The clock is ticking. The Governor has 10 days from December 15 (actually 11 days, since the 10th day falls on some sort of a holiday) to veto the exemption update bill, or it automatically becomes law. Bankruptcy attorneys, public interest groups like NYPIRG, and several New York bankruptcy law professors have submitted substantial documentation in support of the proposal. We assume the banking industry and perhaps New York City (unhappy about the alleged implications on parking ticket enforcement) have been equally vigorous in opposition. I understand that Attorney General-Elect Eric Schneiderman, who was the State Senate sponsor of the bill, may be speaking directly to Governor Patterson about the legislation.
But time is short and the Governor’s legal staff is doing double-duty; wrapping up end-of-session legislation while also preparing for the Gubernatorial transition. One key player in this decision may be Lawrence F. (Larry) Schwartz, Governor Patterson’s Chief-of-Staff and former Deputy Executive of Westchester County. If anyone reading this blog happens to be an old college room-mate or golfing buddy of Mr. Schwartz, now might be a good time to rekindle old times and maybe mention the importance of this legislation.
If the governor vetos the exemption update bill, the proposal will undoubtedly be dead for at least the next two years. The Republicans are expected to retake control of the State Senate January 1, and under former Republican leadership the exemption update bills never got to a vote. The main bill this year, S7034A, was passed with significant Republican support on June 23, with a vote of 47 to 14. Monroe County Senators Robach and Alesi voted for the bill. But when the chapter amendment, S8451, excluding New York State and its municipalities from the judgment debtor car exemption was voted on in August, the vote was a much closer 34 to 26 (Senators Alesi and Robach voted against that one.) The assumption is that the banking industry encouraged a Republican no vote on the chapter amendment in order to kill the whole bill.