Readers Write: Important issues to revisit post-midterm elections

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Congratulations to Anna Kaplan, Jim Gaughran, Kevin Thomas, Monica Martinez, John Brooks and every other Democratic candidate for state Senate who unseated a Republican incumbent or fought back a Republican challenger on Election Day.

Also, thank you to everyone who canvassed, made phone calls, attended rallies, debates and protests, put up signs, wrote letters of support and, of course, cast a ballot.  Without your efforts, none of this would have been possible.

Now that John Flanagan and his obstructionist Republican caucus have been rendered powerless, it’s time to get to work in Albany.

Here is a list of legislation that has previously been introduced in the Assembly and Senate, which Democratic legislators should reintroduce, vote on and send to Gov. Cuomo’s desk before the end of January.

This is not a complete list of all bills and issues that require immediate attention, but it does highlight some of the most important.

The Child Victims Act 

For decades, child predators and the institutions that enabled them have avoided legal responsibility for their actions.  By the time many of their victims came to terms with what was done to them, it was too late to press criminal charges or take civil action.

The CVA, callously blocked by Republican senators, would extend the relevant statutes of limitations and give all victims 1 year from implementation to take civil action, regardless the age of their cases.

There is no longer any need for discussion or debate on this bill.  Pass the CVA immediately, exactly as previously written.  The alternative “compromise” bill introduced by Sen. Catharine Young should be thrown in the garbage, where it belongs.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act 

Currently, it is not against state law to discriminate against someone based on gender identity or expression, and a crime committed on such a basis is not considered a hate crime.  GENDA would change that.

A bill protecting individuals on the basis on sexual orientation was signed into law in 2003.  There is no reason, other than bigotry, that GENDA should not also be passed.

The Reproductive Health Act 

It will only be a matter of months before the new hard-right Supreme Court eliminates some or all of the reproductive rights it previously recognized under Roe v. Wade.  The RHA would preserve those rights in New York State.

Opponents of the RHA have tried to smear the bill as “extreme” and have falsely claimed it would allow non-doctors to perform surgery.  Those critics are merely trying to restrict abortion access in New York State and are not arguing in good faith.  Ignore them and pass the bill as previously written.

The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act 

According to the NYCLU, “The CCCA will ensure timely and affordable access to contraception by requiring insurers to cover contraception that is right for the individual patient without a co-payment, allow for access to a year’s supply of contraception, and improve timely and affordable access to emergency contraception.”

There is no legitimate excuse to delay passage of this bill.  Most opponents object to it purely on religious grounds; such grounds should never guide public policy.

Extreme Risk Protection Order

Implementing the New York SAFE Act in 2013 was a major step forward in protecting New Yorkers from gun violence, but we can always do more.

ERPO, a “red-flag” bill, would allow a judge to prevent someone considered an imminent threat from possessing, purchasing or otherwise obtaining a firearm.

The primary opponents of this bill are gun manufacturers and the NRA (and similar organizations), who see any gun regulation as a threat to their bottom lines.

Again, ignore the bill’s opponents, who don’t care about the safety and well-being of New Yorkers.  Pass the bill as previously written.

The New York State Climate and Community Protection Act 

The CCPA is a sweeping environmental reform bill, which, among other measures, would transition our state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Following the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, it’s more important than ever for states, like New York, to take the lead.  Pass the CCPA.

Matthew Zeidman

New Hyde Park

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