NEWSLETTER: Policy Matters, June 2017

Policy Central June 30, 2017

June 2017 Policy Matters Header

New York State’s 2017 Legislative Session ended with a bit of a whimper, but at least summer is finally here.  Here’s our press release with details about where we landed on many of our priorities- next month’s edition of Policy Matters will offer in-depth analysis of legislation we were following.  We had a few wins, but our work will definitely be cut out for us next year as we pick up perennial issues, take on new battles and work to protect New Yorkers from harmful changes at the federal level.

Child Care
Check out our memo of support for a bill that will require New York to create a Child Care Task Force, which will help the state develop a plan to expand access to quality, affordable health care.  This bill passed both the Senate and Assembly, and now waits to be delivered to Governor Cuomo for signature.

We issued a memo of support for a bill that would allow all residents of New York State to obtain a drivers’ license, regardless of immigration status.

Our Health Law Coordinator, Amanda Gallipeau, analyzed changes to Medicaid in the House of Representative’s version of the AHCA for the Minority Reporter.

Health Care for All New York has been providing in-depth analysis of the AHCA and what it means for New Yorkers.

Public Benefits [Crossover with Disability]
We provided testimony to the Assembly Social Services Committee on the State Supplement Program (SSP).  Applications and notices for SSP are causing problems for recipients since OTDA took over the administration of the program.

Ray Burke Testifying June 2017

Read our updated memo of support for legislation that would bring New York State into compliance with a Court of Appeals decision requiring that local districts give people doing workfare minimum wage credit when districts are collecting public assistance.

We issued comments focusing on HUD’s foreclosure alternatives program for FHA insured loans, which protects the Mortgage Insurance Fund by reducing the number of unnecessary claims paid out.

Currently New York State does not require student loan servicers be licensed, and there is very little monitoring of them overall.  Here’s our memo of support for legislation that would bring servicers, who can hold so much sway in people’s lives, under the auspices of the Department of Financial Services.

LGBT Rights
Milo Primeaux, our LGBT Rights Project staff attorney, has been all over New York State this month, teaching attorneys best practices for representing transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers, and hosting know your rights workshops for the community.

Domestic Violence
In Central New York, the New York State Supreme Court Third Appellate Division struck down a nuisance law in Groton (Tompkins County), saying it violated the First Amendment right to petition the government by punishing people for calling 911.  This is especially harmful to victims of domestic violence.

For the last several years, we’ve been working on legislation that would, essentially, create a carve out for domestic violence and crime victims in nuisance laws, but, once again, the Senate failed to pass the bill.  More to come next month on this, but in the meantime, read our reaction in our press release.

Wage Justice
When workers win wage theft cases, it’s often very hard to collect the money that’s been awarded to them, even when the bad-faith employer is well known in the community.

After a blistering report was released outlining the many ways that the Rochester City School District is failing its special education students, our Chief Counsel Bryan Hetherington talked about how far the RCSD has yet to go in serving special needs students, even after decades of court monitoring.

Long Island Wins released know your rights videos giving advice on what to do if you’re approached by ICE.

A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed just how much it takes to afford housing in New York State.  On Long Island, someone earning minimum wage has to work 149 hours a week to afford a modest two bedroom apartment.

Amy Schwartz-Wallace spoke at the 7th Judicial District’s Pride Event in Rochester, hosted by the Honorable Craig Doran.

That’s it for now.  Remember, you are not alone- we’re with you, fighting right by your side.

The Policy Team at Empire Justice Center