2018 Legislative Agenda
Bold Items Indicate Priorities
Mobilization for Justice plays a leadership role in the consumer, bankruptcy and foreclosure prevention areas and is an active member of New Yorkers for Responsible Lending, a state-wide coalition that promotes access to fair and affordable financial services and the preservation of assets for all New Yorkers. As part of various coalitions at the City, State, and Federal levels, we support the following legislative initiatives and proposals:
Support the Arbitration Fairness Act, H.R.1374, to prohibit mandatory arbitration agreements as a means to resolve employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights disputes.
Support the Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy Act, H.R. 2366.
Oppose CHOICE Act (HR 10), which would roll back significant gains as a result of the Dodd-Frank consumer protection amendments, including limiting the power and the purse of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), eliminating the CFPB database, eliminating the ability for the CFPB to bring UDAAP regulatory actions (its powerful unfair, illegal, abusive and deceptive practices act), and eliminate the supervisory and examination functions of the CFPB over industry players.
Support the Fairness for Struggling Students Act, S.1262, to amend the bankruptcy code to allow student loan debts to be discharged in bankruptcy.
Support legislation to require creditors to report to credit reporting agencies that certain debts have been discharged in bankruptcy.
Oppose the Fairness in Class Actions Act (HR 985), which, in addition to weakening class actions, would make it impossible for legal services to bring class actions on behalf of clients.
New York State
Support A07582/S06589, which is legislation that regulates private student loan servicers and provides student loan borrowers with a bill of rights.
Support a package of legislative initiatives that promotes economic opportunities for New Yorkers and provides them with fair access to credit and affordable financial services and products, including amendments to New York’s Deceptive Practices Act, which would put New York State on par with the rest of the region and strengthen existing law so that it covers unfair, unlawful and deceptive practices and would also remove the court-imposed requirement that the conduct be “consumer oriented.”
Support amending 90-Day Pre-Foreclosure Notice (RPAPL § 1304) to Include Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures, which would require that reverse mortgage servicers also mail a 90-Day pre-foreclosure notice once a homeowner has violated the terms of the reverse mortgage. These notices inform the homeowner of the intent to foreclose, which can be very important for seniors to receive, and provide telephone numbers of local, free housing counseling.
Support A.01408/S.06171, which would amend the Home Equity Theft Prevention Act (RPAPL § 265-a) & the Distressed Property Consultant Act (RPAPL § 265-b) to address the rampant deed theft schemes and modification scams that MFJ sees in communities of color and mono-lingual Spanish speaking neighborhoods and strengthen the law by increasing penalties and making it easier for homeowners to bring and prove actions.
Support a package of legislation that protects borrowers from predatory products, including auto loans.
Support legislation that would prohibit the use of credit checks in employment decisions.
Support legislation to ban sham trade schools from being eligible to receive TAP funds.
Support A.3443, which would amend Tax Law § 1409 and NYC Admin. Code § 11-2105 to require greater transparency of LLCs.
Support A.1569 to amend RPL § 266 and Establish a Rebuttable Presumption to the Right to Title in Certain Cases, which could help fight deed theft cases.
Support making New York’s mortgage-related banking regulations permanent.
Support A06967 to protect tenants by requiring landlords to mitigate damages if tenants vacate a premises before the end of their lease.
Support the Consumer Credit Fairness Act (A01752) to protect consumers from abusive debt collection.
New York City
Support the Lone Star Divestment Campaign by advocating before the New York City Comptroller to divest city pension funds of Lone Star funds, which is the second-largest purchaser of DASP loans and a large purchaser of Fannie and Freddie defaulted mortgages, and which has largely been providing New York City working class homeowners predatory modifications that will all but guarantee re-default in five years.
Support legislation that amends the law governing Board of Education pension loan repayment requirements.
New York State
Mobilization for Justice is a member of the Coalition of Reentry Advocates (CoRA), http://www.cora-ny.org/, a New York State coalition of advocates who work to change laws and policies to ensure that people who have had contact with the criminal justice system have a fair chance to succeed as full community members. A full list of CoRA’s legislative proposals, which we support, is available at http://www.cora-ny.org/our-legislation.
New York State
Mobilization for Justice is a member of the Workers’ Protection Coalition, a group of advocacy, legal, and labor union organizations dedicated to improving the New York State Workers’ Compensation system for the benefit of all injured workers.
Mobilization for Justice is also a member of the SWEAT (Securing Wages Earned Against Theft) coalition, a growing group of grassroots organizations, workers centers, legal service providers and advocates fighting to ensure that New York’s workers are able to recover the wages they are owed by employers. This coalition is working for passage of a legislative package that will: (1) expand New York’s mechanic’s lien law to include all workers via the establishment of a wage lien; (2) allow workers to attach employer’s property prior to the resolution of a case for unpaid wages; and (3) hold the largest shareholders of an employer personally liable for wage theft.
Mobilization for Justice plays a leadership role in advocating for tenants in three-quarter houses, through its Three Quarter House Project (TQH). TQH fights to make safe, permanent housing a critical component to treatment. It is a founding member of a city-wide working group to make the Mayor’s Three Quarter House Taskforce permanent. It is also a founding member of the state-wide working group to help patients in OASAS-licensed facilities transition to permanent, safe and habitable homes upon leaving treatment.
New York State
Support a bill to amend Section 22.03 of the Mental Hygiene Law because “Stable Housing is Fundamental to Treatment” (“SHIFT”), which will: (1) reiterate that it is unlawful for OASAS-licensed residential facilities to involuntarily remove any patient who has been in actual possession for at least 30 days; (2) require OASAS-licensed residential facilities to provide patients with individualized housing placement services; and (3) require OASAS-licensed residential facility or chemical dependence outpatient service to refer any patient discharged to a harm reduction program.
New York City
Support legislation to make permanent the interagency Three-Quarter House Taskforce that Mayor de Blasio formed, and which has been conducting inspection of three-quarter houses, has issued partial vacate orders, thus reducing occupancy to safe levels, and has provided vacated tenants with temporary housing and rapid rehousing services, including SEPS vouchers.
DISABILITY AND AGING RIGHTS
Mobilization for Justice helps New Yorkers who are living in institutional settings such as nursing homes and adult homes combat abuse and neglect and, when possible, return to living in the community.
New York State
Support funding that will provide $200,000 for the Justice Center’s Adult Home Advocacy Program so that Mobilization for Justice can continue its invaluable work. Using a lawyer/organizer model, Mobilization for Justice began working collaboratively with the Coalition of Institutionalized Aged & Disabled (CIAD) in 1992 to reach out to and assist New York City’s adult home residents. For the last 25 years, New York State has provided funding for Mobilization for Justice and CIAD to provide trainings, advice, and legal representation to adult home residents that has resulted in systemic reforms that have benefited thousands of New Yorkers. That funding is now in jeopardy. Without Mobilization for Justice’s consistent presence in adult homes, the lives of thousands of adult home residents will be in jeopardy.
Support nursing home day pass legislation to establish the right of nursing home residents to leave and enter the facility whenever they choose, unless there is a justifiable, medically documented reason for why they cannot leave. Our recent report, Imprisoned in Their Homes: How Nursing Homes’ Restrictive Day Pass Policies Violate Residents’ Right to Community Integration, highlights this serious problem.
Support A02743, which would strengthen the Department of Health’s ability to enforce adult home regulations by removing the “rectification” rule barring fines in cases where an adult home eventually corrects a violation and increases the amount of fines for violations.
Support A07727, which would allow adult homes to apply for Assisted Living Program (ALP) Beds through a Certificate of Need process reviewed by the Public Health & Health Planning Council, rather than by individual act of the legislature allowing DOH to increase the number of ALP beds, as is the current structure. We do not oppose this bill, but it should include a provision that limits administrative spending in ALPs to 15 percent of expenditures and net savings/profit. We also want facilities already operating or approved for ALP to be subject to the same administrative spending limit. This provision will reduce the waste of taxpayer dollars.
Support A06715, which would increase the New York State Supplement Program rate for adult homes, and which should include a provision that increases adult home residents’ personal needs allowance rate proportionately, so both residents and facilities get more money.