Albany Agenda

The bills that passed and failed to pass in the last week of session

Landmark new social media regulations for kids passed the Legislature, but the NY HEAT Act didn’t make it past the finish line.

Of the 805 bills that passed both chambers of the Legislature this year, 489 were passed in the final week of session.

Of the 805 bills that passed both chambers of the Legislature this year, 489 were passed in the final week of session. Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Lawmakers in Albany wrapped up their legislative session last week under a cloud of uncertainty after Gov. Kathy Hochul surprised everyone with her decision to indefinitely pause congestion pricing in Manhattan, leaving a $15 billion hole in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s current capital plan. In addition to the regular end-of-session horsetrading and marathon legislating, lawmaking needed to consider whether or not to bail Hochul out with a new tax or an IOU for MTA funding. In the end, they left without approving either of the governor’s pitches, but they still approved plenty more. 

Of the 805 bills that passed both chambers of the Legislature this year, 489 were passed in the final week of session, with the state Senate wrapping up on Friday and the Assembly finishing its business early Saturday morning. Bills passed last week include landmark new social media regulations for kids, an massive expansion of red light cameras in New York City and a new fee on polluters to pay for climate mitigation.

Algorithmic feed regulations – PASSED

Both the SAFE for Kids Act and the Child Data Protection Act passed the state Senate unanimously, and the Assembly nearly unanimously – only one person voted against it in the lower chamber. The legislation, touted by Hochul and state Attorney General Letitia James, is aimed at protecting kids online from addictive algorithmic feeds. The SAFE for Kids Act is the first bill of its kind to pass in the nation and would greatly restrict minors’ access to such feeds without parental consent. But the version that finally passed the Legislature differed slightly from the bill that was originally introduced. Notably, lawmakers removed the private right to action, which would have allowed parents to sue social media companies for violating the law. It also leaves one of the most crucial aspects of the legislation – age verification – up to the attorney general to figure out through regulations. Privacy advocates have warned about potentially invasive verification practices.

Climate Change Superfund Act – PASSED

The state Legislature received criticism after the session ended for failing to take enough action to address climate change – particularly measures meant to reduce emissions. But in a somewhat surprise move shortly before wrapping up, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie allowed the Climate Change Superfund Act to get a vote in his chamber for the first time. The bill had passed in the state Senate earlier this year and in previous years, but had never before passed the lower chamber. This time around, the legislation – which would require companies that have contributed to climate change to contribute to a climate action fund – found success. It aims to raise $3 billion a year from polluters to help pay for climate mitigation measures and related infrastructure improvements. But some are concerned that Hochul won’t sign the bill.

NYC red light cameras – PASSED

In another win for New York City street safety advocates, the Legislature authorized the city to greatly expand its red light camera program, which was first established in 1993. The bill will quadruple the number of cameras at intersections around the five boroughs from 150 to 600. City officials like Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez lobbied hard for the expansion.

Absentee ballot drop boxes – PASSED

New York lawmakers are looking to make it easier to vote, approving a bill that would enable local boards of elections to set up absentee ballot drop boxes. The bill was first introduced in 2020, when officials were looking for ways to permit voting without requiring people to physically go to the polls during the pandemic. The bill passed in the state Senate three years in a row, but never made it before the Assembly until this year.


Even though the NY HEAT Act – which would cap utility prices for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, eliminate a subsidy for new gas hookups and empower the Public Service Commission to enact regulations to speed up the state’s decarbonization efforts – did not make it into the state budget, advocates still held out hope that it still might pass before the session ended. The state Senate passed the bill for the second year in a row earlier this year. Heastie suggested more than once that the measure was not dead in his chamber, and he indicated as late as last week that the bill was still part of three-way discussions with the other leaders. But in the end, lawmakers went home without the NY HEAT Act ever making it to a vote in the Assembly. 

Single use plastic reduction – NOT PASSED

As late as last week, it seemed like the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act was on its way to approval, despite staunch opposition from the powerful plastics and chemical industries. The legislation would have set requirements to reduce the state’s plastic waste by 30% over the next 12 years. Although it included a carve-out for businesses with net incomes under $1 million, many small businesses argued its requirements were too onerous. After debate on the floor, the legislation passed the state Senate, but talks that the Assembly would act on the bill as well ultimately went nowhere. The legislation would have put the onus on businesses to comply, with it applying to businesses with net incomes of $1 million or more, but many businesses believed the legislation was too onerous.

Repeal of lifetime felon jury ban – PASSED

In a final farewell to retiring Assembly Member Jeff Aubry, the Legislature approved his bill to allow people with felony convictions to serve on juries. Under current law, those with felony convictions receive a lifetime ban from serving on a jury – one of the few remaining restrictions placed on formerly incarcerated individuals in the state. In recent years, lawmakers have restored a number of rights to the formerly incarcerated; in 2021, state law was changed in 2021 to allow people released on parole to vote in elections and to automatically add people released from prison back onto voter rolls.

Accelerating downstate casino licensing – PASSED

As several companies vie for downstate casino licenses, the Legislature passed a bill to require the state Gaming Commission to pick three candidates by March 2026. There have been well-publicized issues with finding land in New York City that local officials find hospitable for a gaming complex, and the bill would allow casino license holders to hammer out land use issues while the regulatory process plays out.

Medical Aid in Dying – NOT PASSED

For nine years now, the Medical Aid in Dying Act has failed to pass. The bill would provide mentally competent patients who are terminally ill with six months or less to live with the opportunity to end their lives with a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs. Among lawmakers, there was some discomfort around discussing death. Although Heastie signaled support for the bill in the Assembly, Stewart-Cousins – who personally opposes the bill – said it was unlikely that the bill had enough votes to pass the state Senate.

Harvey Weinstein bill – NOT PASSED

After Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction was overturned by the state Court of Appeals, Assembly Member Amy Paulin introduced a bill toward the tail end of session that would allow prior alleged sexual offenses to be used as evidence in sex crime trials. State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris signed on as Senate sponsor, and the bill passed in his chamber. But a tweak he added to the bill’s language allowing for prior evidence to be used to show a “propensity” for certain behavior, received intense pushback from public defender organizations and Assembly members with legal backgrounds. There was some talk of amending the bill to alleviate any concerns around future litigation, but lawmakers ran out of time this year. 

Bottle Bill – NOT PASSED

A bill that would expand the types of bottles redeemable by New Yorkers and increase the five cent deposit died in the final days of session. Despite support from environmental advocates, the bill faced strong pushback over concerns that it would financially burden consumers and businesses. Supporters still argued that it would encourage and increase recycling, but sponsor Assembly Member Deborah Glick declared it “dead” last Tuesday. 

Short-Term Rental Registry – PASSED

A bill that would create a registry for all short-term rentals in New York – vacation units often made available through Airbnb or Vrbo – and allow municipalities to levy taxes on the rentals, passed the state Legislature. State Sen. Michelle Hinchey and Assembly Member Pat Fahy, who sponsored the bill, said it will help municipalities understand the impact of the rentals on their communities and unlock millions in tax revenue.