January 1st marked the start of a promising new year full of hope and prospects for meaningful change. It was also the day many new State laws took effect that I helped implement as your representative in the State Assembly. Below, I have highlighted some of the laws that will benefit East End families by growing our economy, strengthening our business climate and keeping our community healthy and safe.
With an eye toward spurring economic growth and creating jobs, I supported a law creating the START-UP NY program (Ch. 68 of 2013). This program establishes completely tax-free zones where new businesses can partner with New York’s outstanding colleges and universities to develop innovative products and offer state-of-the-art services to our community. START-UP NY will encourage businesses to plant roots in New York State, create jobs and reinvest in our local economy.
In a boost to our farmers and to help create more jobs, a law supporting New York’s growing production of cider has taken effect (Ch. 384 of 2013). This law creates a license for farm cideries that is similar to those already offered to wineries, breweries and distilleries. It authorizes the production and sale of cider made solely from crops grown in our state and excludes licensed farm cideries from certain sales tax filing requirements.
While encouraging small businesses and supporting local farms will help make our economy more vibrant, the Assembly is also working to ensure that New York State families remain healthy. New laws include:
• “Hannah’s Law,” which helps people with certain possibly life-threatening conditions by requiring health insurance plans to cover enteral formulas that provide vital nourishment, regardless of how those formulas are administered (Ch. 388 of 2013);
• requiring hospitals and health care providers to offer hepatitis C testing to baby boomers (Ch. 425 of 2013);
• ensuring hospital patients are informed about whether they are being “observed” or “admitted,” a difference which severely impacts health insurance reimbursement rates (Ch. 397 of 2013); and
• requiring birthing facilities to perform pulse oximetry screenings that can detect critical congenital heart defects in newborn babies (Ch. 184 of 2013).
Together, these new laws represent important steps forward for our State. They will improve our economy and help keep our families healthy.
Fred W. Thiele Jr.
New York State Assemblyman