Department of Governmental Relations

Daily interaction with the executive and legislative branches of government is conducted through the Association’s Department of Governmental Relations.  The Department works on behalf of the Association to coordinate legislative activity regarding issues of interest to the legal profession. Additionally, the Department is responsible for the editing and distribution of legislation reports, bill tracking, and the promotion of the Association’s affirmative legislative program.

2020 Legislative Priorities

Legislative Updates

The State Legislature returned for a week in July under new rules permitting debate and voting on legislation via video teleconference. The Governmental Relations Department would like members to be aware of certain legislation that passed both chambers and awaits the signature or veto of the Governor.

A5630A Weinstein – Amends the General Obligations Law
This bill simplifies the current power of attorney form, allows for substantially conforming language, adds safe-harbor provisions, and allows for damages against unreasonable refusal. Additionally, the bill allows for signature at the direction of the principal, raises an agent’s power to make aggregate gifts for a calendar year from $500 to $5,000, clarifies an agent’s obligation to keep records and receipts, and clarifies an agent’s authority related to financial matters related to health care.

S8835 Sepulveda – Amends the Public Health Law [Delivered to the Governor]
This bill limits immunities created under the 2020-2021 State Budget to only those health care professionals providing diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 confirmed or suspected patients.

A5991A Weinstein – Amends the Civil Rights Law and the Civil Practice Law and Rules
This bill amends the protections of New York Anti-SLAPP law to protect citizens from litigation that is intended to silence the exercise of free speech rights and the right to petition about matters of public interest.

A2176A Solages – “Protect Our Courts Act” Amends the Civil Rights and the Judiciary Law
This bill amends the civil rights law and judiciary law to facilitate continued access to the court system without fear of immigration-related consequences.

S5959D Savino – Amends the Civil Rights Law
This bill establishes the right of publicity and creates a private right of action for unlawful dissemination or publication of sexually explicit depictions of an individual.

S7082 Hoylman – Amends the Civil Practice Law and Rules
This bill extends for one year the statutory period which otherwise time-barred civil claims revived by the “Child Victims Act” may be initiated.

The Governmental Relations Department will continue to inform members periodically of relevant legislative activity.

Legislative Resources

To provide our members with a comprehensive set of tools with which to stay informed about policy issues of importance to the practice of law, the Department of Governmental Relations has compiled the following resources:


NYSBA’S Legislative Program

NYSBA offers several ways for its members to become active in the legislative process, whether by recommending a policy issue to be adopted as a NYSBA state or federal legislative priority or submitting memoranda commenting on the impact of legislation on the practice of law.

Additionally, the Association presents a series of affirmative legislative proposals to the State Legislature annually. Affirmative legislation is generally developed at the Section or Committee level and must receive the approval of the Association’s Executive Committee or the House of Delegates prior to introduction in the Legislature. The development of New York State Bar Association policy on major issues follows a similar pattern, although Sections and Committees may independently express their support for, or opposition to, legislation pending in the New York State Legislature and Congress.

The Department of Governmental Relations is located at the New York State Bar Center, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207. Director of Governmental Relations, Ron Kennedy, may be reached at (518) 487-5653 or [email protected].

Photo Gallery

Legislative Memoranda