Big Legislative Wins for New York Women in 2015
In a breakthrough year for New York women, women’s rights advocates secured passage of a number of critical laws that will support women’s health and economic security and preventing violence and discrimination against women. Now that the 2015 session is (finally) over, let’s take a moment to celebrate the hard-won victories secured by our amazing members and allies across the state! You never gave up on women’s equality—and you still haven’t. These victories are for each of you and for all the women and girls of New York State.
Here’s the quick recap:
All but one measure of the original Women’s Equality Act has now been passed by the Assembly and the Senate:
The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (A.506/S.7) will hold traffickers accountable, strengthen New York’s response to trafficking, and empower survivors.
Trafficking affects thousands of our most vulnerable. With the passage of this critical legislation, New York is on a path to be a leader in the fight against this modern day slavery.” – Sonia Ossorio, President, NOW-NYC
Stopping Sexual Harassment in All Workplaces (A.5360/S.2) will expand sexual harassment protections to ALL private employers, including those with fewer than four employees.
The Equal Pay Bill (A.6075/S.1) will end wage secrecy policies and close the loopholes in New York’s laws which allow employers to pay women less than their male colleagues.
Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Women (A.4272/S.8) will require employers to provide modest adjustments for pregnant workers who need them to stay on the job safely.
Expanding Access to Justice (A.7189/S.3) will allow successful litigants to recover attorney’s fees in cases where women prove employment or credit discrimination.
Prohibiting Housing Discrimination Against Victims of Domestic Violence (A.06354/S.5) will end discrimination against domestic violence victims in housing and create a task force to study discrimination against low-income families receiving housing subsidies.
Ending Family Status Discrimination (A.07317/S.4) will ensure that our employment discrimination laws include familial and parental status.
New wins for women’s health include:
The Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women (A.06780b/S.05972) will protect women who become pregnant while uninsured, by enabling them to immediately sign up for health insurance-even if the timing of their pregnancy falls outside of an open enrollment period.
Workplace protections for breastfeeding (A.07202a/S.05183) will ensure women are educated about their rights as breastfeeding mothers in the workplace by adding this to the Breastfeeding Mother’s Bill of Rights.
In addition, important legislation addressing sexual assault on campus, working conditions for nail salon workers, and shackling of incarcerated pregnant women also passed this year, making this a momentous year for women’s rights across our state.
Still on Deck for Next Year
Of course, there are still many more fights we must win to truly end discrimination for women and for all New Yorkers. Next year, it will be our top priority to push for this critical legislation:
Reproductive Services Act – Ensuring comprehensive reproductive healthcare for women, by updating our abortion laws
Boss Bill – preventing discrimination from employers for our reproductive healthcare choices,
The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act – protecting and expanding access to contraception,
Paid Family Leave to make paid leave a reality for New York workers
GENDA – ending discrimination against transgender New Yorkers, and
Stopping conversion therapies that are harmful to LGBT youth
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