Our Work in 5777
This year we supported and worked to advance:
*The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) and Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA). – Proposed measures to ensure reproductive healthcare rights and the right to choose. (Passed the Assembly and the NYS Insurance Department enacted regulations to guarantee insurance plans include contraceptives.)
*Campaign finance reform legislation including A1926/ S496 and A2266/S4803 – Proposed closing the LLC loophole, imposing stricter financial disclosure limits on donations and implementing public campaign finance options (A1926 passed the Assembly)
*New York Votes Act – Proposed reforming NYS election law to include early voting, and automatic, same day and online registration. (Passed the Assembly)
*Raise the Age Act – Proposed raising the age at which one can be tried as an adult from 16 to 18 years old. (Signed by the Governor)
* The Education Affordability Act – Proposed “education tax credits” which would provide tax credits for donors to educational scholarship funds as well as private and parochial schools. This would have used state finances to fund private and religious schools. (No Action)
Within the URJ, RJV drafted a resolution for the movement to support equitable and fair redistricting. The resolution will be voted on at the Biennial in December.
Advocacy Events and Trainings
RJV Albany Advocacy Day 2017 brought more than 50 Reform Jews to Albany to speak with legislators while others spoke to their representatives in their home offices.
About 45 NFTY teens attended a two-day Teen Advocacy Day in Albany. RJV provided financial, programmatic and advocacy assistance. The teens decided to advocate for the Reproductive Health Act and Gender Expression Non-discrimination Act which both passed the Assembly, as well as the Raise the Age Act and the Clean Water Infrastructure Act. A number of legislators commented that they were the best prepared youth that had ever come to their offices!
We introduced RJV to two Rockland County congregations, and conducted advocacy training at four other synagogues in Westchester County and in Utica, Rochester and Rockville Center.
Additionally about 100 people attended the RJV breakfast at the Religious Action Center’s Consultation on Conscience in Washington, DC. In just a few months, delegates at the 2017 URJ Biennial in December will be voting on a resolution supporting equitable and fair redistricting of congressional and legislative districts.
RJV worked with a number of coalitions on common concerns, including the Education Tax Credit Coalition and the Labor Religion Coalition. We spoke on behalf of the Reform movement at the press conferences of the Reproductive Health Coalition and the Raise the Age Coalition as well as Labor-Religion Coalitions, the People’s State of the State message, and at one of the RTA conferences.