On Monday, May 9, Reform Jewish social justice advocates from around New York State gathered in Albany for RJV’s annual Advocacy Day. These powerful leaders in their communities came together to articulate a vision for tzedek in the Empire State and to share that vision with their Assembly Members and Senators as the legislature sets its priorities for the waning days of the 2016 session. Check out photos from the day on RJV’s Facebook page.
We began the day by hearing from Barbara Bartoletti from the League of Women Voters of New York State about the work good government advocates are doing to advance campaign finance reform. The New York Civil Liberties Union’s Legislative Director, Robert Perry, also joined us to discuss the complexities of the Education Tax Credit.
In the afternoon, we headed out to meetings in the offices of nearly 30 of the State’s legislators. We spoke to policymakers about our three priority issues:
- Our support for measures that curb the growing influence of money in politics, including stricter financial disclosure requirements, limits on donations, public campaign financing options and closing the LLC Loophole (A6975/S60).
- Our support for a forthcoming proposal that would empower the Commissioner of the State Education Department to approve fiscal decisions made by the East Ramapo School Board and provide the district with much-needed funding for programs.
- Our opposition to the Education Tax Credit, which would harm public education and endanger church-state separation by essentially directing funds for public schools to private and religious schools (A2551/ S1976).
Our message was heard loud and clear in Albany on Monday, but we need to be sure that legislators continue to hear it as the session draws to a close. If you were not able to attend Advocacy Day, take action now and tell your Assembly Member and Senator to support oversight in East Ramapo. You are also welcome to contact your Assembly Member and your Senator to raise your voice on all of our priority issues. Finally, mark your calendars for next year’s advocacy opportunities: Teen Advocacy Day 2017 will take place from March 19-20 and RJV Advocacy Day is scheduled for May 8. We look forward to seeing you all there!