Recently Ulster County Legislator Gina Hansut [R-Highland] was able to get her first bill passed by the Legislature that creates a Domestic Partner Registry. It was officially signed into law at the Ulster County office building in Kingston on Friday September 1, 2023; present were Hansut, County Executive Jen Metzger. County Clerk Nina Postupak and the bill’s co-sponsor Peter Criswell [D-Dist 7].
Hansut said Covid 19 pressed upon her the need for the bill.
“If there were two people that were in a relationship but they were not married and one was in the hospital during Covid times, they really didn’t have a lot of say about the care or couldn’t go to see their loved one; that is what brought it to light in Ulster County.”
Hansut pointed out that many surrounding counties already have this type of measure in place, “so we needed to get on board. Also people were moving up from New York City and they had it down there and didn’t realize that we did not have it here.”
Hansut said this bill gives partners a say on medical issues for their loved one.
“You have to prove that you’re in this relationship that has a whole protocol of paperwork to establish this; it can’t be that two people do this on Tuesday and Friday they’re applying. It is not a fly-by-night program,” she said. “It is something that I’m proud of.”
Hansut said her co-sponsor on the bill is her fellow legislator Peter Criswell.
“It is very bi-partisan and both caucuses supported it 100%; I love to see government work like that, so it’s a good thing,” she said. “I feel great that now if somebody lives in Dutchess County and wants to move to Ulster County that it is acknowledged over here.”
Hansut said the bill took about three months from inception to final passage.
“There were questions that we had and we went to our legal counsel because we wanted to make sure that we had all of our ducks in a row. We got those questions answered on some minor things that we wanted clarification on,” she said. “It went through with 100% support of the Legislature and our County Executive [Jen Metzger] was onboard, so we’re very happy about that; it’s a good feeling. That’s the first one and I hope there’s many more. We’re just happy that it’s here for the residents of Ulster County.”