(Albany, NY) The New York Senate has passed Erin’s Law. After a unanimous 61-0 vote in the body this afternoon, the bill is now awaiting approval in the Assembly before Governor Cuomo can sign it into law. The bill is currently stuck in the Assembly Education Committee, and Committee Chair Assemblyman Michael Benedetto has stated on the record that he does not believe the bill will escape his committee in this session, despite overwhelming support for the bill among legislators and voters.
Advocates, grassroots coalitions and experts around the state like Gary Greenberg, survivor of childhood sexual abuse and founder of the Fighting for Children PAC, believe that Assemblyman Benedetto has the power to advance the bill.
“Senators Mayer and Biaggi have shown admirable leadership, and shown how much they care about protecting New York’s children, by allowing the Senate to vote on this bill. Senator Stewart-Cousins has led a legislature which is making real strides to protect NY’s kids. The unanimous vote in the Senate is reminiscent of the vote earlier this year on the Child Victims Act, which also had zero Nay votes. Michael Benedetto can and must allow this bill through his committee. New Yorkers elect their Assembly representatives to act and vote on their behalf. We will see another unanimous vote in the Assembly once Member Benedetto allows this bill out for a vote,” said Greenberg just after the vote took place in the Senate this afternoon. Greenberg thanked Connie Altamirano, New York Progressive Action Network and Jane Doe No More for their pivotal work on this bill’s passage.
“There is nowhere else to point a finger now. Assembly Member Benedetto is deliberately stalling a bill that the voters of New York and her elected representatives have so far unanimously approved. Why would any elected official, especially a committee chair tasked with providing education which keeps our kids safe, obstruct a bill which has passed unanimously in the other chamber of the Legislature? It seems clear to us, Member Benedetto must act,” said Erin Merryn, victim of childhood sexual assault and founder of Erin’s Law, which has passed in 37 states in the US.