Senate Majority To Pass Legislation To Keep New Yorkers Safe From Lithium-Ion Battery Hazards

May 21, 2024

Today, the Senate Democratic Majority will pass a comprehensive legislative package aimed at enhancing safety standards for lithium-ion batteries.

This initiative is a proactive response to recent tragedies and severe property damage caused by faulty batteries and improper usage, especially as the popularity of e-bikes and scooters continues to rise. The Senate Majority is prioritizing public safety and proactive governance by setting higher standards and providing necessary resources and training to mitigate risks and ensure New Yorkers are kept safe.

“… ensuring our communities are better protected.”

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Our priority is the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers. This legislation is a significant step forward in addressing the dangers associated with lithium-ion batteries and ensuring our communities are better protected. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the bill sponsors—Senators Iwen Chu, Liz Krueger, Monica Martinez, and Cordell Cleare—for their dedication and hard work in crafting these important measures. Together, we are taking necessary steps to prevent future tragedies and safeguard our residents.”

The legislation being passed by the Senate Democratic Majority includes:

  • Lithium Ion Battery Mitigation: This bill, S7746A, sponsored by Senator Iwen Chu, would require businesses to have on hand protection and suppression measures for fires including battery cases and fire extinguishers.
  • Plug Warning Tag: This bill, S7760A, sponsored by Senator Iwen Chu would require any micromobility devices, mopeds, and e-bikes to have a red tag attached to the charging cord that would state to unplug when not in use.
  • Manufactured and Sale Standards of Lithium-Ion Batteries: This bill, S154F, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger would prohibit the sale of lithium-ion batteries used in micromobility devices, bicycles with electric assist or limited use motorcycles unless such batteries are manufactured in accordance with certain standards and specifications.
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Fire Prevention Study: This bill, S6660, sponsored by Senator Monica Martinez authorizes a study on lithium-ion battery fires and prevention to review the severity of lithium-ion battery fires. (passing 5/22)
  • E–bike Operations Notice: This bill, S7744C, sponsored by Senator Iwen Chu would require retailers to put a notice on any e-bikes that states you cannot use it on sidewalks or highways with a speed limit over 30 mph.
  • Lithium-ion Battery Safety Program:This bill, S6809B, sponsored by Senator Cordell Cleare establishes a safety program to provide new lithium-ion batteries at reduced cost or no cost to eligible individuals.
  • E-Bike Operation Manual: This bill, S7503B, sponsored by Senator Cordell Cleare requires retailers of e-bikes to provide customers with an operating manual.
  • Lithium-ion Battery Emergency Response Training: This bill, S8742, sponsored by Senator Cordell Cleare would incorporate training for lithium-ion battery emergency response into the Office of Fire Prevention and Control specialized hazardous materials emergency response training program.
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Resources: This bill, S8743, sponsored by Senator Cordell Cleare Directs the department of state, in consultation with the division of homeland security and emergency services and the New York state energy research and development authority, to develop and maintain safety resources, information, and protocols in regard to fire hazard prevention relating to lithium-ion batteries.

Bill Sponsor Senator Iwen Chu said, “The dangers posed by lithium-ion batteries have gone unchecked long enough and have led to too many fires across New York City and in the communities I represent. I’m proud to be a sponsor in today’s legislative package to advance practical solutions that protect e-bike owners and pedestrians around them. My legislation would require businesses selling and repairing e-bikes to have fire suppressants on site, establish clear charging cord directions, and require retailers selling e-bikes to include notice of proper rules. I know many rely on E-bikes to commute and perform their jobs, and this legislation prioritizes the well-being of both riders and residents alike. I would like to thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues for understanding the urgency of this issue.” 

“… we will minimize and mitigate the likelihood of new fires …”

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Bill Sponsor by Harlem Senator Cordell Cleare said, “Lithium-Ion Battery Fires have proliferated in Senate District 30 and I have been diligently working on crafting solutions all Session long.  Today, with the passage of this nine bill package, which includes four bills that I am Prime Sponsor of, we will minimize and mitigate the likelihood of new fires by increasing safety, awareness, training and outreach.”     

Bill Sponsor Senator Liz Krueger said, “Micromobility devices are here to stay, and their use is continuing to expand, so we must act quickly to ensure they are used in a responsible way that doesn’t put other people at risk. Unsafe batteries are contributing to a serious threat to the health and safety of New Yorkers in their homes and in their jobs, whether it’s delivery workers trying to make a living, or residential tenants living next to a fly-by-night charging business. When a piece of equipment has the potential to cause so much damage, we simply cannot have a wild west approach without any oversight. I’m glad that the Senate Majority Conference is taking a thoughtful and thorough approach to this important issue.”

Bill Sponsor Senator Monica Martinez said, “A comprehensive analysis of the complexities of lithium-ion battery fires is an important step toward understanding these increasingly common events that pose significant risks to both the public and responding firefighters. By conducting this study, we will develop the insight necessary to create smarter safety protocols to mitigate these dangerous incidents and the devastation they can cause. This legislation will not only enhance public safety but also support the firefighters who protect New Yorkers.”

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