Media Contact

Arianna Fishman,, 212-607-3372

January 5, 2022

NEW YORK – In anticipation of Governor Hochul’s State of the State address today, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“This is a moment of crisis that demands New York leadership and boldness. As Governor Hochul delivers her first State of the State address, we face an unprecedented and divisive nationwide assault on democracy that would eliminate abortion rights, take away the right to vote, erase truth from school curriculums, and rollback justice. I’ve never seen anything like it.

“New Yorkers and concerned Americans across the country are looking to New York not only to be a bulwark against these dangerous crusades, but also to be a beacon of progress and hope for democracy, inclusion, and human rights.

“We hope the governor will present an agenda that strengthens our democracy by enacting the nation’s most comprehensive state voting rights act and modernizing voting. New York should move to end mass incarceration by reforming our parole system and sentencing laws, decriminalizing drugs, embracing harm reduction, and ending the punishment of poverty, while defending recent reforms to bail. Two years after the largest protest movement in history, we must rein in abusive policing by getting police out of mental health crises, keeping them out of ICE collusion and cruelty, ending no-knock raids, demilitarizing their equipment and culture, ensuring independent discipline, and banning rogue DNA databases.

“As we acknowledge law enforcement is not the answer to all of our problems, we must deliver real solutions. We hope the governor will push to invest in our communities by supporting universal child care and universal high-speed internet. We must offer students solutions over suspensions as well as comprehensive sex ed. We must defend the labor rights of gig workers, whistleblowers, and farmworkers, and ensure wide and equitable access to vaccines and testing while protecting privacy and health data. Crucially, with the Supreme Court all but certain to wrench back our rights and end Roe, the Governor and state lawmakers should ensure that New York is an access state for abortion and reproductive freedom for the rest of the country, while also creating a path to equity for all by amending the state constitution to enshrine inclusive equal protections.

“The governor has the chance to work with the legislature to cut through the division and fear and deliver for our state and concerned Americans. She can ensure that New York leads the way.”