NYLPI Announces 2023 State Legislative Priorities

January 6, 2023

Disability Justice, Environmental Justice, Health Justice, Legislative, Media Coverage, News

A glaring sun sets over the New York City skyline.

As the 2023 legislative session begins in Albany, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), our clients, and our partners have identified top legislative and budget priorities to advance Disability, Environmental, and Health Justice in our state.  Each of these initiatives is feasible and necessary if we are to meet the intersecting challenges of racial injustice, social inequality, and an accelerating climate crisis. NYLPI looks forward to working with lawmakers to make these nine priorities a lived reality in the coming year.

Disability Justice  

  1. Improve New York’s Paratransit System for People with Disabilities. Together with our coalition partners, NYLPI supports the immediate reintroduction and passage of bills that will: 
      • Mandate expansion and funding of the highly successful “on-demand” paratransit pilot to offer this life-changing opportunity to more New Yorkers to ride whenever and wherever they want, without rationing.
      • Eliminate burdensome and costly paratransit assessment centers by permitting persons with disabilities to establish eligibility through their health providers.
      • Ensure that people with disabilities living three miles or more from a traditional transit route are eligible for paratransit service.

     

  2. Establish a non-police response for New Yorkers experiencing mental health crises.  A healthcare response by a team of emergency medical technicians (who are not affiliated with New York’s Emergency Medical Services), and trained peers with lived mental health experience, will limit the trauma and other harms of over-policing, address longstanding racial and class inequities, and build a collaborative social support system.The cost of this program would be offset by reductions in emergency room admissions, reductions in inappropriate arrests and forced psychiatric hospital commitments, and savings on police responses.

Environmental Justice 

  1. Secure passage of the Climate, Jobs and Justice Package. This legislation includes plans to generate at least $10 billion annually to implement New York’s Climate Law fully and equitably; will amend the public service law to reduce and eventually end the use of unhealthy fracked gas; avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis and create hundreds of thousands of unionized, family sustaining wage jobs statewide; and ensure a Just Transition for the communities most impacted by the fossil fuel industry and for workers currently employed by it.

  2. Finalize criteria for the identification of Disadvantaged Communities.  Leveraging community power and mobilization, press the Climate Action Council to expedite completion of the final criteria for Disadvantaged Communities to ensure at least 35-40% of all sector-wide investments are allocated to communities that have historically been underserved and situated near the most polluting facilities in the State, and those most vulnerable to the harmful impacts of climate change.

  3. Retire the state’s oldest, dirtiest, and most expensive power plants by 2030 and replace them with proven renewable energy and storage solutions.  As our state invests in offshore wind, solar, transmission line, and storage projects, we need legislation to ensure immediate health and economic benefits for disadvantaged communities where highly polluting peaker plants are clustered while also planning for the phase out of fossil fuel baseload plants.

  4. Harness state and federal funding to rapidly electrify vehicle fleets including school buses, transit and paratransit vehicles with at least 40% of investments in disadvantaged communities as required by the State’s Climate Law.  Electric vehicle programs should be centralized in a state agency (such as NYSERDA) that can realize economies of scale, share technical expertise with school districts and local agencies, and ensure that electric vehicle manufacturing, retrofitting, and infrastructure projects create good jobs in our State.

Health Justice  

  1. Pass the Coverage For All bill to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality health care through the Essential Plan and Medicaid programs.  This would create an equitable health care system for low- and moderate-income immigrant residents who contributed over $1 billion to the state’s economy, making up over 50% of the essential workforce, and played a vital role in our economy and safety net during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Expanded health coverage would create over $700 million in economic benefits each year while increasing healthcare access for New Yorkers regardless of immigration status.

  2. Establish a Transplant Equity Program within the Department of Health to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to our state’s organ transplant centers, regardless of race, immigration status, or insurance type.  For example, by using dedicated Immigrant Health Coordinators and specially trained health navigators, better referral and education processes for medical providers, and improved data collection systems, New York’s health system can save lives and money by helping patients with severe kidney disease move from long-term dialysis treatment to kidney transplantation.

  3. End inhumane ICE detention of immigrant New Yorkers and support community-based alternatives that protect the rights and health of immigrants. Passing the NY Dignity not Detention Act will end the state’s detention contracts with ICE, which currently enable local jails to lock up immigrant New Yorkers.  This legislation would prohibit new contracts, renewals and terminate existing contracts with ICE; will close loopholes that allow privately run detention centers to operate in New York; and will finally put an end to the practice of profiting from inhumane detention and help protect vulnerable New Yorkers from separation from their families and communities.

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