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Policy Advocacy

Each year, Empire Justice Center’s policy team undertakes a robust policy agenda which includes legislative and administrative priorities we seek to advance as well as policies and programs we monitor closely to ensure they are not eroded. In this section of our website you will find bill memos, comments, letters, testimony, reports, advocacy materials and news articles related to this critical component of our work.

Click here to view our 2016 State Policy Priorities.

For more information about Empire Justice Center’s policy work contact Kristin Brown Lilley, Director of Policy Advocacy.

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Protect New York Homes

DAPWorks for New York State!



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Restoring Neighborhoods: New York State’s 2016 Zombie Property and Foreclosure Prevention Act :
On June 23, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Chapter 73 of the Laws of New York 2016. The new act includes provisions and intentions that were part of several bills introduced throughout the session to address the zombie property and foreclosure crises in New York State. Read More

Legislative Updates



Empire Justice Memo of Support: Standardize Access to Court Ordered Forensic Evaluations in Child Custody Cases
This bill would amend and standardize the procedures involved in court ordered forensic evaluations and reports in child custody and visitation proceedings statewide. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Give Workers the Necessary Tools to Fight Against Wage Theft and Collect Stolen Wages
Wage theft is rampant in New York, as exploitative employers too often hide or transfer their assets to avoid paying wages they have stolen from their employees. Even when workers win a court-awarded judgment, they are unlikely to collect the money owed to them. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Opposition: Don't Allow Check Cashers to become Lenders
This bill would license and permit check cashers to become lenders outside of New York’s traditional and regulated banking system, and without ensuring the safety and soundness of those loans. Read More

Memoranda of Support/Opposition


Empire Justice Letter of Support for Name Change Legislation
A.2242 (Bronson)/S.5240 (Savino) not only is in line with existing policy, but enhances and clarifies the law for name change applicants who need the benefit of the law’s critical safety protections. Read More

Empire Justice Letter of Support: Restore Meaning to the Medicaid Managed Care Prescriber Prevails Law
Empire Justice Center urges Governor Cuomo to sign A.7208/S.4893 amending New York Social Services Law (SSL) § 364-j(25) regarding prescriber prevails procedures in Medicaid managed care. Read More

Joint Letter of Support: Pass Legislation to Protect Crime and Domestic Violence Victims!
In New York State, and nationwide, no victim of domestic violence or other person threatened with a crime should be afraid to access police or emergency assistance because doing so may jeopardize their housing. Read More


Empire Justice Comments on Updated SNAP Eligibility
Empire Justice Center is grateful for the addition of Perkins educational programs to the allowable SNAP employment and training offerings. Read More

Empire Justice Comments to DFS on Vacant and Abandoned Properties
The proposed regulations for vacant and abandoned properties are quite comprehensive and thoughtfully address most of what needs to be included in the final regulations. Read More

Empire Justice Center Comments to CFPB on High Cost Installment Loans
If there is an unwillingness to ban high-cost payday lending outright on the federal level, then we call on the CFPB to act with great care to ensure that the rules only have the effect of regulating payday lending where it is legal, and not the unintended effect of opening the door to payday ending in states where it is illegal. Read More

Policy Letters Comments


Empire Justice Center Testimony for the 2017 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Housing
Empire Justice Center's testimony prepared for the 2017 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Housing. New York State must commit $30 million in funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Network to continue the great strides we've made in keeping New Yorkers in their homes. Read More

Empire Justice Testimony at the 2017 Human Services Budget Hearing
Our extensive testimony at this year's joint legislative budget hearing on human services. Read More



MCCAP: Statewide Partners Maximize Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Federal Prescription Drug Benefits and Health Resources for Low Income Elderly and Disabled New Yorkers
The Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program (MCCAP) is a statewide program that provides essential assistance to low income seniors and people with disabilities in access health services and reducing their Medicare costs. Read More

Joint Letter of Support: Pass Legislation to Protect Crime and Domestic Violence Victims!
In New York State, and nationwide, no victim of domestic violence or other person threatened with a crime should be afraid to access police or emergency assistance because doing so may jeopardize their housing. Read More

Joint Memo of Support for Bill that would Protect Domestic Violence Victims
No victim of domestic violence or other person threatened with a crime in New York should be afraid to access police or emergency assistance because doing so may jeopardize their housing. Nevertheless, numerous municipalities throughout New York have passed local laws, so called “nuisance ordinances,” that have this precise result. Read More


Foreclosure help program faces loss of funding, advocates say (Newsday)

A network of housing agencies and legal groups that has helped more than 20,000 Long Islanders facing foreclosure is pushing to get funding for its work included in next year’s state budget. Read More

Capitol Pressroom: Kirsten Keefe on Foreclosure Prevention (WCNY)

Capitol Pressroom - We discussed options for those facing foreclosure on a mortgage or a reverse mortgage from Empire Justice Center Senior Staff Attorney Kirsten Keefe. Read More

Empire Justice Statement on Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget Proposal

After the release of the Executive Budget Tuesday night, Empire Justice Center expressed appreciation that funding is included in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal for several key programs that assist New Yorkers living at or near the federal poverty level. Read More

Policy Collaborations Policy Related News Items


Protect New York Homes :
Funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Network ends on September 30, 2017. New York State is a national model for foreclosure prevention and community restoration because of its dedication to providing homeowners with a strong network of professional housing counselors and legal services attorneys. Read More

DAPWorks for NYS :
DAPWorks for NYS is a statewide campaign seeking to increase funding for the Disability Advocacy Program (DAP). Read More

Name Change Clinics Available in Rochester! :
Are you in the Rochester area and need help getting your legal name changed and your IDs updated ASAP? Empire Justice Center is hosting three free legal clinics in December to help as many folks as possible get through the process before any federal policies change for the worse. Read More

Related Policy Articles


Know Your Rights: A Guide to Fighting Discrimination Against Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming New Yorkers Under the New York State Human Rights Law   Transgender and gender-nonconforming people in New York State are now clearly protected by our Human Rights Law (HRL), thanks to new regulations issued earlier this year. Our NEW GUIDE explains what gender identity-based discrimination might look like, and how to exercise your rights under the HRL.   Read More
NYRL Report: Divergent Paths  Divergent Paths reveals wide variations in the implementation of foreclosure settlement conference rules. The wide variations in implementation have the potential to leave tens of thousands of New Yorkers at heightened risk of losing their homes.  Read More

Policy Related Reports


Policy Matters January 2017
Empire Justice Center's latest edition of Policy Matters. Read More


Policy Related Newsletters