Women's Equality Act Passes Assembly, Local Lawmakers Vote Against It

The Assembly has approved Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act including an abortion rights provision that split Albany down party lines.

Senate Republicans refused to allow the abortion measure to the floor in that chamber. The Senate plans to adopt the nine other women's rights initiatives in the 10-point package pushed by Governor Cuomo.

The items combat discrimination against women in the workplace and strengthen human trafficking laws. Those could be sent back to the Assembly today after Senate passage and voted into law.

The full package was approved by the Assembly in a 97-to-47 vote.

Local Republican Assemblymen Brian Kolb, Gary Finch, Bob Oaks, Bill Nojay, and Phil Palmesano all voted against the Women's Equality Act.

Governor Cuomo unveiled the 10-point bill earlier this month in Seneca Falls at the Women's Rights National Historical Park.


Gov. Cuomo in Seneca Falls on June 5th Speaking to 150 people inside the Wesleyan Chapel at the Women's Rights National Historical Park. The chapel is the site of the first Womens Right's Convention in in July 1848. Photo by Greg Cotterill, Finger Lakes News Radio.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb released the following statement following Thursday vote on the Women's Equailty Act.


The Fight for Women’s Equality Started in Seneca Falls, But Today it Stalled in Albany.


“Today, the Assembly Chamber voted on a 10-point bill that included a wide variety of measures important to women in New York State.  The 10 items included in the bill attempted to:


  • Achieve Pay Equity
  • Stop Sexual Harassment in All Workplaces
  • Remove Barriers to Remedying Discrimination
  • End Family Status Discrimination
  • Stop Housing Discrimination for Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Stop Source-of-Income Discrimination
  • Strengthen Order-of-Protection Laws
  • Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws
  • Stop Pregnancy Discrimination Once and For All
  • Expand Abortion in New York State


By choosing to vote on a single bill, rather than 10 individual pieces of legislation, the Assembly Majority ended any chance of this bill becoming law this session.  The Senate introduced the individual points of the ‘Women’s Equality Act’ as separate pieces of legislation. 

Without passing identical bills in each house of the Legislature, these measures cannot take effect and become law today.

The unfortunate reality is that at the end of this legislative session, women in New York will not have new legislation that addresses any of the 10 important issues that were voted on today.

I am proud that the members of the Assembly Minority Conference debated these items intelligently and passionately, and we remain committed to advancing many of the measures that have been proposed.  The decision by the Majority to play political games with these critical measures is disappointing because we lost the opportunity to implement important public policy for women.

 The Assembly Majority will do a victory lap on a bill that will not become law today.  New York’s women didn’t get historic legislation today – they got a sideshow.  The fight for women’s equality started in Seneca Falls, but today it stalled in Albany.”

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