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Policy Matters January 2016: The Marathon Begins


The New York State Legislature has officially begun the peoples’ business for the year.  Governor Cuomo released his Executive Budget proposal and gave his State of the State address and Budget Presentation.  The cycle begins again, and we here at Empire Justice have strapped our running shoes on for another long-haul marathon, focused on making the law work for all New Yorkers.

Now Available: Empire Justice Center’s 2016 Policy Priorities!  Focusing on the Foundation: Building Social and Economic Justice for New York highlights the many ways New York State can recommit to building a strong foundation for everyone.  When all New Yorkers enjoy the same rights and have their basic needs met, we will all be truly prosperous.

Before we go any further, we need to welcome Eòghann Renfroe to the Policy Team as our new Policy Coordinator!  Eòghann just started with us and we couldn’t be more excited!  We’re looking forward to running this marathon with you Eòghann!

Public Benefits

It’s always nice when your hard work gets recognized, and we are thrilled that the Public News Service did a story on our report, Turn up the Heat, and interviewed our intrepid Senior Attorney, Saima Akhtar.

We’re hiring a Public Benefits Paralegal in the Albany office!  Learn more about the position and how to apply.

Child Care

Child care is intrinsic to healthy families and communities.  With this in mind, we recently provided comments on New York State’s draft Child Care Development Fund Plan.  Long story short, there are a lot of things that can be included in the Plan to ensure that low income families have and maintain access to quality child care. 

LGBT Rights

The NYS Division of Human Rights issued final regulations that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression and transgender status under the Human Rights Law.  We were excited when the Governor announced his executive action directing DHR to draft the regulations, and now we’re just plain ecstatic.  The transgender and gender non-conforming community has worked so hard for this, and so many of us take these same rights and protections for granted.  This is fantastic first step on the road to equality.


Amy Lowenstein, Senior Health Law Attorney, presented our testimony on the Health portion of the Executive Budget proposal to the Joint Legislative Committees.  From funding for the Essential Plan to maintaining spousal impoverishment protections, Amy’s testimony showcases how health coverage can be accessible to everyone in New York.

Wage Justice

Our Workers’ Justice Attorney Elizabeth Nicolas, who is also a member of Sisters of POWER and is deeply committed to community lawyeri ng, talked to El Mensajero and explained how workers are often silenced after successful settlements, sometimes to the detriment of the people they are helping.


Hunger Solutions New York was invited to attend “A White House Conversation on Child Hunger in America.”

The Consumer Finance Protection Board took action against unlawful auto lending practices.

The deadline to enroll in health coverage is January 31st!

Legal Services NYC released their report Poverty is an LGBT Issue: An Assessment of the Legal Needs of Low-Income LGBT People.

Empire Justice welcomed a new member to our Worker Justice Team – Amanda Bransford

Our Ambassadors for Coverage program was highlighted by the New York State Health Foundation as one of the best of 2015.

The December 2015 issue of Disability Law News was released.

Thanks for reading! 

The Policy Team at Empire Justice Center

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