Last night Sen. Brad Hoylman joined me from New York City as part of our “Fresh Faces” series to highlight new members of the state Legislature.
Hoylman, the only openly gay member of the Senate, replaced the now retired Sen. Tom Duane in the very liberal Manhattan Senate district, and he’s pledged to take up many of the LGBT-rights issues that Duane championed.
In addition to discussing LGBT rights, Hoylman told me in the interview that he would be open to breaking out Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s abortion rights bill from a women’s equality package, but only if it meant securing quick passage of that legislation.
“I’m for getting it passed in the most expeditious way possible. If breaking it out were to achieve that then I would of course be supportive,” Hoylman said. ”The most important thing is this is now on the table. It’s been stalled for years by the former leadership of the state Senate and now I’m hopeful that we in the Dem conference with Andrea and deputy leadership we can provide the support and the leadership to make it happen.”
That’s a somewhat different argument than what Sen. David Valesky mused on earlier this month with The Capitol Pressroom’s Susan Arbetter. Valesky, a Democrat who is part of governing coalition in the Independent Democratic Conference, said he would be open to separating the abortion provision if it meant securing the other measures in the package, including strengthening violence against women laws, anti-discrimination laws and pay equity.
The issue is a complex one given that two Democrats in the Senate — Tim Kennedy and Ruben Diaz — are opposed to abortion.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who unveiled the proposal in his third State of the State address in January, said on Sunday he is writing his own abortion rights bill, which says will codify the federal and put New York in line with the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
Opponents of the legislation have said the measure is really an expansion of abortion rights, which advocates for the bill strongly disagree.
But that has not necessarily ruled out Republican support for the measure and Hoylman says there may be some GOP support for the bill.
“I know there are a number of Republicans who are like minded when it comes to women’s choice adn pay equity,” Hoylman said. “These are not issues that are out of the mainstream in the country and certainly in New York state. So I’m very hopeful. I’m not going to speculate as to who will join us, but we’ve done a lot of work and we’ve got a lot more work to do.”