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N.Y. lawmakers unhappy as Hochul makes 11th hour appeal to amend Grieving Families Act – New York Daily News



ALBANY — Lawmakers pushed back Monday after Gov. Hochul proposed 11th-hour changes to a measure expanding the types of damages that could be won in wrongful death cases.

Hours ahead of the deadline to either sign or veto the bill known as the Grieving Families Act, the governor put forth changes including exempting medical malpractice claims in an op-ed published by the Daily News.

The bill seeks to update the state’s 175-year-old wrongful death statute by allowing families to seek compensation for emotional anguish, not just the earning potential of a loved one who dies.


It would also extend the two-year statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death lawsuit by 18 months and broaden the traditional definition of family members eligible to recover damages.

Hochul argues that the legislation, which was approved by both houses of the Legislature by wide margins and bipartisan support last June, will drive up “already-high health insurance premiums, adding significant costs for many sectors of our economy.”

Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-), the main sponsors of the legislation, said the governor’s changes would essentially gut the measure and she’s not negotiating in good faith.


“Despite the staggering inadequacy of her proposal, we offered to negotiate to find common ground, only to be turned away by the Governor, who presented her proposal as ‘take it or leave it,’ ” the pair said in a statement. “The victims of wrongful death and their families deserve better than the status quo, and they certainly deserve better than the governor’s proposal, which will help virtually no one.”

Hochul said she supports updating the law and her proposal would keep the changes related to wrongful death cases involving accidents while excluding medical malpractice “for the time being.”

Additionally, she argues that more time is needed to analyze how changes to the law would affect insurance rates and impact small businesses, families, doctors and nurses, and hospitals.

Hoylman-Sigal and Weinstein note that variations of the bill have been debated for decades and the legislation has been “considered more carefully than almost any other bill passed during our time in Albany.”


“With the resources of the entire state government at her disposal, it’s inexplicable the Governor failed to review the bill during this seven-month period, and waited until the eleventh hour to raise the need for further statistical analysis, which would seem to be a tactic to gut the legislation or delay its implementation indefinitely,” they added.

Hochul not acting on the bill before midnight is the same as a veto.

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