Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy    JOINDONATE
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy    JOINDONATE

Issues and Advocacy: April 2022

2022 State Budget Wins!

The state budget officially passed on Saturday, April 9th. We are pleased that this year many of the League’s budget priorities were included in the final budget proposal. Through our lobbying efforts the League was able to secure:

  • $5 million in TAP funding for incarcerated individuals
  • $4 million for local boards of elections to reimburse the cost of pre-paid postage for absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots
  • Expansion of polling places on college campuses

Thank you to our members who helped advocate for these critical funding needs! This successful budget outcome would not have been possible without your grassroots support.

The state budget is only one part of the League’s extensive legislative agenda. Now that the budget has been passed our efforts will focus on ensuring an open and transparent redistricting process, reducing the voter registration deadline, protecting the integrity of voters ballots even if they vote at the wrong location, expansion of early voting and absentee voting options, the New York State Voting Rights Act, court simplification, environmental justices issues such as the bigger better bottle bill, elder parole, fair and timely parole, and many other comprehensive good government reforms.

Post-Budget Lobby Packet

We sent out the post budget lobby packet on April 18th along with some additional educational materials. These materials can also be found on our website at https://lwvny.org/legislative-packet/. If you are interested in lobbying your state legislators on these issues representing the League, you MUST talk with your local League and coordinate advocacy with them. A zoom event will be held on Tuesday, May 3, at 7:00 pm, to provide more information on these issues (register here )

League Calls Out Failed Ethics Reform

The final budget approved a new state ethics committee- Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government- however, it fails to address many of the reasons we called for reform in the first place. On April 22nd, the League along with multiple good government groups submitted a letter to Senate and Assembly leaders highlighting the serious deficiencies in the new state ethics law.

The letter focuses on the lack of independence in the selection process. There is an obvious conflict between an elected official’s duty to select a person who will enforce the law without fear or favor and their self-interest in avoiding or minimizing accountability should they violate the state’s ethics laws.

The post-appointment vetting role of the law school deans does nothing to mitigate these conflicts. The deans are limited to reviewing background and expertise; if the deans reject elected officials’ appointees, which may take great fortitude, they simply get to appoint another.

The letter highlights six areas where action should be taken to fix the state’s ethics laws:

1. Independence;
2. Transparency;
3. Nonpartisanship;
4. Discriminatory harassment;
5. Reporting misconduct; and
6. Removing preferential treatment of the legislature.

League Submits Memo of Support for Medical Aid in Dying

On April 25th, the League submitted a memo in support of bill A4321-A/S6471 to Senate and Assembly leaders and Heath Committees. This legislation would provide that a mentally competent, terminally ill patient may request medication to be self-administered for the purpose of hastening the patient’s death provided the requirements set forth in the act are met, and to provide certain protections and immunities to health care providers and other persons, including a physician who prescribes medication in compliance with the provisions of the article to the terminally ill patient to be self-administered by the patient.

This reform will give terminally ill patients access to safe, comprehensive end of life options. Our memo of support will be posted on the League website within the next few days. If you would like to participate in the rally and lobby day organized by Compassion & Choices, click here for more info and to register.

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