Year after year, the Assembly Majority has laid out a progressive agenda that puts families first. Many of the issues that took center stage this year started right here in the People's House. In recent years, our progressive agenda had little hope of becoming reality without support from our colleagues in the Senate, but this year was different.
Working with a Democratic Senate Majority for the first time in ten years, we were finally able to deliver the progressive legislation we have championed for years. Looking back on all we've accomplished this year, New Yorkers have a lot to be proud of.
Reforming our Criminal Justice System
The Assembly Majority has long been committed to reforming the state's outdated criminal justice system. During State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2019-20 Budget negotiations, we fought tirelessly for legislation and funding to expedite trials, end cash bail for low-level offenses and reform antiquated discovery laws.
For too long, our antiquated and unnecessarily harsh drug laws have disproportionately hurt communities of color. In recognition of this injustice, the Assembly Majority passed legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and expunge the records of those with low-level convictions.
We were finally able to see the Child Victim's Act become law, helping bring justice to survivors of childhood sexual abuse by allowing them more time to seek recourse as adults.
Passing Common Sense Gun Legislation
While the federal government continues to offer little more than "thoughts and prayers," the Assembly Majority has continually passed comprehensive common sense gun legislation to prevent and reduce gun violence.
This year, our partners in the State Senate joined us in passing legislation to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, ensure thorough background checks for gun purchases, prohibit school administrators from arming teachers and ban gun modifying devices such as bump stocks.
Updating New York's Antiquated Electoral System
My colleagues and I believe that the strength of our state's democratic process is dependent on the ability of New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote. In January, we passed a seven bill package of legislation to reform New York State's electoral process, expanding New Yorkers' access to the polls and bringing more transparency to campaign finance.
The package included legislation to establish an early voting period, expand absentee voting, combine the federal non-presidential primary and state primary, and ease voter registration processes.
Delivering Historic Housing Protections
As rent continues to skyrocket across the state, securing stable, affordable housing is more difficult than ever. With rent regulations set to expire on June 15, 2019, the Assembly Majority fought tirelessly to pass legislation extending and strengthening rent protections for tenants across New York.
Safeguarding New York's Immigrant Communities
The Assembly Majority recognizes that immigrants are a vital thread in the social and economic fabric of our state. While the administration in Washington continues its assault on hardworking immigrants, we have repeatedly affirmed our commitment to protecting all New York families, regardless of immigration status.
For years we championed the New York State DREAM Act to advance the educational opportunities of children of immigrant New Yorkers. This year, thanks to our new partners in the State Senate, the Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act will finally become the law of the land.
Until 2001, the right to obtain a driver's license was extended to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. This year, my colleagues and I passed the Driver's License Access and Privacy Act, also known as the Green Light Bill, to restore that right. The legislation will create safer roads for all New Yorkers, boost the state's economy and protect hardworking New Yorkers and their families.
Protecting New Yorkers' Rights
In January, the Assembly Majority got right to work protecting New Yorkers' rights with the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act and the "Boss Bill" to protect women's reproductive rights and ensure access to family planning for all.
For years, we championed legislation to protect the rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers. This year, those efforts finally paid off with the passage of GENDA, legislation banning conversion therapy and a measure to end the use of gay and trans panic defenses passing both houses of the legislature.
This year, the legislature held hearings to receive testimony from victims, advocates and experts regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. We used that testimony to craft and pass legislation to increase protections against discriminatory harassment in the workplace.
Protecting our Environment
While the administration in Washington continues to roll back environmental protections and deny the existence and consequences of climate change, New York has taken bold steps to protect our environment and precious natural resources.
Despite the many environmental disasters that have been caused by offshore drilling and overwhelming scientific evidence linking the use of fossil fuels to dangerous climate patterns, Washington continues to aggressively pursue fossil fuel exploration. This year, the Assembly passed legislation to prohibit oil and natural gas drilling in New York's coastal areas.
We also took a major step in reducing the state's plastic usage and plastic pollution. As part of the approved SFY 2019-20 Budget, New York banned plastic carryout bags to protect the state's waterways and the environment.
The Assembly also passed the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act to combat climate change by requiring the state to cut 85 percent of its greenhouse-gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.
Establishing Sustainable Funding for the Metropolitan Transit Authority
My colleagues and I also recognize that the MTA is a critical economic driver in New York State and is in desperate need of updates and repairs. With the enactment of the SFY 2019-20 Budget, we announced a groundbreaking congestion pricing plan to establish a sustainable revenue stream for the MTA.