Friday, June 14, 2013

End of Session Updates

Monday was the 50th anniversary of the day Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act, which requires employers to pay women the same salary they pay men doing the same work. Decked out in 1963 styling (our own Barbara Thomas was rocking some bell-bottoms – I stuck to a dress suit), members of the Women’s Equality Coalition held a press conference to say that, 50 years later, women still don’t have equal pay and we can’t wait another 50 years to take action on the issue – the legislature must enact the WEA now! WEA legislative champions, Assmeblywoman Janet Duprey and Senator Liz Krueger joined us, as well as a former Ms. New York (who we ran into in the LOB before the press conference and was very happy to join us). Check out the Time Union coverage for video of the event (and to see hippy Barb)!

Campaign finance reform was highlighted on Tuesday, as the governor released his three-part public ethics agenda, which includes campaign finance reform. We were pleased to see Governor Cuomo bringing attention to campaign finance reform in these closing weeks of session – his leadership is critical for the passage of a comprehensive campaign finance reform package. We must now urge legislative leaders to bridge the difference between the three major reform packages and bring a vote to the floor. Click here to read the League’s statement released Tuesday. Tuesday also saw yet another anti-SAFE Act rally, though a considerably smaller one than previous months’. The gun-violence issue has been put to rest in the legislature and will now play out in the courts.

On Wednesday, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (extreme “right to life” advocates hailing primarily from western New York) converged on the capitol by the busload, spreading misinformation and straight-out lies about the reproductive health measure in the WEA. My fellow, Sarah, even overheard some of them telling a senator that “this [bill] is so radical that even pro-choicers don’t want it.” Make sure to correct that lie and keep telling your legislators how important it is to you that they pass the WEA this session! The reproductive health measure of WEA is not an “abortion expansion” as the pro-lifers are so fond of saying – It is merely a codification of Roe into New York law!

As we enter into the final week of session (session is expected to end the end of next week), we see more and more power suits about the capitol. The area outside of the Senate chambers has become much denser with lobbyist (and constituents) jockeying to knock bills down and get others through. As usual, the League will continue to advocate hard for our issues through the end of session.

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