New York lawmakers move to counter right shift elsewhere

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Hello. It’s Friday. Today, we’ll be looking at some of the major bills approved by the state legislature in an end-of-session flurry. And we’ll see why Harvey Weinstein, possibly the original #MeToo abuser, will remain in jail.

It may seem surprising that at the end of the legislative session, New York lawmakers were focused on toughening gun control measures and abortion protections. 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 Assembly, have felt compelled to take additional action as Republican-controlled legislatures elsewhere work to ease gun restrictions. fire, ban abortion and erode the right to vote, report my colleagues Luis Ferré-Sadurni and Grace Ashford.

“It’s clear that at the federal level they’re in a state of paralysis,” said Congresswoman Linda B. Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan. “But there’s still a lot to do to guard against any outlandish ideas that any other state might have.”

Yet Carl Heastie, the Speaker of the Assembly, said that “a real call to action from the federal government must also take place.”

Other Democratic priorities, like stronger eviction protections, have stalled. And Heastie himself has come under pressure from his fellow Democrats as time ticked on to pass several bills in another area where New York seeks to lead the country: climate and the environment. Final efforts to get them through were still underway Friday morning.

New York has become the first state to pass gun laws following shootings in Buffalo and Texas that left 31 people dead.

A bill raises the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21 (the Buffalo shooter was 18). Other measures will prevent most civilians from buying body armor (the Buffalo shooter wore one) and revise the state’s so-called red flag laws.

Another measure paves the way for the “micro-stamp” of shell cases with a unique alphanumeric code to help authorities identify the weapon a bullet originated from.

New York, which already bans military-style assault rifles, will now also require new long-gun users to obtain a permit. This means that a background check and a safety course are required before purchasing a semi-automatic rifle.

Faced with an impending Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade, Democratic leaders have united behind a bill to protect abortion service providers.

A bill will severely limit the ability of New York law enforcement to cooperate with criminal or civil cases in states where abortion has been restricted. Others seek to ensure that doctors have access to malpractice insurance and are not charged with malpractice for serving patients from states where abortion is a crime.

Growing segment of state Democrats say New York is behind schedule in passing new laws needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and to meet ambitious targets set in a 2019 climate law to phase out fossil fuels. A surge of public pressure late Thursday helped pass a nation-first bill aimed at slowing the development of cryptocurrency hubs, which had previously been stalled in the Senate. And after midnight in the Assembly, supporters were still pressing a similar campaign to force a vote on a bill allowing the state electricity authority to build public renewable energy projects alongside of private companies. But Heastie, the speaker, stood firm in blocking a bill to stop fossil fuel hookups in new buildings, which gas utilities oppose.

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

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

Lawmakers have approved a bill to free up billions of dollars for the New York City Housing Authority, which my colleague Mihir Zaveri says needs $40 billion to fix and renovate the world’s largest public housing system. country. The measure allows the authority to rent 25,000 apartments to a new entity that can borrow the money, preserving tenants’ rights.


Time

Expect more showers and patches of fog early in the morning, but clouds will part for a mostly sunny day near 80s. The evening is partly cloudy, with temperatures dropping to around the low 60s.

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Valid until Monday (Shavuot).



Even as a clamor mounts over the verdict in the civil case of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, which some people see as a blow to the movement to increase accountability for sexual harassers and abusers, an appeals court in New York upheld the criminal conviction that, perhaps more than any other, came to symbolize 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 sentence.

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 the women provided “helpful information” that showed Weinstein’s behavior. They demonstrated, 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 women in such a way that he could have sex with them.” , and that whether the women consent or not was of no importance to him.

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

But a lawyer for Weinstein, 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 takes up the case.

Reports of Weinstein sexually abusing women appeared in The New York Times in the fall of 2017, leading dozens of others to speak out about their own experiences and ultimately sparking what became the #MeToo movement, a worldwide repudiation of sexual misconduct by powerful men.

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


METROPOLITAN Newspaper

Dear Diary:

The metropolis is quiet now
The hoarse voices of the day have fallen silent
A high-speed car on the boulevard
The last party animal coming home
A magic moment is before dawn
The slap of his shoes on the sidewalk
A sound heard rarely and only then
Market stalls packed and tidied up
Brewed coffee at Starbucks open all night
Cappuccino in a real cup please
A seat by the window to observe
The Vanguard of Citizens
The subway web is starting to tingle now
Peripheral people are coming
The keepers of the keys open their shops
As the eastern sky shows clouds tinged with red
We see movement behind the windows
Preparation for the Coming Flood
The city wakes up, stretches and yawns
Soon the trains will deliver the crush
There’s still time to breathe some fresh air
Walk slowly on the empty sidewalk
And let yourself be seduced by this new facet
From the marvelous city by the sea.

—Ted Bishop

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Submit your submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.


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