Improving the Lives of Women

My political activism was sparked through fighting for reproductive rights. When I was in college, a woman was not guaranteed a right to seek a safe, legal abortion. After college, I spent years as an activist, organizing around women’s rights. I have since been elected to office and have spent my career continuing to improve the lives of New York women and their families. I’m proud to be the “go to” person on Choice in the Assembly and lead debates on abortion and contraception. We’ve accomplished many victories over the years, but we still have a long way to go.

Women’s Health and Wellness

After five years of legislative wrangling, New York State passed my Women’s Health and Wellness bill into law in 2002. It reduced the age at which a mammogram would be covered by insurance from 50 to 40 years of age. It provided for coverage of bone density screening and it required contraceptive coverage in existing or future employee provided prescription drug plans.

Campus Safety

I am proud to have been sponsor of the 2009 amendments to the education law which now requires NYS colleges to providing incoming students with information on address domestic violence and stalking. This is a  includes prevention, laws, penalties and the college’s response to any incidents or offenses, including assistance for victims. The bill also requires a review of campus policies and procedures for educating the school community on reporting of incidents during investigations, referring complaints to proper authorities and counseling victims. In 2014, I was sponsor of the bill which was signed by the Governor which established the “yes means yes” protocol for sexual consent on college campuses throughout New York.

Paid Family Leave

The need for access to affordable child care and paid family leave are essential to improving the lives of women and families. I am proud to be co-sponsor of A1793-B, which was folded into the FY 2015 budget, which would provide paid family leave for injury, sickness, pregnancy or care of a sick relative. While the Federal Family Medical Leave Act guarantees access to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, many families can’t afford the loss of income. This bill would prevent people from having to choose between addressing medical conditions and paid work.

Affordable Child Care

I am pleased that during the 2014 budget negotiations, I was able to secure a restoration of cuts previously made to the SUNY and CUNY childcare centers. This additional funding allows more students to access affordable, quality child care on campuses across the state. This program not only provides employment for staff of the child care centers, but increases graduation rates for students and developmental outcomes for the children. The single best indicator for a child to pursue a college education is to see a parent do so. This is an added benefit to having childcare on campus.

Reproductive Health Act

As women are finding their reproductive health options narrowing in numerous states, the New York State Assembly has passed for the third year, my bill, the Reproductive Health Act. This legislations brings into alignment State law with existing Federal law. In Roe. V. Wade, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the United States Constitution protects a woman’s right to have an abortion prior to fetal viability or when necessary to protect the health of life of the woman. Although current State law does not have all these protections, this has, in fact been the law in New York for over forth years by virtue of Federal protections. With constant attacks on reproductive health, this bill is needed to codify the reproductive rights that women in New York have had since Roe.