New York State

Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (A.08135)

The New York State Assembly passed this bill, which would require insurers in New York to provide copay-free coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptives. Emergency contraception like Plan B, which typically costs at least $50 without a prescription, would be covered over the counter—an expansion on the ACA. Male contraception would also be covered.

The final vote was 103-43, marking the second time in as many years that the Assembly has passed the act.

The Assembly also passed, for the second time, the Reproductive Health Act (S 438) — legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade at the state level, protecting the right to abortion in New York in the face of conservative Supreme Court appointments. The vote was 97-49. While New York legalized most abortions in 1970, ahead of the national curve, its current laws are more strict than Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court ruling enshrines a woman’s right to a late term abortion after 24 weeks if the pregnancy threatens her health. While in New York, currently, abortion is only ensured if the doctor has reason to believe the pregnant woman’s life is at stake.

Both reproductive rights acts still have to pass the Republican-led Senate, which has a historically anti-abortion bent. The Senate Health Committee rejected the RHA last spring with a vote of 9-7. The CCCA also stalled on the Senate floor in 2016.

Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (A.0506/S.7)
Passed Senate 01/2015
Referred to Assembly Codes Committee 01/2015

  • The TVPJA seeks to address child sexual abuse and exploitation, including forcing minors into prostitution, in a comprehensive way by enhancing protection for trafficking victims.  It increases accountability for buyers and traffickers who are fueling the growth of this massive underground industry and it helps prevent re-victimization of trafficking victims by the justice system.  The bill looks to close any gaps and loopholes from the 2007 NYS Human Trafficking Law and the 2008 Safe Harbor Law that deal with how prostituted minor children are treated within the justice system.

Women’s Equality Act (A.8070/no Senate Same-As)
Failed to be Introduced in Senate
Passed Assembly 2014

  • The Women’s Equality Act is a broad and vital piece of legislation aimed at breaking down barriers and promoting further equality for the 10 million women of New York and their families.  Eight out of the original 10 points remain that would:
  1. Strengthen laws demanding equal pay for equal work
  2. End sexual harassment on the job for every employee
  3. End familial status discrimination
  4. End discrimination in housing based on domestic violence victim status & source of income
  5. Create a pilot program for remote access to orders of protection
  6. Strengthen laws against human trafficking
  7. End pregnancy discrimination in the workplace
  8. Safeguard our reproductive health rights

There has been much debate among politicians, advocates, and the media alike about the likelihood of these provisions passing within the current political climate.  The discussion has centered around the whether or not each of these planks should move forward as individual stand-alone bills which would have the greater chance of being signed into law, or push for an “all-or-nothing” approach.

Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (A.4558/S.61)
Referred to Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee 1/2015; Failed to Pass Senate 2008-2014
Referred to Assembly Governmental Operations Committee; Passed Assembly 2008-2014

  • GENDA outlaws discrimination based on gender identity or expression and expands New York’s hate crimes law to include violence against transgender persons. A similar law has already been passed in 18 other states yet Senate leaders refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

Banning Gay Conversion Therapy (S.121)
Referred to Senate Education Committee; Failed to Pass Senate 2014
No Assembly Same-As Filed as of 2/07/2015 but Previous Versions Passed Chamber Unanimously

    • This bill would protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy efforts, a dangerous and discredited practice which views homosexuality and gender identity expression as issues that can be cured.  The bill would designate such conversion efforts as professional misconduct.

Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (A.4409/S.2036)
Referred to Senate and Assembly Codes Committees 01/2015

      • The New York State Department of Corrections found that 67% of women sent to prison in 2005 for killing someone close to them were abused by the victim of their crime.  All too often the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence survivors who act to protect themselves from an abuser’s violence is to send them to prison, often for many years.  The DVSJA would take steps to correct this miscarriage of justice by allowing judicial discretion during sentencing of these domestic violence survivors who are convicted of crimes directly related to the abuse they suffered.  This would untie judges’ hands from laying mandatory sentencing provisions and allow them to consider alternative-to-incarceration programs or lower sentences, if they feel that is more appropriate.