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Hochul faces deadline to decide on over 150 bills

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is facing a critical deadline of December 31 to make decisions on more than 150 bills passed by the state Senate and Assembly. These bills are part of the 896 legislative items jointly passed by both chambers as of June last year. The Governor’s decisions will shape the legislative landscape of New York as she weighs the merits and potential impacts of each bill.

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One significant bill under review is the “Grieving Families Act,” which seeks to amend New York’s current wrongful death statute. Sponsored by Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, the bill aims to allow families to file for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, in cases of wrongful death. This includes extending the time for filing claims in instances like deaths tied to medical malpractice. However, the bill faces opposition from hospitals and insurance companies, and a similar version was vetoed by Hochul last year due to concerns over potentially higher costs.

Another key bill awaiting Hochul’s decision would increase the state comptroller’s oversight of government spending during emergencies, a response to financial management issues raised during the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes amid scrutiny of Hochul’s administration, particularly regarding a contract awarded to a company owned by a campaign donor for at-home test kits. As Hochul works through the list of bills, she has already vetoed several, including one aimed at investigating the surge in retail theft. The legislative future of these bills remains uncertain, as an override of a gubernatorial veto requires a two-thirds majority vote in both legislative chambers. Despite the Democratic majority, such a move is considered challenging, with no current indications that the pending bills would trigger an override attempt.