NOW-NYC advocates for laws that defend our rights and break barriers for women and girls. We led the fight for landmark legislation to end the statute of limitations on rape, pass human trafficking laws, usher in no-fault divorce, and end child marriage and also expanded protections against pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. As a leading voice for women, we champion critical legislation to end discrimination, advance pay equity, protect reproductive rights, and make our criminal justice system more accountable.
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New York State Bills:
Criminalizing Sex Trafficking of a Child
The bill establishes that a person is guilty of sex trafficking a child when he or she intentionally advances or profits from prostitution of another person who is younger than eighteen years old. It ensures that prosecutors can build strong cases against traffickers without proving children were coerced into the sex trade and also provides an affirmative defense for trafficked minors who recruited children to be trafficked to avoid penalty under law. This bill will align the New York law with federal anti-trafficking legislation.
Latest Action: Reported Referred to Rules 6/11/18
Ending Sexual Harassment
With revelations of systemic sexual harassment in the public and private sector, the need for strong action from state government is clear. NOW-NYC is working closely with our leaders to ensure strong legislation to combat sexual harassment becomes law. Senate Democrats and Republicans unveiled a series of bills to combat sexual harassment and Governor Andrew Cuomo also unveiled a multi-pronged agenda to target sexual harassment in the workplace. His legislation will prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment claims, 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.
Latest Action: NY Assembly approves funding in SFY 2o18-19 Budget
Making Non-Consensual Pornography Illegal
The New York Senate passed legislation that would criminalize posting sexually explicit images online of someone without their consent — often referred to as “revenge porn”. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Griffo (R-Rome), passed the Senate unanimously. Thirty-eight states and the the District of Columbia have already passed similar “revenge porn” laws. Governor Cuomo also announced that he would prioritize punishing those individuals who perpetrate “revenge porn.” We urge the New York Assembly to pass
Latest Action: Passed the Senate in the 2018 session
Child Victims Act
The Child Victims Act will extend 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 by age 23 and children only have 90 days to file a case against a school or institution where abuse occurred. The Child Victims Act will help survivors of childhood sexual abuse seek justice in the courts, prevent the silencing of victims, and allow victims time to pursue legal action against pedophiles.
Latest Action: Committee discharged and committed to Senate Rules Committee 5/18/18
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: Amend and Recommit to Judiciary Committee 3/1/18
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.
Latest Action: Health Committee Votes No 9:8, 5/31/18
Latest News: Reproductive Health Act Brochure
Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA)
With the Trump administration in office, New York State is aiming to protect the coverage we already have and improve future access. The CCCA will: (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).
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Latest Action: Referred to Senate Insurance Committee 1/3/18
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: Second time in Senate; Advanced to Third Reading (1/17/18); Amended (6/6/18); On Floor Calender
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 03/21/17
Remove Firearms from Domestic Abusers – VICTORY
When a domestic abuser has access to a firearm, their partner is five times more likely to be murdered. We worked with Governor Cuomo on 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 in addition to handguns; and (3) mandate that judges order the surrender of firearms for all orders of protection issued for domestic violence cases regardless of relationship to victim.
03/31/18: Governor’s Office Press Release
The Family Medical Leave Modernization Act of 2018
The Family Medical Leave Modernization Act (FMLA) seeks to expand medical leave eligibility beyond the current law, which only protects workers who work for at least 1,250 hours over 12 months and work for an employer with 50 or more employees. The FMLA would lower this number to 15 employees. In addition, the FMLA aims to cover parental involvement leave through extending the amount of leave an employee would be able to take in a 12-month period to 24 hours, and increasing the amount of leave an employee is allowed in a 30 day period to 4 hours. Finally, the FMLA would modernize the definition of family by reflecting a broader range of caregiving relationships. This would ensure that employees are able to take family leave in order to care for a family member that is not bound to them by blood or legal ties.
Sponsor: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12)
Latest Action: Introduced 6/13/18
Arbitration Fairness Act of 2017
This law would keep mandatory arbitration clauses out of employment contracts, giving harassed workers the choice to go to court. Currently, approximately 55% of private-sector employees – or 60.1 million workers – are subject to mandatory arbitration policies, denying those experiencing sexual harassment from seeking justice in a court of law. Forced arbitration thwarts the ability of workers and consumers to hold corporations accountable for abuses and crimes of sexual misconduct.
Latest Action: 3/7/17 Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee
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
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: 02/10/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would allow any person with a concealed carry permit from one state to carry their weapon in any other state. It would also allow anybody with a concealed carry permit to do so on any federal land, such as national parks or national monuments.
Latest Action: Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearings Held 3/14/18; Passed the House 12/06/17; Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee 12/07/17
Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA)/ Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) – PASSED
FOSTA-SESTA makes it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate or support sex trafficking online. The bill amends the Communications and Decency Act to allow the enforcement of federal and state sex trafficking laws to be applied to websites. This bill will close the legal loophole that allows online exploiters to escape liability for promoting sex trafficking through online advertisements.
New York City Bills:
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 increase the likelihood and ability of parents to be more civically engaged.
“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.
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