ALBANY−The New York Civil Liberties Union today laid out an agenda for the State legislature after a special election yesterday filled empty seats in the statehouse. The NYCLU’s agenda for the remainder of the legislative session includes three core areas: defending democracy, fighting hate and securing equal justice.
“The ink has dried on the budget, the empty seats are filled in the statehouse, and there are two months left in the legislative session. There is no excuse for lawmakers to sit on their hands,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “It’s time for Albany to get to work to ensure that New Yorkers don’t have to wait any longer for real reforms to our voting process, criminal justice system and reproductive health protections. New Yorkers are counting on our lawmakers to protect and expand our rights. The Governor and lawmakers laid out an ambitious agenda at the beginning of this session to insulate New Yorkers from the harms of the Trump regime. Now is the time to keep those promises.”
The NYCLU’s three-point agenda includes:
Defending our Democracy: The Governor’s executive order restoring voting rights of people on parole was a good step, but we need Albany to stand up for democracy by passing early voting, automatic voter registration, and other reforms that will ensure all eligible voters have the opportunity to participate in our government.
Fighting the Hate: We need to close the loopholes in the state’s human rights law so that public school students are protected from bullying, discrimination and harassment in public schools. And at a time when reproductive rights are under attack from Washington, New York lawmakers must pass a women’s agenda that increases contraceptive coverage and decriminalizes abortion.
Securing Equal Justice: We still need to fix our criminal justice system so that no one is locked up in a New York jail because they can’t afford to buy their way out on bail. We need to close the loopholes in our speedy trial law and change the laws that allow prosecutors to hide important evidence from defense attorneys. We need to legalize and regulate marijuana sales so that people of color don’t continue to bear the burden of unequal enforcement and criminalization. And finally, lawmakers should pass the Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act to ensure transparency and accountability in policing.