Harckham Calls on NYS Senate to Reconvene & Pass Important Bills; Blocked Legislation Includes Reproductive Health, Red Flag & Child Victims Acts, Among Others

With legislators returning to their districts for summer campaigning ahead of the fall elections, Pete Harckham, Democratic candidate for the 40th New York State Senate District, is calling for the New York State Senate to reconvene in Albany to pass important legislation.

“The Republican led State Senate left a considerable amount of unfinished business when they ended their session early last month,” said Harckham. “Senators are elected to do the people’s business and they shouldn’t ignore the needs of their constituents in order to wrap up for the year”.

“Instead of throwing up their hands and blocking key bills from even coming up to the floor, Senate Republicans owe New Yorkers an up-or-down vote,” Harckham said. “No one can force them to hold a vote, but if the Governor calls a special session, Republicans should at least have the courage to vote ‘no’ on the bills they’re blocking. Senate Republicans continue to oppose progressive legislation at their own peril, as voters disappointed by the State Senate’s lack of accomplishments will remember which senators failed to deliver when they head to the polls in November”.

With Donald Trump’s nomination of an extreme conservative to the Supreme Court who could roll back advancements in reproductive health care, Harckham says the State Senate must reconvene to vote on the Reproductive Health Act, which would codify the protections of Roe. v. Wade into State law by protecting the right of women to make personal health care decisions and ensure that health care professionals can provide these crucial services without fear of criminal penalty. “The Senate needs to join the Assembly, who has passed legislation to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade for the last six years,” he added.

Harckham also called for Senate action on the Red Flag Protection Bill, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill, which would prevent individuals determined by a court to have the potential to cause themselves or others serious harm by temporarily removing firearms from the home. “This common sense gun legislation would make New York the first in the United States to empower its teachers and school administrators with the right to report and possibly prevent school shootings,” he noted.

In addition, Harckham called on the State Senate to vote on the Child Victims Act, which would expand and extend the statute of limitations for child molestation. It would also create a one-year “look back” period to allow victims over the age of 23 to file lawsuits against alleged offenders or the institutions where they worked for incidents of sexual abuse dating back potentially decades. “This bill allows victims to pursue justice and hold perpetrators and those who enabled them accountable,” he added.

Harckham noted a number of additional bills that the State Senate has not voted on, but could if it were to reconvene, covering such issues as decoupling teacher evaluations from student test performance, automatic voter registration, local government tax extenders, immigrant assistance, enhanced ethics and campaign finance loopholes, among others.