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Assembly faces women's rights, sex assault bills

Albany, N.Y. (AP) -- A series of bills that would protect women's rights is being reintroduced in the Senate after the package was derailed last year because of a contentious late-term abortion proposal.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats are reintroducing the Women's Equality Act, a series of 10 bills that covers topics like reproductive rights, pay equity, sexual harassment, human trafficking and tougher order-of-protection laws in addition to other forms of discrimination against women.

Last year, Senate Republicans defeated a surprise amendment that would have forced the chamber to consider the abortion measure, resulting in the passage of nine bills. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he wouldn't consider the nine bills without the abortion measure.

The abortion measure is billed by supporters as simply matching 1970 state law with the less-restrictive Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.

The state Senate passed a bill Monday that would increase penalties for school employees or volunteers who have sexual contact with students. It would make actions criminal even if a student was legally able to give consent. Violators would face four years in prison. The bill will now head to the Assembly.

 
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