As Times Square revelers rang in the New Year, Governor David A. Paterson was busy enacting 12 new laws.
The new edicts announced by the governor took immediate effect on January 1, 2010 and aim to reform and clarify legislature in a variety of different areas including consumer protection, elections, identity theft and pension plans.
The new Tier V Pension Plan is the most notable of the new laws and is the first pension reform in 25 years. A spokesperson for the governor said the law is expected to save taxpayers more than $35 billion over the next three decades by raising the retirement age for future public sector workers and requiring greater contributions.
“2010 will bring with it new laws on the books in New York State,” said Paterson through a statement. “Among them, the enactment of the new Tier V pension plan – the first substantive pension reform in a quarter century that takes a critical step toward making our government more accountable to taxpayers.”
Besides pension reform, the governor also signed legislature that strengthens existing laws protecting against identity theft. The new law restricts state and local governments from disclosing sensitive personal information, and makes it a crime to possess a “skimming device,” a small electronic gadget used to steal personal information from credit cards.
“With the New Year, we also increase protections for our state’s consumers, and strengthen the laws against identity theft that will help make New York safer and healthier for a prosperous 2010,” said Paterson.
There is also a new law benefiting livery drivers in New York City, Westchester and Nassau counties. The new law establishes clear rules for determining when drivers are city employees or independent contractors. It also creates a fund to give independent livery drivers workers’ compensation benefits in certain circumstances where auto insurance does not provide sufficient coverage.
In addition, New York City’s sizable Russian-speaking population will be able to vote in their native language, thanks to a new law that requires election material to be translated into Russian.