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Lancman maid safety bill gets state Senate sponsor

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State Assemblyman Rory Lancman’s (D-Fresh Meadows) bill requiring hotels to provide housekeepers with panic alert buttons in the wake of attempted sexual assault charges against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has a state Senate sponsor and is closer to becoming law, his office said Monday.

Lancman penned the legislation, dubbed the Hotel Worker Protection Act, after Strauss-Kahn was charged with allegedly forcing a maid, an immigrant from Guinea, at the Sofitel Hotel in Midtown to perform a sex act.

Lancman’s office said Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) introduced the legislation in the Senate and the assemblyman announced on Twitter Tuesday that the bill passed the Assembly Labor Committee.

The pending legislation does not prevent hotels from taking preventative measures and Lancman said two hotels have done just that, including the Sofitel and the Pierre on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where another maid was allegedly sexually assaulted.

“It’s great that the Sofitel and Pierre hotels have voluntarily agreed to provide their housekeepers with panic alert buttons to prevent a recurrence of the Dominique Strauss-Khan and Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar incidents, but every housekeeper in every hotel deserves the same protection,” Lancman said in a statement.

Abdel-Salam Omar, an Egyptian businessman, was also arrested last month for allegedly assaulting the maid inside his room at the Pierre.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 10:52 am, October 12, 2011
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