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In the early days of the 2024 legislative session, LRC is already hard at work.

Updated: Feb 23

The 2024 New York State legislative session is underway! After delivering her annual State of the State last month, Governor Kathy Hochul released her 2024 budget proposal in late January. The address, which did include a few positive proposals, was characterized by the Governor's continued emphasis on offering piecemeal solutions to ongoing crises in our state that are the result of long-term disinvestment in our communities. The same is largely true of the budget proposal, though advocates were treated to some unexpected victories—like the Governor allocating full funding for the Public Campaign Finance Program. You can read more about that (and the defeat of potentially program-gutting legislation below).

The next several weeks will be critical in continuing to advocate for the programs and resources our communities desperately need. Read on for an update on what LRC's working on in the early months of this year, and for a preview of what's coming down the pike!

In solidarity,

Rev. West McNeill


Labor-Religion Coalition Hosts Clergy & Community Breakfasts to Discuss the 2024 Legislative Session

In January, the Labor-Religion Coalition held a series of Clergy and Community Breakfasts to hear about the realities of poverty in our communities, learn about upcoming budget negotiations, and educate New Yorkers on the Invest in Our New York campaign (IONY). The IONY campaign aims to build a more equitable economy in New York State by increasing taxes on the ultra-rich and investing those funds into our communities.


Across three breakfasts—in Rochester, Schenectady, and a virtual event—we were thrilled to spread awareness of the campaign’s goals and let faith leaders and community members know how they can get involved. We're also excited that people are already connecting with the campaign and spreading the word to their congregations like Rev. Sara Baron did through her sermon at First United Methodist Church of Schenectady this past Sunday. To learn more about the Invest in Our New York campaign, visit their website here

You can also learn more by joining LRC and the other members of the Invest in Our New York campaign on February 8th in New York City to demand a state budget that ensures New York's richest people and most profitable corporations pay what they owe in taxes and makes deep lasting investments in working-class communities! RSVP here.


Join the Labor-Religion Coalition and the New York State Poor Peoples' Campaign in Albany on March 2nd!

On Saturday, March 2nd, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will march and rally in state capitals across the country, bringing the demands of poor and low-wealth people for living wages, healthcare, housing, education, environmental justice, and voting rights directly to our lawmakers. From Texas to Maine and California to the Carolinas, thousands of poor and impacted people, clergy, and advocates will call for an end to poverty in the richest nation on earth.


In Albany, the Poor People’s Campaign and our partners will rally on March 2nd amid a critical New York State budget fight. Gov. Hochul has proposed an austerity budget that would mean cuts to public services and missed opportunities to address crises in healthcare, housing, education, and the climate. Join us in Albany on March 2 to say, Stop The Cuts To Life-Saving Services! Fully Invest in Our Communities! Make The Rich Pay Their Fair Share! RSVP here.


The NYS PPC is also gathering signatures on a petition to Gov. Kathy Hochul, calling on her to:

  1. Refuse the politics of austerity: make no cuts to essential and life-saving services in our state.

  2. Prioritize the needs of poor and low-income New Yorkers, fully investing in healthcare, housing, education, and protecting the environment.

  3. Increase taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers and corporations, making sure they pay their fair share.  


New York's Public Campaign Finance Program Survives Challenge from NYS Legislators, Receives Funding in Governor's Budget Proposal

Throughout 2023, the Labor-Religion Coalition, along with other members of the Fair Elections Coalition, advocated for the Public Campaign Finance Program (PCFP), a small-dollar donation matching program that would make it possible for candidates in New York State elections to run a viable campaign without the backing of big donors and corporate interests. We’re happy to share that in late December, the PCFP survived a challenge from state lawmakers that would have reduced the impact of the program for potential candidates and was, in fact, antithetical to the spirit of the program.

In June, state legislators passed a bill that would have made it more difficult for potential candidates to qualify for the program and allowed the first $250 of larger contributions to be matched as well (rather than limiting the match to small donations only). Effectively, lawmakers attempted to pass legislation that would have made the program more favorable to incumbents already backed by large donors. The Governor rejected and vetoed the bill in late December, and noted that the legislation was not in line with the original intentions of the program. 


In January, the coalition was granted another victory when the Governor included full funding for the program in her FY 25 budget proposal, an unexpected highlight in what was otherwise a lackluster proposal. The Labor-Religion Coalition and the other members of the Fair Elections Coalition celebrate the Governor’s inclusion of funding for this necessary program and will continue to advocate for it throughout the budget negotiation process. 

To learn more about the program, join us on February 26th for a lunchtime teach-in. We’ll be talking about the Public Campaign Finance Program, outlining how impactful it can be for candidates who truly represent the interests of our communities, and following our presentation up with calls to our elected officials. RSVP here


New York State Nurses Association to Host Town Hall Event on February 7

Join New York State Nurses Association nurses, labor leaders, and community allies on Wednesday, February 7th for a town hall to discuss the staffing crisis in the Capital region and possible solutions for improving patient care. 


When: Wednesday, February 7th at 6 pm

Where: NYSNA Albany office, First Floor Conference Room

155 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210

RSVP here to attend in person, and here to attend virtually. 


Upcoming Labor-Religion Coalition Events

Plus, save the date for the 2024 Moral Fusion Leadership Awards—Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024 at the Albany Labor Temple! More information to follow. 

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