legislative proposals that would have put public safety or the state’s economic recovery at risk. Governor Hochul successfully secured common sense changes to dozens of bills, and didn’t hesitate to use her veto pen when necessary to prevent harm to New Yorkers. She will continue standing up for the people of this state, no matter what it takes.”

Start of NYS Session

The NYS Legislature will begin its 2024 session this Wednesday in Albany. Both the Legislature and the Executive Chamber have indicated that housing remains a top priority for lawmakers, after they failed to strike a deal on housing policy in 2023. Governor Hochul has stated that she will change her approach to the housing crisis in 2024. Lawmakers will be discussing “good cause” eviction, renewing or replacing the 421-a tax break, and other measures to increase housing supply across the state. The Governor will be delivering her State of the State Address on Tuesday, January 9, laying out her vision for the year ahead.

City Council Charter Meeting

On Wednesday, the NYC Council will hold its charter meeting, establishing the 2024 Council session as per the New York City Charter. Adrienne Adams is widely expected to be nominated for her second term as Speaker. Committee membership assignments will be announced in the coming days. Four new Council members (Chris Banks, Kristy Marmorato, Yusef Salaam, and Susan Zhuang) will begin their terms.

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