The week began on an exciting note – Monday was the annual Family Planning Advocates (FPA) Lobby Day. This year the event was held for the first time since the Spritzer administration in the Convention Center. The annual gathering recently has been held in the Well of the Legislative Office Building but due to the November election and the threats to women’s reproductive choices, 1,700 advocates filled the Convention Center almost to capacity. Many advocates told their stories about how they became involved with Planned Parenthood. The President of Planned Parenthood US, Cecile Richards, spoke later in the afternoon about the need for New York State to stand strong against any threats to reproductive health. The sea of pink that filled the convention center was a throwback to FPA’s rallies in the 1980’s and a reaffirmation that NY continues to have a strong commitment to women’s rights.
The governor surprised the audience and showed up as the final speaker. You can watch his full speech here. He spoke eloquently about women’s health and New York’s commitment to immigrants and people of all faiths. Following the rally we were invited to the Governor’s Mansion for lunch with the Governor. We were able to have a conversation with him about his renewed commitment to women’s health and we applauded him for being a leader on this issue.
We returned to the Capitol to monitor the Assembly Election Law Committee. There are several new committee members including a new Republican chair. The Committee passed two bills which the League supports – a bill on allowing the Board of Elections to use voter’s email address to transmit information and a bill on consolidation primary elections in New York State to a single June primary.
Later that day we testified at the Local Government/General Government budget hearing. We reiterated our recommendations on ethics and campaign finance reforms and highlighted the need for additional funding to be set aside for public education on the upcoming Constitutional Convention ballot question. You can read our full testimony here. Two of the Committee members thanked the League for our tireless efforts to making government responsive to its constituents.
On Tuesday we submitted testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Protections. The testimony focused on election law reforms and the need for additional funding for the Board of Elections so that they can beef up their cyber security measures. You can read our full testimony here.
Over the next two weeks the League will continue to focus on the executive budget. We intend to testify and submit testimony to a total of six committees this year. Stay tuned for more testimony!