The state Assembly later on Wednesday is set to approve legislation that is meant to redefine the state's rape laws to include more forms of non-consensual sexual conduct.
The vote would mark the 10th time lawmakers in the Assembly have approved the measure, known as the "Rape is Rape" bill.
“For years, the Assembly has fought to make this legislation the law of the land in New York,” Speaker Carl Heastie said. “It is past time that our laws ensure that all forms of rape are treated as the very serious and traumatizing crime that they are, and that perpetrators of such horrific violence are charged accordingly.”
The measure changes the definition of rape in the state's criminal code by removing the requirement of penetration as part of the definition of sexual intercourse. It would redefine rape by including non-consensual vaginal sexual contact, as well as non-consensual oral and anal sexual contact. Those are actions are currently prosecuted as criminal sex acts in New York.
“Today’s passage marks the tenth time that the Assembly has passed this legislation – justice for these survivors is long overdue,” said Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz. “When these brave individuals relive their painful experience in court, they deserve to know that they have the full weight of the law behind them. It is simply unacceptable that our laws treat these horrendous acts as anything less than rape. I am proud to carry this legislation that would help survivors receive justice and ensure perpetrators are held accountable.”