Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday vowed to push again for his 10-point Women’s Equality Act in 2014, warning Senate Republicans and their “co-conspirators” that the legislative battle over the bill will extend into a second year.
Speaking at an endorsement rally in White Plains, Cuomo touted his efforts to boost the state’s economy and ran through a slew of his legislative priorities. When he got to a slate of women’s issues he pushed this year, he turned the focus squarely on the state Senate.
“We’re going to go back to Albany in January and we’re going to tell the Republicans in the Senate and the co-conspirators of the Republicans in the Senate, you pass the Women’s Equality Act because that’s what New Yorkers believe in and that’s what New Yorkers want,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo didn’t specifically refer to the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, but the four-member breakaway caucus paired with the GOP this year to share control of the chamber and keep Senate Democrats out of power.
The Women’s Equality Act was proposed by Cuomo earlier this year and included provisions that would enact equal-pay requirements and strengthen New York’s abortion laws, among others. But it never made it back to Cuomo’s desk after Senate Republicans refused to vote on the abortion plank and Assembly Democrats refused to separate it out.
The IDC supported the abortion provision, but the Senate’s power-sharing structure requires leaders of both the IDC and the Senate GOP to sign off to bring anything to a vote. Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, did make a last-ditch effort to force the abortion bill to the floor on the last day of this year’s legislative session, but a procedural maneuver fell a single vote short allowing it to move forward.
Cuomo’s comment Saturday came a few days after Capital New York reported he and New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio discussed backing primary challenges to the members of the IDC. On Wednesday, Cuomo didn’t confirm or deny the report, instead saying he doesn’t “want to have any political conversations until next year.”
IDC spokesman Eric Soufer said the conference remains supportive of Cuomo’s bill.
“Last session, every member of the Independent Democratic Conference voted in favor of the full Women’s Equality Act,” Soufer said Saturday. “All of our members would like nothing more than to see Roe v. Wade codified into New York state law.”
Via The Journal News’ Tania Savayan, below is a video dispatch from the rally Saturday, in which Cuomo endorsed three Democrats in county executive races — Noam Bramson in Westchester, David Fried in Rockland and Roxanne Donnery in Orange. A tip of the hat to The Journal News’ Erik Shilling for providing audio of Cuomo’s remarks.