NOW-NYC advocates for laws that will defend our rights and break barriers for women and girls. We were a leader in the fight for landmark legislation in our state to end the statute of limitations on rape, secure the first anti-human trafficking law, usher in no-fault divorce, stop child marriage in our state, and pass a Women’s Equality Act. As a leading voice for women, we champion critical legislation to end gender discrimination at work and in the courts, advance pay equity, protect reproductive rights, and make our criminal justice system more accountable. Learn more about the legislation we support below.
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State Bills We Support:
Ending Sexual Harassment
With recent revelations of ongoing, systemic sexual harassment in both the public and private sector, the need for strong action from state government is clear. Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a multi-pronged agenda that targets sexual harassment in the workplace. The legislation will prevent public dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment claims against individuals, void forced arbitration policies in employee contracts, and mandate that any companies that do business with the state disclose the number of sexual harassment adjudications and nondisclosure agreements they have executed. Senate Democrats and Republicans also unveiled a series of bills to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. NOW-NYC will be working closely with our leaders to ensure the strongest package of legislation to combat sexual harassment gets passed and signed into law.
1/2/18: Senate Democrats Press Release
12/17/18: Senate Republicans Press Release
1/2/18: Governor’s Office Press release
Stealthing as Sexual Assault
“Stealthing” is the removal of a condom before or during sex without a partner’s consent. This bill would put stealthing in the same criminal category as sexual assault, and the same level of performing a sex act without consent, which is a Class E felony. If convicted of stealthing, the bill prescribes a one to four year prison sentence and mandatory registration on the state sex offender registry.
Assembly Latest Action: 5/25/17 referred to Committee on Codes.
News Coverage: Daily News: N.Y. pol seeks to make covert condom removal during sex a felony
Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA)
(1) Require state-governed health insurance companies to cover all forms of FDA approved contraception without co-pays. (2) Allow women to obtain emergency contraception at a pharmacy through a non-patient specific prescription and mandate that insurance companies cover it. (3) Make it easier for women to fill their birth control prescription. The CCCA will increase the amount of oral contraceptives a woman can access at one time from a three to twelve month supply. (4) Expand contraceptive coverage for men, by covering condoms if prescribed and sterilization (neither of which is included in current New York State Insurance law).
Take Action: Here’s How
Assembly: Passed 1/17/17
Senate: Referred to Insurance 01/25/17
Reproductive Health Act
An act to amend the public health law, in relation to reproductive services.
The Reproductive Health Act would safeguard women’s reproductive health, which would place the protections of Roe v. Wade squarely into New York State law. Current law in New York State makes abortion legal by carving out exceptions in the criminal law, and fails to affirmatively guarantee abortion as a legal right in accordance with Roe v. Wade. In this increasingly hostile climate to women’s health and reproductive rights, New York State should not rely solely on federal law to ensure women’s access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare. Now more than ever, it is important to keep New York State strong for women’s rights, by enshrining the protections of Roe v. Wade into New York State law.
Child Victims Act
The Child Victims Act will eliminate the statute of limitations for filing a case of childhood sexual abuse. Under current law, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse must report the claim within a 5 year window of turning 18. By abolishing the statute of limitations predators and their protectors will be held responsible for crimes and victims who were unfairly denied their day in court. The Child Victims Act will help to better advocate for child victims of sexual abuse, prevent the silencing of victims, and allow victims more time to feel comfortable pursuing legal action against predators.
Senate: 01/05/2017 Referred To Judiciary Committee
Equal Rights Amendment
This amendment updates current equal protection language in the state constitution to prohibit denial of equality of rights on the basis or race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability or other immutable or ascriptive characteristic.
Latest Action: Referred to Attorney General for opinion
Remove Firearms from Domestic Abusers
When a domestic abuser has access to a firearm, their partner is five times more likely to be murdered. Governor Cuomo’s proposed legislation that would: (1) remove firearms from all domestic abusers, including those convicted of misdemeanor offenses; (2) ensure that rifles and shotguns are included in this provision; and (3) mandate that judges order a surrender of firearms for all orders of protection issued for domestic violence cases.
Making Non-Consensual Pornography Illegal
The New York Senate passed legislation that would make posting sexually explicit images online of someone without their consent — often referred to as “revenge porn” — a crime. Senators voted unanimously to pass the bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Griffo (R-Rome). Thirty-eight states and the the District of Columbia already have so-called “revenge porn” laws similar to the one the Senate passed. Governor Cuomo also announced that he would make punishing those individuals who perpetrate “revenge porn” a priority.
Latest Action: Passed the Senate in the 2017 session, but failed in the Assembly
Rape Survivor Bill of Rights
Directs the division of criminal justice services to designate a centralized storage facility for unreported sexual assault evidence kits, where such kits shall be retained for 20 years; directs the department of health to conduct a study on the maintenance of sexual offense evidence kits. Governor Cuomo made it a priority in his 2018 agenda that he will advance new legislation to extend the length of time rape kits are preserved to at least 5 years.
Latest Action: Passed the Senate in the 2017 session, but failed in the Assembly.
Curtailing Trafficking in NYS Hotels
This bill would require lodging facilities in New York State to provide a human trafficking recognition training program to all its employees. The legislation also calls for all lodging facilities to post a notice in certain public spaces on how human trafficking victims can get help. Hotels and motels are prime locations for traffickers to bring their victims. It is imperative that hotel and motels employees know what to do if they see a victim or a trafficker.
Latest Action: Referred to Economic Development Committee
National Bills We Support:
The Intern Protection Act
The Intern Protection Act (H.R. 652) aims to extend certain rights to interns that they are not currently entitled to, including freedom from employment discrimination, job security due to pregnancy, and protection against workplace sexual harassment.
House Latest Action: 1/24/17 Referred to Committee on Education and Workforce
Arbitration Fairness Act of 2017
The growing use of forced arbitration provisions in employment contracts has eroded the ability of ordinary Americans to seek justice in our courts. Forced arbitration thwarts the ability of workers and consumers to hold corporations accountable for wrongdoing — including sexual harassment. This law would keep mandatory arbitration clauses out of employment contracts, giving harassed workers the choice to go to court. The validity and enforceability of an agreement to arbitrate shall be determined by a court, under federal law, rather than an arbitrator.
Senate Latest Action: 3/7/17 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA)
SESTA makes it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate or support sex trafficking. The bill amends the Communications and Decency Act, which makes online services immune from civil liability for the actions of their users, to exclude enforcement of federal and state sex trafficking laws from immunity. This bill will close the legal loophole that allows online exploiters to escape liability.
Senate Latest Action: 1/10/2018 Placed on Senate legislative calendar
EACH Woman Act: Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance
The EACH Woman Act would ensure that all women are able to access insurance coverage for abortion, including women who are covered by Medicaid. The 1976 Hyde Amendment made federal funding for abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. This leaves any woman with government-funded health insurance without access to abortion care. The Hyde Amendment is an unjust penalty that specifically creates obstacles for low-income women–especially those living in poverty–who are in need of reproductive healthcare services. The EACH Woman Act would repeal the Hyde Amendment,ensuring access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare for all women, regardless of their income level or source of their insurance coverage.
House Latest Action: 02/03/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
City Bills We Support:
Childcare at all Government Meetings
Under this legislation, local government hearings open to public comment would include a notice offering free child care upon request at least five days prior to the event. Other elected officials and community boards would also be able to request free child care for their events where the public is invited to comment. This legislation removes barriers that prevent parents, especially single mothers, from full participation in government. Making free childcare services available will make it easier and more likely that parents are able to take on a more active role in civic life.
“If we want to create a future where women are fully represented, then it’s imperative that we remove the barriers that prevent active participation in civic life. We commend Councilmember Ben Kallos for making the connection that child care is one of those key barriers that disproportionately impact women.” – Sonia Ossorio, President, National Organization for Women – New York.
News Coverage: Wall Street Journal: NYC Councilman to Propose Free Babysitting
Prohibition of “Revenge Porn”- PASSED
The bill would prohibit the nonconsensual dissemination of sexually explicit videos or images of another person through online platforms or texting. Non-consensual pornography, also known as “revenge porn,” has the potential to cause economic, emotional, or physical harm to the victim and this bill provides protections from such gross abuse. Offenders who share images will face misdemeanor charges with one year of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000. Victims may also pursue civil penalties – including “compensatory and punitive damages” in the absence of a criminal conviction.
This bill would prohibit employers from refusing to hire, discharge or discriminate by any other means women on the basis of sexual and reproductive health decisions including: fertility related medical procedures, family planning services and counseling, access to all medically approved birth control drugs, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, abortion procedures, and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment.
Latest Action: Referred to the Committee on Civil Rights
Police Officer Sensitivity Training for Gender-Based Street Harassment and Sexual Assault
This is a Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring all NYPD officers to receive sensitivity training to assist them in responding to victims of gender-based street harassment and sexual assault. This bill ensures that all NYPD officers receive sensitivity training to assist them in responding to survivors of gender-based street harassment and sexual assault as part of their academy training, as well as up-to-date training every two years. The training will be sensitive to cultural differences, gender, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
Latest Action: Referred to the Committee on Public Safety 3/1/17
It’s easy to forget, but important to do: Please thank your leaders who are co-sponsoring pro-women’s rights legislation, so they know just how much support is behind their efforts. You should also ask your other reps to get on board. It’s easy! Call, email, write, or tweet.
Be sure to include the following in your message:
(1) Your name and neighborhood
(2) The bill name and number, and a
(3) Short and simple message about why this legislation matters to you.
Be sure to include @NOW_NYC if you send a tweet, or forward a copy of your message to firstname.lastname@example.org!
New York City: Find My City Council Member
Senator Gillibrand (212) 688-6262, @SenGillibrand, Email
Senator Schumer: (212) 486-4430, @SenSchumer, Email
Check Out NOW-NYC's Previous Legislative Agendas
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Thursday, Mar 22 | 6:30pm - 8:30pm Derailing the Trump Agenda: Protecting our Rights, Health, Environment and Democracy
Saturday, Mar 24 | 10:00am - 10:00am ALLY EVENT: NYC March for our Lives
Thursday, Mar 29 | 6:30pm - 8:00pm Providing Abortions in a Rural Setting: Challenges and Opportunities
Keep Concealed Guns Off Our Streets! A GOP bill allowing concealed guns in all 50...
Stop Online Sex Trafficking - Call NOW to Support FOSTA-SESTA Act Urge Congress to close the loophole that...