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Paterson signs 15 bills into law

Gov. David A. Paterson this week signed 15 bills into law including legislation allowing individuals to register online as an organ and tissue donor.

Another enhances a judge’s sentencing options for hate crimes.

The governor vetoed one bill that would have directed the commissioners of Education and Health to establish a program to send food prepared, but unserved, by educational institutions to voluntary food assistance programs.

“While this bill is very well-intentioned, I could not sign this legislation into law as it imposes significant administrative burdens on both the Department of Health and the State Education Department, and does not provide the resources to meet these responsibilities,” Paterson said.

The bills are in addition to the budget legislation on which the governor acted.

A website will be set up to allow online organ donor registration, simplifying the enrollment process and encouraging more New Yorkers to register consent to donate for transplantation or research at the time of their death.

Until the website is active, residents can register with the state Donate Life Registry, operated by the Department of Health by visiting  www.nyhealth.gov/donatelife, calling 1-866-NYDONOR or by checking the appropriate box when applying for a new or renewed driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Other new laws include:

  • The Division of Housing and Community Renewal to give must give preference to economically feasible projects on former brownfield sites when considering applications for funding affordable housing development.
  • The exemption from public inspection and copying of any information where exposure would jeopardize a state agency or other entity’s capacity to guarantee the security of its information technology assets was expanded.
  • The state Board of Elections is authorized to set standards for the change of a candidate’s mailing address and a candidate must now provide the board with depository information.
  • Three laws will define the Election Day paper ballots that will be used with the new optical scanning voting machines, to provide for the timing of poll openings and the duties of election inspectors in relations to these voting machines, and to provide for the canvass of the election process that would be conducted with the new voting machines, respectively.