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March of Dimes - Rhode Island Chapter

220 West Exchange St. #003

Providence, RI  02903

(401) 454-1911

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    The New York Chapter's 2015 Advocacy Agenda

      • 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.

    Issues of interest to the March of Dimes outside of those identified in the 2015 advocacy agenda will likely develop during session. March of Dimes will modify its advocacy efforts as appropriate in light of these changes. Such issues currently include:

      • Opposing legislation that would allow for a philosophical exemption to the vaccination schedule. A.943(Abinanti)/S.1536(Dilan)
      • Supporting the Child-Safe Products Act

    Upcoming Events: 

    • March 20-22: Somos el Futuro
    • June 2: Advocacy Day

    Issue Highlight: Pregnancy Discrimination Back in the Headlines

    Pregnancy discrimination made headlines again this month when a Rochester newspaper featured the story of Betzaida Cruz Cardona. Cardona claims she was fired from her job as a cashier at a local thrift store because of her pregnancy. Specifically, Cardona alleges that after providing her manager with a doctor's note restricting her from lifting 25 lbs or more she was sent home and fired shortly thereafter. According to Cardona, the 25 lbs lifting limitation was precautionary as she did not regularly lift anything that heavy in her duties as a cashier.

    Discrimination complaints are on the rise in New York. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw an almost 2 percent rise in the number of complaints filed this past fiscal year (from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014).  With an increasing number of women assuming the role of sole or primary breadwinner, protecting women from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is critical to ensuring their access to health care services throughout their pregnancy and providing financial security for their families.

    The New York State Senate has already passed legislation that would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy related conditions. It remains unclear if the New York State Assembly will pass a companion bill or hold out for full passage of the Women's Equality Agenda again this year. The New York Senate has consistently refused to pass the Women's Equality Agenda as an omnibus bill due to the inclusion of a reproductive rights provision. 

    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.

      • Governor presents Executive Budget proposal to legislature. 

        • Governor Cuomo gave his State of the State address and 2015-2016 Executive Budget proposal presentation on Wednesday, January 21. The 2015-2016 budget presentation was originally scheduled for Wednesday, January 7, but it was delayed after the passing of former Governor Mario Cuomo on January 1.

        • The New York State Senate and Assembly held a joint public hearing on the Health/Medicaid components of the budget bills on Monday, February 2.  The New York State Medicaid program held a subsequent webinar on the Medicaid only components of the budget bills on Friday, February 5.

        • March of Dimes issued a letter to leadership in the Senate and Assembly expressing support for the following proposed allocations:

          • Funding to municipalities to provide prenatal care to uninsured women.

          • Funding to sustain immunization programs.

          • Funding to sustain tobacco control and education programs.

          • Funding to maintain Community Optional Preventive Services. 

        • March of Dimes also requested leadership in the Senate and Assembly adjust the following proposed allocations:

          • Increase funding for Nurse-Family Partnership from $3 to $4 million.

          • Increase funding for Healthy Families New York from $23.3 to $26.8 million.

        • March of Dimes met with legislators to express support for a $100 million investment in universal Nurse-Family Partnership as called for by a bipartisan group of 27 senators and 32 assembly members.

    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.

    Stay Informed:

    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...

    • Dr. Anita Mohan Ware and Dr. Meenu Jindal joined the Advocacy & Government Affairs Committee!   
    • The authorizing language has been stricken from proposed legislation creating a "philosophical exemption" to New York's vaccine schedule. 
    • The deadline to enact the 2015-2016 New York State budget is April 1.


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