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Gov. Cuomo finally released the legislation for his 10-point women's equality plan yesterday. The Senate poses the biggest hurdle for the act, due to the abortion measure. A spokesperson for the Senate Republican leader said the GOP could come to an agreement on all nine other measures, but they don't plan to bring the abortion part of the act up for a vote. Cuomo says he's unwilling to sever that provision from the other parts of the bill. Business interests also raised concerns that the legislation pose the risk of unnecessary legal action against employers.
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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is weathering criticism for his handling of recently-resigned Assemblyman Vito Lopez's harassment suit. In response, he's announced plans to create an independent investigator for sexual harassment complaints and mandatory reporting of them. Many are calling for the speaker's resignation, including one Assemblyman who threatened to leave the Democratic conference if he didn't step down. Silver has apologized for authorizing a secret settlement in Lopez's harassment suit, but says resignation is "ridiculous." The scandal may have weakened his bargaining power, but he has a strong grasp on power in the state. Gov. Cuomo has reportedly decided not to call a special election to replace Lopez to keep him from wielding influence over his successor. The governor also says the harassment scandal proves the need for passage of his women's agenda.
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It has been three months since Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State Address and announced a 10-point plan to address injustices facing women in today's society.
Since then, Cuomo has successfully passed major gun law changes and enacted a state budget.
Supporters of the plan expectthe legislation will resemble the already-proposed Reproductive Health Act that would take abortion out of New York's penal code and make it part of health law. But the wide-ranging proposal was also supposed to deal with human trafficking, pay discrepency and sexual harassment.
Cuomo indicated earlier this week on Susan Arbetter's The Capitol Pressroom radio show that he is in no hurry to introduce precise bill language on the issue.
“Oftentimes they don’t want the bill to come to the floor for a vote because they don’t want to take the position,” Cuomo told Arbetter, adding, “What we need to do is strip away the devil is in the details as just an excuse.”