Thursday, January 30, 2014

And So It Begins!

We’ve been so busy (a good thing!) with the start of the legislative session that we’re a little late with our first blog post!

Session was off to a quick start with Governor Cuomo reiterating support for campaign finance reform and the Women’s Equality Act in his State of the State.  That rhetorical support for campaign finance reform was followed up with inclusion of comprehensive reform in his executive budget proposal.  So our lobbying efforts are ramping up very quickly this session as we are as close as we've ever been to seeing legislative action on campaign finance reform, an issue the League has championed for decades.  The League will be testifying on the matter during next week’s budget hearings – be sure to check out for the written testimony (You can also watch live streaming of the budget hearings here).

There’s also much to say about education in the governor’s budget proposal, which included some funding for universal pre-k.  Our Education Issue Specialist, Marion Bott, is our expert on education finance, so instead of elaborating here, we’ll direct you to the testimony she gave during last week’s education budget hearing.  Check it out here.  We’ll continue to advocate on this issue as well throughout the budget season.

In other updates, the Assembly again passed the omnibus Women’s Equality Act this past week.  This, of course, will be another major issue for us as we go forward this session, with our focus being on the Senate to do right by the women of New York.

Check in next week for more updates on the budget hearings!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your hard work, Barbara--and everyone from the League--on these important issues. I appreciate your being out there every day pounding the pavement. You are a superb voice for us.

Nancy Grosselfinger said...

When will we learn more about what LWV is doing with respect to the raising of the age of responsibility from 16 to 18, a childrens' issue about which the Governor spoke in his State of the Union speech.

Babara Bartoletti said...

Hi Nancy-
In his speech, the Governor indicated that he will create a Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice to study raising the age of adult criminal responsibility in the state.

Over a period of time, beginning in the 1970's the state lowered the age at which a person was subject to trial as an adult, with the result that, at the present time, New York is just one of two states that automatically tries older youths as adults.

One of the results of this is that older youths and young adults are placed in adult prisons, a practice which has come into question in criminal justice circles.

The NYS League of Women Voters does not have a position on the appropriate age at which a person should be tried as an adult rather than as a juvenile. We do have a position in favor of Alternatives to Incarceration, which promotes the use of alternative sanctions rather than prison sentences, but that position does not distinguish between offenders based on age.

Winnie Richman said...

I am glad to read the testimony re: education funding. I feel that the property tax cap only makes sense if there is another source of income for less wealthy school districts. You seem to agree that the proposed budget is inadequate in this regard.

Winnie Richman, NYC