NEWSLETTER: Policy Matters, September 2017

Policy Central September 30, 2017

Policy Matters Sept 2017.jpg


This summer has been a wild ride: the people spoke, and we defeated several proposals to make harmful changes to health care.  Over and over again you were asked to make calls, send emails, attend events all over New York State, and you did.  In a show of citizenship unlike any this country has seen in decades, your actions protected our right to quality health care.  We will need to remember this power as new threats and opportunities become apparent, and keep working together to make the law work for all New Yorkers.

Domestic Violence
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month!  We will be going purple to raise awareness- will you?  Learn more about how to Shine the Light on Domestic Violence from the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.

Senior Attorney Amy Schwartz-Wallace has provided us with an analysis of selected domestic violence-related bills from the 2017 legislative session, including some budget outcomes.  Highlights include the creation of the Hate Crimes Task Force, translation of orders of protection and an increase in the age of consent for marriage.

Public Benefits
Just before the 2017 legislative session ended, a bill making two modifications to the public assistance work rules passed both the Senate and the Assembly and has now been signed by the Governor.  Here’s our take on the impacts it will have on low income New Yorkers and potential opportunities it may offer from Senior Attorney Don Friedman.

Disability Advocacy/Health
In another victory for New Yorkers, especially disabled New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo signed a critical medical records bill into law.  This new law, which goes into effect immediately, will allow New Yorkers to access their own medical records free of charge.  This is especially important to people applying for government benefits, including Social Security, certain veteran’s benefits and disability-based Medicaid.  Our forthcoming edition of Disability Law News will have information on how to access this new law.

Disability Advocacy
There’s certainly a lot to keep track of with the federal government, but we won’t let up.  That’s why we participated in a campaign to stop HR 2792 – the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act of 2017, or CUFF.  This harmful bill would cut Supplemental Security Income for seniors and adults with disabilities, amongst others, in order to pay for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.  We want to make sure our representatives know this should not be a zero sum game, and that they should not be pitting one worthy program against another.

Consumer Issues
Ruhi Maker, Senior Attorney in our Rochester office, contributed to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s City of Rochester Credit Profile.  With one in every three Rochesterians living in poverty, it’s more important than ever that data are available to show what’s happening on a micro level.  This way, decision makers will have better tools to help figure out what programs and services will work in the communities that need them the most.

Language Access
The fourth anniversary of two Executive Orders issued by Nassau County Executive Mangano that would have established a language access program has come and gone, and little has been done to comply with the executive orders establishing the program.  The little that has been done is far from enough to bring the County into compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.  Our own Cheryl Keshner and other Long Island advocates will keep working to see the executive orders that establish the language access program are fully implemented.

In other news…
Immigrant Rights Attorney Prathiba Desai blogged about her work at the South Texas Family Residential Center, which is neither “residential” nor is it a “center.”  The lack of humanity experienced by the women and children being jailed here is astounding, and it’s only getting worse for those being held there.

We spoke out about the repeal of DACA.  Congress must now act swiftly to protect Dreamers, who are the very backbone of our country’s future.

If you’re off to college this fall, or you know somebody that is, make sure you are fully aware of all the features of college-sponsored bank accounts.  Often, the only relationship a college or university has with the bank is a marketing agreement.

The Crime Victims Legal Network is moving towards its pilot phase- get caught up on what’s going on in this blog from Project Leader, Empire Justice’s Remla Parthasarathy.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman settled with Aequitas Capital Management, Inc., which will provide financial relief for about 350 Rochester-area students victimized by the Corinthian College loan provider.

We released our 2016-annual-report.

That’s all for now!  We’ll be back next month with more updates, but until then, keep track of us on Facebook and Twitter!

The Policy Team at Empire Justice Center