Gun Control Social Media New York Hochul

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, here speaking during a ceremony to sign a package of bills to strengthen gun laws on June 6, has been asked by three entities to veto legislation involving wrongful death lawsuits.

(The Center Square) – New York business groups aren’t the only ones concerned about a bill lawmakers passed earlier this year that would update the state’s 175-year-old law on wrongful death lawsuits.

On Monday, the New York State Association of Counties, the state Conference of Mayors, and the Association of Towns penned a letter to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul asking her to veto Senate Bill S74 and Assembly Bill A6770.

Proponents of S74/A6770, which easily passed in both legislative chambers with bipartisan support, say the bill would bring New York in line with nearly every other state. Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, D-Brooklyn, the bill’s sponsor in that chamber, said the state is one of only three that don’t allow plaintiffs in wrongful death cases to sue for noneconomic losses, such as the loss of a child or a retired individual.

The bill also nearly doubles the statute of limitations in wrongful death cases from two years to three-and-a-half.

The three organizations said in their letter to the governor that if the bill were to become law, it would substantially increase the exposure to municipalities since damages for loss and affection can be swayed by emotional arguments made by lawyers to juries.

The groups added the bill gives off a perception that local governments are flush with cash.

“Municipalities are among the top targets for lawsuits in New York State,” the groups wrote. “Because many tortfeasors lack the funds to make the injured party whole, local governments are often targeted despite only being marginally involved with the incident in question.”

Besides exposure to costlier awards, the bill also sets up cities, counties, towns and villages to pay higher premiums for liability insurance.

“If signed into law, this legislation will force municipalities to raise taxes and cut services, damaging local economies and eroding trust in government,” the letter stated.

Earlier this month, more than 30 New York industry groups sent a similar letter to Hochul. They said that if the bill became law, residents and businesses in the state would see their insurance premiums jump by more than $2 billion each year.

S74/A6770 passed last month in the final days of the New York Legislature’s session. Once she receives the bill, Hochul will have 30 days to consider signing or vetoing it. If she does not sign it, it will not be enacted.