New NY State Laws For 2013

Here are some measures that take effect in New York State on New Years Day.
ByPam Robinson December 31, 2012 Patch

A new sales tax exemption designed to encourage solar energy use and a
law to provide new protections for domestic violence victims highlight
the list of new state laws that take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. Other
measures set to become law on New Years Day include legislation that
help craft  brewers distribute their products, prohibit the sale of
e-cigarettes to  minors, and new ways for colleges to provide health
insurance  for students.

SOLAR ENERGY SALES TAX EXEMPTION

A new law taking effect on Jan. 1 (Chapter 406, S3203B,
Senator Maziarz) exempts the sale and installation of commercial solar
energy systems equipment from state sales tax and compensating use
taxes. Under the new law, municipalities will also have the authority to
provide this exemption from local sales and use taxes.

“Solar  energy system installation can already be extremely costly for
businesses, but the additional state sales tax and compensating use tax
on top of that make local businesses hesitant to use this energy
source,” Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane), Chairman of the Senate
Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, said.

“If we are to achieve  the goal of 45 percent of New York State’s
electricity needs through  clean renewable energy and improved energy
efficiency by 2015, then we  must provide incentives to encourage
businesses to install solar energy  systems just as we have done with
homeowners.  Eliminating all state  sales taxes and providing local
municipalities an option to eliminate  their portion as well will
encourage more commercial solar installations  and will hopefully create
more jobs for New Yorkers to help with the  installation process.”

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTIONS

Part of the new domestic violence reform law, designed to protect
victims’ health care and insurance information, (Chapter 491, S7638),
takes effect on January 1, 2012.  The landmark law, sponsored by
Senator Steve Saland (R-I-C, Poughkeepsie), Chairman of the Senate Codes
Committee includes several important provisions to protect victims of
domestic violence and establish stronger criminal penalties to punish
individuals who commit acts of domestic violence.

As of the  first of the year, victims of domestic violence who seek medical and/or
mental health services and use their health insurance to pay for that
care, can designate alternative contact information so they may receive
health insurance correspondence in a safe location of their own
choosing, such as the home of a friend or family member, a post office
box, or a shelter.

“Current law already bars disclosure of an
address and phone number when an order of protection is in place,”
Senator Saland said.  “This law greatly expands the information to be
protected by ensuring that a victims’ health insurance information is
not sent to the same address as the alleged abuser, thus affording more
protection domestic violence victims.”

DISTRIBUTION OF BEER PRODUCED BY SMALL, INDEPENDENT BREWERS

This new law (Chapter 367, S1315 Senator
Griffo) will give New York’s craft breweries, like the F.X. Matt
Brewing Company in Utica, the means to end unfavorable, exclusive
contracts with beer wholesalers.

In 1996, the Beer Franchise
Law strengthened distributing contracts to protect small, family-owned
wholesalers from arbitrary termination by large multinational breweries.
Since then, the number of wholesalers has dropped in New York State
from 112 in 1996 to fewer than 60 today.

This measure will
help the growth of the state’s small independent breweries by allowing
them to end costly exclusive contracts with large wholesalers that do
not market or promote their brands without having to undertake lengthy
legal procedures that may not provide relief.

“I sponsored this
legislation on behalf of the craft brewers in the Central New York
region, all of whom are important parts of our regional economy,”
Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C-I, Rome) said. “During difficult economic
times, the State needs to stand by our small businesses in order to
grow  our economy especially in the upstate region. The growth of small
brewers has been an exciting chapter in the 21st Century economy, and
this new law is important to help it grow and add jobs.”

The
law defines small brewers as those who produce less than 300,000 barrels
of beer annually, and whose sales to a wholesaler are three percent or
less of a multi-brand beer wholesaler’s annual business.

ALLOWING COLLEGES TO SELF-INSURE FOR STUDENT HEALTH CARE –

This law (Chapter 246, S7314A Senator
Seward)  will allow eligible private and public colleges and
universities in New York State to self-insure for their students’ health
insurance needs. An advantage to becoming self-insured is that the
plan  can be designed to meet the needs of the students and can reduce
administrative costs, compared to basic, more expensive commercial
insurance plans. Most states in the country already allow private
colleges and universities to self-insure for their students’ health
insurance.

Senator James L. Seward (R-C-I, Oneonta), Chair of
the Senate Insurance Committee, said, “As higher education costs rise,
colleges and universities are always looking for an edge to keep
expenses down and compete with out-of-state schools.  Clearing the way
for a self-insurance plan will allow participating New York schools that
take part to tailor their own health insurance plans to meet the
specific needs of their student populations, while reducing
administrative costs.”

BAN ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES FOR MINORS A new law (Chapter 448, S2926B, Senator Johnson) will prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18 years of age.

“This law is needed to protect children and young adults from the
dangers of smoking electronic cigarettes, particularly given that they
are unregulated and have not been proven to be safe for use at any
age,”   Senator Owen Johnson (R-C, Babylon) said.

The above information was listed on the New York State Senate website.