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Cuomo sets new standards for New York State

by Kristina Livingston - Executive Editor
Tue, Apr 10th 2018 11:50 am

Between March 31 and April 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced multiple changes to New York State law relating to issues such as  gun violence and gender equity across the state, announcing aspects of the 2019 state budget on Twitter.

Cuomo cemented a deal with the state legislature that will restrict gun ownership amongst individuals with domestic abuse convictions. According to WGRZ, the restrictions were proposed during state budget negotiations and were approved as a separate bill.

The law will take effect 60 days after its March 31 passage, and will require court systems to actively keep the State Department of Criminal Services up-to-date on new abuse convictions. It will prohibit those convicted of certain domestic abuse charges from purchasing firearms, and calls for the repossession of guns from those with such convictions.

Previously, laws prevented convicted felons of purchasing and owning guns but those did not extend to domestic abusers.

“The recent wave of mass shootings is horrifying, and the federal government’s failure to act on any form of meaningful gun safety laws is unconscionable,” Cuomo said in a statement. “New York is once again leading the way to prevent gun violence, and with this common sense reform, break the inextricable link between gun violence and domestic violence.”

According to Albany-based social service organization Prevent Child Abuse in New York, it hopes that the law will aid in trauma reduction for children.

“Children exposed to domestic violence suffer trauma that impacts the rest of their lives,” the group said in a statement. “This legislation will help keep families safe and prevent greater trauma down the line.”

In addition to reacting to the increase in gun violence, the current state administration is bordering on success in a long fight to make menstrual products for students in grades 6-12 free. The plan to include menstrual products in school bathrooms was vocalized in Cuomo’s January Women’s Agenda for New York and is being discussed as an aspect of this year’s fiscal budget. Although legislation is currently in place to require free pads and tampons in homeless shelters, jails and throughout the New York City school system, no such laws have supplied the products in all New York schools.

The proposition is linked to the declaration of access to menstrual products as relating directly to human rights by the United Nations.

According to governor.ny.gov, “Many young women in New York lack access to feminine hygiene products, which are as necessary as toilet paper and soap, but hardly ever as available or free. In New York, 42 percent of children live in low income families. At $7 to $10 per package, a month’s supply of something as simple as a box of pads or tampons can be one expense too many for struggling families.”

The implementation of such a law would promote gender and financial equity.

An additional statewide change included in the Women’s Agenda will ensure baby diaper changing stations in both men and women’s restrooms in all publicly accessible state buildings. This recognizes the everyday needs working parents face. Lactation rooms will also be made available in state buildings to accomodate nursing mothers. Establishments such as restaraunts, movie theaters and DMV offices will be affected by the budgeting.

According to Cuomo’s official Twitter account, @NYGovCuomo, other aspects of the 2019 state budget focus on a $1 billion increase in education aid, planned repairments to subway systems and public transportation, public housing aid aimed at  NYC residents who have endured inadequete conditions, and a notable mandatory extension of time regarding the preservation of rape kits within hospitals from 30 days to 20 years.