Tag press releases

PRESS RELEASE: Protecting Family Planning Services

CONTACT:
Mischa Sogut, 518-455-4941 or 202-365-5475; sogutm@nyassembly.gov

July 3, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

With Trump’s ‘Gag Rule’ on Reproductive Health,
It’s Time for New York to Step Up

Cuomo Administration Should Release Funds to Replace
Federal “Title X” Money

Gottfried: Health Care Providers & Programs Shouldn’t Have to Choose between Keeping Government Funding or Restricting Info to Patients about Health Care            

New York State set aside $16 million in its budget in March for health care providers who might lose federal funding because of the Trump administration’s “gag rule” about abortion and reproductive health services. Now that the gag rule has taken effect, New York State Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried is calling on the Cuomo Administration to release that money immediately and make it available to health care providers.

The gag rule issued in March by the Trump administration bars family planning providers using federal funds (known as Title X funds) from offering patients information about birth control, abortion or even simply referring them to other health care programs that provide abortion. Although three federal district courts issued temporary injunctions staying the gag rule on the grounds that it could endanger health care for millions of patients around the country, a federal appeals court ruling lifted injunctions and the gag rule is now in effect. “To continue to provide proper professional health care,” said Gottfried, “health care providers have to lose their Title X funding.”

In anticipation of the gag rule, Assembly Member Gottfried and other legislators worked with Governor Cuomo’s administration to included money in the 2019 NYS budget legislation authorizing $16 million in State funds to support family planning providers in the event of lost federal Title X funding.

“Family planning providers understand that patient health comes first,” said Assembly Member Gottfried. “New York prepared for the threat from the Trump administration and must keep its commitment and release the funding necessary to fill the Title X gap.”

Title X funding was established in 1970 to provide affordable birth control and reproductive health care to low-income people who otherwise could not afford the health care.

Following is Assembly Member Gottfried’s letter to State Budget Director Robert Mujica and State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.

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July 2, 2019

Robert Mujica, Director
New York State Division of the Budget
State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12210  

Howard Zucker, MD, JD, Commissioner
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237  

Re: Title X contingency funding  

Dear Mr. Mujica and Dr. Zucker:              

In anticipation of federal actions that would eviscerate the Title X Family Planning Program, the Legislature and the Governor included language in the 2019 budget legislation that authorizes the State to make up for the lost federal funding if it became necessary.              

Together, we believe that patient health must come first. With the new federal rule in effect, Title X provider may not even discuss with patients the full range of reproductive health care options, including abortion. Proper professional care cannot be delivered if health care providers comply with the new Title X restrictions. New York must now keep its commitment and use the funds budgeted to fill the Title X gap.              

Under the budget language, $16 million “may be available upon a determination by the budget director, in consultation with the commissioner of health to provide financial assistance to health care providers in circumstances where the use of Federal monies is prohibited based on the core mission of those providers.”              

I urge you to make that determination immediately and provide that financial assistance.  

The New York City Health+Hospitals Corporation has announced that it will refuse the federal dollars in order to keep providing patients with the same standard of care. It is likely that other providers who rely on Title X funding will similarly turn down the federal dollars because of the harmful restrictions it now imposes.  

The Aid to Localities appropriation bill (Chapter 53 of 2019, page 711, emphasis added) states:  

“For services and expenses, including grants, related to emergency assistance distributions as designated by the commissioner of health. Notwithstanding section 112 or 163 of the state finance law or any other contrary provision of law, such distributions shall be limited to providers or programs where, as determined by the commissioner of health, emergency assistance is vital to protect the life or safety of patients, to ensure the retention of facility caregivers or other staff, or in instances where health facility operations are jeopardized, or where the public health is jeopardized or other emergency situations exist, and up to $16,000,000 may be available upon a determination by the budget director, in consultation with the commissioner of health to provide financial assistance to health care providers in circumstances where the use of Federal monies is prohibited based on the core mission of those providers (29874) ………………………………. 18,900,000″              

I urge you to make this determination immediately and provide the financial assistance to prevent irreparable disruption in the health care of the thousands of New Yorkers who rely on comprehensive services from Title X providers.  

Very truly yours,

Richard N. Gottfried
Chair, Committee on Health  

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Press release: Gottfried bill expanding protections for trafficking survivors passes Assembly

A landmark 2010 New York law lets victims of human trafficking get prostitution-related criminal convictions erased if the convictions directly resulted from the trafficking. On June 13, the Assembly passed a bill, A. 6983A, to broaden the law to apply to other convictions. The bill is sponsored by Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried and Senator Jessica Ramos. Gottfried was the author of the 2010 law. Over twenty-five states have since followed with similar laws.

Press Release: Assembly Passes Gottfried Bill to Help Seniors Coordinate Prescriptions

Today the Assembly passed A. 2785, a bill I sponsored that would allow pharmacists to synchronize the dispensing of prescriptions for Medicaid patients so that patients can pick up multiple refills at the same time.

Press release: Decrim NY, legislators introduce first statewide bill to decriminalize and decarcerate sex trades in nation’s history

Today, Decrim NY and legislators unveiled Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act, a package bill to decriminalize and decarcerate the sex trades in New York. It is the first statewide bill of its kind in the nation’s history. Decrim NY (see member list here), is a coalition of 30+ organizations working across LGBTQ, racial justice, har reduction, and immigrant rights spaces. It launched in February with heavy publicity. Since launching, the coalition has also brought 100+ sex workers, trafficking survivors, and advocates to Albany for a lobby day in May.

Protecting New York State’s Water Supply

Yesterday in Albany I joined with environmental and health advocates and other legislators to urge the immediate passage of legislation I’m sponsoring in the Assembly to protect New York’s drinking water. My bill, (A.7839), would require testing drinking water all across New York State for a list of harmful chemicals, and establish a deadline for the New York Department of Health (DOH) to conduct such testing.

Press Release: Bill Requiring Plant-Based Food Options in Hospitals Passes Legislature

ALBANY, NY – Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan) and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried’s bill to require plant-based food options in hospitals passed through both houses of the State legislature yesterday.

PRESS RELEASE – Governor Signs GENDA

Protecting the Right to Gender Identity and Expression:
Governor Signs “GENDA”

Statement by Assembly Bill Sponsor Richard N. Gottfried

“Today is an historic day,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried,Assemblysponsor of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (“GENDA,” A747/S2017).  “Governor Cuomo took strong action in 2015 when he issued statewide regulations under the State’s Human Rights Law that prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity and transgender status.  But adding gender expression and identity to the Human Rights Law and the Penal Law will give proper recognition, protection against repeal of these regulations, and add protection under the State’s Hate Crimes Law. With an administration of bullies in Washington, New York is standing up for common sense, fairness, and justice.”

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Press Release: Protecting the Right to Gender Identity and Expression – “GENDA” Passes Assembly and Senate

Debating GENDA on the floor of the Assembly, January 15, 2019

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (“GENDA,” A747/S1047), which protects transgender people under the State Human Rights Law and the hate crimes law, was approved by the Assembly and Senate today and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor. The bill also protects people who are gender non-conforming (non-binary) and other gender identities or expressions.

“Today is an historic day,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Assembly sponsor of GENDA. “The Assembly has passed the bill 11 times, but the Senate’s Republican Majority refused to let the bill have a floor vote. Today, the new Democratic Majority has joined us in protecting the rights of New Yorkers regardless of gender identity or expression. I look forward to Governor Cuomo signing GENDA into law.”

“The passage of GENDA – 16 years in the making – will codify our progressive reputation and ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation are treated equally and with respect,” said Senator Brad Hoylman, Senate sponsor of GENDA. “As the Trump administration continues to roll back protections for LGBTQ Americans, today’s victory sends a strong message to LGBTQ people across New York: you are loved, understood, and protected by your state government. We will not let you down.”

Transgender and non-binary people – whose gender identity, appearance, behavior or expression differs from their genetic sex at birth – face discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and other areas of life, and they are particularly vulnerable to hate crimes.

“The Assembly has now passed GENDA for eleven consecutive years under the leadership of Assemblymember Gottfried, and I’m grateful for his persistence,” said Hoylman. “After years of Republican opposition, I am proud to be part of a Democratic Majority that works to safeguard the rights of all New Yorkers. Thank you to Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues in the Democratic Majority for leading the charge to protect our LGBTQ community. I am also deeply grateful to the previous sponsors of GENDA in the Senate, Senators Tom Duane and Daniel Squadron. ”

“Governor Cuomo took strong action in 2015 when he issued state-wide regulations under the State’s Human Rights Law that prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity and transgender status,” said Gottfried. “But adding gender expression and identity to the Human Rights Law and the Penal Law will give the community proper recognition, protection against repeal of these regulations, and add protection under the State’s Hate Crimes Law. With an administration of bullies in Washington, New York is standing up for common sense, fairness, and justice.”

“The Trump Administration’s attack on the rights of transgender people, as well as taking steps to literally erase our existence in federal guidelines and legislation, has made the passage of a state transgender civil rights bill imperative,” said Juli Grey-Owens, Executive Director of Gender Equality New York. “It is time to pass explicit and permanent protections from discrimination against transgender and non-binary New Yorkers. Further, it is time to fight transphobia and send the strong message that New York State supports the free expression of gender identity and the right to be our authentic selves.”

“Today our state has taken a powerful step forward in the journey towards equality and justice. New York stands for vision and opportunity, embracing diversity and the potential we each have to thrive. With the passage of GENDA we are a safer place for more of us to achieve our potential and live our lives with greater security and freedom,” said Gabriel Blau, Chair of Equality New York. “Transgender people, especially those of color, are among the most attacked in our nation, facing discrimination, verbal and physical attacks, and murder. Today’s passage of GENDA will go down in history as a major milestone on our journey, a tribute to the people whose work over decades has led to a safer and stronger New York.”

“I have been advocating to get GENDA passed for over 15 years,” said Kiera St. James, Executive Director, New York Transgender Advocacy Group. “Assembly Member Gottfried and Senator Hoylman have worked tirelessly year after year to get it passed, never giving up. I am so grateful to celebrate this win with them and my Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) community. Passing GENDA will change the lives of so many TGNC New Yorkers because they are finally given the protections they deserve.”

“Today is a landmark day for transgender and gender non-confirming citizens of the State of New York,” said Judy Sennesh, Board Chair of PFLAG NYC and founder of PFLAG NYC’s Trans Families Project. “PFLAG NYC families and allies are immensely grateful for the many years of hard work and persistence of GENDA’s sponsors and all legislators who’ve supported this incredibly important bill from the beginning. My son and the children of so many families I’ve come to know over the years are now protected by law in our state, and can live, work, and learn with the civil rights and dignity they deserve. We are all delighted and relieved and want everyone to remember that without a “redesigned” State Senate this couldn’t have happened. Every vote counts!”

“In the face of the Trump administration’s constant attacks on the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people, passing GENDA could not come at a more critical time,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “We applaud Assembly Member Gottfried and Senator Hoylman for shepherding this bill through to ensure that all New Yorkers are protected. Albany is sending a clear message that the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers are not up for debate and will not be at risk of being thrown by the wayside with changing political winds.”

“That the Senate and Assembly have passed GENDA at the very beginning of this session fills me with a joy and gratitude that’s hard to fully express,” said Kristen Browde, President of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater NY; Co-Chair of the National Trans Bar Association; and Director of Trans United and Equality NY. “It’s a sign of immense progress in protecting all New Yorkers that because of the blue wave that flipped the Senate and the tireless work of Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried – as well as the full support of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie, we’re now seeing the dawn of an era in which all New Yorkers can feel protected under our law against the rollbacks and right-wing attacks from DC. As a proud transgender New Yorker, I have the deepest gratitude for all those who got us here. Governor Cuomo – we can’t wait for you to sign this bill!”

“I was in the room when GENDA was born, in Albany, in December 2002, with Joanne Prinzivalli and Charles King,” said Melissa Sklarz. “But the real beginning goes back to 1998, when Sylvia Rivera called a trans community meeting to address gay and lesbian civil rights language that excluded gender identity and expression. The trans community of New York owes a debt to hundreds of people, hundreds of meetings, hundreds of community groups, and 25 different strategies, to arrive at this special moment. I personally wish to thank Senators Tom Duane, Dan Squadron, Brad Hoylman, David Paterson, and Assemblymember Dick Gottfried for fighting this political battle in Albany for the last 20 years.”

GENDA is supported by New York State United Teachers, the New York Civil Liberties Union, Housing Works, dozens of LGBT organizations, a broad range of religious and faith communities, the New York City Bar Association, and numerous labor unions including the NYS AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, AFSCME District Council 37, United Auto Workers Region 9A Metro NYC CAP Council, CSEA, Screen Actors Guild, and Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.

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PRESS RELEASE: RAND study confirms NY Health expands coverage, net savings

RAND CORPORATION STUDY CONFIRMS: NEW YORK HEALTH ACT “COULD EXPAND COVERAGE WHILE REDUCING TOTAL HEALTH SPENDING”

Think tank concludes: New York Health would cover all New Yorkers with net health care savings

Bill sponsors Senator Rivera and Assembly Member Gottfried will continue to push for the passage during the next legislative session

            State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, sponsors of the New York Health Act in the New York State Legislature, welcomed the findings of a study of the bill by the highly-regarded, independent, non-profit RAND Corporation. The study confirms that New York Health would reduce total health care costs, while increasing spending on actual care rather than administration and insurance company profit; provide full health coverage to every New Yorker; save substantial money for almost all New Yorkers; and generate a net increase in employment due to increases in disposable income.

Press Release: Penn Station Double Outrage as Governor Jams Legislature and Usurps City Government

3/302018
For Immediate Release

Penn Station Double Outrage as Governor Jams Legislature and Usurps City Government

Statement by Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

     “After the Assembly leadership made clear to Governor Cuomo that we would not agree to his effort to take control of the area around Penn Station, the Governor has jammed his Penn Station bill into the final giant budget bill delivered to the Legislature on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. This extraordinarily hostile gesture puts the Legislature in a position of accepting his plan or shutting down government.

“It is wrong for the Governor to try to take over urban planning, traffic management and real estate development in New York City. That’s what this bill is aimed at. A project in the middle of midtown that is this large, complex, and important must be a collaborative effort and vision, including the Governor as well as the Mayor, along with area residents and businesses, the community board, and the area’s elected officials.

“The area’s elected officials — City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Representative Jerry Nadler, State Senator Brad Hoylman and I – along with Mayor Bill de Blasio all opposed this last-minute power grab against the City’s elected local government. None of this overwhelming local opposition mattered to Governor Cuomo.

“The closing days of the state budget process is not the time to do this. This proposal, which did not appear in the Governor’s original budget bill in January, has nothing whatsoever to do with the State’s fiscal plan and should be discussed outside of the budget process. I thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for his strong support for my insistence on a full community input process on this issue.”

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