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Put Politics Aside and Pass Legislation that Promotes Women’s Rights

By Assemblyman Will Barclay
As Election Day draws closer, campaigns often ratchet up their rhetoric. The Governor’s campaign is doing just that.

In effort to counter the “Stop Common Core” line that his opponent Rob Astorino is running on, Cuomo formed the Women’s Equality line.

This is a political party formed by the Governor and his Democratic political allies to help advertise his support of a package of bills known as the Women’s Equality Act.

What the Governor does not mention when he is campaigning is that nine out the ten bills that make up the Women’s Equality Act would now be law if the Governor’s ally, Speaker Silver, and the Assembly Democrats had not blocked voting on the individual bills that make up the package of bills.

Instead, Speaker Silver and his Democratic Assembly conference insisted that all ten bills be voted on as one package.

As a result, they could not get a “same as” bill with the State Senate which passed nine of the ten bills but did not take up the tenth bill, known as the abortion bill, because it would have the effect of expanding abortion access in New York State.

Regardless of what one thinks about the abortion bill, New Yorkers should be angered that political gamesmanship has prevented the other nine pieces of legislation from becoming law.

The following are the nine bills that the Democratic Assembly conference prevented from becoming law:

• Pay Equity S. 5872–Enacts pay equity provisions designed to strengthen equal pay protections for women in the workplace.

• Sexual Harassment S. 5873–Applies sexual harassment protections in the law to all organizations of any size.

• Attorney’s Fees in Discrimination Cases S. 5874–Awards attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in housing, credit, and employment discrimination where the discrimination was based on sex.

• Familial Status Discrimination S.5875–Adds familial status to the list of classes protected and covered by the Human Rights Law.

• Prohibiting Housing Discrimination S.5876–Prohibits housing discrimination based upon a person’s status as a domestic violence victim.

• Restraining Orders S.5877–Specifies that the protected party in whose favor an order of protection or temporary order of protection is issued may not be held to violate that order.

• Electronic Hearings for Temporary Restraining Orders S.5878–Authorizes the establishment of a pilot program for the filing of petitions for temporary orders of protection by electronic means.

• Human Trafficking S.5879–Enacts the Human Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, creating new crimes, strengthening penalties and protecting victims.

• Pregnancy Related Employment Accommodations S.5880–Classifies pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions as temporary disabilities as defined within the Human Rights Law.

When Governor Cuomo and others who are campaigning on the Women’s equality line proclaim that they are defenders of women’s rights and equality, they should be asked, if that is the case, then why haven’t they condemned the Democratic Assembly conference for not passing the nine bills set forth above.

They had bi-partisan support and most likely would have passed unanimously.

Hopefully, once the election is over, we can go back to Albany, take politics out of governance, and pass these bills.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.