Alyssa Milano pushes for Maloney ERA bill

Alyssa Milano, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Carol Robles-Roman, co-president of the ERA Coalition, by the Fearless Girl statue (Photo by Grace Harman)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Alyssa Milano has joined in the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), legislation  Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has introduced 11 times she has been in office. Maloney, the bill’s lead sponsor in Congress, was joined by the “Charmed” actress, along with the ERA Coalition and activists at the Fearless Girl statue on Monday to call for the ratification of the bill. This was a few days prior to a “shadow hearing,” or unofficial hearing Maloney held for the ERA on Wednesday.

Although the amendment passed Congress in 1972, only 35 states ratified it. Thirty-eight states need to ratify it to amend the Constitution. The right to vote is currently the only right guaranteed to women in the Constitution and the ERA would guarantee that Constitutional rights apply equally to all persons regardless of their gender.

“This is an economic issue,” argued Milano on Monday. “When women earn more, it stimulates the economy and this would provide equal pay for women. Discriminatory laws are being enacted all the time but the ERA would put women on an equal footing.”

In addition to Milano, co-president of the ERA Coalition Carol Robles-Román and Jessica Lenahan, plaintiff in Supreme Court Case Castle Rock v. Gonzales, also testified at the hearing on Wednesday.

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Opinion: The business of stopping harassment

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers that’s aimed at cracking down on sexual harassment on Wednesday, May 9. (Photo courtesy of Keith Powers)

By City Council Member Keith Powers

Most businesses in New York City are small businesses. Not just small, but really small: a whopping 62.8 percent of businesses in the city have just 1-4 employees, according to census data.

For this reason, I was surprised to discover that workers for New York City businesses with fewer than four employees had no legal protection from incidents of sexual harassment under New York City’s Human Rights Law.

That’s why I introduced my first piece of legislation in January to extend sexual harassment protection to all private employees in New York City regardless of their size. The protection already existed at the state level, but this law wasn’t already in place here. That means every single private employee wasn’t protected. It was important to address this oversight, especially given how many employees fall into this group.

Our country is experiencing a watershed moment as women and men speak up about their experiences of harassment, creating the era of #MeToo. As stories unfold and wrongdoings are revealed, cities and states are taking action to modernize laws and prevent any incidents in the future.

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Corey Feldman supporting Hoylman’s Child Victims Act

State Senator Brad Hoylman, Corey Feldman and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal hold a sign showing how the Senate has yet to include the legislation in the state budget. (Photo courtesy of Brad Hoylman)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Wednesday, actor Corey Feldman joined the chorus of activists in Albany calling for the passage of the Child Victims Act.

The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, has been included in the budget proposed by the governor as well as the Assembly’s proposed budget but not the Senate’s. It aims to significantly stretch out the statute of limitations so people who were sexually abused as children have longer to file a claim in court.

In Albany, Feldman spoke at a press conference, where Hoylman said Feldman called out Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan personally for not supporting the CVA.

He also spoke about his own experience with pedophiles.

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Editorial: Cuomo should be worried

After a brief period of gauging the public’s response to a Governor Miranda, award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon made her candidacy as a primary challenger to Governor Andrew Cuomo official.

On Monday, her slick campaign website with a logo touting Cynthia for New York was launched, followed by a press conference in Brooklyn the next day. What came next was that former mayoral candidate and fellow high-profile lesbian Christine Quinn criticized Nixon (who supported Quinn’s opponent, Bill de Blasio in 2013) as being unqualified. While it may have just come off as being a bitter taunt from a losing candidate, Quinn does have a point.

Other than her activism for equality in education and LGBT rights, the Broadway veteran known best for her role on TV’s “Sex and the City,” is a political outsider. We know, we know, this wasn’t a problem for our president, whose reality TV history obviously helped him rather than hurt him. However, in New York, the races for local office can get pretty competitive and governor is a pretty high-reaching role for someone who’s never served in a public capacity.

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Opinion: Nassar case a call to action in Washington to protect children

By Congress Member Carolyn Maloney

This January, the entire country was stunned to watch and hear one young woman after another courageously step up to the microphone to detail their experiences of sexual abuse committed by Larry Nassar, and that they represented hundreds of other women around the country.  As each told their story, I was struck by how many people failed to protect these young girls and how many red flags were blatantly ignored, all allowing Nassar to continue his abuse over decades.

These girls and women turned to the adults they should have been able to trust – coaches, school administrators, the police – and each time they were dismissed and ignored, their stories covered up. Each and every organization tasked with their protection made decisions to defend themselves and not the innocent girls whose safety should have been their priority. A system that chooses prestige, power, and gold medals above the health and safety of its athletes has a lot to answer for.

That is why, on January 25, I asked the Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, on which I am a senior member, to immediately begin investigating how this could have happened. Chairman Gowdy agreed, and I joined him, Ranking Member Elijah Cummings and other members of our Committee in calling upon the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, Twistars USA, and Karolyi Ranch to explain how Nassar’s crimes were allowed to occur and persist for decades. In light of recent reporting, I have also asked Chairman Gowdy to expand this investigation to include the FBI, NCAA and U.S. Department of Education.

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Child Victims bill gets boost from governor and Me Too founder

Me Too founder Tarana Burke

By Sabina Mollot

It’s been a good week for the Child Victims Act, legislation sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman that would significantly expand the statue of limitations survivors of sex abuse have to file charges. Currently, they have until the age of 23. Under the legislation, they’d have until 50 for civil cases, 28 for criminal ones.

On Monday, the founder of the Me Too movement, Tarana Burke, said the bill had her support as a survivor of sexual abuse herself.

She told The Daily News that “The origins of the Me Too movement are rooted in the protection of children.”

While actually a decade old, the Me Too movement became a household hashtag last October during the Harvey Weinstein scandal when celebrities encouraged other victims to come forward.

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