NEWSLETTER: Policy Matters – May 2018

Policy Central May 31, 2018

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Policy Matters – May 2018

Policy Matters may have been on hiatus but our policy efforts have still been going strong! For our May 2018 edition we’ll bring you up to date on many areas where Empire Justice has been making a difference – making the law work for all New Yorkers.


Consumer Protection

We released a data-rich report, #AllTogetherNow, led by Empire Justice Researcher/Policy Analyst Barb van Kerkhove, which looks at aggregate small business lending and compares it to the distribution of occupied businesses for the city of Rochester, Monroe County and the rest of the Rochester metro area. Click here to read about the lending disparities we found in low to moderate income communities of color.

We wrote a memo of support for A.1408 (Weinstein)/S.6171(Hamilton) which helps protect homeowners by comprehensively addressing ever evolving deed theft and foreclosure prevention scams. Keep an eye out the first week of June – we’ll beparticipating in a press conference to push for passage by the Senate before the end of the legislative session.



Here is another memo of support, this one is for A. 10273-A(Sepulveda)/S. 7569-A(Hamilton), which would ensure that immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) would remain eligible for Medicaid benefits even if the federal government removes their protected status.


Public Benefits

We submitted comments on new regulations from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) on reengagement/conciliation and sanction procedures for employment programs.


Child Care

With the long-awaited Child Care Development Block Grant finally on its way to New York State, we submitted testimony on New York’s State’s Draft Child Care Development Fund Plan.


State Budget

This year’s state budget was a challenging one, beginning with the announcement of the Executive Budget and the Governor’s State of the State Address to the adoption of the final enacted budget. While Empire Justice Center was successful in advocating for many of our budget priorities, the final budget also fell short in a number of key areas. You can read more about our take on the final budget here.

Senior Attorney Susan Antos testified before the Joint Legislative Committee on Human Services and Labor. Topics covered included  funding for the Disability Advocacy Program (DAP), funding for child care, addressing rising homelessness by adopting the Home Stability Support rent supplement, and issues related to wage theft. You can read the full testimony here.

Similarly, Health Policy Attorney Adam Prizio submitted testimony to the Joint Legislative Committee on Health/Medicaid. Included in the topics were funding for Community Health Advocates (CHA), the current home care workforce shortage, policies to ensure disabled and senior New Yorkers are able to live integrated lives in the community, and issues related to Managed Long Term Care (MLTC). You can read the full testimony here.

We also weighed in on  a number of budget proposals, including:

  • Memo of Support: Exempting low income people from losing their driving license privileges when they do not have the means to pay their delinquent tax debts.
  • Memo of Support: Basic protections regarding the servicing of student loans in New York State.

Following the adoption of the final budget we did a deeper dive on a few of the budget issues that really stood out this year:

  • Consumer Protection: Empire Justice pulled out all the stops, advocating for improvements to last year’s new law protecting seniors who have entered into reverse mortgages. Learn more about issues around reverse mortgages and the victory that we and other consumer advocates achieved in this article written by Staff Attorney, Fiona Wolfe.
  • Health and Managed Long Term Care: Health Attorney, Adam Prizio, wrote this article summarizing a number of health related changes in the budget that will affect New Yorkers, especially seniors and disabled people.
  • Homelessness: We continue to be concerned about the rising tide of homelessness across New York State, which is affecting urban, suburban, and rural areas, and which the budget failed to adequately address. Long Island Managing Attorney, Don Friedman, writes about the need for a shelter supplement to address the inadequate public assistance shelter allowance that is pushing more and more New Yorkers into homelessness.

In Case You Missed It

An Empire Justice litigation victory means that thousands of immigrants with Temporary Protected Status will be able to access the financial assistance guaranteed by the state constitution.

After months of back and forth negotiations, studies, and meetings the Rochester City School Board has committed to entering into a legally enforceable consent decree with Empire Justice Center that stipulates that the district will become fully compliant with all state and federal obligations to students with disabilities within three years, meeting specific milestones for compliance during that time.

Thanks so much for catching up with our 2018 work – we have so much more to do and we look forward to sharing our efforts to make the law work for all New Yorkers!


The Empire Justice Policy Team