Taking a Closer Look at New York’s Family Health Care Decisions Act

Alicia M. Dodge, Albany Government Law Review Member

I.  Introduction

On March 16, 2010, the former New York State Governor Paterson signed into law New York’s Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA), effective June 1, 2010.[1]  Through the enactment of the FHCDA, New York became the forty-ninth state to pass a “surrogate decision-making statute.”[2]  The FHCDA sets forth a list of persons who are deemed authorized to make health care decisions, including the decision to terminate life support for a patient without a health care proxy, who now lacks the capacity to make health care decisions.[3]  Prior to the enactment of the FHCDA, New York State law regarding end-of-life decision-making was well-established, and had been relatively uniform for the past twenty-five years.[4]  With the passage of the FHCDA, the precedent was greatly changed.

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Albany Government Law Review Introduces the First Annual Fireplace Blog Book

The Albany Government Law Review presents the first Fireplace Blog Book. Departing from the Albany Government Law Review’s tradition of publishing only theme- and symposia-based issues, this book focuses exclusively on the articles published on the Albany Government Law Review Fireplace. This is the first year we, as a journal, have decided to publish a blog book and have selected ten of our favorite and most viewed Fireplace articles from the 2010-2011 academic year. In keeping with our journal’s educational mission, our members write these posts to inform the lay reader, as well as local, state, and national policymakers on the possibilities within the law to improve government administration on all levels.

Our ultimate goal of the Fireplace and the Blog Book is to apply the traditional law review production model to collaborative internet publication in the hope of maximizing the potential of law review writing to be timely, relevant, and progressive.  Please be sure to check out some of this year’s best articles in an easy to download format:

AGLR Fireplace Blog Book


No-Fault Divorce: An Examination of the Unintended Consequences of New York’s New Law

Written by Jennifer Jack, Albany Government Law Review Member


In October, New York State became the last state in the country to enact a no-fault statute, which went into effect on October 12th, 2010.[1]  New York amended the Domestic Relations Law with the addition of § 170(7), which allows for divorce where “[t]he relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath.”[2]  The legislature has articulated that generally a marriage is determined to be “irretrievably broken” and able to become the basis for a no-fault divorce if “either or both parties are unable or refuse to cohabit and there are no prospects for reconciliation.”[3]  In order to make this determination, the standard of “irretrievably broken” is determined by an examination of all the “facts and circumstances, as well as the factors underlying the determination.”[4]  To be deemed to have considered all the facts the court must examine the “subjective state of mind of the parties, because the central inquiry relates to the state of mind of the parties toward the marriage relationship.”[5]  Therefore, any evidence that indicates the “viability of the marriage” becomes admissible.[6]  In New York this evidence can be established through a statement under oath of either spouse.[7]

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If You Build It, They Will Come: A Discussion on Stadium Construction

Today’s 4 p.m. panel “If You Build It, They Will Come: A Discussion on Stadium Construction,” was kicked off by Katherine Baynes, a partner at DLA Piper LLP.  Ms. Baynes discussed the financings for the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. She stressed that although the Yankees and Mets did initially receive some municipal assistance, the construction of the stadiums were ultimately financed by the teams. Despite what many politicians and New Yorkers may claim, the Mets and Yankees are in fact repaying PILOT bonds issued for construction of the stadium. The Mets and Yankees sold tax-exempt backed by payments in lieu of property taxes, lease revenue and installment payments to finance the construction of Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.

She explained that PILOT payments cannot be greater than actual taxes and due to new regulations, can no longer be issued at a fixed rate payment. Baynes discussed how the Treasury Department recently issued more restrictive final regulations for bonds back by payments in lieu of taxes. However, the rules contain a transition provision that appear to enable the Yankees and Mets to continue to issue PILOT bonds as planned without having to comply with the new rules.

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