ALBANY, NY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris continues to work hard for New Yorkers and especially his district. On June 11, he released statements concerning the announcement of historic new rent laws, the passage in the New York State Senate of his bill mandating the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) establish a database tracking the state and county of origin of guns used in crimes in New York. Gianaris also announced the passage of legislation that will provide greater protections and services for New York’s LGBTQ community.
Concerning the historic new rent laws that will protect New York tenants, Gianaris said, “After years of displacement caused by rent laws that worked against them, New York’s tenants finally have a seat at the table thanks to a new Senate that is working with our Assembly partners to eagerly champion housing affordability. This sweeping legislation provides the strongest tenant protections since the rent laws were enacted decades ago and I am proud to have worked with incredible grassroots organizers to deliver this historic progress.”
The legislation addresses a wide variety of tenant issues. It will eliminate vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus, extend preferential rents for the duration of a tenancy, dramatically reform MCIs and IAIs, and extend tenant safeguards statewide, among other changes.
The Senate passed Gianaris’ bill (S.4442A) requiring DCJS to publish data regarding the origins of guns used in crimes. This proposal would tackle the “Iron Pipeline,” whereby guns purchased in states with lax gun laws are brought into New York and used in crimes.
“Stopping the ‘Iron Pipeline’ is possible if New York leads the way. Despite having among the toughest gun laws in the country, our state experiences too many gun-related crimes due to firearms originating elsewhere,” said Gianaris. “While the federal government will not take action to combat gun violence, New York should use data to expose states that are part of the problem. I am pleased the Senate has passed this crucial legislation today.”
“We applaud the Senate for passing Senator Gianaris’s iron pipeline bill to thwart illegal gun trafficking and protect the lives of New Yorkers,” said Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “New York State has some of the strongest gun safety laws in the country but firearms trafficked from weak-gun-law states continue to cause senseless tragedy. This legislation will strengthen New York’s capacity to track the origin of crime guns and prevent them from flowing into our communities.”
“We know that the systems used to protect New Yorkers are only as good as the information that goes into them,” said June Rubin, New York Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re grateful to lawmakers for strengthening the safeguards to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.”
Senator Gianaris’ bill requires DCJS and the New York State Police to publish a quarterly report about the origins of guns used in crimes. According to a 2015 analysis by the New York Times, two-thirds of guns used in crimes in New York were imported from other states.
The Senate Majority also celebrated Pride Month by passing legislation standing up for LGBTQ New Yorkers.The bills advanced by the Senate Democratic Majority will establish the Modern Family Act, abolish the use of “Gay Panic” or “Trans Panic” defense, and create the transgender youth and young adult suicide prevention task force. The Senate Majority will also pass the New York State Restoration of Honor Act that will correct the records of veterans discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation.
Gianaris said, “In New York State, love always wins. I was honored to cast one of the deciding votes for marriage equality and continued to fight for full equality earlier this session when we passed GENDA and a ban on conversion therapy. Now we proudly march through Pride Month with an additional ambitious agenda to make New York fairer for the LGBTQ community.”
The historic legislation passed by the Senate Democratic Majority includes:
The Modern Family Act: This bill, S.2071, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, will lift the existing ban on genetic surrogacy and provide clear and decisive legal procedures to ensure children born through assisted reproduction and surrogacy have secure and legally recognized parental relationships with their intended parents.
Abolishing “Gay Panic” Defense: This bill, S.3293, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, will limit the use of extreme emotional disturbance as an affirmative defense, commonly known as the “Gay Panic” or “Trans Panic” defense, to a charge of murder in the second degree.
LGBTQ Suicide Prevention Task Force: This bill, S.6315, sponsored by Senator Julia Salazar, will establish the LGBTQ Youth and Young Adult Suicide Prevention Task Force to examine, evaluate, and determine how to improve mental health and suicide prevention for New York’s LGBTQ youth and young adults up to the age of 24.
NYS Restoration of Honor Act: This bill, S.45-B, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, will restore eligibility for state programs and benefits for LGBTQ veterans and veterans with certain qualifying conditions who were less than honorably discharged from military service due solely to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or those who received less than honorable discharges as a result of military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Gender Identity Data: This bill, S.6321, sponsored by Senator Kevin Thomas, will require the collection of additional demographic information for an improved understanding of the diversity of the state’s LGBTQ community and its needs and experiences.
Senator Gianaris has been a staunch advocate of the LGBTQ community his entire time in office, including serving as a decisive vote in support of marriage equality in 2011.