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City & State: Should sex workers still end up in handcuffs?

While Salazar settled into her new role in Albany, advocates and organizers looked for other decriminalization allies in the state Legislature. During an event celebrating the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which banned conversion therapy and discrimination based on gender identity, transgender community members approached Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. The activists primed Gottfried on the next priority in their agenda: the full decriminalization of sex work. “We think there needs to be a bill,” they told him, and they wanted him to help carry it. Would he do it? A member of the Assembly since 1971, Gottfried said he had “believed for decades” that the harms associated with sex work were “overwhelmingly the result of the illegality of it.” He said he would. Two of his colleagues in the Assembly, Dan Quart and Catalina Cruz, signed on as co-sponsors soon after.

Press release: Protecting Maternal Health

(Albany, NY) State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, advocates, and health care provider associations gathered today to call on the Legislature to pass the “Beyond the Fourth Trimester” bill, S.7147-A/A.9156 which would extend postpartum coverage for mothers from 60 days to one year after giving birth. The bill recently passed both houses’ Health Committees and has the support of physicians, midwives, hospitals, and advocates for improving reproductive health and reducing health care racial disparities.

City & State: Cuomo allies are aplenty on the Medicaid Redesign Team

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who lead the health committees in the state Legislature, both expressed disappointment that NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospitals system, was left out especially given that New York City is expected to be hit particularly hard under the governor’s proposal to shift Medicaid costs onto localities. 

“As they say, ‘if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,’” Gottried said in a statement. A week earlier, he and Rivera had criticized the governor and his administration for not providing updates about the selection for the team.

ABC News 10 (with video): Critics roast Department of Health for proposed change in drinking water regulation

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Opposition to a revision in the Health Department’s new water standards say it could result in New Yorkers drinking toxic water.

The Department of Health has backtracked on its drinking water standards, say legislators, community advocates, and environmentalists. They want Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to rescind a revision that turns a three-month notification rule into a once-a-year requirement.

“New York should be strengthening, not weakening, our clean water protections,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried in a statement. “There’s no reason to delay or reduce public notification processes, nor to delay installing treatment systems when we know how toxic these chemicals are.”

Gothamist: New Bill Would Prevent NY Patients From Getting Stuck With Hidden ‘Facility Fees’

A new bill in Albany known as the Patient Medical Debt Protection Act (A. 8639/S. 6757) would prohibit New York hospitals from sticking patients with these extra charges. Facility fees would be banned altogether for preventive care and insurers would be required to negotiate with hospitals over any remaining facility fees, so they don’t fall on the shoulders of patients like Ryan.

This restriction on facility fees is among the most ambitious pieces of the legislation, which, incidentally, seeks to address several of the issues patients have brought to the attention of Gothamist, WNYC, and ClearHealthCosts in recent months through our joint health care cost transparency project, #PriceCheckNYC.

February Community Update

Introduction of “Vehicular Violence Accountability Act” To Crack Down on Dangerous Drivers:

With violent injuries to pedestrians and bi-cyclists at an all-time high in New York City, especially in Manhattan, I have joined with State Senator Tim Kennedy of Buffalo, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, to sponsor the Vehicular Violence Accountability Act (S. 7298/A. 9605).

The Indypendant: NY Pot Reform Gains New Support in Albany, But Will It Go Up in Smoke Again This Year?

Last year, New York State legalizing marijuana was considered an almost-sure thing.

In December 2018, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, the veteran Manhattan Democrat who sponsored both the state’s 1977 pot-decriminalization law and its 2014 medical-cannabis measure, said that the debate on legalization was no longer “about whether to allow adult use, but how to structure the industry.”

But that debate was what tripped up legalization legislation last year, with two separate bills — the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA) — offering different versions of that structure. Cuomo dropped his proposal from the state budget and the Krueger/Peoples-Stokes bill never made it out of committee.

January Community Update

Several new laws – on birth certificates, cash bail, “pre-registering” to vote, farmworkers’ rights, and boating safety, among others – are taking effect beginning in 2020.

And an increase in the minimum wage began on December 31, with hourly minimums rising to $15 an hour in New York City, $13 on Long Island and in Westchester County, and $11.80 in the rest of the state.

Daily News: ‘Nothing more than political theater’: Lawmakers raise doubts about Cuomo’s $6 billion Medicaid budget gap

ALBANY — Skeptical lawmakers skewered state health officials Wednesday as they sought details on Gov. Cuomo’s plan to tackle New York’s projected $6 billion Medicaid-induced budget deficit.

“It is a little bit concerning, scratch that, a lot, very concerning that you are coming to a public hearing on Jan. 29 and you’re telling us that by April 1 we have to just accept something that’s put together by a magical crew of folks,” Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), the chairman of his chamber’s health committee, said as he peppered state Health Department commissioner Howard Zucker and state Medicaid Director Donna Frescatore with questions about the proposal.

Board of Standards & Appeals’ Tie Vote on “Supertall” Continues to Sell Out Community, say Upper West Side Officials

Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried said, “The 50 West 66th Street development is an abuse of zoning regulations, is contextually out of scale, and would set a terrible precedent for future proposed developments. I stand with Landmark West! and local residents in urging the City to crack down on these and other developers’ abuses of the system.”