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Progressive Women's Caucus announces domestic abuse survivor bill package

Myesha Johnson

The House Progressive Women’s Caucus is unveiling a new bill package to help survivors of domestic violence.

Among other things, the bills would encourage law enforcement to work on outreach with victim service agencies.

State Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) is among the package’s sponsors.

“They are not only tools for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking to get back on their feet, they have things like eviction protections, ensuring privacy rights, unemployment protections and adding stalking as a protected classification for the use of paid sick leave,” Kuppa said.

Lawmakers introduced a similar package in 2019 that didn’t make it out of committee for a floor vote. This time around, the lawmakers are adding two new bills to cover more areas not in the original package.

State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky said, in the past, convincing people there’s a need for this legislation has been challenging.

“The pandemic has really highlighted yes, this is a problem. There are gaps in protections, and they need to be filled. So, we’re not here to rehash what could’ve been done. We’re here to talk about what needs to be done now and the tools that we have available,” Pohutsky said.

Despite past struggles, the caucus is taking an optimistic view of things this time around. The legislature recently forwarded another long-term priority bill to the governor that would get rid of sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

State Rep. Felicia Brabec helps lead the Progressive Women’s Caucus.

“I have other bills that I am working with Republican colleagues on and I’m grateful to work on those with them. And my hope is that we can continue to garner support from our colleagues across the aisle,” Brabec said.

She’s pointing to the need to get the bills a hearing in the Judiciary Committee as the next big hoop in the process.

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