Bills meant to strengthen protections for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers were signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul amid Transgender Awareness Week. 

One measure is meant to expand protections for people in the LGBTQ+ community who are survivors and victims of sex trafficking. Known as the START Act, the new law is aimed at vacating convictions committed while a person is a victim of sex trafficking, labor trafficking and compelled prostitution. 

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. 

Hochul also approved legislation that will require utility companies to allow customers to use their preferred name and pronouns. The measure was sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas. 

"As we witness attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and protections around the country, New York is once again declaring that we are a state for all - one where we don't needlessly criminalize victims and where our trans, gender non-binary, and gender non-conforming communities are affirmed," Hochul said. "My administration is committed to equality and safety for everyone and New York is able to lead the way because of the work of our tireless advocates and our partners in the legislature. Together we will continue to build a state that is welcoming to all."