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Policy Matters July 2015: Looking Back, Moving Forward


Now that the near giddiness and frenetic pace of the end of the legislative session is behind us, it’s time to reflect on where we landed with our State Policy Priorities.  There were ups and downs this year for sure, but hey, it’s New York, so that’s to be expected.  But regardless of the ups or downs, the wins or losses, one thing will always be constant: we will be here every day, working to make the law work for ALL New Yorkers.

In that spirit, our Policy Team has put together summaries of the action on some our priority issues.

Domestic Violence

We followed a lot of DV bills this year, but concentrated on one in particular, especially in the waning days of session.  The “nuisance ordinance” bill would have helped crime and DV victims by removing the fear of losing their housing when they call for help.  The Assembly passed the bill, but it never made it out of committee and to the floor for a vote in the Senate.  Here’s a recent story about a woman in Rochester that shows the impact of local nuisance ordinances. 


There was a lot of movement with our Health policy priorities.  As usual, it seems we picked up a few more priorities along the way!

Child Care

Truly, the Assembly stepped it up this year for New Yorkers, passing four of our child care priorities.

Public Assistance

  • Screening Public Assistance Clients for Disabilities.  Progress has been made, but there’s more to be done to identify mental health and other issues when someone applies for Public Assistance.  Disabilities, as Don Friedman writes, are sometimes “insurmountable barriers” to getting the help that’s needed.
  • Valuing Workfare against Welfare Debt.  This bill passed the Assembly, but didn’t get that far in the Senate.  The NYS Court of Appeals will hear arguments on this point this September, so keep an eye out for that.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

After the NYS Education Department released its guidance to school districts to help transgender and gender nonconforming students, Julia Saenz did an interview on Capitol Pressroom, airing soon.

Our very own President & CEO, Anne Erickson, was just named to the Governor’s Task Force to Combat Worker Exploitation and Abuse!

Maggie Robb talked to The Nation about why former students of the now-defunct Everest Institute are having such a hard time getting debt relief for their education loans.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman visited the Plattsburgh area to tout the Homeownership Protection Program and the Mortgage Assistance Program.

One of our clients – a veteran and single dad - in the Rochester area FINALLY got the mortgage modification he needed.  After four years.  Talk about tenacity!

Disability Law News June 2015 edition.

Policy Matters June 2015 edition. 

That’s it for now!  We’re taking a break in August, but Policy Matters will be back in September.

We’re always on Facebook and Twitter – keep in touch, stay involved – we’d love to hear from you!  If you haven’t already, sign up to receive these awesome newsletters and other stuff through our website! 

The Empire Justice Policy Team



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