25 Groundbreaking Bills Passed by the New York Assembly but Blocked in New York Senate

New York State Senate (Photo: Gotham Gazette)

On November 7, New Yorkers will decide the shape of our state’s democracy for the next 20 years. Every New Yorker will choose to vote “Yes” or “No” on a constitutional convention to re-envision New York’s governing document.

Did you know that the New York State Assembly passed 25 important bills that constitute major elements of the #resist agenda, replacing and expanding critical protections and benefits?

The “No” vote protects the status quo that blocks the #resist agenda in the New York State Senate, for years in some cases.

After bills pass the Assembly, they move to the Senate, which must vote in favor before they can move to the Governor for signature. Republicans and the IDC, who both oppose the constitutional convention, blocked these bills from moving to floor votes which would reveal their true convictions.

Consider the following bills blocked by “No” vote supporters, which include the Republicans and unions; IDC and Democrats; Planned Parenthood and Right to Life; and NAACP and NRA (click on bill number to learn more; the sponsor and political party are in parentheses):

Women’s Reproductive Rights Protection

1. S2796 (Krueger-D) Reproductive Health Act — expands New York’s abortion and reproductive rights law to match federal law.

“Complex and personal decisions about reproductive healthcare are the sole right and responsibility of a woman and her medical providers.” 
— NYS Senator Liz Krueger

2. S3791A (Krueger-D) — Prohibits discrimination based on reproductive health decisions.

3. S3668 (Bonacic-R) Access to Family Planning Services Act — Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act

Equal Rights Expansion

4. S6354 (Krueger-D) — proposes a constitutional amendment to replace Section 11 of Article 1 to read:

“Equality of rights shall not be denied or abridged because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability, other immutable or ascriptive characteristic, or like grounds for discrimination, exclusion, or disadvantage, by any other person or by any firm, corporation, or institution, or by the state or any agency or subdivision of the state.
“The protection against discrimination afforded by this section is self-executing. To that end, equal rights for purposes of this section extend to every person whose protection against public and private discrimination is needed to ensure an inclusive society with equal opportunity for personal fulfillment and respect for everyone in New York in all their diversity.”

5. S502 GENDA (Squadron-D) Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act — prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression; crimes based on gender identity or expression treated under the hate crimes statute.

6. S6620 (Lanza-R) — requires all single occupancy bathrooms in state-owned or state-operated buildings to be designated as gender neutral single occupancy bathrooms.

Universal Single-Payer Health Coverage

7. S4840 (Rivera-D) New York Health Act — establishes universal single payer health plan to provide comprehensive health insurance for all New Yorkers.

Environment: Carbon Emissions Elimination

8. S6617A/A10342 (Avella-D) New York State Climate and Community Protection Act — America’s most ambitious climate bill:

  • eliminates greenhouse gas emissions from major sources by 2050;
  • establishes the “New York State Climate Action Council”, consisting of state agencies, environmental experts, environmental justice advocates, labor, and industry;
  • mandates that DEC establish greenhouse gas reporting requirements and emissions limits;
  • creates funding for renewable energy projects; profits from these would be reinvested in green jobs with a focus on marginalized communities;
  • requires 50% of energy produced by the New York Power Authority and the Long Island Power Authority to come from renewables by 2030; and
  • legally enforceable mandates for massive reductions in carbon emissions.

Immigration: Sanctuary State and DREAM Act

9. S4075 (Serrano-D) — New York State Liberty Act:

  • ensures that people are not unnecessarily questioned about immigration status when seeking state or local services, benefits or assistance;
  • establishes that state or local law enforcement agencies shall not stop, question, investigate or arrest a person based on perceived immigration status or suspected violation of federal immigration law;
  • generally prohibits law enforcement agencies from inquiring about the immigration status of persons contacting such agencies when in need of assistance, including victims and witnesses; require state and local agencies, employees, and health care providers to maintain the confidentiality of immigration status information, unless acting in accordance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, and other information absent valid consent of the individual;
  • prohibits the detention of individuals based on administratively-issued immigration detainers and require notification to an individual if an immigration warrant or related request has been filed;
  • curtails the use of state and local facilities for the purposes of federal immigration enforcement;
  • establishes a right to legal representation for persons subject to removal or deportation proceedings (the bill also amends Judiciary Law 35 for this purpose);
  • prohibits state and local agencies from expending resources to assist the federal government in the creation or maintenance of any database or registry based on race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national or ethnic origin

10. S471A (Peralta-D) New York State Dream Act — enacts a New York state DREAM Act by creating the New York DREAM fund commission and amends eligibility requirements and conditions governing certain awards.

Criminal Justice Reform

11. S6500 (Squadron-D) — revised version of Kalief’s Law — addresses the recurring problem of lengthy delays between arrest and trial which acutely affects indigent criminal defendants who cannot afford bail but maintain their innocence.

12. S4784 (Parker-D) — prohibits solitary confinement for vulnerable inmates, including people under the age of 21 and over the age of 55, people with mental illness or developmental disabilities, pregnant women and new mothers, and LGBTI inmates.

13. S809 (Hoylman-D) Child Victims Act — eliminates time limitations for prosecution for sexual crimes against children.

Voting Reform

14. S2950 (Stewart-Cousins-D) Early Voting Act — establishes an early voting system to permit in-person voting prior to any primary, special or general election day.

15. S5115 (Avella-D) Voter Enfranchisement Modernization Act of 2017 — establishes an electronic voter registration process and provides for online voter registration.

16. S3894 (Parker-D) — amends the Constitution by adding a new section 10 to prohibit the state or any political subdivision from imposing any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting that would result in the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color, religion, gender preference or disability.

17. S6164 (Hamilton-D) — ensures that no citizen is denied their right to vote based on race or minority status.

18. S3304 (Gianaris-D) Voter Empowerment Act — mandates automatic voter registration at government agencies; pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds; transferring voter registrations for people who move within the state; Internet access to voter registration records; online voter registration; and more convenient deadlines for voter registration and party enrollment.

19. S960 (Comrie-D) — restores voting rights to people whose maximum sentence has expired, or is serving parole, presumptive release, conditional release or post-release supervision.

20. S1659 (Carlucci-D) — broadens absentee voting for people who are unable to vote due to duties, occupation, business, personal matters or studies.

21. S3436 (Parker-D) Modernized Voter Registration Act — makes voter registration fully digital; requires eliminations of obstacles that make voting for disabled more difficult.

22. S1265 (Comrie-D) Voter Affidavit Amendment Act — eliminates requirement that affidavit ballot include prior address.

23. S2478 (Gianaris-D) — amends Constitution to remove requirement that voter registration must occur prior to 10 days before an election.

24. S2940 (Squadron-D) Party Enrollment Amendment Act — currently voter have to change their party registration one year before the election in which they want to vote; reduces party change to 25 days before the election.

25. S2788 (Akshar-R) Electronic Poll Books—replaces paper poll books with digital technology.

Special thanks to Julia Rogawski for original research.