Women’s History Month A Time To Reflect On Strength And Courage

March is Women’s History Month, a time to reflect on the amazing contributions women have made to New York and to celebrate their cultural, personal and professional accomplishments. It is also a time to talk about important issues facing women, and engage in productive dialogue to ensure all New Yorkers are treated fairly. I advocated for passage of the individual components of the Women’s Equality Act that had wide consensus, and I am proud to say the measures helped strengthen workplace protections and anti-discrimination laws for women.
 
Women’s rights have always been close to my heart and a constant presence in our community. I am proud to represent a district that carries such a rich history of trailblazing women who fought for equal rights and stood up to the unfair status quo. In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and 300 other women and men held the first Women’s Rights convention in Seneca Falls— the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement. As a result of their tireless, inspirational and unrelenting work, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the U.S. was ratified in 1920, giving women the right to vote.
 
We honor their achievements and the accomplishments of others at the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls – a great tribute to those who fought for women’s rights. The Women’s Hall of Fame is a great resource to help educate today’s young people about the importance of courage and conviction. We must enlighten the next generation of New Yorkers and impart to them the importance of equality and justice, the backbone of what makes New York great.
 
BRITTANY’S LAW MUST PASS NOW
 
I have continually pushed for another important measure that hits close to home, the passage of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, or “Brittany’s Law.” This is a common-sense measure to protect women and families from violent criminals. Named after Brittany Passalacqua, who was murdered along with her mother, Helen Buchel in Geneva, the law would allow families to better protect themselves from those who mean to do them harm. Brittany and Helen were killed by John Edward Brown, a parolee who violently assaulted his infant daughter prior to meeting Brittany and Helen. Ms. Buchel was unaware of Brown’s history. 
 
This is not simply a personal priority, it is a measure of protection that women need. Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. In 2014, there were nearly 29,000 intimate-partner assaults reported in the state outside of New York City. Of those cases, females were the victim 80 percent of the time. Brittany’s Law is good for women and it’s good for New York. The bill has passed the Senate overwhelmingly in each of the last five years. It has Majority sponsorship and bipartisan support in the Assembly. As we reflect this month on the strength, determination and success of women, let us also be sure we are doing everything we can to protect them and all New Yorkers who may potentially fall prey to the violence of troubled criminals. It is one of the most important things a government must do for those it represents.
 
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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