Civil Rights

Barbara has been a steadfast fighter for civil rights since her first year in the Assembly.  After the federal government passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2003 -- and then each state had to pass its own implementing law -- she argued for the longest possible list of ID’s for first-time voters in New York, for an interactive database of voters with county Boards of Elections, and for an accessible voting machine with secure storage for the paper ballot marked by the voter.

Because of her work, the Speaker appointed her to the Election Law Committee and subsequently asked her to serve as his appointee to the Citizens’ Election Modernization Advisory Committee to the State Board of Elections, where she worked for two more years to make sure New York had the most secure, accurate and reliable voting machines possible -- and appropriate transparency throughout the voting process. Barbara is proud to have been a leader in the effort to require a verifiable paper trail and secure non-internet voting machines which are a protection against hacking, foreign or domestic.

She has continued to monitor voting issues, authoring a bill to make sure New York does not participate in any programs, such as the Voter Crosscheck Program, that could lead to inappropriate purging of voters.  In this day of Russian interference with our elections, she continues to closely monitor cyber-security issues in our state.

More recently, Barbara co-sponsored and voted for a bill to provide for early-voting and online voter registration, as well as a bill which would close the LLC loophole that allows a single individual to make multiple large contributions to the same candidate or committee through separate LLCs. She also co-sponsored and voted for the Assembly’s Democracy Protection Act, requiring the disclosure of the identities of political committees running political advertisements online. 

Barbara has been a strong supporter of criminal justice reform in New York State, voting this year for bail reform and reform of the discovery process, among other bills.  In the past, Barbara co-sponsored and voted for reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws that were discriminatory in their designation of drugs and overly-harsh sentencing guidelines that overlooked the proven benefits of drug rehabilitation.