State rings in new year with new laws

THE BRONX - As residents in the Bronx welcomed in the new year with parties and celebrations, the state was ringing in 2008 with new laws designed to protect air travelers and hospital patients.

The ?airline passenger bill of rights? was created as a result of JetBlue passengers being stranded on plane runways. It requires airlines to provide snacks, water, fresh air, power and working restrooms to passengers stranded on the tarmac for more than three hours. Creators of the law say it is the first of its kind in the nation.

Meanwhile, it is now mandatory for all babies born on or after Jan. 1 to receive the pneumonia vaccine. Hospitals are also now required to report infections spread throughout their facilities and keep those records on file for six years.

Another law that went into effect Jan. 1 was something that could help with the mortgage crisis. Under the law, lenders have to register with the state?s banking department, which will set standards for the lenders.

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