They say ignorance of the law is no excuse, but with dozens of new rules and regulations taking effect in the months running up to and around the New Year, it's definitely a chore for residents, home and business owners to keep up.
In order to help our readers start off 2012 in a completely lawful and compliant way, here is a list of state and city laws already in effect, or about to take effect, in your neighborhood:
This law renames thoroughfares throughout the city, including at the corner of Ascan and Austin avenues in Forest Hills, Way on Court Street between 3rd and 4th place in Carroll Gardens and on Prospect Park West between 14th Street and the southwest corner of Prospect Park in Park Slope.
Taking effect in November, this law requires businesses with contracts with the city to reduce packaging in order to decrease negative environmental impacts.
This law passed last November and taking effect in March requires that city jails not be used to detain individuals who violate U.S. immigration laws when no other offense is committed. “New York City—home to millions of immigrants—should not be a willing participant in a program that separates thousands of immigrant families each year without a concomitant benefit to public safety,” the law reads.
This law, passed in November, requires amends the city charter to require the Schools Chancellor to submit annual reports to the City Council on school enrollment, capacity and utilization.
This law expands , as well as toughens regulations requiring owners to spay or neuter their free-roaming pets. “We cannot stand by and let animals suffer in our city,” said Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Intro. 655 is an immediate solution in the midst of this crisis.”
Passed on Nov. 22 and taking effect next month, this law requires the city Department of Transportation to hold hearings with local Community Boards prior to constructing new bike lanes. “The department shall consider comments from such public hearings and may incorporate changes, where appropriate, into its bike lane plan or cancel plans for such bike lane where it determines such bike lane would be inappropriate,” the law reads.
Also known as the “Responsible Restaurant Act,” this law ties a business’ ability to renew or obtain an operating permit from the city Department of Heath to its adherence to city, state and federal wage-and-hour regulations.
This law, passed in October, requires owners of multiple-unit apartment buildings and condominiums to install window guards in units inhabited by a child 10 years of age or younger. The law does not apply to windows facing fire escapes. Anyone who does not comply with the law will be subject to a class C immediately hazardous violation.
An amendment to the city’s building code in regards to greenhouses.
This law requires that the city Department of Administrative Services make public on city's website a free and searchable directory of all city-owned property no later than Jan. 30.
This law, which took effect in October, requires city schools to provide data on students transferred to other facilities as a result of school closures.
This law calls for the creation of a plan to combat illegal dumping into city waterways.
Amends the city’s employment discrimination code to allow for “accommodations” for employers sustaining financial hardship when an employee is unable to perform the essential functions of their job due to religious restrictions and/or observances.
This law prohibits the sale of expired over-the-counter medication in the five boroughs of New York City.
This law directs procurement mangers at city agencies to give preference to food produced and grown in New York State.
Amends the administrative code in regards to fees charged by the city Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Now here’s a look at a few of the changes, big and small, on the state level.
Tax cuts for the middle class: The biggest change for most New Yorkers is a middle-class tax cut that, according to several state Senators, could save residents upwards of $690 million this year.
Property tax cap: The new property tax cap, designed to ease the tax burden of homeowners across the state. The law mandates that year-over-year tax increases by local government and school districts cannot exceed two percent or the growth of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is smaller.
Passing hazard vehicles: A new law on New York’s roadways will require drivers to change lanes entirely when passing hazard vehicles. In the past, only emergency vehicles, like police cars and ambulances, were subject the requirement. The law is designed to protect service workers and drivers in difficult traffic situations.
Chemotherapy coverage: This law closes a loophole that allowed insurance companies to deny payments on orally-administered chemotherapy treatments. The treatment is a pill that allows patients to spend less time at a doctor’s office and more time at home.
And more: Dental offices must now have automatic defribrillators, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has the authority to ban products that contain mercury. The sale of hookah paraphernalia to minors—including tobacco for use in a water pipe—is now illegal.