Senate Majority to Advance Legislation to Combat Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking
(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Majority recently advanced legislation to support survivors of domestic violence and combat human trafficking in New York State that builds on the Conference’s continued work to provide greater protections for those impacted by domestic violence and the horrors of human trafficking. This package will relieve survivors of domestic violence from utility contracts, expand eligibility for the “Non-Parent” Grant, seize firearms from perpetrators, expand the statute of limitations on domestic violence claims, aid prosecutors in identifying repeat offenders, and protect the voting records of victims of sexual and domestic violence.
In addition, this legislative package will require public posting of human trafficking information, mandate state contractors to submit human trafficking prevention statements, expand the statute of limitations on human trafficking claims, and establish human trafficking recognition training for all lodging employees. This package also includes legislation to enact the “New York State Transparency in Supply Chains Act,” increase the legal marriage age to 18 and classify clergy members as mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and maltreatment.
“Domestic violence has no place in New York State, and we in the state government have a responsibility to address this unacceptable scourge and provide assistance and support to those impacted by this horrible crime,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We must also do everything we can to help end human trafficking and to aid this increasingly isolated group. When people start to learn about human trafficking and its signs, survivors can better receive the assistance they need. I am proud to take action on these serious issues where victims too often remain in the shadows, and I commend the sponsors for their efforts on these bills. We will continue to bring forth legislation to strengthen our community and foster an environment in which domestic violence and human trafficking is better recognized and prevented.”
The legislation being passed by the Senate Majority, includes:
• Relief from Contracts: This bill, S.1557A, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, allows individuals to break contracts with utility, phone and television providers when fleeing instances of domestic violence.
• Expand Eligibility for the “Non-Parent” Grant: This bill, S.2586, sponsored by Senator Jabari Brisport, will remove the requirement of establishing paternity or a child support order for certain applicants or recipients of aid to dependent children.
• Domestic Violence Records for Prosecutors: This bill, S.404, sponsored by Senator Alessandra Biaggi, will allow prosecutors to have access to past orders of protection in domestic violence cases so they can charge abusers with criminal contempt if they violated a past order of protection.
• Seizure of Firearms Following an Order of Protection: This bill, S.6363, sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer, requires the court to order a search and immediate seizure of certain firearms when a defendant refuses to surrender firearms upon the issuance of an order of protection.
• The Phoenix Act: This bill, S.3020A, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, will expand the statute of limitations for domestic violence cases.
• Voter Record Confidentiality: This bill, S.1555, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, permits a person who is a victim of domestic violence to have their voter registration records sealed upon delivering an affirmation to a board of elections, instead of applying to court.
• Sealing Voting Records For Domestic Violence Victims: This bill, S.3855, sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, allows victims of sexual violence protection against their attacker by enabling them to have their voter records sealed in the same manner as victims of domestic violence.
• Posting Human Trafficking Hotline Information: This bill, S.3374, sponsored by Senator Jamaal Bailey, requires signs developed by the State Liquor Authority to be posted providing human trafficking information and referral hotline numbers in all establishments selling alcoholic beverages and adult entertainment establishments.
• State Contractors to Submit a Statement on Human Trafficking: This bill, S.1216, sponsored by Senator Brian Benjamin, will require all parties submitting bids for competitively bid state procurement contracts to affirm under penalty of perjury that the goods, work or services will be supplied or performed without doing business with any organization, person or entity engaging in human trafficking and to submit their written anti-human trafficking policy, if any.
• Statute of Limitation Extension: This bill, S.672, sponsored by Senator James Sanders, Jr. extends the statute of limitations from 10 years to 15 years to give human trafficking victims more time to file a civil cause of action.
• Human Trafficking Training and Awareness: This bill, S.244A, sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer, will require lodging facilities to provide a human-trafficking recognition training program to all employees.
• New York State Transparency in Supply Chains Act: This bill, S.748, sponsored by Senator Alessandra Biaggi, will establish the “New York State Transparency in Supply Chains Act” requiring businesses within the state to disclose their preventative measures against human trafficking.
• Increases the Age of Consent for Marriage: This bill, S.3086, sponsored by Senator Senator Julia Salazar, will increase the age of consent for purposes of marriage to the age of eighteen.
• The Child Abuse Reporting Expansion Act: This bill, S.1399, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, adds clergy members to the list of mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and maltreatment.
Bill Sponsor, Senator Jamaal Bailey, said, “Cases of human trafficking and domestic violence have skyrocketed recently in New York. This package of legislation works towards addressing the scourge of human trafficking and increasing the level of awareness of this ongoing societal problem so that we can end it. I am proud to have sponsored one of the pieces of legislation in this package. My bill, S3374, would mandate that any establishment with a liquor license as well as all adult entertainment venues must have a sign that prominently displays contact information related to the human trafficking hotline and displayed in their business. Additionally, this package addresses common loopholes that are often used against survivors of domestic violence. With the passage of these bills, survivors can rest assured that their voting records and information will be sealed, they will be provided with contract relief when fleeing due to domestic violence, and there will be a seizure of firearms after an order of protection is issued. This legislative package is a great step in ensuring that we are protecting our survivors and working towards preventing human trafficking across the State of New York. I would like to thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins for her leadership and my colleagues who joined me in sponsoring legislation for this package.”