Provides for protection of persons in exercise or enjoyment of rights under state and federal laws; provides for civil action by attorney general, civil action by person aggrieved, and criminal penalties; applies to defendants acting or not acting under color of law; provides for various penal sanctions in addition to civil relief; defines "sexual orientation".
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to protecting constitutional or civil rights of the people
PURPOSE: To provide for a state statutory right to bring an action for damages resulting from discrimination, threats or acts of violence and intimidation, which parallels the rights of action and is found in sections 1983 and 1984 of Title 42 of the U.S. code.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Adds a new section 44-b of the Civil Rights Law. Provides for protection of persons in exercise or enjoyment of rights under state and federal laws. Provides for civil action by persons aggrieved, and criminal penalties.
JUSTIFICATION: The Civil Rights Law is one of the repositories for New York's statutory provisions on human rights. Article 4 of the Civil Rights 40-45 establishes equal rights to access and enjoyment of places of public accommodation such as theatres, hotels and educational institutions. Discrimination by owners and employees of such establishments, which is based upon race, color, creed or national origin, is punishable as a misdemeanor, with a fine of $100-$500 or 30-90 days in jail, or both.
Research has not revealed the existence of a state statutory right to bring an action for damages resulting from discrimination. Therefore, action by the legislature is imperative to provide a state remedy for deprivation of civil rights statutes (sections 1983 and 1985 of the U.S. code). Recent events of racially motivated violence in this state reveal the need for this legislation.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10: S.1128 - Referred to Investigations & Government Operations 2007-08: S.2911 - Referred to Investigations & Government Operations 2005-06: S.1221 - Referred to Investigations, Taxation & Government Operations 2003-04: S.1006 - Referred to Investigations, Taxation& Government Operations 2001-02: S.1572/A.2542 - Referred to Investigation, Taxation & Government Operations
EFFECTIVE DATE: On the first of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1761 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 12, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. PERKINS, ADAMS, DIAZ, DUANE, HASSELL-THOMPSON, KRUEGER, PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Government Oper- ations AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to protecting consti- tutional or civil rights of the people THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The civil rights law is amended by adding a new section 44-b to read as follows: S 44-B. VIOLATIONS OF CONSTITUTIONAL OR CIVIL RIGHTS; CIVIL ACTIONS; AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS. 1. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. THE LEGISLATURE DECLARES THAT IT IS THE POLICY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO ASSURE THAT EACH RESI- DENT IS AFFORDED AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO ENJOY A FULL AND PRODUCTIVE LIFE WITHOUT FEAR OF DISCRIMINATION BASED UPON RACE, RELIGION, CREED, COLOR, SEX, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AGE, DISABILITY OR NATIONAL ORIGIN. THE STATE HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT TO PROTECT THE CONSTITUTIONALLY GUAR- ANTEED RIGHTS OF ITS RESIDENTS. THE LEGISLATURE NOTES WITH ALARM THE CONTINUED GROWTH IN THE STATE OF ACTS AND THREATS OF VIOLENCE AND INTIM- IDATION, DENYING TO MEMBERS OF RACIAL, RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC GROUPS THEIR FUNDAMENTAL CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS. ACTS WHICH DENY OR DEPRIVE OTHERS OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHTS THREATEN THE RIGHTS AND PRIVI- LEGES OF ALL PERSONS AND UNDERMINE THE FOUNDATION OF A FREE DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY. THE LEGISLATURE FINDS THAT ENACTMENT OF THIS LEGISLATION WILL ENHANCE THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE. 2. WHENEVER ANY PERSON OR PERSONS, WHETHER OR NOT ACTING UNDER COLOR OF LAW, INTERFERE BY THREATS, INTIMIDATION OR COERCION, OR ATTEMPT TO INTERFERE BY THREATS, INTIMIDATION OR COERCION, WITH THE EXERCISE OR ENJOYMENT BY ANY OTHER PERSON OR PERSONS OF RIGHTS SECURED BY THE CONSTITUTION OR LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, OR OF RIGHTS SECURED BY THE CONSTITUTION OR LAWS OF THIS STATE, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MAY BRING AEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06897-01-1 S. 1761 2
CIVIL ACTION FOR INJUNCTIVE OR OTHER APPROPRIATE EQUITABLE RELIEF IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE PEACEABLE EXERCISE OR ENJOYMENT OF THE RIGHT OR RIGHTS SECURED. SAID CIVIL ACTION SHALL BE BROUGHT IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND SHALL BE INSTITUTED IN THE SUPREME COURT FOR THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE CONDUCT COMPLAINED OF OCCURRED OR IN THE SUPREME COURT FOR THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE PERSON OR PERSONS WHOSE CONDUCT COMPLAINED OF RESIDE OR HAVE THEIR PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS OR IN THE SUPREME COURT FOR THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE AGGRIEVED PERSON OR PERSONS RESIDE. 3. ANY PERSON WHOSE EXERCISE OR ENJOYMENT OF RIGHTS SECURED BY THE CONSTITUTION OR LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, OR OF RIGHTS SECURED BY THE CONSTITUTION OR LAWS OF THIS STATE, HAS BEEN INTERFERED WITH, OR ATTEMPTED TO BE INTERFERED WITH, AS DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION, MAY INSTITUTE AND PROSECUTE IN HIS OR HER OWN NAME AND ON HIS OR HER OWN BEHALF A CIVIL ACTION FOR INJUNCTIVE OR OTHER APPROPRIATE EQUITABLE RELIEF, INCLUDING THE AWARD OF COMPENSATORY AND PUNITIVE MONEY DAMAGES. ANY SUCH AGGRIEVED PERSON OR PERSONS WHO PREVAIL IN AN ACTION AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION SHALL BE ENTITLED TO AN AWARD OF THE COSTS OF THE LITIGATION AND REASONABLE ATTORNEYS' FEES IN AN AMOUNT TO BE DETER- MINED BY THE COURT. 4. ANY PERSON CONVICTED OF VIOLATING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE FINED NOT MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS OR IMPRISONED NOT MORE THAN ONE YEAR OR BOTH; IF BODILY INJURY RESULTS FROM SUCH VIOLATION, SUCH PERSON SHALL BE PUNISHED BY A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS OR BY IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT MORE THAN TEN YEARS, OR BOTH; AND IF DEATH RESULTS, SUCH PERSON SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE RELEVANT PENALTIES PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 70.00 OF THE PENAL LAW FOR CONVICTION OF A CLASS A-I FELONY. 5. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "SEXUAL ORIENTATION" MEANS HAVING A PREFERENCE FOR HETEROSEXUALITY, HOMOSEXUALITY, BISEXUALITY OR ASEXUALI- TY, HAVING A HISTORY OF SUCH A PREFERENCE, OR BEING IDENTIFIED WITH SUCH A PREFERENCE. HOWEVER NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROTECT CONDUCT OTHERWISE PROSCRIBED BY LAW. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.