Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a number of proposals and executive orders meant to help immigrant communities, women, and minorities in his State of the State address Monday, January 9th.
For immigrant communities, Cuomo launched the We Are All Immigrants initiative, which includes the Empire State Immigrant Defense Project that utilizes public-private partnerships to provide legal services for immigrants, and the launch of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigrants, designed to assess the efficacy of immigrant integration services and resources. He also discussed expanding naturalization services offered by the Office of New Americans. The Governor also vowed to advance the New York State DREAM Act, which will allow undocumented students to access tuition assistance.
Governor Cuomo is also setting up a new Hate Crimes Task Force to further investigate and deter incidents of bias and discrimination as well as The Tolerance and Understanding initiative to better protect civil rights and combat hate speech through interfaith support throughout the state. The Democracy Project, another of the governor’s proposals, aims to modernize voting systems by make it easier to register to vote, allowing early voting throughout the state, and adopting automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration.
He will also sign executive order 161 and 162, which will prohibit companies from asking for salary history and mandate that state contractors disclose data on the gender, race, ethnicity, job title and salary of all its employees in state contracts, respectively. These measures will help equalize compensation for women and minorities, who typically make less than their white male colleagues.