SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Based on the turmoil of high-profile indictments and resulting swift changes in leadership, many observers of what happens in Albany might have concluded early on that this would be a lost session. Yet despite assumptions that this would just be another year of dysfunction and corruption, I am pleased and proud to report that this was one of the most productive legislative sessions for championing the rights of women.
Without fanfare, the Assembly has passed nine important bills, previously subsumed in the Women’s Equality Agenda. These bills, to highlight a few, will prohibit pay disparity based on gender, ban sexual harassment in the workplace and require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees in the workplace.
I am especially gratified that the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, a bill I authored, was among the nine passed. The TVPJA will strengthen our human trafficking laws by, among other things, holding buyers and traffickers more accountable, providing law enforcement with additional investigative tools to identify traffickers, increasing awareness among law enforcement officials to enable them to recognize trafficking victims and refer them to services, and providing victims the ability to recover damages from their traffickers.
With the Senate having passed these bills, once they have been signed into law, we will be better able to ensure that women can pursue their goals and lead successful lives, free from discrimination, harassment, exploitation and abuse. Although we still have work to do to achieve women’s equality in all respects, we have taken enormous strides forward this year toward that end.
Amy Paulin is New York state Assemblywoman representing the 88th District. She is also a Scarsdale resident.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.