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Policy Matters - February 2013


Dear Friends,

As we draft this issue of Policy Matters, we are about to begin the sprint to a final state budget - possibly earlier than ever before.  As you may have guessed, much of our work since our last email has been focused on budget issues. However, as you can see, we have other irons on the fire as well!

Over the last month, Empire Justice Center testified at three joint legislative budget hearings. At the Public Protection hearing we urged the Legislature to help stabilize funding for civil legal services.  During the Health hearing we noted our support for the Executive Budget’s approach to implementing New York’s Health Benefit Exchange and expressed our concern that the proposed budget’s elimination of the Family Health Plus program, spousal refusal and immediate needs Medicaid would limit access to care for many consumers.  At the Human Services hearing we shared how increasing or maintaining our investment in three programs affecting lower income families and/or disabled individuals makes economic sense for New York - child care assistance, the Disability Advocacy Program (DAP) and the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program (MCCAP).

We also testified at the Assembly’s hearing on New York’s transition of Medicaid long term care services to a private managed care model, recommending several safeguards to assure continued access to needed services and adequate transparency so consumers could make smart choices.

Empire Justice participated in two lobby days: one as a member of Winning Beginning NY to advocate for child care funding, and another as a member of New Yorkers for Responsible Lending in an effort to keep payday lending out of New York.  We have also been bringing our staff to Albany from all over the state to introduce our 2013 legislative agenda to lawmakers.

Right after our last issue of Policy Matters, we joined with advocates from across the state to launch the statewide DAPWorks for NY campaign with a press conference at the Capitol.  Approximately 100 people attended the press conference, and we were pleased to have Assemblymember Dick Gottfried and Senators Martin Golden, Joseph Robach, Jack Martins, Neil Breslin and Tim Kennedy attend to support us!

Finally, we participated in radio interviews on immigration reform, on the Disability Advocacy Program (our interview is at 36 minutes into the program) and on the recent settlements and rules affecting mortgage servicers (our interview is at 38 minutes).

Keep an eye on our website and facebook page as we update our legislative memos over the course of the next month and update you on the state budget proceedings.

All the best!

Kristin and the Empire Justice Policy Team

Articles in this Issue