Back in June, New York’s legislature – the State Assembly & State Senate – passed a “Right-to-Charge” bill, which would prohibit condominiums, home-owners associations (HOAs) and the like from unreasonably restricting the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. The bill, however, sat there until yesterday, when it was finally delivered to the Governor for his signature. Also yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded on Twitter offering to help New York Times best-selling author Nnedi Okorafor. Ms. Okorafor had tweeted on November 1 that her HOA had turned down her request. Coincidence or not, New Yorkers shouldn’t rejoice quite yet. Under New York rules, because the legislature is not currently in session, if Governor Andrew Cuomo fails to sign the bill in the next 29 days, the effect is the same as if he vetoed the bill.
It’s seldom clear in New York why a particular bill can sit in limbo despite having passed the legislature. Zach Williams, writing for City & State New York explains that:
Waiting on bills increases Cuomo’s leverage in both the legislative process and the budget process, according to John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany. “The reality is, the longer he waits on a bill that’s controversial or he maybe opposes, the more he can make the legislators squirm and maybe extract something in return for agreeing not to veto something,” Kaehny said.
If we’re lucky Governor Cuomo is eager to sign it, and it won’t get “pocket vetoed” by not getting signed this month. The bill doesn’t just ban condos from restricting electric vehicle charging in the future, but also voids any existing restrictive condo bylaws or covenants.
Time to send some supportive #RightToCharge tweets to the Governor. In the State Assembly, the bill was introduced by Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, who represents parts of Albany and surrounding communities, and in the State Senate by State Senator Neil D. Breslin, who represents Senate District 44, which covers Albany and the surrounding region. A round of applause for both of them.
We’d be happy to help
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 26, 2019
We certainly can’t say for sure if there was a link between Elon’s tweet and the bill getting out of limbo. Ms. Okorafor lives in Illinois, so she won’t personally benefit, but maybe the Governor or an aide saw Elon’s tweet? We covered this HOA bill back in May 2019, along with another New York bill that would reduce state sales tax and registration fees for plug-in cars. Unfortunately, that bill is still languishing.
A similar law exists in California, saying HOAs must allow owners to install charging stations on their own property, but can impose “reasonable restrictions.”
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