PROGRESS REPORT: A historic year for New York State

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State Senator Brad Hoylman, center, with As

BY BRAD HOYLMAN | I have always been proud to be your state senator, but never more so than this year. Under the new Senate Democratic majority, the 2019 legislative session was one of the most transformative sessions in New York State history, positively impacting many people in our district.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, center, with Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, to the left of him, standing with tenant activists. (Courtesy Brad Hoylman’s Office)

We enacted historic and comprehensive protections for tenants; protected our environment by passing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act; protected abortion rights by enacting the Reproductive Health Act; expanded the lifesaving school speed-camera program; addressed our imbalanced criminal justice system by reforming our discovery and speedy trial laws, eliminating cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana; reformed our electoral process by authorizing early voting and closing the LLC loophole; took action to prevent gun violence by creating Extreme Risk Protection Orders and banning bump stocks and ghost guns; strengthened laws prohibiting sexual harassment and protecting equal pay in the workplace; passed the DREAM Act to make undocumented students eligible for financial aid; and stood up to President Trump’s politically motivated pardons by closing the “double jeopardy” loophole.

The state Senate passed 53 bills for which I was the lead sponsor. I’d like to tell you about some of them.

The Child Victims Act: The former Senate Republican majority talked a big game about protecting crime victims, but it took the new Senate Democratic majority to pass legislation I carried with Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal that the Republicans blocked for years: S.2440, the Child Victims Act, which allows people who were sexually abused as children to seek justice against their abusers.

The TRUST Act: Last month, Governor Cuomo signed into law my bill S.5072A, the TRUST Act, which enables New York to furnish state tax returns of elected officials — including the president of the United States — to requesting congressional committees.

Protecting Hudson River Park: A bill I sponsored with Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, S.6281A, will help Hudson River Park save millions in insurance costs in the wake of the Oct. 31, 2017, terror attack on the Hudson River bikeway and spend more on the green spaces we love, by requiring New York to indemnify the park for any lawsuits that arise out of incidents that occur along the Route 9A bikeway and greenway adjacent to the park.

Banning floating billboards: Another bill that I sponsored with Assemblymember Gottfried, S.6541A, bans floating digital billboards from the state’s navigable waters, including the Hudson and East rivers.

L.G.B.T.Q. legislation: Thanks to the new Senate Majority, the Senate passed its first L.G.B.T.Q.-specific legislation since the 2011 Marriage Equality Act. Bills I sponsored that passed both houses of the Legislature include S.1047 (GENDA), which I sponsored with Assemblymember Gottfried and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression and covers transgender people under the hate crime statute; S.1046, which I sponsored with Assemblymember Deborah Glick and bans so-called “conversion therapy” of minors; S.6573, which I sponsored with Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell and bans the so-called “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense; and S.45B, the Restoration of Honor Act, which restores eligibility for State veterans programs and benefits for servicemembers who received less-than-honorable discharges due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Protecting public health: Legislation I passed to protect the public health of New Yorkers included S.2994A, which banned nonmedical exemptions to vaccination, the abuse of which likely contributed to this year’s outbreak of measles in New York State; S.301A, which I sponsored with Assemblymember Rosenthal to discourage and reduce e-cigarette use among minors; and S.439A, which limits the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals.

Hoylman is state senator for the 27th District (Upper West Side, Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown, Hudson Yards, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Hudson Square, Noho, East Village, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village)