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Policy Matters July 2017: Session Wrap


To wrap up our Legislative activities from New York State’s 2017 Legislative Session, we bring you the July issue of Policy Matters with a series of articles detailing our wins, our losses and what we’ve learned from our experiences over the past many months. 

One thing we found was that much of our work this year was impacted by questions about what changes were on the horizon on the federal level.  Our advocates had one eye on DC and the other on Albany in our endeavor to predict, protect and persist - all in the interest of strengthening our laws here in New York State.

As we move forward with our planning for next year’s policy agenda, Empire Justice Center will continue with this approach: pragmatically focusing on where we can have the greatest impact and using our passion, perseverance and expertise as a force for achieving economic justice for all New Yorkers.

We’ll be taking a break to recharge next month, but never fear - Policy Matters will be back in September...

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 will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Lead Poisoning Prevention
Both Houses of the New York State Legislature have passed A.1809A (Dinowitz)/S.1200A (Alcantara), which will strengthen the enforcement of lead poisoning protections for children.

Wage Justice
Empire Justice Center and the SWEAT Coalition, consisting of over 70 groups representing workers, businesses, unions, anti-poverty groups and faith-based groups, worked hard to advocate for the SWEAT Bill [A.628 (Rosenthal)/S.579 (Peralta)] - legislation designed to fight against New York’s wage theft epidemic and wage collection crisis, and to close loopholes in our state’s labor laws.

Child Care
The end of the 2017 Legislative Session was disappointing for those of us hoping to see increased supports for parents and providers in the child care subsidy system.

This past session, the Assembly introduced A.7772 (Barrett), which would provide relief from an outdated cap on Medicaid physical, occupational and speech therapy that, for the past five years, has been detrimental to New Yorkers struggling to access care that everyone agrees is medically necessary.

Disability Advocacy/Health
A.7842 (Gottfried)/S.6078 (Valesky) will ensure free access to medical records for those applying for Social security and Medicaid benefits, as well as some veteran’s benefits.

Immigrant Rights
This year the Green Light NY Campaign was formed to ensure all New Yorkers have equal access to drivers’ licenses, which we are a proud member of.  We have a memo of support, and the issue was recently highlighted in the New York Times.

Emily’s Perspective
Empire Justice Center’s Policy Intern talks about her inspiration and one of the bills she worked on this session.

That’s it for now.  Remember, you are not alone- we’re with you, fighting right by your side.

The Policy Team at Empire Justice Center

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