There are just 3 weeks left in this year's New York State legislative session and no time to lose to advocate on critical issues that are still on the table. Read on for updates and opportunities to take action!
#HALTSolitary Confinement in New York
TODAY is a mass call-in day to support the Humane Alternatives to Long Term Solitary Confinement Bill, which would end the use of long-term solitary confinement, a practice which the United Nations has deemed torture.
Please take a few minutes today to make 3 calls:
Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins (518-455-2585 / 914-423-4031). Tell her: Thousands of New Yorkers are suffering in solitary confinement, for months, years, and decades. The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500) has 33 Senate cosponsors and others committed to vote for it. I respectfully urge you to bring HALT to a vote now (as is, without watering down its protections), so we can finally end this torture. There is no time to lose. Do not let another mind or life be taken by this torture. Thank you.
Assembly Speaker Heastie:
(518) 455-3791: Thousands of New Yorkers are suffering in solitary confinement, for months, years, and decades. Thank you for your leadership in supporting the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A2500/S1623). We appreciate that the Assembly passed HALT last year and that you continue to support the bill. I respectfully urge you to bring HALT to a vote now (as is, without watering down its protections), so we can finally end this torture. There is no time to lose. Do not let another mind or life be taken by this torture. Thank you again.
Governor Cuomo:518-474-8390.I am a New Yorker, I oppose solitary confinement. We need to end its use in NYS prisons & jails. I support the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S. 1623/ A.2500) and urge you to get behind HALT to pass it in NY.
If the bill has not passed, there will be an action June 7 in Yonkers to demand that Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins bring it to a vote. Click here for more information.
Campaign for NY Health
Yesterday was a historic Joint Senate and Assembly Hearing in Albany on the New York Health Act, which would implement single-payer comprehensive universal health care in New York State. We submitted a letter signed by 337 clergy and faith leaders from around the state in support of the New York Health Act. Thank you to all who signed!
Also yesterday, the Campaign for NY Health released "From Coverage to Care: A People's Report on Healthcare in New York." Based on 2,409 surveys of New Yorkers over the last two years, the report shares stories and statistics that reveal the depth of crisis in our current system. Half of privately insured respondents reported delaying care because of cost, and 73 percent had been uninsured at some point in their lives. Women, people of color, and transgender New Yorkers are disproportionately impacted. Click here to read more.
A Health Stories Forum including discussion of the report will take place tomorrow evening in Syracuse. Stay tuned for other upcoming events around the report's release, as well as additional Senate and Assembly hearings throughout the state.
Green Light Campaign
Last week over 350 people from all over New York converged on the Capitol to demand the restoration of driver's license access regardless of immigration status. I was one of 15 people arrested in non-violent civil disobedience outside the Senate chamber, demanding legislators take action now.
Just hours ago, the governor of Colorado signed a similar bill into law, making it the 13th state to remove driver's license restrictions based on immigration status. Also out today is a new reportshowing the economic and safety benefits to New York and New Jersey were they to follow suit.
Not being able to drive means that people like Dalila in the Capital Region struggle to get themselves and their kids to work, school and medical appointments. And at a time when our undocumented neighbors are under increasing threat from ICE, having to drive without a license means a routine traffic stop can lead to detention and deportation.
The moral and practical case for the Green Light bill are clear - but leadership still won't commit to bringing it to a vote. That means we have to keep the pressure on. SAVE THE DATE for an action on June 7 at 4pm in Yonkers, and keep calling Assembly Speaker Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and the governor. Click here for instructions: http://bit.ly/GL521
Housing Justice for All
New York City's rent regulations expire in 17 days, and the rights of tenants throughout the state are on the line. Legislators are considering a slate of bills that would not only extend rent control but strengthen and expand protections for tenants everywhere.
These reforms are urgently needed at a time when rents are rising all over New York, displacing residents and causing record homelessness.
Yet so far legislative leaders and the governor are hedging, especially in regards to Good Cause Eviction protection, which of all the bills would have the biggest impact on renters outside of New York City. Read more about why tenants need Good Cause, then call your legislators and ask them to support the FULL housing justice platform.
The next #TenantTuesday action in Albany is June 4, beginning in the Legislative Office Building at 11am. Buses will be available from New York City and Rochester.