Government Relations Newsletter— Vol. 5

By Department of Government Relations

March 21, 2023

Government Relations Newsletter— Vol. 5


By Department of Government Relations

Welcome to NYSBA’s Government Relations Newsletter. Stay informed about what is happening in the legislative arena and learn about NYSBA’s advocacy on policies that matter to members.

The 2022 State Legislative session came to an end in the wee hours of June 3. A compressed legislative session was marked by several notable achievements for NYSBA membership and an end of session dash to address hot button issues such as gun control and abortion. The legislature is not set to reconvene until January 2023. However, there are rumblings of a special session this summer to focus on gun legislation depending on the decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.

2022 State Legislative Session Recap:

Legislative Victories: Laws Enacted or Bills Headed to the Governor’s Desk:

  • This year’s budget process went beyond the April 1 deadline with the legislature enacting laws to extend the Brownfield Clean Up Program and increase education opportunities for incarcerated individuals, policies that NYSBA advocated for. The Association also successfully lobbied against dangerous changes to the discovery reform and Raise the Age laws that would have had a detrimental impact on black and brown communities.
  • Enactment of law that was partially drafted by the Women in the Law Section that will require the state to establish a toll-free, confidential, and safe legal hotline for reporting workplace sexual harassment. The hotline will connect complainants with experienced pro-bono attorneys who will help make them aware of their legal rights and advise them on their individual cases.
  • Enactment of laws supported by the NYSBA Task Force on Mass Shootings and Assault Weapons that will eliminate the grandfathering of large capacity ammunition feeding devices that were lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of the Safe Act, and require a license prior to purchasing a semiautomatic rifle.
  • Two house passage of legislation that will require criminal defense counsel to warn immigrants taking plea deals that they could face deportation or exclusion from citizenship. The simple but meaningful reform was worked on by and applauded by President Sherry Levin Wallach, and she will continue to urge the governor to sign the legislation into law.
  • Introduction and two-house passage of legislation drafted by NYSBA’s Elder Law and Special Needs Section grandfathering in previously executed statutory short form powers of attorney.
  • Two house passage of legislation requiring training or counseling in hate crime prevention for those convicted. An amendment to the law was proposed in NYSBA’s 2020 report of the Task Force on Domestic Terrorism and Hate Crimes.

Other Notable Legislative Movement:

The Clean Slate Act, legislation supported by NYSBA’s Executive Committee that would automatically seal certain criminal records, saw first time one house passage in the Senate. The bill unfortunately was not brought for a vote in the Assembly.

Assigned Counsel rates: After a heartbreaking session of stop and go for legislation that would double the rates for attorneys serving on assigned counsel panels, an agreement on raising the rates could not be reached despite universal recognition that the abysmal rates are long overdue for an increase. The breakdown in negotiations was centered around funding. President Sherry Levin Wallach made an impassioned plea for raising the rates in the New York Law Journal.

Repeal Judiciary law 470: For the second consecutive year, the bill repealing the detrimental in-office requirement for out-of-state attorneys passed the Senate but failed to reach the finish line in the Assembly. The bill has no known opposition, but the outdated law has been said to contribute to access to justice issues in New York, particularly in more rural counties.

Question 26 of the Bar Application: Legislation that would prohibit requiring applicants to the New York State Bar to disclose all interactions with law enforcement including arrests reaching back into their childhoods was introduced in both houses. NYSBA’s Working Group on Question 26 of the New York Bar Application found the question violates the Human Rights Law and contributes to a lack of diversity in the legal profession.

Thank you and Next Steps:

Thank you to all the sections and committees who worked so diligently this session drafting legislation, putting together memoranda of support and opposition, and meeting with legislators and staff to discuss the implications of proposed changes in the law. Your opinions truly shape the policy of the state. For a full list of bills that passed both houses this session, please see NYSBA’s Government Relations 2022 Wrap-Up page.

Moving forward, Government Relations will continue to support the policy of the Association and its sections and committees to see final enactment of laws that best serve New Yorkers. For any members interested in CLE programming on any of the recently enacted laws, please contact Karrah Dillman at [email protected].

Questions about the specific legislation or the legislative process generally? Please contact our Government Relations Team with questions or concerns.

Department of Government Relations Team:

Six diverse people sitting holding signs
gradient circle (purple) gradient circle (green)


My NYSBA Account

My NYSBA Account