Local Laws: Sports, Veterans, Pets

By Patrick Cummings, Counsel, New York State Association of Counties
NYSAC tracks and makes available local laws that have been passed by your fellow counties. Understanding what other counties are doing to address local issues or needs can provide an idea for you to use in some variation in your county. Below is a brief description of unique and recently passed local laws by our members.

County Enacts Local Law to Provide Designated Parking for Veterans

On August 3, 2016 Suffolk County enacted a local law to provide designated parking for veterans at county facilities. The Legislature found that many veterans visit county facilities to obtain necessary services and interact with government officials. Accordingly, the county local law designates two spots at each county facility as dedicated parking for veterans in recognition of veteran sacrifices. Veterans will be provided stickers or markers for their car to indicate they are eligible to park in such provided spaces. The law indicates that those found parking in these designated spaces that are not veterans could be subject to a fine up to $100.00.

Erie County Local Law to Help Lower the Concussion Rate in Youth Contact Sports

On August 1, 2016, Erie County adopted a local law to help prevent head trauma from concussions in youth sports. The county Legislature found that contact sports such as football, hockey, and soccer have been an integral part of youth development in their community but found growing evidence that concussions can result from such sports. The Legislature stated the intent of this legislation is to ensure that all minors playing organized contact or collision youth sports in the county are properly supervised and that those who have been entrusted with the safety of minors are sufficiently trained in identifying concussion related symptoms.

The local law states the following requirements must be met by the organization operating youth sports with collisions: 1) at least one supervisor of minors playing organized collision or contact sport must have taken a course in concussion safety within two years; 2) the sport organization shall, to the best of their ability, maintain a record that shows that those who supervise minors playing organized contact or collision, youth sports within their organization have taken a course in concussion safety.

Suffolk County Requires Pet Groomers to Register with the County to Help Ensure Pet Safety

On July 19, 2016 Suffolk County adopted “Ginger's Law” in relation to the safety and well-being of pets. The Legislature found that many families choose to use pet groomers to maintain their pet's appearance, health or well-being, entrusting them to the care of professionals skilled in this field. The legislature further found that some pet grooming companies do not adhere to appropriate safety and sanitary practices, endangering the health and well-being of pets placed in their care.

In reaction to these findings, the county now requires all pet groomers and pet grooming companies to register with the county if they operate within their county. Registration fees are$50.00 per year for each company and $25.00 per year for each groomer. Registration for businesses includes the name, address and principal owner of the business. Registration for groomers requires proof of either: 1) training in the field of pet grooming for at least 150 hours, either as an apprentice or from a school or institution that provides instruction in pet grooming, or 2) has continually operated a business providing pet grooming services or has been employed as a pet groomer for a period of at least one year prior to the effective date of this law.

This local law also sets health and safety standards that all grooming businesses operating within the county must adhere to. These standards include but are not limited to: 1) provide temporary housing for pets that is in good repair, safe, secure and stable; 2) offer fresh water to any pet confined more than four hours; 3) ensure all equipment, tools and products used by pet grooming businesses shall be in good working condition.

Any pet grooming business which violates any of the provisions of this law shall be subject to a civil penalty of no less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each violation. Each action in violation of this law shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.

Nassau County Passes a Local Law to Ensure More Service-Disabled Veterans Have Greater Participation in County Contracts

On May 5, 2016 Nassau County adopted a local law which seeks to increase the participation among service-disabled veterans on county contracts. The Legislature found that in order to honor the service to and sacrifice for our nation, that it is in the best interest of Nassau County to promote and encourage the continuing economic development of service-disabled veteranowned businesses. In order to achieve higher participation rates on county contracts this local law requires the County Office of Minority Affairs to be responsible for outreach and education to help achieve these goals. Additionally the law requires all county departments to make good faith efforts to ensure greater participation in county
contracts by aiming for at least a six percent participation rate. All departments and offices of Nassau County shall maintain documents reflecting the good faith efforts made.

Cattaraugus County and Cortland County Pass Legislation Raising the Legal Age to Purchase Tobacco to 21

On June 30 2016, Cortland County passed a local law raising the legal age to purchase tobacco in their county to be set at age 21 or older. On September 21, 2016 Cattaraugus passed a similar local law. Both legislatures stated these laws were in keeping with the desire to protect the public interest, welfare and health of all persons within their counties. These local laws were influenced in part by findings by the Institute of Medicine which found a strong association between younger age initiation and higher rates of nicotine dependence.

Both local laws define prohibited-under-21 tobacco products sales to include, but not limited to: cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine.