Department of Governmental Relations

The New York State Bar Association’s Government Relations department is an integral part of the core mission and activities of the Association.  The department works closely with the Continuing Legal Education (CLE), press, and membership departments as well as the many Sections, Committees and Task Forces of the Bar.

The department interacts with the Executive and Legislative branches of state government in Albany, as well as Congress and the Administration in Washington, DC and advocates for the priorities of the Association.

The legislative priorities are developed in consultation, and with input from, the Legislative Policy Committee, Sections and Committees, and reports from Task Forces.  These priorities are then shared with elected officials in Albany and DC and the department works with their offices to advance relevant legislation.  In addition, the department assists in developing affirmative legislative proposals and tracking the introduction of bills important to the Bar’s members.


2021 Legislative Priorities

Legislative Updates

The Legislature is back in Albany after extended budget negotiations to return to a more regular legislative activity. The Legislature will review bills, introduce new ones, and work them through the committee process. This is a time of the year for the Department of Governmental Relations with frequent meetings with stakeholders, monitoring legislative activity and issuing memoranda commenting on legislation. The legislature is considering several bills related to criminal justice reform that advocates are pushing for passage this year including a ban on the use of chemical agents against minors, reforms to New York’s parole system and additional regulations on police officers.

The Association is seeking introduction of legislation that will clarify that the Governor tolled statutory periods under Executive Order 202 during the initial days of the pandemic. We are advancing a legislative package that is the product of the report from the Task Force on Rural Justice. Additionally, the Association has engaged stakeholders in support of a bill to repeal judiciary law 470.

The Department of Governmental Relations continues to work on a wide variety of other issues on behalf of the Sections and Committees of the Association. If you are curious about a specific proposal, please feel free to reach out to Adriel Colon-Casiano, Assistant Director of Governmental Relations, or Cheyenne Burke, Governmental Relations Associate.

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:

Legislative Memoranda


Process for Commenting on Legislation

Sections and Committees of the Association are permitted to comment in support of or in opposition to existing legislation and may also recommend affirmative legislative proposals to the Association Executive Committee to adopt as policy of the Association. The Department of Governmental Relations has provided the following materials to outline this process. Please note that the sample memorandum does not have the required disclosures nor letterhead. These are added by the Department after it has reviewed and approved the draft memoranda.


Legislation and CLEs

Occasionally, the Department of Governmental Relations will collaborate on CLE programs explaining the impact of recently enacted legislation.

Association Press Releases


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. The Department is run by Director of Policy, Hilary Jochmans; Assistant Director of Governmental Relations, Adriel Colon-Casiano, and Governmental Relations Associate, Cheyenne Burke.

They Department may be reached at (518) 487-5518 or [email protected]