March 2024 Legislative Update

NYPAA continues its determined advocacy for the important bad faith bill, actively working with legislators to address concerns and make progress before upcoming elections.
The 2024 legislative session began on January 3, 2024. Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her State of the State address on January 9. On January 16, she unveiled her proposed $233 billion state budget, a 1.7% increase over the prior year's budget.

Although the Division of Budget was predicting a budget deficit of around $4.5 billion going leading into the year, the Governor announced that the State is no longer predicting a budget deficit for this fiscal year. Despite this news, the Governor urged fiscal caution throughout her address, noting that future economic outlooks for the State look far less rosy. As of this writing, there is nothing in the budget that would directly impact public adjusters, but this may change before the budget is finalized.

The budget will be all-consuming until the budget deadline on April 1. During January and February, the Assembly and Senate held joint budget hearings to get feedback and testimony on the Governor's proposed budget.  The Assembly and Senate have released their one-house house budget proposals, which outline each respective houses budget priorities.  Negotiations have now begun in earnest between the Assembly, Senate and Governor with the goal of completing the negotiations for a final budget by the April 1 deadline. However, the legislative calendar this year may make the April 1 deadline difficult to reach. Easter and Passover are at different times, meaning that the usually two-week legislative break that occurs once a budget agreement has been reached won't occur until the end of April in alignment with Passover. Easter is Sunday, March 31, meaning that a break will be taken for at least a few days around the April 1 budget deadline.

As the budget negotiations are happening, we are also focusing on non-budgetary legislative issues. We continue to have many conversations about NYPAA's top priority, the bad faith bill (S1797, sponsored by Senator Jessica Ramos and A7139, sponsored by Assemblymember Helene Weinstein). Currently, the bill is in the Senate Insurance Committee and the Assembly Codes Committee. We had conversations with the Senate Insurance Committee chair, who has some concerns about the current bill language. In response, we are working on amended language that would address these concerns.

It is worth noting, however, that there have been a dozen retirement announcements coming out of the State legislature. Assemblymember Weinstein, the current sponsor of the bad faith bill, and Senator Breslin, the chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, are among the lawmakers that have announced their retirements meaning that we have a small window for our conversations to occur and prove successful. As it is an even-numbered election year, all 213 members of the State legislature are up for reelection this year. We anticipate that there will be numerous changes in committee chairs in 2025.

We will delve more into the details of our legislative efforts at the NYPAA's spring meeting on April 30. We hope to see you there!

By Amy Kellogg and Caiti Anderson

See related article: NY Bad Faith Bill Could Be a Game Changer for Policyholders and Injured Third-Parties