Amid the relentless pace of business change, the legal function is under pressure to adapt in new ways. This is known as “law new.” The concept of law new refers to innovative approaches that improve legal delivery in the context of customer impact and enhanced experience. These approaches may involve leveraging technology, working with client communities or developing strategies that are outside the traditional realm of legal practice.
In the United States, a bill to create a law starts as an idea or proposal that is introduced by a member of Congress (a senator or representative). The bill will then be assigned to a committee for further research, discussion, and changes. When the bill is ready, it will be put to a vote. The bill that passes both houses of Congress becomes a federal law.
New York City is also a lawmaking branch of government. In the City, a bill to create a law is called a “local law.” The process for creating a local law in New York begins with an idea or proposal. Then the proposal is placed on a legislative calendar. When the bill is eligible for passage, the Council meets to consider the proposal. If the Council approves the proposal, it will become a local law.
The Council then adopts the new law and presents it to the mayor, who signs it into law. The law will be published in the Official Record of the City and must be included with the municipal code.
City Laws That Just Took Effect
The 2022 New Year began with a flurry of activity in California, where state legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted 1,200 bills. Most of these are relatively minor fixes to laws that were already on the books, and a few will only have a modest or limited impact on the state’s residents.
One bill, for example, will put a stop to what some advocates call the “pink tax.” This is the phenomenon in which stores charge women more for products that are very similar to those offered to men. The law also aims to increase transparency in the workplace by requiring companies with at least 15 employees to include salary ranges in job postings.
Another new City law aims to reform the process for determining damages in wrongful death and personal injury actions by lowering the time limits for filing and increasing the amount of punitive damages. The bill also sets out uniform standards for calculating medical damages and reduces the statute of limitations from four years to two years in general negligence cases.