NEWSLETTER: Policy Matters, May 2017

Policy Central May 31, 2017

May 2017 Policy Matters


The budget has been signed, so now we’re on to our state legislative and administrative priorities.  This year, it feels more important than ever that we’re successful here in New York, and we know many of you are feeling that way, too.  Rest easy- we’ll be haunting the halls of the State Capitol and the Legislative Office Building, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up to get email updates to keep an eye out on ways you can help make the law work for all New Yorkers.

Wage Justice
Advocates gathered in Albany to talk to legislators about the SWEAT bill, and started the day off with a press conference attended by bill sponsors Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and Senator Jose Peralta, along workers who have faced wage theft from all over the state.

SWEAT 2017 Press Conf 2 SWEAT 2017 Press Conf 1

A new report shows that minimum wage workers lose more than $8 billion a year to wage theft.  Here in New York State, there are violations totaling $965 million per year.

Child Care
Senior Attorney Susan Antos testified before the joint legislative Committees on Children and Families and the Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues, talking about barriers to accessing quality child care.  HINT: Providing adequate funding for child care subsidies will help families overcome barriers to access.

Susan Antos Testifying May 2017

Parents who work the nightshift need to sleep during the day.  Sounds simple, but if you don’t have child care for your young children who aren’t in school yet, sleep becomes elusive.  Here’s our memo of support for legislation that would require all districts to provide subsidies so that parents who work nights can get some much-needed sleep.

We’re proud to participate in the Green Light NY Driving Together: Luz Verde NY Manejando Juntos coalition, which is working to make sure that, regardless of immigration status, all New Yorkers have equal access to drivers’ licenses.

There’s a bill in the Assembly that would allow Medicaid recipients to get the physical, occupational and speech therapy they need.  Right now, there’s a cap of 20 visits on these essential therapies- even when a physician or provider says more visits are medically necessary.  Read our memo of support for this critical legislation.

Disability [crossover with Health]
We joined with eight other advocacy and legal aid organizations around the state in support of legislation that will make it easier to access your medical records.  Read the joint memo of support.

Public Benefits
It’s crazy that people getting cash assistance aren’t sufficiently notified that their assistance is a debt owed to the State.  Sometimes districts even try to recover assistance that’s not recoverable, including child care subsidies and SNAP benefits.  There is legislation in the Assembly that would be a first step in providing a clear notification to those receiving benefits that they are incurring a debt.

The way income is calculated for any benefit, especially SNAP, can have a very significant impact on the stability of households.  Food and Nutrition Services, the federal agency that oversees SNAP, sought comments on the idea of changing how monthly household income is tabulated.  Here are our comments, submitted by Senior Attorney Saima Akhtar.

Buying a home can be a long, sometimes confusing process, and once you get your mortgage, it can be bought and sold over and over again- sometimes with no paper trail, making it nearly impossible to figure out who holds the note to your most valuable asset.  There’s a bill making its way through the legislature that would require lenders and assignees to fill out a form detailing critical information, creating the all-important paper trail.

We brought together eight other advocacy organizations on Long Island to pen a letter to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency regarding Sterling Bancorp’s proposed merger with Astoria Financial Corporation.

Our Rochester Celebration of Leadership, honoring the contributions of Justin Vigdor, went off without a hitch in mid-May.

LatinoJustice PRLDEF opened a satellite office at Touro Law Center- right down the hall from our Long Island offices!

Senior Attorney Rebecca Caico spoke at the Monroe County Vacant & Abandoned Task Force’s press conference.

Some of our staff were in DC this month for #ConsumerRising2017.

Maria DeGennaro May 2017 2

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