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Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins Pays a Visit to Scarsdale

StewartCousinsAndrea Stewart-Cousins, the first woman and the first African American woman to serve as majority leader of the NYS Senate paid a visit to the Scarsdale Forum on December 11, proud to announce that this was the most productive session in the history of the NYS Legislature.

She reported that though the legislature is still dominated by men, the majority conference this year is very diverse and includes a Salvadorn senator, two Colombian senators, a Costa Rican, a Taiwanese, a southeast Asian and the Senate’s first Muslim senator.

Stewart-Cousins proudly said, “We demonstrated that we could govern, keep the promises we made to voters, pass an on-time budget, and be progressive. With a Democratic majority in both houses, the legislature passed 935 bills, many that she called “substantive and historic” that generally take a year to get through.

Among the bills that passed were the Reproductive Health Act which legalized abortion at any time "when necessary to protect a woman's life or health or in the absence of fetal viability. The act allows licensed health care practitioners other than physicians to perform abortions if doing so falls within their lawful scope of practice.

Also passed was the Child Victims Act that extends the statute of limitations for a survivor of child sexual abuse in criminal and civil cases in New York. This means there is now more time for a survivor of child sexual abuse to press criminal charges. And, in civil cases, the CVA extends the period of time during which a survivor of child sexual abuse can file a claim for money damages.

Another groundbreaking bill enacted into law was the Green Light Law which restored the right to obtain a license, regardless of immigration status, that existed prior to 2001. According to Stewart-Cousins this legislation will allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally and foster economic growth and make roads safer. She said, “This is the right step forward for New York State as we continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level.”

Upcoming issues before the NYS State Senate will be the $6 billion deficit in the upcoming state budget, which is largely due to an increase in the state’s Medicaid costs.

Stewart-Cousins discussed an upcoming state census which will largely be done online – and will determine future representation in the state. She also noted that the date for the state primaries has been moved to June from September to align with the federal primaries. This means that the session for the state legislature will be condensed.

Learn more about Stewart-Cousins here:

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