Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a domestic violence legislative package into law. Legislation S.1557/A.4496 requires the release of individuals from utility corporation services in instances of domestic violence. Legislation S.1555A/A.465-A will make it easier for a victim of domestic violence to apply to have their voter registration records sealed from public view.
“My mother worked with domestic violence survivors all her life, and I’m proud to continue the mission to put an end to abuse and support the needs of survivors and families,” Governor Hochul said. “Requiring utility companies to release survivors of domestic violence from their contracts freeing up funds for necessities as they get their feet on the ground in a new home and keeping those new homes’ addresses confidential ensures survivors can live there safely.”
Legislation S.1557/A.4496 amends the public service law in relation to requiring the release of individuals from utility corporation services in instances of domestic violence. This legislation provides an escape clause for victims of domestic violence so they will not have to continue paying for services at a location they have fled.
Senator Kevin Parker said, “The unfortunate truth is that New York State needs to do more to ensure protection for victims of domestic violence. As survivors work to move forward with their lives they need be able to break away from utility contracts without penalty. I applaud Governor Hochul for signing this important legislation into law and look forward to implementing more pathways to recovery for survivors.”
Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa said, “We thank Governor Hochul for signing this important legislation that will go a long way in returning dignity to survivors of abuse. Intimate partner violence manifest itself in physical, verbal, and economic abuse. This legislation will allow survivors a release to ensure that can rebuild their lives and futures.”
Legislation S.1555A/A.465-A amends the election law to ease the process for keeping a registered voter’s name and address from being disclosed to the public. Previously, a victim of domestic violence would have to apply to the Supreme Court for a court order to keep the information from being disclosed. Now, a victim of domestic violence can make an affirmation directly to the Board of Elections asking for the voter registration information to be kept confidential for four years.
Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “Survivors of domestic violence shouldn’t have to choose between exercising their right to vote and their personal safety. We want all New Yorkers to play a role in our democracy; by removing a cause for fear, this law will hopefully make it easier for survivors to find and use their voices in our elections.”
Assemblymember Nily Rozic said, “No survivor should have to give up their right to vote in order to protect themselves from abuse. This law will ensure that survivors of domestic violence have a fair and straightforward way to keep their voter registration details confidential enabling them to vote without fear. I applaud Governor Hochul for signing this crucial legislation into law to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”
The NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) is the country’s only executive level state agency dedicated to the issue of domestic violence. New York State’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline is available 24/7: 800-942-6906 (call), 844-997-2121 (text) or @opdv.ny.gov (chat). Last year, the state and local hotlines received more than 250,000 calls for assistance.
The Office of Victim Services also funds a network of more than 200 community-based programs that provide direct services to victims of crime and their families. The programs also help any victim of crime apply for compensation and other assistance from the agency, which is a safety net for individuals who have no other resources.