On October 25, 2023, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed A06065 / S02997 into law, allowing affirmations in civil actions to be made by all licensed health care professionals, not just physicians, osteopaths, or dentists. This change is effective immediately.
Under prior law, an affirmation could be used only by attorneys, physicians, osteopaths, dentists, and any person outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
Under the new law, any "health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized under title eight of the education law to practice in the state, who is not a party to an action" to be able to make written statements of fact without having to get the statement notarized. So, the health care practitioners who can make affirmations are not just a "physician, osteopath, or dentist."
The justification for the bill explains the change:
CPLR 2106 was intended to ease the burdens of attorneys who, as a prerequisite to the submission of their own sworn written statement in an action, were required under prior law to find a notary public to administer an oath. The drafters of the CPLR determined that the attorney's professional obligations and the possibility of prosecution for making a false statement provided sufficient safeguards to dispense with the need for an appearance by the attorney before a notary public. Thus, the attorney is authorized by CPLR 2106 to simply sign his or her own statement and affirm its truth subject to the penalties of perjury. Such affirmation has the same effect as an affidavit sworn to before a notary public.
Similar considerations of convenience led to an amendment of the statute in 1973 to extend the same right of affirmation to physicians, osteopaths and dentists, whose affidavits are also frequently required in civil litigation. It is appropriate that this right be extended to other licensed health care practitioners.