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A00263 Summary:

COSPNSRZinerman, Barron, Seawright, Simon
Ren Art 10 §§100 & 101 to be Art 11 §§110 & 111, add Art 10 §100, Civ Rts L; rpld §24, Cor L
Relates to the imposition of penalties and remedies in suits brought for the vindication of civil rights or human rights; provides for reasonable attorney's fee and reasonable expert fees.
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A00263 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to the imposition of penalties and remedies in suits brought for the vindication of civil rights or human rights; and to repeal section 24 of the correction law relating thereto   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To put New York State on the same footing as the federal government in the protection of civil rights as was done under federal law with the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1871.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Like 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, this law holds government officials liable in tort for violating persons civil rights. As amended, state law had come limitations on suit that are not applicable in federal civil rights proceedings and the amended version eliminates that limita- tion.   JUSTIFICATION: Recently the Assembly unanimously passed a State constitutional provision providing equal rights to women. However, constitutional provisions are meaningless in the absence of an enforcement mechanism. When the slaves were freed after the Civil War, Congress realized that the protection of the freed slaves civil rights was meaningless without an enforcement mechanism. Congress provided that mechanism in the Civil Rights Act of 1871, now codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. This legislation provides the exact same mechanism for enforcing civil rights provided for under our State Constitution and State law as exists for enforcing the Federal Constitution and Federal law. The Civil Rights Act has been used for enforcing many other constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech, and this legislation explicitly states that it is to be interpreted the same as 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. This legislation is necessary. It is well known that New York has a heavy-handed adminis- tration at both the State and local level. Public officials will now have a far greater incentive to avoid misconduct that adversely impacts the citizens of our State. There is no reason that we should give less protection to the citizens of our State than they h ave under Federal law.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2019/20: A292 passed assembly 2018: A10792 referred to judiciary   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The State and municipalities will be liable in damages for violating the civil rights of citizens   EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately
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