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NY 2019 End of Session Update for NYSAFP

"This was the most historic and productive legislative session in New York state history.” 
– new state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, via Politico New York
NY 2019 End of Session Update
Just before midnight the State Senate completed its work and adjourned the 2019 session.  At 7:30am this morning, the State Assembly followed suit after more than 20 straight hours of debating and advancing bills.  A number of high profile items passed by both houses in the first year of one-party rule in New York (some supported by NYSAFP) including decriminalization (not legalization) of marijuana and vacating some prior marijuana-related convictions, the "Green Light" bill to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses, strengthening of state sexual harassment laws, extension and expansion of rent regulations, an increase in labor rights of farm workers, a sweeping measure to combat climate change, and an extension of the minority and-women-owned enterprises law to 2024, among others.
2019 was a highly successful session for NYSAFP. At the start of the session in January, both houses passed and the Governor signed NYSAFP priority bills establishing the reproductive health act, the comprehensive contraception coverage act, the GENDA law, and legislation designating as professional misconduct, engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with minors.  Throughout the session, NYSAFP played a lead role in pursuing the important public health measures enacted last week to eliminate of non-medical exemptions of required childhood vaccines for school attendance, despite very strong opposition from anti-vaxers.  In addition some insurance reforms were enacted which will ease a number of practice burdens and ensure greater access to needed services for patients. While we will be sending a comprehensive update next week on all health-related bills that were passed by both houses this year, we wanted to highlight below some measures that were advanced by both the Senate and Assembly specific to NYSAFP priorities.
Bills Passed by Both Houses during 2019 Session:
  • Reproductive Health Act
  • Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act 
  • Prohibition on Sexual Orientation Change efforts with minors
  • Elimination of Non-medical Exemptions to required childhood vaccinations for school and day attendance
  • Increase Tobacco Purchase age to 21 (including e-cigarettes)
  • Expand Expedited Partner Therapy to all STIs recommended by the CDC
  • Regulation of Pharmacy Benefit Managers
  • Prohibits Mid-Year Formulary Changes During Contract Year
  • Decriminalization of Marijuana
A reminder that many of these bills require action by the Governor before taking effect.   In addition, while we were able to work with MSSNY and other specialty societies to prevent the passage of a number of regressive medical liability bills including wrongful death and the patient privacy act, the following two bills that we are collectively opposed did pass both houses.  We are working with MSSNY and others to seek a veto by the Governor and will keep you updated.
  • Liability Exposure (S6081 Hoylman/A2372 Dinowitz). Requires a non-settling co-defendant in a tort action to choose whether to reduce their liability exposure by the stated settlement amount or the settling tortfeasor’s equitable share prior to the first opening statements of the trial. The bill would likely enable a plaintiff to be unjustly enriched by collecting more than the jury ultimately determined the non-settling defendants’ equitable share to be if the defendant settles for an amount that exceeds their equitable share of the award. Under the current law, the plaintiff is never entitled to receive more than what has been awarded by a jury.
  • Recovery against Third Party Defendant (S6552 Skoufis/ A2373 Dinowitz). This bill would permit a plaintiff to bypass the defendant he or she sued to collect a judgment from a third party defendant who or which has been sued by the defendant for contribution or indemnification as a result of the underlying action. This bill would only add further costs to an already overburdened and unsustainable medical liability climate in New York.