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Lawmakers approve changes to sexual harassment laws

State lawmakers approved on Wednesday backed the final passage of a bill that makes changes to the state’s sexual harassment laws following a series of public hearings this year lawmakers held on the issue.

“I apologize to everyone who has been subjected to the harassment, the abuse, the insensitivity, the ugliness of being marginalized, and though it was perfectly OK to do whatever,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins moments before the chamber approved it unanimously.

In her remarks, Stewart-Cousins apologized to abuse victims and survivors.

The bill broadens the definition of harassment beyond the current “severe or pervasive” that supporters of the change say is too narrow to cover a range of misconduct and abusive behavior.

The measure was approved after two public hearings were held by state lawmakers on the issue this year. The hearings were the first lawmakers in New York had held in a generation and came amid a societal reckoning surrounding sexual abuse and misconduct.

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