New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has included legislation in his FY2021 Executive Budget to expand protections for transportation workers against physical attacks.

The legislation expands the list of employee titles who are protected by law from physical attacks and adds further protections by making several forms of aggravated harassment against a transportation worker a Class A misdemeanor.

"New York transit workers literally keep this state moving and the attacks against them are repugnant," Governor Cuomo said. "No transit worker should ever be subjected to assault of any kind, and I am proposing new measures to enhance protections for them and ensure more workers across the transit system get the respect they deserve."

Under Gov. Cuomo’s proposal, customer assistance personnel, signal system repairers, track cleaners and other job titles would join the existing list of protected titles, which include train and bus operators, signal persons and terminal cleaners. 

The legislation clarifies existing protections for transportation workers while adding new ones. According to the legislation, any form of forceful or violent physical contact against a worker on duty, including spitting on them, constitutes a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in prison.