New laws for 2012 are on the books
NEW YORK STATE—A number of new laws went into effect at the start of the new year.
The new laws, effective Jan. 1, 2012, range from safety measures, bans on selling certain items, and a tax cap. One is a change to road safety regulations.
Drivers are now required to exercise additional caution when approaching, overtaking or passing any hazard vehicle. The previous law required drivers to move over to adjacent lanes when approaching or passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, but not for other hazard vehicles.
The new law provides an extra measure of safety for drivers and workers on the roadside who are performing such activities as helping a stranded or broken-down vehicle, snow removal, or other types of roadway maintenance and construction.
Other laws that went into effect:
• A ban on the sale of household dishwasher detergents that contain phosphorus, which is harmful to lakes, rivers and other water sources. A ban on phosphorus dish detergents used by commercial establishments will not take effect until July 1, 2013. The new law also places new limitations on the use of lawn fertilizers that contain phosphorous.
• Middle class tax cuts that will reduce tax rates for millions of taxpayers and the two-percent property tax cap. The recently enacted tax cuts will reduce tax rates on middle class taxpayers to their lowest levels in more than 50 years. The property tax cap law, enacted in June, also went into effect Jan. 1, 2012. The law imposes a cap on the growth of school district and local government property taxes of two percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower.
• A new law will further reduce the number of commercial fishing licenses and permits issued by DEC to ensure the economic viability of the commercial and consumer fishing industry.
• A requirement that dental health facilities possess automatic external defibrillators on their premises.
• A new law bans the possession and sale of bear gallbladder and bile, a valuable commodity used in some forms of ancient medicine. In New York, black bears have been illegally killed for their gallbladders and bile. New York is one of only five states that currently place no restrictions on the trade in bear gallbladders and bile. The loophole complicates law enforcement, encourages poaching, and puts bears at risk.
• Orally administered chemotherapy coverage: Health insurance plans in New York state are required to cover orally administered chemotherapy treatments. The law corrects a discrepancy and ensures that chemotherapy treatment, no matter how administered, is covered by insurance companies. With oral chemotherapy, patients can take a pill in the comfort of their homes, to combat their diseases without as many trips to the hospital for the more traditional intravenous or injectable forms of chemotherapy.
• A ban on the sale of hookahs, water pipes, and shisha to minors. “Shisha” is any product made primarily of tobacco smoked or intended to be smoked in a hookah or water pipe.
• Another new law strengthens the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s authority to ban products that contain mercury.
• An authorization for the removal of fire commissioners for dereliction of duties including having an excessive number of unexcused absences from regularly scheduled meetings.
• A new law requires motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors to get the consent of franchised motor vehicle dealers to participate in sales promotion programs that include an expense for the dealer.