2015 Legislative Women’s Caucus Legislative Report

Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo, Chair
January 6, 2016

The 2015 legislative session produced several bills uniquely affecting women. The following identifies legislation that passed the Assembly, Senate and signed in to law by the Governor.

Child Care

Standardizes Child Care: Standardizes child care copayments by instructing local Department of Social Services not to require families receiving child care assistance to contribute more than 20% of the amount of their income exceeding the poverty level. (A6174 Russell; Passed Assembly)

Map of Publicly Funded Programs: Directs the council on children and families to establish an online listing and map of publicly funded or registered afterschool and school age child care programs. (S1465 Kennedy/A1869 Mayer; Passed Assembly)

Simplify Child Care Application: Direct local Department of Social Services to utilize the simplified application for persons applying only for child care assistance. (S5419 Serino/A4469 Barrett; Vetoed Memo 226)

Post Additional Qualifications of Day Care Providers: Allow providers the ability to post their completed training and credentialing achievements on the New York State Office of Children and Family Services website. This will help the credibility of providers and aid parents in their search for quality child care. (S742 Kennedy/A1864 Mayer; Passed Assembly)

Reimbursement for Child Care Absences: Requires local Department of Social Services make payments to providers for at least 12 absences in a 6 month period. OCFS would set the maximum number of absences allowed for reimbursement, which would not be less than 24 absences in a 6 month period, unless extenuating circumstances exist. (S5009 Felder/A6568 Lupardo; Passed Assembly)

Adequate Reimbursements: Further protections for child care providers would reduce financial shortfalls by aligning reimbursement rates with current licensing standards for children up to two years of age and ensuring that home based providers receive and adequate subsidy to compensate for the level of care that is being provided. (A7191 Simotas; Passed Assembly)

Create Commission for Early Learning: The Early Learning Investment Commission would help secure support for public and private investment in early learning for children up to the age of five. (S4421 Avella/A6629 Lupardo; Vetoed Memo 208)

Child Care Needs: Require the state Department of Labor to take child care need into account when considering unemployment work search requirements. (S4780 Sander/A4780 Solages; Passed Assembly)

Create A Child Care Regulatory Review Task Force: The Child Care Regulatory Review Task Force would review administrative and regulatory requirements of all state agencies governing child care programs with the goal to eliminating duplicative processes and streamlining requirements. (S5091 Ritchie/A7135 Gunther; Vetoed Memo. 236)

Breastfeeding Mother’s Bill of Right: This bill provide support for breastfeeding as the best modality to achieve infants’ immediate and long term health outcomes by making mothers aware of their rights to take reasonable unpaid breaks at work in order to pump breastmilk. (S5183 Hannon/A7202A Gunther; Chapter 446)

Discrimination

Removing Barriers to Remedying Discrimination: The purpose of this bill is to allow for reasonable attorney's fees in housing, employment and credit discrimination cases when sex is a basis of discrimination. (S3 Little/A7189 Dinowitz; Chapter 364)

Employment Discrimination against Reproductive Health: Prohibit employers from discriminating or taking any retaliatory personnel action based on employees’ or their dependents reproductive health decisions. (S2709A Krueger/A1142-A Jaffee; Passed Assembly)

Domestic Relations

New Formulas for Spousal Support: This measure would enact new guidelines for both temporary and post-divorce maintenance and spousal support. (S5678 Bonacic/A7645 Weinstein; Chapter 269)

Spousal Maintenance and Child Support: This bill would amend the family court act and the domestic relations law, in relation to spousal maintenance and child support in Supreme and Family Court. (S5691 Bonacic/ A7637 Seawright; Chapter 387)

Domestic Violence

The Purchasing or Possessing a Firearm: Improve public safety and prevent domestic violence incidents from escalating into greater violence by keeping guns out of the hand of the perpetrators. (A6340 O’Donnell; Passed Assembly)

Surrender of Weapons: To require the immediate surrender of any firearms, rifles, shotguns, black powder rifles, black powder shotguns, muzzle-loading firearms and antique firearms that are owned or possessed by a person upon his or her conviction of offenses determined to be misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. (A5257 Paulin; Passed Assembly)

Prohibit Discrimination: This bill would prohibit discrimination against victims of domestic violence in employment and provide a limited reasonable accommodation provision.

(S2027 Hassell-Thompson/A272 Weinstein; Passed Assembly)

Prevent Housing Discrimination: Prohibits discrimination in housing based upon domestic violence and establishes a task force to study the impact of source of income on access to housing. (S5 Robach/A6354-A Peoples-Stokes; Chapter 366)

Aid Domestic Violence Victims: Requires hospitals to establish policies and procedures regarding domestic violence; establishes ongoing training programs on domestic violence for all current and new hospital employees; designates a hospital staff member to coordinate services to victims; provides for the interaction of hospitals with community domestic violence service providers in order to coordinate services to victims of domestic violence; requires hospitals to offer to contact a local advocate when admitting or treating a confirmed or suspected victim of domestic violence. (S1067 Parker/A1232 Lavine; Passed Assembly)

Translate Domestic Violence Reports: Require that police translate domestic incident reports if they are filled out in a language other than English and to also require that victims are notified of their rights in their native language. (S4288 Hoylman/A4347 Devila; Chapter 432)

Orders of Protection Be Translated: To require the court to direct a court appointed interpreter who has been appointed to assist in a proceeding, to translate into the appropriate language on the record the essential terms outlined by the court of any temporary or final order of protection issued by the court. (S1788 Espaillat/A162 Weinstein; Passed Assembly)

Release Domestic Violence Victims for Cell Phone Contact: Requires wireless telephone companies that offer shared or family plans to allow victims of domestic violence to be released from the account without penalty in instances of domestic violence. (S1406 Parker/A326 Rozic; Passed Assembly)

File Temporary Order of Protection Electronically: Establishes a pilot program for the filing of petitions for temporary orders of protection by electronic means and for issuance of such orders ex parte by audio-visual means and to amend the executive law, in relation to review and reports by the chief administrator of the courts. (S6 Young/A6262 Joyner; Chapter367)

Education

Female Genital Mutilation: Increase public awareness and educate the public regarding the physical, sexual and psychological consequences of undergoing female genital mutilation, including through "vacation cutting" in which young women are sent out of state to undergo the procedure, typically during school vacations. (S3483/ Lanza/A134 Paulin; Chapter 419)

Education and Outreach Programs: Educate the public about the availability of counseling programs, education programs and advocacy services provided at no cost by govern-mental agencies and not-for-profit organizations for victims of sexual offenses and for victims of child pornography promotion and possession. (S3486 Lanza/A86 Paulin; Chapter 418)

Careers in Technology: Provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics grants for the encouragement of women and minorities to pursue careers in technology.

(S1960 Roback/A968 Rosenthal; Vetoed Memo 276)

Family Leave

Paid Family Leave Act: The Paid Family Leave Act will enable all workers to maintain employment and still receive some income while on leave to care for and elderly relative, manage an unexpected medical emergency, bond with a newborn or adopted child.

(S3004 Addabbo/A3870 Nolan; Passed Assembly)

Health

Extend Enrollment Period for Pregnant Women: Establish eligibility for a special enrollment period allowing pregnant women to enroll in health insurance policies in the state at any time. Also, coverage would be effective the first of the month in which pregnancy is established. (S5972 Seward/A6780B Simotas; Chapter 581)

Protect School Children for Second Hand Smoke: Prohibits the smoking of tobacco products within 100 feet of entrances, exits or outdoor space of any after-school program in the state. Signs must be posted indicating the times of day when smoking is prohibited. (S993A Rivera/A5917-A Pichardo; Chapter 100)

Gifts for Women’s Cancers: Provides for taxpayer gifts for women's cancers education and prevention; establishes the women's cancers education and prevention fund; defines women's cancer to mean and include cervical, endometrial, gestational trophoblastic tumor, ovarian, uterine sarcoma, vaginal, and vulvar. (S5902 Serino/A382-A Rosenthal; Chapter 420)

Human Trafficking

Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act: This bill will strengthen New York’s existing human trafficking laws by increasing penalties for sex and labor human trafficking, escalating penalties for promoting prostitution and patronizing minors for prostitution, extending the inter-agency task force on human trafficking, requiring anti-human trafficking training for law enforcement, creating a civil right of action to enable victims of human trafficking to sue their perpetrator for damages, and establishing an affirmative defense in prostitution prosecutions if the defendant was a sex-trafficking victim. (S7 Lanza/A506 Paulin; Chapter 368)

Waive DNA Databank Fee: Waive the DNA databank fee for person convicted of an offense and found to be a victim of human trafficking. (S2469A Lanza/A2469 Paulin; Chapter 426)

Safe Housing for Trafficking Victims: Requires the State Office of Temporary and Disability Services to make safe accessible housing available to victims. (A2953 Lentol; Passed Assembly)

Target Locations and Trafficking Network: Establish a statewide hotline to report suspicions of human trafficking. With the establishment of a toll-free number, victims of human trafficking, or those who witness suspicious activity, may quickly connect with the Attorney General's office, which can then swiftly investigate and refer human trafficking cases for prosecution. (S 4331 Funke/A2636 Hevesi; Passed Assembly)

Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking: Extend and expand upon the InteragencyTask Force on Human Trafficking originally established in 2007 and set to expire this year, until 2019. The Task Force is responsible for collecting and analyzing data on human trafficking, identifying social service programs for victims, developing recommendations for prevention, protection and assisting victims, establishing protocols for law enforcement and related organizations, and increasing public awareness. (S4763 Funke/A551 Hevesi; Passed Assembly and Senate)

Recognize Signs of Human Trafficking: Establish training for employees of hotel and gaming facilities to recognize signs of human trafficking. (A3419 Titone; Passed Assembly)

Pay Equity

New York State Fair Pay Act: Prohibits the payment of differential wages between employees on the basis of gender, race or national origin and protect workers against retaliation by employers for sharing wage information with their colleagues. (S2707 Savino/A6937 Titus; Passed Assembly)

Wage Discrimination: Prohibits employer from differential wages to workers who are performing the same duties. (S1 Savino/ A6075 Titus; Chapter 362)

Fair and Equal Pay: Implements state policy of fair and equal pay for equivalent value of work; provides that the principle of fair and equal pay for similar work and for equivalent value of work shall be followed in the classification and reclassification and the allocation and reallocation of positions and all positions having the same title shall be allocated the same salary grade. (S4936 Avella/A1574 Jaffee; Passed Assembly)

Civil Service Job Titles: Seeks to comply with the federal equal pay act of 1963 by implementing a state policy of compensating employees in state service equally for work of comparable value by eliminating wage inequality in job titles having been segregated by sex, race or national origin; requires the president of the civil service commission to report annually to the legislature and the governor on those segregated titles for which wage disparity exists; mandates governor to appropriate monies to ensure wage disparities are corrected. (S3249 Montgomery/A0437 Rosenthal; Passed Assembly)

Wage Disparities Report: Directs the president of the civil service commission to study and publish a report evaluating public employers wage disparities related to the job titles segregated by the gender, race and/or national origin of the employees in the title. (S3786 Parker/A5008 Lifton; Passed Assembly)

Reproductive Health Services

Reproductive Rights: New York State will guarantee and protect access to women’s reproductive health services, as established by the United States Supreme Court in the decision Roe v. Wade. (S4432 Stewart-Cousins/A6221 Glick; Passed Assembly)

Dependents’ Reproductive Health Decisions: Prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on the employees' or dependent's reproductive health decisions. (S2709A Krueger/A1142-A Jaffee; Passed Assembly)

Sexual Assault

Define the Definition of Rape: This bill would amend the definition of rape to include other forms of nonconsensual sexual conduct that are currently recognized by the law as criminal sexual acts and would remove the penetration requirement from the statutes. (A4959-A Simotas; Passed Assembly)

Forcible Touching: increase the penalty when a person subjects another person to sexual contact for the purpose of gratifying the actor's sexual desire and with intent to degrade or abuse such other person while such other person is a passenger aboard public transportation. (S3203 Golden/A4969B Simotas; Chapter 250)

Order of Protection Expiration Date: Extend the expiration date of an order of protection issued as a result of certain sexual assault offenses. (S4340B Serino/A1797A Paulin; Chapter 240)

Military Sexual Trauma: Requires veteran organizations to provide assistance to veterans which adequately addresses military sexual trauma experienced by veterans due to their military service. (A7260/Russell; Passed Assembly)

Women and Working Families

Stop Discrimination on Familial Status: Prohibit discrimination against an individual's familial status for purposes relating to hiring, employment and volunteer practices. (A6183 Russell; Passed Assembly)

Stop Discrimination Based on Family Status: Prohibit employers from denying work or promotions based on family status. (S4 Little/A7317 Russell; Chapter365)

Accommodation for Pregnant Employees: Requires reasonable accommodation for pregnant employees. (S8 Hannon/A4272 Gunther; Chapter 369)

Unlawful Discriminatory Practices: This bill would help to ensure that employees are not forced to choose between continuing their career and starting a family. Also strengthen protection against sexual harassment in the workplace. (S2 Valesky/A5360 Galef; Chapter 363)

Child Care for Working Families: Provides that parents and caretakers who are otherwise eligible for a child care subsidy shall receive a subsidy when care is necessary to enable them to sleep because they work a late shift and have a child who is under the age of six and not in school for a full school day; further provides that the authorization for a subsidy shall be sufficient to allow the parent to obtain eight hours of sleep. (S518 Savino/A775 Jaffee; Passed Assembly)

Unemployment Benefits: Allows child care as a compelling family reason to separate from employment, allowing otherwise eligible parents to apply for unemployment benefits. (A7004 Lupardo; Passed Assembly)

Work Exemption: Allow a 12 month work exemption for households receiving public assistance with a child under the age of one, provided that the commissioner of social services district is unable to provide all eligible working families with child assistance. (S5176 Avella/A1805 Titus; Passed Assembly)

Protection for Nail Salon Workers: Relates to authorizing the secretary of state to order the cessation of unlicensed appearance enhancement activity and to register trainees in the practice of nail specialty. (S5966 Venditto/A7630A Kim; Chapter 80)