Sneak Peak: New York Chapter's 2015 Advocacy Agenda
The New York Chapter's Advocacy & Government Affairs Committee met in New York City on Thursday, September 25 for its annual strategic planning meeting. The Committee worked with March of Dimes volunteers and staff to identify pressing maternal and infant health issues and recommend policy solutions. The Advocacy & Government Affairs Committee then developed the advocacy agenda, paying particular attention to issues most critical to helping New York's moms have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
The New York Chapter's 2015 Advocacy Agenda includes:
Securing $4 million in new funds for Nurse-Family Partnership.
Mandating employers make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy related conditions.
Expanding the definition of "smoking" under New York's Indoor Clean Air Act to include electronic cigarettes.
Requiring children be vaccinated against Meningococcal Meningitis.
- January 26: FDR Birthday Bash at the New York State Capitol
- June 2: Advocacy Day
Issue Highlight: Young v. UPS
The United States Supreme Court heard arguments in Young v. UPS earlier this month. At issue in this case: Whether, and in what circumstances, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k), requires an employer that provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations to provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.”
Peggy Young was a delivery driver for United Parcel Service when she became pregnant in 2006. Shortly thereafter, Young gave her supervisor and UPS’s occupational health manager a note from her midwife recommending that she not lift over twenty pounds during her pregnancy. Young assured UPS that she was ready and willing to work her regular job or a light duty assignment. Young contends that her manager then said “UPS offered light duty for those with on-the-job injuries, those accommodated under the ADA, and those who had lost [Department of Transportation] certification, but not for pregnancy,” and that “UPS policy did not permit Young to continue working as an air driver with her twenty-pound lifting restriction.” UPS then suspended both her job and health insurance during her pregnancy.
Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is a growing problem given the increasing number of women who are working late into their pregnancy and returning to work shortly after having given birth. New York State has taken on the issue of pregnancy as part of Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Agenda. The New York State Assembly has passed the Women's Equality Act, which includes a pregnancy discrimination provision, and the New York State Senate has passed an independent bill that prohibits pregnancy discrimination.
2015 - 2016 Budget Timeline:
The Division of the Budget sends Agency Call Letter to all agency heads. Agency heads submit budget requests that comply with instructions in the Agency Call Letter to the Division of the Budget.
- Director of the Budget Robert Megna issued his annual agency call letter to all agency heads on October 1. Agency heads were directed to submit budget requests for 2015-2016 State Operations and Aid to Localities that assume zero growth from 2014-2015 cash ceilings to the Division of the Budget by October 21.
- March of Dimes submitted a letter to Governor Cuomo's staff requesting a $4 million line-item for Nurse-Family Partnership and continued funding in the OCFS budget for HFNY and COPS.
Next Step - Governor presents Executive Budget proposal to legislature.
Next Step - New York State Senate and Assembly finalize negotiations and pass budget bills.
Next Step - Governor reviews budget bills passed by the New York State Legislature - may use line item veto.
Next Step - Enacted Budget.
Join the March of Dimes advocacy network to receive occasional emails about key legislation important to moms and babies. The advocacy network is made up of volunteers and staff who promote the March of Dimes mission by contacting the governor and state legislators in response to New York Chapter action alerts. We need your help - every voice makes a difference!
Do you know who represents you in the U.S. Senate or the New York State Assembly? Find out by joining the March of Dimes advocacy network!
Visit http://www.marchofdimes.org/advocacy/actioncenter.html to register!
Did you know...
- Governor Cuomo's State of the State address is next month.
- Volunteers and staff celebrated Prematurity Awareness Month with Assemblyman Bronson and Senator Savino.
- Our very own Dr. Yogangi Malhotra is this year's recipient of the "Advocacy & Government Affairs Volunteer of the Year" award. Congratulations!