Blog

10 Jul
0

Sen. Krueger’s 2024 Virtual Older Adult Roundtable Series, Session II – Making the Transition Safely

Sen. Krueger’s 2024 Virtual Older Adult Roundtable Series, Session II – Making the Transition Safely: Planning to Leave the Hospital and Go Home

Tuesday, July 9th, 10am – 11:30am

To view video of the event, CLICK HERE.

One of the key causes that lead to older people requiring nursing home placements is unsafe hospital discharges. Hear from the experts about what you can do to help ensure a safe transition from the hospital to your home. Learn what home care agencies can offer, about different mechanisms to pay for home care, and how to interview a home health aide.

Speakers:

Laura Radensky, LCSW
Executive Director
Concerned Home Managers for Elderly Home Care (COHME)

Jamie Meconi
Social Worker
COHME

Sharon Goodstine, LCSW
Adjunct
Brooklyn College

For a list of links mentioned in the video, CLICK HERE.

To view the slide deck, CLICK HERE.

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21 Jun
0

Good Cause Eviction: New Protections for Market Rate Renters

On ThursdayJune 20th from 6:30pm – 8pm, join Senator Krueger for a virtual town hall on the new Good Cause Eviction law, which was passed in this year’s State Budget and signed into law by the Governor.

This provision finally provides some protections for many tenants living in market-rate units – in other words, those that are not rent-regulated.

Hear from a leading tenant attorney on what is in the law and what it means for you.

CLICK HERE to view full video of the event.

Opening remarks by Senator Krueger, followed by Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair, Senate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, Chair, Assembly Standing Committee on Housing.

Speaker:
Ellen Davidson
Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society

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20 Jun
0

Sen. Krueger’s 2024 Virtual Older Adult Roundtable Series, Session I

Sen. Krueger’s 2024 Virtual Older Adult Roundtable Series, Session I – NYS’s Master Plan for Aging: What’s In the Plan, What’s Still Needed, and What’s Next

June 18th, 10am – 11:30am 2024

Virtual Older Adult Roundtable Series: New York State’s Master Plan on Aging (MPA)

Click Here to Watch the Video

New York State’s older adult population is growing. By 2030, 1 out of 4 New York residents will be 60 years old or older.

In 2022, the Governor established New York’s Master Plan for Aging (MPA), and charged the New York State Department of Health and the NYS Office for the Aging to develop a comprehensive roadmap to meet the needs of all New Yorkers as they age.

On Tuesday, June 18th from 10am – 11:30am, we will hold the first 2024 Roundtable session, which will provide an overview of the MPA, and the MPA planning process, as well as offer the perspectives of leading MPA stakeholders on some of the challenges and opportunities. Finally, experts from California will share what they’ve learned from other states and their own planning efforts.

Speakers will include:

Andrew Lebwohl
Director, Center for the Master Plan for Aging Office of Aging and Long Term Care
New York State Department of Health

Johanne Morne
Executive Deputy Commissioner
New York State Department of Health

Megan BurkeLCSW
Program Officer, Policy and Advocacy
SCAN Foundation

Erin Westphal
Program Officer
SCAN Foundation

Laura Trejo, DSW, MSG, MPA
Director
LA County Aging and Disabilities Department

Beth Finkel
Executive Director
AARP of NY

Alison Nickerson
Executive Director
LiveOn New York

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20 May
0

Legislators Announce Updates To Champerty Bill

Albany – Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas today announced their intention to introduce a revised champerty bill (S.5623/A.5290). This amended bill will incorporate feedback from various constituencies, including investors and officials in Washington.

For years, vulture hedge funds have built their wealth off struggling nations by using the same playbook – they bet on a nation’s economic failure and engage in predatory practices that increase poverty and get in the way of economic recovery. These hedge funds have made billions in profits while leaving nations with insurmountable debts and a destabilized economy. Approximately half of sovereign debt contracts are governed by New York law, meaning that by changing the law, New York can change the rules by which these hedge funds play.

The Champerty Doctrine prohibits the purchase of securities or other financial instruments for the sole purpose of litigation. Champerty is currently a feature of New York judiciary law and has been for many years. However, in 2004, the State enacted a safe harbor to allow the purchase of claims “with the intent and purpose to sue” for claims exceeding $500,000—which was followed by a rapid increase in sovereign debt litigation in the State. The bill will remove this safe harbor for champertous investment behavior with respect to sovereign debt claims, with the aim of reducing such litigation and to support orderly sovereign debt restructurings.

The revised bill addresses an important shortcoming of Section 489 of the State’s Judiciary law: It does not provide any guidance to a court asked to determine an assignee’s “intent and purpose” in taking an assignment of a debt instrument. The bill would clarify that courts are authorized to look at the behavior of the assignee and its affiliates in other debt workout situations in determining that assignee’s intent and purpose.

The scope of the bill is carefully tailored. It would only apply to debtors like foreign states, who are vulnerable to disruptive litigation even while they are working in good faith with representatives of a majority of creditors to carry a voluntary adjustment of their debt using Collective Action Clauses. And the bill is narrowly focused on blocking litigation brought by institutions whose history implies that they buy debt instruments of financially distressed borrowers with the express intention of pursuing a preferential recovery vis-a-vis other similarly situated creditors. In the revised bill, no such implication would be drawn in the case of conventional investors even if circumstances in a particular case result in the investor pursuing its legal remedies.

In further support of good faith negotiations to resolve sovereign debt crises, the bill also incorporates a positive obligation of creditors to cooperate with sovereign debtors while they restructure their debt.

The revised bill also includes a wholly new provision to lower pre-judgment interest-on-interest claims to match the federal statutory rate of 1-year Treasury Bill rates, with respect to sovereign debt claims only. Investors in the market expressed support for this feature during consultations held over the last year, and its inclusion in the revised bill follows recent public remarks by US Under Secretary for International Affairs, Jay Shambaugh, who stated: “…in key financial jurisdictions for sovereign debt, narrow, targeted updates that avoid market disruptions – such [as] indexing prejudgment interest rates to prevailing market rates – could help further align incentives for net private flows.”

As per the original draft introduced on March 9th, 2023, this bill will support the orderly restructuring of sovereign debt. To facilitate public comment, the draft text of the revised bill can be viewed by clicking here.

With the goal of enacting this bill in this legislative session, Senator Krueger and Assemblymember González-Rojas invite formal written comments on the draft revised bill text by May 28, 2024.

Please forward written comments to lkrueger@nysenate.gov and gonzalezrojasj@nyassembly.gov.

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16 May
0

TREES Act Passes Both Houses Of The Legislature

Albany – Today, the Tropical Rainforest Economic & Environmental Sustainability (TREES) Act passed the state Senate. Having passed the Assembly on Monday, the bill now heads to the governor’s desk. The bill, a previous version of which also passed both houses last year but was vetoed by Governor Kathy Hochul in December, made several changes to address concerns raised by the governor, while retaining the nation-leading impact of the original bill. The governor was recently named a co-chair of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan alliance of 24 state governors, and earlier today, she delivered remarks at the Vatican on “Climate Leadership in the Empire State.”

“While the governor has taken several steps to maintain New York’s climate leadership, vetoing this measure last year was a step in the wrong direction,” said Sen. Krueger. “This is not some esoteric issue for tree-huggers – the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis are already affecting New Yorkers right here at home. That is why we have brought this bill back to the Legislature, which has once again overwhelmingly supported it. We have addressed the governor’s concerns as they were expressed to us, and we are confident that the TREES Act can not only be successfully implemented, but will enhance New York’s global role as an environmental leader, and boost New York businesses in the process. I hope that the governor – who this very day is speaking at the Vatican on the issue of climate leadership – will see this bill for what it is: an achievable, affordable, and necessary piece of critical climate legislation.”

Video of Sen. Krueger’s floor remarks can be viewed by clicking here.

“Today’s passage of the TREES Act in the Senate demonstrates another important step towards ensuring New York does not contribute to deforestation,” said Assm. Zebrowski. “Our state has the opportunity to lead the way towards ending this destructive process. I’m proud to have worked with Senator Krueger on this important legislation and I look forward to working with the governor to see it signed into law.”

Tropical forests harbor close to 50 percent of all species on Earth. Those species are now going extinct at a rate that is at least 100 to 1,000 times higher than historical levels, due to human activity. Taking into account carbon sequestration potential, stopping the loss of tropical forests, mangroves, and wetlands could provide over 20 percent of necessary climate mitigation by 2030.

Globally, an estimated 18,000,000 acres of forest, an area more than half the size of New York State, are lost every year to deforestation according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with over one-half of Earth’s tropical forests already gone. At the current pace, the entirety of Earth’s tropical rainforests will be degraded or destroyed within the next 100 years.

Loss of biodiversity resulting from forest degradation and deforestation, as well as human encroachment on formerly undisturbed ecosystems, also increases the risks of zoonotic disease pandemics such as COVID-19.

The TREES Act would help to ensure that New York State government procurement does not drive tropical deforestation or degradation by tightening an existing state ban on the use of tropical hardwoods for government projects, and creating a new statute requiring state contractors who deal in forest-risk commodities to certify that their products don’t drive deforestation. New York would be the first state in the nation to implement such a policy, following in the footsteps of the European Union, which recently enacted economy-wide deforestation regulations.

Many businesses throughout the United States and across the world are already increasingly engaged in efforts to ensure their supply chains are transparent, traceable, ethical, and environmentally sound, whether in reaction to consumer pressure or government regulation, or out of an understanding of corporate social responsibility. Businesses that achieve ethical and sustainable supply chains may also be able to increase their appeal with certain consumers, charge premium prices, or access previously untapped markets as a result of their efforts.

In order to remain competitive, New York businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses and minority- and women-owned businesses, must be able to take advantage of and stay ahead of this socially responsible and beneficial trend. The proposed Supply Chain Transparency Assistance Program, included in the TREES Act, to be administered by Empire State Development, would be available to New York-based small and medium-sized businesses, as well as MWBEs, to help them establish more ethical and sustainable supply chains, while ensuring they have the tools they need to compete in the national and global marketplace.

To address concerns expressed by the Governor’s office prior to her December veto of the bill that passed last session, several changes have been made in the TREES Act:

  • The MTA and the Staten Island Ferry have been granted five-year exemptions from the ban on the use of tropical hardwood, with the possibility of annual extensions of such exemption for an additional five years.
  • Language has been added to clarify that state contractors must complete concrete and specific due diligence steps established by the Office of General Services prior to certifying that products furnished to the state are deforestation-free.
  • A broad exemption from the bill’s certification provisions has been added in a situation where a state agency or authority fails to receive any offers in response to a solicitation for products covered by the bill. If such exemption is not used by an agency or authority for three consecutive years, that agency or authority will lose the ability to use the exemption going forward.
  • A provision previously requiring the creation of a stakeholder advisory group has been amended to only require four meetings with relevant stakeholders by OGS prior to issuing regulations.
  • The effective date of the certification provisions has been pushed back to 2027, from 2025 in the previous version of the bill.
Alfred Lahai Gbabai Brownell Sr, Founder, Green Advocates International, Lead Campaigner, African Climate Platform, and 2019 Goldman Prize Winner, said:
“On behalf of the Indigenous peoples of the Upper Guinea Forests from all over West Africa and beyond, we applaud the courageous work of Lawmakers in the New York Assembly and Senate to pass the New York TREES Act. This historic act sends a powerful message that New York State will not let its tax dollars destroy tropical forests and allow violence and retaliation against earth defenders, climate activists, and Indigenous peoples around the world. The New York TREES Act is exactly what we need to stop this violence and start healing our planet. This act demonstrates New York’s leadership amid a triple crisis of climate, biodiversity, and attacks on Earth Defenders and Indigenous peoples. We urge Governor Hochul, Chair of the United States Climate Alliance, to follow through on her promise to Pope Francis and faith, politics, and science leaders to sign the New York TREES Act right away. This act would be a courageous step towards building healthy, safe communities and protecting our planet for generations to come”

Bob Rossi, Executive Director, New York Sustainable Business Council, said:
“We applaud the New York Assembly and Senate for passing the TREES Act without delay. This nation-leading climate bill stands to strengthen New York’s economy. By encouraging procurement from New York businesses, it supports these economic anchors and creates jobs across the state while keeping procurement dollars circulating through—rather than leaving—our state economy. This is a critical step towards localizing our economy and building resilience against international supply chain disruptions. We now look to Governor Hochul to sign the TREES Act and restore New York State as a climate leader.”

Barry Schumacher, U.S. Public Policy Lead, Tony’s Chocolonely:
“Tony’s Chocolonely is an international business with its U.S. operations headquartered in New York. We have had in place a robust supply chain due diligence system of the type envisioned by the newly passed TREES Act for many years. During the past decade, our corporate revenues have gone from a few million dollars per year to over $163 million last year. At the same time, our exports to the U.S. have soared to where one of every six chocolate bars imported into New York is a Tony’s bar. This shows that creating and implementing an anti-deforestation due diligence system is no bar to commercial success and need not be a barrier to procurement success either. We applaud the legislature for acting and urge the governor to sign the bill as expeditiously as possible.”

Vanessa Fajans-Turner, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates NY, said:
“We are thrilled to see the TREES Act pass the New York State Legislature, a significant step forward in our fight against climate change and deforestation. I want to extend our deepest gratitude to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Krueger, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski for their unwavering leadership and commitment to this critical issue. Their hard work has been crucial in moving this bill forward, a bill that will not increase costs for New York families while making a significant impact on our environment. This legislation is a clear demonstration of how we can protect our planet and support our communities without financial burden on our families.”

Marcus Sibley, NY Metro Director of Conservation Partnerships, National Wildlife Federation, said:
“The New York Assembly and Senate have once again acted to protect New Yorkers and our precious environment and wildlife. We applaud our terrific sponsors, Senator Krueger and Assemblyperson Zebrowski, legislative leadership, and the Assembly and Senate for overwhelmingly passing the TREES Act. The legislation establishes a clear and workable procurement policy to ensure that state contractors, paid with the hard-earned tax dollars of New Yorkers, are not causing tropical deforestation and adding to our climate crisis. The TREES Act is long overdue, and we are calling on Governor Hochul to sign the legislation and further solidify her standing internationally as a climate leader.”Kerry Cesareo, Senior Vice President for Forests, World Wildlife Fund, said:
“Today’s passage through the Legislature is a major milestone for the TREES Act, demonstrating broad and bipartisan support in New York for conserving tropical forests. Passing the TREES Act makes clear New York is a leader among governments in action to promote healthy tropical forests, halt climate change, and foster responsible business practices. Being the first state in the nation to implement such a policy would put New York at the forefront of responsible investments in supply chain transparency and sustainability and ensuring public dollars do not drive tropical forest loss.”

Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager with Friends of the Earth, said:
“Global forests are the planet’s best defense against further catastrophe, which is why passage of the TREES Act is so critical. This commonsense legislation will mitigate climate risk while empowering New York businesses and standing up for the rights of frontline communities, all at no cost to consumers — a true win-win-win. Tremendous thanks to Senator Krueger, Assemblymember Zebrowski, leadership in both chambers, and the bill’s many co-sponsors. The overwhelming support from legislators should clearly demonstrate to Governor Hochul that it’s time to sign this bill.”

Jennifer Skene, Global Forest Policy Manager, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), said:
“New York’s legislature has positioned the state at the forefront of a global shift toward eliminating deforestation and forest degradation from supply chains. The passage of the TREES Act sends a strong signal that forest protection isn’t just environmentally, but also economically, essential, and provides a new model for aligning markets with the protection of forests around the world.”

Tim Keating, Director of Rainforest Relief, said:
“We are pleased to see the TREES Act passing the NY Legislature, and we thank Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Ken Zebrowski for moving it forward. It’s long past time for people, governments and businesses to examine and act on their purchasing and resale of products and materials the extraction and production of which are driving the destruction of tropical forests. Not only are tropical hardwoods, metals, petroleum and numerous agricultural products responsible for large-scale greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3 emissions), but combined, they comprise the largest cause of the loss of Earth’s biodiversity. As manager of the world’s 28th largest government spender, we call on Governor Hochul to sign the TREES Act quickly, to address the embodied carbon and ‘embodied extinction’ in New York’s purchasing.”

Alexander von Bismarck, Executive Director, Environmental Investigation Agency U.S., said:
“We applaud New York legislators for passing the TREES Act, a historic bill that would demonstrate the state’s leadership in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, and urge Governor Hochul to swiftly sign the bill into law. The TREES Act would send a powerful signal that New York’s tax dollars will not contribute to the destruction of tropical rainforests. The bill would reward American companies who operate responsibly while helping local businesses meet emerging market requirements for traceable and deforestation-free supply chains.”

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07 May
0

Statement from Senator Liz Krueger on Decision by Conservative Lower Court Judge to Remove ERA from Ballot

Albany — State Senator Liz Krueger released the following statement regarding today’s decision from State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Doyle to prevent New Yorkers from voting on the Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution in the November general election:

“The ruling by a conservative judge in Livingston County, which alleges a procedural misstep in the process for advancing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), clearly aims to derail a historic advancement for New Yorkers. This decision, based on the supposed absence of an Attorney General’s opinion, grossly misinterprets New York State’s constitutional requirements, and undermines the democratic process. The amendment underwent public debate and was successfully passed by two consecutive Legislatures over a two-year period, as required for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot.

“It is evident that the New York Republican Party is trying to create obstacles to prevent New Yorkers from voting on the ERA this November. The last thing Trump and his New York MAGA operatives want is for New Yorkers to have the opportunity to vote and affirm their support for protecting people from discrimination based on ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, or sex—including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression—under New York’s Constitution. This maneuver is nothing more than a blatant attempt to strip New Yorkers of their right to participate in shaping the future of our state’s civil rights and abortion protections.

“We are undeterred by this setback. We will promptly file an appeal, confident that the Appellate Court will see the baselessness of this ruling and restore the ERA to the November ballot. This amendment is more than mere legislation; it is a guarantee of equal rights for all New Yorkers.

“Our commitment to ensuring that every New Yorker’s voice is heard remains steadfast. The fight for equal rights is far from over, and we will continue to lead the charge to ensure that this crucial amendment is decided on by the voters and not by Donald Trump, Lee Zeldin, or Ed Cox.”

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28 Feb
0

The Impact of Casinos on Urban Communities

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, February 22nd, 2024, with State Senators Liz Krueger, Kristen Gonzalez, and Brad Hoylman-Sigal, and Assembly Members Harvey Epstein and Linda Rosenthal, as well as:

– Vicki L. Been, Member, Gaming Facility Location Board, and the Judge Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, an Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

– Lucy Dadayan, Principal Research Associate with Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

– Les Bernal, Executive Director, Stop Predatory Gambling

– Tom Kirdahy, Producer, and Member of The Broadway League

 

Full video of the event can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVC8hI4RvAA

 

PowerPoints:

– Vicki Been: http://www.lizkrueger.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/02-22-24-Presentation-Casinos-Process-vb-.pdf

– Lucy Dadayan: http://www.lizkrueger.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Dadayan_NYC_Krueger_FINAL.pdf

– Les Bernal: http://www.lizkrueger.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/PPT-Les-Bernal-Casino-2_22_24.pdf

 

Links:

5 Proposed Casino Location in Manhattan
Where Could a Casino Be Built in New York City? What We Know – The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/article/nyc-casino-tracker.html

Tax Revenues
“Op-ed: Do the benefits of casinos outweigh the societal costs? History says no.” Crain’s New York Business, November 21, 2022 https://www.crainsnewyork.com/op-ed/op-ed-casino-revenues-are-often-short-lived-and-not-sustainable-over-long-run

“Are States Betting on Sin? The Murky Future of State Taxation.” Urban Institute, October 2019 https://www.urban.org/research/publication/are-states-betting-sin-murky-future-state-taxation

“The Blinken Report: State Revenue from Gambling: Short-Term Relief, Long-Term Disappointment.” Rockefeller Institute of Government, April 2016 https://rockinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/2016-04-12-Blinken_Report_Three-min.pdf

“Powerball Fever: State Budget Bonanza? Or False Hopes?” With Donald J. Boyd, Rockefeller Institute of Government, January 2016 https://rockinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2016-01-By_Numbers_Brief_No3.pdf

“State Revenues from Gambling Show Weakness Despite Gambling Expansion.” Rockefeller Institute of Government, March 2015 https://rockinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2015-03-23_Data_Alert.pdf

“For the First Time, a Smaller Jackpot: Trends in State Revenues from Gambling.” With Robert B. Ward, Rockefeller Institute of Government, September 2009 https://rockinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2009-09-21-No_More_Jackpot-1.pdf

“From a Bonanza to a Blue Chip? Gambling Revenue to the States.” With Nino Giguashvili and Robert B. Ward, Rockefeller Institute of Government, June 2008 https://rockinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2008-06-19-from_bonanza_to_blue_chip_gambling_revenue_to_the_states.pdf

 

Community Impact – Why Casinos Matter
https://www.stoppredatorygambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/2013-Why-Casinos-Matter-FINAL.pdf

New York’s Promise, which may be the best thing written about government sanctioned gambling (specifically casinos) and New York.
https://www.stoppredatorygambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/New-Yorks-Promise_spg.pdf

“How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts” from The Atlantic Monthly in Dec. 2016
https://www.stoppredatorygambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-DEC-How-Casinos-Enable-Gambling-Addicts.pdf

Additional Links:
https://rockinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/2016-04-12-Blinken_Report_Three-min.pdf

Proposed Gaming Text Amendment: https://zap.planning.nyc.gov/projects/2024Y0197

Email provided by Vicki: nycasinos@gaming.ny.gov

Example of town that rejected Casino: https://www.stoppredatorygambling.org/omaha-said-no-to-casinos-and-turned-horse-track-into-tech-park-employing-thousands/

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20 Feb
0

An Open Letter From Jewish Elected Officials Regarding The War In Gaza

February 20, 2024

 

Signatories:

Senator Liz Krueger
Senator Brad Holyman-Sigal
Assemblymember Harvey Epstein
City Comptroller Brad Lander
City Councilmember Lincoln Restler

 

“I’ve had extensive conversations with the prime minister of Israel over the last several days, almost an hour each, and I’ve made the case, and I feel very strongly about it, that there has to be a temporary ceasefire to get the prisoners out, to get the hostages out.”

– President Biden told reporters at the White House
(Reuters Feb. 16th, 2024)

 

It has been over four months since Hamas launched its horrific attack against Israel, and with no end in sight to the war in Gaza, the situation continues to weigh heavily on our minds. We have seen how this war has been a tragedy for both Israelis and Palestinians and has also deeply affected the American Jewish community, particularly here in New York. Our position is rooted in our deepest Jewish values — honoring the life, dignity, and safety of all people. We feel deep anguish over the insurmountable loss of life in the region — notably the tens of thousands of civilians. Judaism teaches that all people are created in the image of God and all people are infinitely valuable.

The attacks that were perpetrated by Hamas on October 7th were monstrous and indefensible. We have lost loved ones, mourned with family and friends, and prayed for the safety of those held hostage. We continue to demand that Hamas release all the remaining hostages immediately. We also join with the families of the remaining hostages in continuing to call on the Israeli government to do everything in its power to ensure the safe return of the remaining hostages. The reality is that this will only happen through the same active negotiations that brought home the first 112 hostages. Those negotiations must be the critical highest priority.

At the same time, the Israeli government cannot continue the mass destruction of Gaza and the killing of civilians who are trapped in a war zone with no possibility to flee to safety. Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in shocking numbers by indiscriminate, large-scale bombing, and the rest live in a state of constant fear, hunger, and vulnerability to disease. The war there has also led to increased persecution against Palestinians living in the West Bank and violence from some Israeli settlers who are using the Gaza war to hasten the evictions of Palestinians from their land to expand settlements that are illegal under international law. At the same time, others throughout the mid-east, looking for reasons to destroy Israel, are attacking from the north and fomenting antisemitism and anti-Zionism throughout the world.

As New Yorkers, many of us have deep connections to Israel and are committed to the existence of a democratic Jewish state. We make no excuses for terrorists or their defenders, but we cannot support the actions of the current Israeli government. We continue to call for a two-state solution where all Israelis and Palestinians have a right to statehood and self-determination on the land. While such a future looks bleaker now than ever, it remains the only viable alternative to endless conflict that honors the fundamental human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and addresses the reality that neither people are going anywhere.

We call for the Israeli government to commit itself to a lasting peace, to halt its illegal activities in the West Bank, immediately curb the expansion of settlements there, and protect Palestinians from settler violence. We understand that Netanyahu and his coalition allies do not share this goal, and so we are also stating our solidarity with Israelis who are organizing to replace this historically unpopular government with one that stands for universal human rights, for democracy in Israel, and for peace with its neighbors.

This war has deeply affected our constituents and our communities. We are extremely disturbed by the rapidly increasing number of antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents occurring right here in our diverse city. There is no excuse for violence, bullying, or vandalism, especially when motivated by hate. No New Yorker should feel unsafe because of their race, ethnicity, or religious identity. Many of our constituents feel afraid, misunderstood, and isolated, and as Jews, we know all too well how fear can divide a family, community, and nation.

We must also point out that the extreme Right in this country is using this fear to further stoke division within the Jewish community and between Jews and people of other faiths and to push undemocratic policies that will only bring further danger to Americans of all faiths. History shows us how the Jewish people have been used time and time again to push radical, racist, and fascist agendas that are not our own – and we refuse to be their pawns.

All parties in this conflict need to commit to finding a path to peace through negotiation for the sake of our communities, for the rights of Israelis and Palestinians, and for the real and lasting security of the State of Israel.

As Jewish elected officials in both the City and State of New York, we thank President Biden for all his efforts to date, and we call upon the Federal government of the United States to push for an end to this war as soon as possible.

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20 Nov
0

Medicare Parts A, B, C and D: Changes You Can Make to Your Coverage in 2024

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Wednesday, November 15th, 2023, with State Senator Liz Krueger and Eric Hausman from the Department for the Aging’s Health Insurance Information and Counseling Program (HIICAP). Mr. Hausman is the HIICAP Volunteer Outreach Manager.

Full video of the event can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/O1r2JC6fz8w?si=tGjCF17N7gzGvhPf

LINKS:

– Eric Hausman’s PowerPoint presentation

– Application for Medicare Parts A and B Special Enrollment Period

– Postal Service Health Benefits Fact Sheet for USPS Employees

– Postal Service Health Benefits Fact Sheet for USPS Annuitants

– HIICAP Medicare Guidebook

– Medigap Plans and Rates

– Medicare Supplement Premium Comparison Chart

– EPIC Discontinuance of GSK Drugs

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15 Nov
0

Krueger Introduces Bill To Strengthen Protections For Surrogacy And Egg And Sperm Donation

Albany – Today, State Senator Liz Krueger announced the introduction of new legislation, S.7749, that would strengthen rights and protections for New Yorkers involved in surrogacy or egg or sperm donation. The new bill builds on the framework created by the Child-Parent Security Act, which legalized gestational surrogacy in 2021. Senator Krueger joined Dr. Arthur Caplan of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine this morning in an op-ed explaining the need for the bill.

Video of the press conference announcing the bill can be viewed by clicking here.

“When New York State legalized commercial gestational surrogacy and gamete donation, we dove head-first into a rapidly evolving and expanding reproductive healthcare industry,” said Senator Krueger. “Like many novel industries, this one opens up wonderful opportunities, but also presents challenges and uncertainties. Our first responsibility as a Legislature is to make sure that everyone covered by our laws has their safety, health, and rights protected. By that measure, we have more work to do in properly regulating this field. I hope that this bill will provide the necessary protections for everyone involved in surrogacy and gamete donation, including intended parents, surrogates, donors, and especially children.”

Medical advances in assisted reproductive technology (ART) make family building possible today for intended parents who would otherwise be unable to conceive or sustain a successful pregnancy. Gamete donors (i.e. sperm or egg donors) and surrogates enable intended parents who are single, LGBTQ+, cancer survivors, or experiencing infertility issues, to have the children they want.

Gamete donation and surrogacy arrangements are complex, however, because they involve third-parties who provide their gametes and undergo surrogate pregnancy and delivery, but are not the legal parents of the resulting children. Gamete donors and surrogates also assume significant health, fertility, legal, and financial risk. The short- and long-term health impacts of fertility medication and ART on egg donors, surrogates, and donor-conceived and surrogate-born children are poorly understood due to lack of research. Intended parents incur high costs and assume legal and financial risk in their journey to have children using ART, particularly when using surrogacy. For all these reasons, it is crucial to ensure that state law provides sufficient rights and protections for all parties, including donor-conceived and surrogate-born children.

The Child-Parent Security Act (CPSA), which legalized gestational surrogacy in 2021, established a legal and regulatory framework under which eligible intended parents may enter into a surrogacy agreement and obtain a judgment of parentage that grants them legal parental rights to any children conceived through surrogacy, immediately upon birth. The legal framework also allows eligible intended parents to obtain a judgment of parentage that grants legal parental rights to any children conceived through assisted reproduction. These judicial processes establish legal parental rights for intended parents without having to undergo an adoption process. The CPSA built in protections by establishing a Surrogates’ Bill of Rights and regulation of surrogacy agreements, surrogacy programs, and clinical practices.

S.7749 would strengthen and build upon the current framework by:

  • Strengthening medical, legal, and financial protections for surrogates and intended parents, and establishing these protections for the first time for gamete donors and intended parents who participate in gamete donation agreements;
  • establishing a comprehensive informed consent process for gamete donors, surrogates, and intended parents;
  • creating a Bill of Rights for Donor-Conceived and Surrogate-Born Individuals to ensure they can access information about their origins and the medical information they may need;
  • providing for regulation of gamete donation agreements, marketing, and clinical practices;
  • establishing timely gamete donation policies to provide oversight of a rapidly advancing area of health care; and
  • establishing the Central Assisted Reproduction Registry (CARR) to enable tracking and enforcement of state policies and to facilitate research.

To read more details about the provisions of S.7749, click here.

Wendy Chavkin, MD, MPH Professor (Emerita) Public Health and Obstetrics Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, said:
“This bill is important and novel as it aims to protect the health and rights of all the participants: those who provide the sperm and the eggs, those who act as surrogates, the children born of these arrangements and the intended parents. The bill calls for cautious use of the best medical practices as there are known risks for each, and much that we don’t know. It establishes a thorough informed consent process so that all parties understand the risks and benefits of each medical intervention, and also understand whose interests the doctor represents. It is in the interests of all the participants and the public health to do our best to protect the health of all.”

Yasmine Ergas, Director, Gender & Public Policy Specialization, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, said:
“This bill protects the rights of all parties involved in gamete donation and surrogacy arrangements. It establishes two new bills of rights: one for children and one for gamete donors. It helps ensure that surrogates will have effective access to the rights set out in their own bill of rights. It stipulates that physicians should follow best medical practices. It facilitates securing health insurance for surrogates and gamete donors. It bolsters the provisions regarding informed consent for all parties. And, it requires transparency regarding gamete donors’ compensation. With this essential legislation, New York can be a leader in an area that is vital to so many people’s lives.”

Arthur Caplan, PhD, Mitty Professor of Bioethics, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, said:
“Senator Krueger’s bill to strengthen protections for surrogacy and egg and sperm donation is important, visionary and worthy of rapid enactment. Despite growing demand, the legal framework for fertility services has lagged behind. This legislation calls for protections that will empower donors, surrogates, consumers and, most importantly, children created through novel modalities. New Yorkers require an ethical and legal framework to guide assisted reproduction in the twenty-first century. Senator Krueger has provided exactly that.”

Laura Briggs, Professor, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst, said:
“Members of the LGBT community have as much interest as anyone in ensuring that the gamete donors or surrogates who help create their kids have their health and rights protected. Our community has a painful history of losing our kids, and we want strong, clear, and fair legal contracts. I am a lesbian with a donor-conceived kid, and I have a life-long connection to the donor who made his life possible. If my kid should develop a serious illness, I want him to be able to obtain any health information that would help him get treated. And finally, members of the LBGT community are also gamete donors and surrogates, and want the protections this bill offers for that reason as well.”

Sara Lamm, documentary filmmaker/donor conceived adult, said:
“As a donor conceived person I can attest to a fact that we all should keep in mind: namely that donor conceived babies grow up to be donor conceived adults with the same human question as everyone else—’Who am I?’ An accurate birth certificate is a necessity, because it empowers us to know the truth of how we got here, to understand our health history, and to make meaning of the biological and familial relationships that quite literally gave us our lives. We have a right to this information, and I am pleased this bill recognizes us as a group that deserves care and attention.”Liz Scheier, Media Liaison, We Are Egg Donors, said:
“Egg donors are routinely misled about the long-term health impact of their donations, and about the impact of anonymous donation. I’m eager to see “informed consent” forms and consultations contain real information donors can use to make their decision, and Senator Krueger’s bill will help to do just that.”

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