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Policy Matters March 2016: Justice in Bloom


With the state budget about to be wrapped up, we’re clearing out the weeds and turning the soil to prepare for the second part of the legislative session.  Our next edition will have a full, detailed run down on where our budget priorities landed, but until then, catch up on how we’ve been working to make the law work for all New Yorkers.

Domestic Violence

Our colleague, Sandra Park of the American Civil Liberties Union, tells the story of a domestic violence survivor’s fight to end nuisance ordinances in one Arizona town.  We’ll be working with Sandra and other partners to end these harmful ordinances here in New York State.


In order to fight the growing tide of neighborhood destabilization, all of us need to work together – local communities and all levels of government.  That’s why it was so important that Congresswoman Slaughter recently outlined changes that HUD and FHFA need to make to put neighborhood stabilization at the top of their priority list.

Kee ping homeowners in their homes is just one critical element in stabilizing neighborhoods.  We updated our memo of support for legislation that would shorten the foreclosure process in New York State by tightening up the rules for foreclosure settlement conferences.

When big banks merge, often local communities suffer.  That’s why it was so refreshing when, after working with local advocates, KeyCorp announced the development of a Community Benefits Plan as it plans to finalize its takeover of First Niagara.

Public Benefits

E ven with the state budget taking up most of our attention, our legislative issues are still in the mix.  One of our priorities is the elimination of asset tests for public assistance applicants.  Check out our memo on exempting retirement accounts as a resource.


HUGE VICTORY: Karamalla v. Devine was decided, ordering the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to process applications for assistance regardless of a person’s immigration status.  OTDA has been denying assistance to thousands of New Yorkers who were in the country under Temporary Protected Status, which the Court found to be “arbitrary and capricious” and, in fact, against the both the US and New York State constitutions.

Wage Justice

Wage theft is rampant and goes largely unnoticed in New York State.  There’s legislation being considered this year that would go a long way in helping workers collect on judgements in their favor.  In fact, the SWEAT Coalition (Securing Wages Earned Against Theft) will be in Albany lobbying for passage of this bill in early April!


We had t o say goodbye to Amanda Doroshow.  We’ll miss you Amanda!

The latest edition of Disability Law News was released.

Intrepid Empire Justice Senior Attorney Ruhi Maker was in DC at the NCRC Conference, rubbing elbows with Senator Schumer.

We were honored to participate in NYSCAA’s 10th annual Poverty Symposium.

That’s it for now! 

The Policy Team at Empire Justice Center

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