Albany, NY - After more than eight years of the bill passing in the New York Senate but not in the Assembly, Erin’s Law (S4070, A2577) was approved in the latter body last week, marking it as ready to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo. The bill mandates educating kids about sexual abuse risks from known or trusted parties, which constitute over 90% of abuse cases. The bill seemed to stall out, as the Assembly Education Committee, where the legislation had been held up, closed for the session late last week. However, after a push from advocates and survivors, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was moved to re-open the committee, allowing the bill to be passed through the Education Committee and out to the Assembly floor for a vote. The body voted to pass the bill 123 to 1, and the only legislator in either house to vote against the bill was Assemblyman Chris Friend, representing New York’s 124th district covering Tioga, Chemung, and parts of surrounding counties. The senate vote was unanimous (61-0), and the entire legislature’s vote count was (184-1), Friend representing the solitary “No” vote.
“Only proper education and awareness can protect our kids. Erin’s Law will compliment the Child Victims Act as a necessary educational component. This bill will finally give New York’s children the tools they need to empower and protect themselves against childhood sexual abuse. I am proud to have led the fight to champion the Child Victims Act and Erin’s Law in New York State. The vote against educating kids on child safety is one of the most disingenuous votes to be cast in the history of the Assembly. I call on Assemblyman Friend to immediately resign as ranking minority member of the Assembly Standing Committee on Children and Families,” said Gary Greenberg, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who went on to form the Fighting for Children PAC and play a key role in the passage of the Child Victims Act earlier this year. Greenberg’s PAC has held forums, press conferences, and brought Erin Merryn, the bill’s namesake, to Albany for a series of meetings.
"New York legislators finally did right by the children of New York by passing Erin's Law after 7 years of the bill dying in the Assembly. Gary Greenberg who created Fighting for Children PAC who worked very hard putting on pressure to lawmakers and put together many press conferences and meetings to pass erin's Law along with other amazing New York advocates who worked tirelessly to see this passed. The passage of Erin's law sends a message to every sexual predator in New York and that is you will not get away with silencing children," said Erin Merryn, the survivor who founded Erin’s Law.
“When we pledged to New York’s kids that we would pass Erin’s Law this session, and heard the stories of survivors who could have benefitted from this crucial curriculum, including some of our own New York legislators - it became a do-or-die scenario for Gary. Legislators finally heard our cries, and the cries of the survivors we represent, and did the right thing for New York’s kids,” said Stephen Carpineta, Communications Director for the New York Progressive Action Network, a statewide grassroots activist group which has partnered with Greenberg in sponsoring Erin’s Law, and helped Greenberg in his fight to pass the Child Victims Act earlier this year.