New York lawmakers move to counter right-wing shift elsewhere

Good morning. It is Friday. Today we’ll look at some of the major bills passed by the state legislature on a whim of the session. And we’ll see why Harvey Weinstein, perhaps the original #MeToo abuser, will remain in prison.

It may seem surprising that as the legislative session drew to a close, New York lawmakers focused on strengthening the state’s gun control measures and protecting against abortion. New York already has some of the strictest gun restrictions in the United States, and the rights granted by Roe v. Wade have been enshrined in state law since 2019.

But Democrats, who control both the State Senate and the Assembly, felt pressure to take additional steps as Republican-controlled lawmakers elsewhere work to ease gun restrictions, ban abortion and erode voting rights. report my colleagues Luis Ferré-Sadurni and Grace Ashford.

“Obviously, they’re crippled at the federal level,” said councilman Linda B. Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat. “But more needs to be done to counter every outlandish idea every other state might have.”

Still, Assembly speaker Carl Heastie said that “a real call to action by the federal government also needs to happen.”

Other democratic priorities, such as enhanced protection against evictions, stalled. And Heastie himself came under pressure from fellow Democrats as time passed to pass several bills in another area where New York wants to lead the country: climate and environment. Last-ditch efforts to push them through were still underway early Friday. f

New York became the first state to introduce gun-related legislation after shootings in Buffalo and Texas that killed a total of 31 people.

One bill raises the minimum age to buy a semiautomatic rifle to 21 (the Buffalo shooter was 18). Other measures will keep most citizens from buying body armor (the Buffalo shooter wore one) and overhaul the state’s so-called red flag laws.

Another measure paves the way for “microstamping” cases with a unique alphanumeric code to help authorities identify the weapon a bullet came from.

New York, which already bans military-style assault rifles, will now also require new long-arms users to be licensed. That means a background check and a safety course are necessary before buying a semi-automatic rifle.

Faced with a looming Supreme Court decision that could hit Roe v. Wade, Democratic leaders united behind a bill designed to protect abortion service providers.

One bill will severely limit the ability of New York law enforcement agencies to cooperate on criminal or civil cases in abortion-restricted states. Others are designed to ensure physicians have access to malpractice insurance and are not affected by allegations of professional misconduct for serving patients from states where abortion is a crime.

A growing segment of state Democrats say New York is casually behind schedule new laws needed to avert the worst impacts of climate change and achieve the ambitious goals set in a 2019 climate law to phase out fossil fuels. A wave of public pressure late Thursday helped push through a first bill to slow down cryptocurrency hub development, which had previously stalled in the Senate. And after midnight in the Assembly, proponents still waged a similar campaign to force a vote on a bill to allow state powers to partner with private companies to build public renewable energy projects. But Heastie, the speaker, has been steadfast in blocking a bill to stop plugging fossil fuels into new buildings, which gas companies oppose.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act, passed Thursday, invokes a federal law of the same name that would reinstate parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Acts, which were overturned by the Supreme Court.

The New York measure restores judicial oversight of electoral processes in areas with a register of discrimination, requires more translation of election materials into languages ​​other than English, and protects voters from obstruction or intimidation.

Lawmakers passed a bill to release several billion dollars for the New York City Housing Authority, which, my colleague Mihir Zaveri reports, needs a staggering $40 billion for repairs and renovations to the nation’s largest social housing system. The measure will allow the government to rent 25,000 apartments to a new entity that can borrow the money, while preserving the tenants’ rights.


Expect more showers and fog in the early morning, but clouds will clear for a mostly sunny day around 80s. The evening will be partly cloudy, with temperatures dropping around the low 60s.


Valid until Monday (Shavuot).

Even as an outcry over the ruling in the civil case of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, which some see as a blow to the movement to increase liability for sexual harassment and abusers, an appeals court in New York criminal conviction confirmed that, perhaps more than any other, it symbolized the #MeToo era.

On Thursday, the court upheld Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 conviction for sex crimes. This, reports my colleague Jonah E. Bromwich, increases the likelihood that Weinstein, a disgraced film producer, will serve a significant portion of his 23-year prison term.

The court rejected Weinstein’s central argument: The jury should not have heard from three women who testified that the producer assaulted them in alleged incidents for which he was never charged.

But Judge Angela M. Mazzarelli wrote in the unanimous opinion that women had provided “useful information” that revealed Weinstein’s pattern of behavior. They showed, the judge said, that Weinstein did not view his victims as “romantic partners or friends” and that “his goal at all times was to position the women in such a way that he could have sex with them, and that or the that women.” consenting or not was of no importance to him.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg said the appeals court “confirmed a monumental conviction that changed the way prosecutors and courts approach complex prosecutions of sexual predators.”

But Weinstein’s attorney, Barry Kamins, said he would appeal the decision to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. It is not automatic that the court will hear the case.

In the fall of 2017, The New York Times reported that Weinstein had sexually abused women, prompting dozens of others to speak out about their own experiences and eventually leading to what became known as the #MeToo movement, a global denunciation of sexual misconduct. by powerful men.

In 2020, a jury found Weinstein guilty of two felonies: a first-degree criminal sex act and third-degree rape. He was acquitted of two charges of predatory assault. He is awaiting trial in Los Angeles on charges that include violent rape and forced oral copulation.


Dear Diary:

The metropolis is now quiet
The raw voices of the day are silenced
A fast-moving car on the boulevard
The last reveler to return home
A magical time this is before sunrise
The clicking of your shoes on the sidewalk
You rarely hear a sound and only then
The market stalls packed and stored
Coffee is brewed at the Starbucks that is open all night
Cappuccino in a real cup please
A window seat to observe
The vanguard of the bourgeoisie
The web of the subway is now starting to tingle
Peripheral people are coming
Key keepers open their stores
While the eastern sky shows the clouds red
You can see movement behind the shop windows
Preparing for the Coming Flood
The city awakens, stretches and yawns
Soon the trains will deliver the crush
There’s still time to breathe fresher air
Walk slowly on the empty sidewalk
And let yourself be seduced by this new facet
From the wonderful city by the sea.

— Ted Bishop

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send entries here and read more Metropolitan Diary here

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