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State Assembly Passes Women's Equality Bill, But Senate Expected To Take Up Different Set Of Bills

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TWC News: State Assembly Passes Women's Equality Bill, But Senate Expected To Take Up Different Set Of Bills
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The state Assembly has passed the women's equality agenda championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, but the state Senate is expected to take up a different set of bills, leaving the fate of the legislation very much in doubt. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

After hours of debate, the state Assembly passed an omnibus 10-point women's equality agenda Thursday.

It includes a controversial provision dealing with abortion, something the state Senate leadership has refused to consider.

"We put together a package to get 10," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "We negotiated a package to get 10."

Republicans said they were prevented from bringing up the Vito Lopez sexual harassment case during the floor debate.

"Well, the Democrats climbed Mt. Hypocrisy today, I mean, to not have stiffer penalties for sexual harassment, given the cesspool of harassment that went on with Vito Lopez and the cover-up by Sheldon Silver," said Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin of Troy, N.Y.

The leadership in the state Senate has vowed to pass nine of 10 points, including pay equity and a change to human trafficking laws.

On Thursday, the Independent Democratic Conference tried to get senators to sign on as bill sponsors in an effort to demand a vote on the abortion plank.

"This is not my bill. This is the governor's program bill," said state Senator Diane Savino of the Independent Democratic Conference. "And so, of course, I wanted to circulate it for co-sponsorship like every member of the Senate does for bills that are very important."

"I thought I made it clear, but no, we're not looking to sign onto a letter. We're not trying to govern by letter," said state Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. "We want a vote tomorrow."

"I sincerely think that she wants us to fail so that she can say that, because she'll, maybe she won't feel so guilty about the fact that she's never been able to pass this bill in all the years she has been carrying it," Savino said.

If the state Senate and state Assembly pass different versions of the Women's Equality Act, it cannot be signed into law by the governor. As of now, the Assembly has no plans to pass the Senate version and the Senate has no plans to pass the Assembly version.

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