Gov. Andrew Cuomo today said the state Legislature should return to Albany and reconcile their differences on his Women’s Equality Act, saying they should pass the measures that excludes an abortion-rights piece.
The state Senate and Assembly passed separate versions of Cuomo’s women’s rights package on Friday. The Democratic-led Assembly passed all 10 points, including a piece that strengthens abortion rights in New York. The Senate didn’t vote on the measure because of Republicans’ opposition, but passed the nine other components—which includes pay equity for women and tougher domestic-violence regulations.
“That has to be reconciled because those nine laws literally made history,” Cuomo told reporters in Buffalo, adding, “The nine laws that we did pass really make a difference for women, and they have to become a reality and I’m sure they will.”
Women’s groups and legislators appeared split Friday night on whether the Assembly should take up the nine points, rather than hold out for all 10. The Assembly left without taking action on the nine, despite calls by some women’s groups for the Assembly to act.
Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca, said the Assembly should hold out for the abortion piece.
“Women’s’ rights can’t be separated out and certainly reproductive rights are one of the core and most essential rights to women,” she said today. “It’s something the women and, frankly, the people of New York strongly support.”
Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, D-Ossining, Westchester County, said she wants all 10 points too, but said maybe there will be an opportunity for the sides to negotiate a package that would pass both houses.
“We had the pressure of time. So let’s let some time go by and have people’s thoughts and some meetings and see what direction we go.”