NEWSLETTER: Policy Matters, February 2017

Policy Central February 28, 2017

Policy Matters February 2017

Here at Empire Justice, we’re doing all we can every day to protect and defend the rights of New Yorkers.  In order for us to keep up the pace, we need you to act: donate now and fight by our side! 
Our state budget priories have been finalized- learn how we plan to promote strength and protect justice for all New Yorkers.
Immigration- #PowerNotPanic
Cheryl Keshner, along with other advocates, was part of a forum hosted by the Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island that spoke to an overflow crowd about preparing a plan for your family in case of detention.The Immigrant Defense Project has Know Your Rights materials available in 10 languages and other valuable information to make sure you’re prepared if you’re at risk of deportation.Our staff were on the front lines after President Trump signed executive orders banning refugees from select countries from entering the US.

New York State’s Assembly has introduced legislation that will effectively make New York a sanctuary state.  The bill passed the Assembly and is now waiting for the Senate Finance Committee to act.  We are proud to support this and other measures that will make our state safer.  The state has also created a hotline for people needing assistance with immigration matters.

LGBT Rights
In an incredible act of what has been called cruelty, the Trump administration rolled back guidelines designed to protect transgender and gender non-conforming students.  We issued a statement, criticizing the decision and reminding folks that federal and state laws still stand to protect transgender students, and here in New York State, there is guidance in place that helps schools create safe spaces for all students to learn and grow.

Public Benefits
Senior Attorney Susan Antos delivered our testimony on the Human Services portion of the 2017-18 Executive Budget Proposal.  Included in the topics covered are funding for MCCAP, funding for DAP, funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Network and the establishment of the Home Stability Support program.


Susan Antos at 2017 Human Services Budget Hrg
Susan Antos testifying at the 2017 Human Services Budget Hearing.


Home Stability Support continues to gain ground around the state, including Ithaca Mayor Myrick and Assembly Member Barbara Lifton.

Child care is in crisis.  Senior Attorney Susan Antos testified before the New York State Childhood Advisory Council on just a few ways New York State can make child care more affordable and accessible to low income families.

Consumer- #ProtectNYHomes
The Protect New York Homes funding campaign had a huge lobby day in mid-February.  If the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Network, consisting of 94 legal services providers and housing counselors, isn’t funded, the doors will close on October 1st, leaving tens of thousands of New York homeowners to stand alone against big banks and lenders.

Read our testimony on the Housing portion of the 2017-18 Executive Budget Proposal, prepared by Senior Attorney Kirsten Keefe, focused on funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Network.  Because every heart needs a home.

Our extensive Health testimony, prepared by Senior Attorney Amy Lowenstein, touches on 12 areas of health law, including funding for Community Health Advocates and expansion of the Essential Plan.

We also testified at a hearing exploring the home health aide shortage outside New York City and Long Island.


Advocates: make sure to register for the New York State Community Action Association’s annual Poverty Symposium.  Our Senior Attorneys Saima Akhtar, Amy Lowenstein and Don Friedman will be presenting.

We released the latest issue of the Disability Law News.

Senior Attorney Ruhi Maker spoke with WSHU about the importance of maintaining the CFPB.

Attorney Emeritus Barbara Weiner was honored as a Capital Hero.

Remember, you are not alone.  We are with you, fighting right by your side.

The Policy Team at Empire Justice Center