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Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 1:47 am, Thu Feb 13, 2014.

Assembly again OKs equality bill; abortion at issue

The state Assembly on Jan. 27 passed the Women’s Equality Act, a bill with 10 components including one that would allow late-term abortions, which caused the legislation to stall in the state Senate last year.

The Senate had passed the other nine provisions, which include measures designed to ensure pay equity in the workplace, combat human trafficking and sexual harassment and protect victims of domestic violence from housing discrimination.

But the Assembly would only pass the entire 10-point package as one bill, dooming it in the Senate. The Assembly did the same last week, passing the measure 80-36.

Supporters of the abortion plank say it would bring state law in line with the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right to the procedure. Opponents say it would violate the 2003 federal ban on so-called partial-birth abortions, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in the 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart case.

“We in the people’s house live up to our promise to shield women from the scourge of domestic violence and protect and defend a woman’s right to choose,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said before the vote.

On the opposite side of the aisle, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Brooklyn, Staten Island), who supports the other nine provisions, said after the vote, “The majority’s actions today have once again set up the Women’s Equality Agenda for failure, by bringing one omnibus bill to the floor — knowing the Senate has already indicated it will not take it up.”

State of the City will be given in Queens

Mayor de Blasio will deliver his first State of the City Address at noon on Monday, at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City. The event is not open to the public.

In announcing the speech, de Blasio’s office said he “will focus on new policies to raise the wage floor for workers and invest in new pathways to the middle class.”

The mayor said in a prepared statement, “From day one, we have worked to make this ‘One City’ — where everyone rises together. We’ve taken on big challenges with bold, progressive solutions. We have set the pace, and in the State of the City address, we will lay out a broader agenda that drives change further and leaves no New Yorker behind.”

State spent more on overtime than ever

tOvertime earnings at state agencies rose to a record $611 million in 2013, a nearly 16 percent increase compared to 2012, according to a report released late last week by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Overtime accounted for 3.9 percent of total payroll in 2013, he said.

“State employees logged 14.8 million overtime hours last year, costing taxpayers a record $611 million. New York’s overtime bill is increasing and needs to be reined in,” DiNapoli said. “State agencies should take a hard look at how they are using overtime and for what. To hold the line on state spending, state agencies should double their efforts to reduce this expensive habit.”

The comptroller’s report found for the seven-year period ending in 2013, overtime earnings were up by 27.3 percent.

Three agencies that operate institutions — the Office of Mental Health, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities — accounted for 63.5 percent of the overtime spending, though all spent a little less on it than they had in 2012, DiNapoli said.

City sued over cig law

A group of tobacco companies and retail associations last week sued the city in federal court in an attempt to overturn a new law banning the use of coupons or other discounts for the purchase of tobacco products. The ordinance, passed last fall, also set a minimum price of $10.50 for a pack of cigarettes, but the suit does not challenge that part of the law.

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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