Policy and Advocacy
NYSPHA Current State and Local Policy and Advocacy
Our most recent New York State and Local Policy/Advocacy Actions and Alerts
8/8/2023 – NYSPHA signed on to a letter to the governor coordinated by the Renewable Heat Campaign requesting that she include the language of the NY HEAT Act into her next Executive Budget. Click here to read the letter.
7/31/2023 – NYSPHA PAC members Andrea Sonenberg and Heather McGrane Minton provided comments to the New York State Department of Health opposing the wording in proposed Birth Center regulations that create barriers to the use of midwifery models of care, including midwife-owned birthing centers (MBC), which are crucial steps in addressing the issue of Maternity Care Deserts in New York State. Click here to read the letter.
7/19/2023 – NYSPHA signed on to a partner letter recommending the Governor sign the Biomarker legislation. Click here to read the letter.
7/15/2023 – Gus Birkhead signed on behalf of NYSPHA onto a health expert letter to Governor Hochul to eliminate harmful and unnecessary uses of neonicotinoid pesticides in New York State specifically by signing the Birds and Bees Protection Act A7640/ S1856 A into law. Click here to read the letter.
7/13/2023 – NYSPHA signed on to a partner letter to NYC Mayor Adams urging him to support banning the sale of menthol cigarettes. Click <here> to read the letter.
7/10/2023 – NYSPHA signed on to a partner letter sponsored by NYSACHO to the NYS Cannabis Management Office containing submitting comments on the updated Adult Use Cannabis regulations, especially about labeling and packaging not being attractive to kids, being considered for adoption. Click <here> to read the letter.
6/30/2023 – NYSPHA signed on to a partner letter to New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) providing comments on pending Cap-and-Invest Regulations focusing on inclusion of agricultural emissions to meet New York’s economy-wide greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). Click <here> to read the letter.
6/29/2023 – NYSPHA signed on to a partner letter to the Department of Environmental Conservation transmitting comments in response to the Draft New York State Solid Waste Management Plan (2023 – 2032). Click <here> to read the letter.
5/22/23 - NYSPHA PAC Chair Gus Birkhead participated in a Lobby Day at the State Capitol sponsored by the Let's Get Immunized NY campaign in support of bills to require opt-out reporting of adult vaccinations to the state and city Immunization Registries. Click <here> to read the press release.
5/8/23 - NYSPHA wrote a memorandum of support for A.3291 (Dinowitz)/ S.7046 (Fernandez), which would make permanent absentee voting due to the risk of contracting or spreading a disease rather than subjecting it to annual renewal by the legislature. Click <here> to read the memorandum of support.
May, 2023 - NYSPHA signed on to a letter to medical providers promoting HPV vaccine in children as young as age nine years. Click <here> to read the letter.
05/3/23 – NYSPHA sent a letter to State Senator Persaud and Assemblymember Hunter supporting \S1196/A1673 to ensure that more New Yorkers have health insurance coverage for biomarker testing—the key to unlocking targeted therapies. Click <here> to read the letter
04/27/23 – NYSPHA signed on to a letter by the Center for Science in the Public Interest supporting passage of New York State Senate bill S4364/Assembly bill # TBD, which would direct the Department of Health, in consultation with the Office of General Services, to develop science-based guidelines for serving healthier foods and beverages in all state facilities and state-supported programs. NYSPHA also provided a Memorandum of support on 5/3/23. Click <here> to read the memorandum of support.
03/30/23 – Gus participated in a press conference at the Capitol in support of the tobacco tax and menthol ban. A number of legislators and African America clergy spoke.
03/27/23 – Gus and Judy Rightmyer separately published letters to the editor in the Albany Times Union in favor of increasing the cigarette tax and banning menthol cigarettes. Click <here> to read the letters.
3/19/23-NYSPHA President Brett Harris published a letter to the editor in the Schenectady Daily Gazette in support of legislation to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. Read the letter at this link: https://dailygazette.com/2023/03/18/letters-to-the-editor-sunday-march-19/
03/18/23 – NYSPHA signed up as a partner organization in NY Renews, a coalition of over 350 environmental, justice, faith, labor, and community groups, and the force behind the nation’s most progressive climate law. See www.NYRenews.org for more information.
03/17/23 – NYSPHA signed on to a letter to the Senate and Assembly leaders in support of including the Prescription Drug Price and Supply Chain Transparency Act in the state budget. Click <here> to read the letter.
03/16/23 – NYSPHA signed on to a letter to the Senate and Assembly leaders in support of including the Ounce of Prevention Act to end medical debt in the state budget. The Act would obviate the need for aggressive hospital collection actions and lawsuits by reforming our state’s antiquated and flouted Hospital Financial Assistance Law. Research shows the most aggressive hospitals fail to offer meaningful financial assistance to their patients, while drawing down millions from the State Indigent Care Pool. Click <here> to read the letter.
03/15/2023 – NYSPHA signed on to a letter to the governor and legislative leadership urging the inclusion of the All Electric Buildings Act (S562A/A920A) during this year’s budget to end the use of gas (and other fossil fuels) in new construction, starting with new permits at the beginning of 2024. Click <here> to read the letter.
03/08/23 – NYSPHA PAC members and staff attended a press conference in the state Capitol by a consortium of public health and anti-tobacco groups in support of the Governor’s proposal to raise the tobacco tax and ban flavored tobacco products. PAC chair Gus Birkhead was quoted in a press release sent out after the event. Click <here> to read the press release.
02/28/23 – NYSPHA submitted testimony to the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Health providing NYSPHA’s comments and recommendations for the final enacted budget. Click <here> to read the testimony.
02/17/23 – NYSPHA sent a letter to 103 member of the state legislature providing them with NYSPHA’s Memorandum in Support for the Executive Budget proposals to increase the cigarette tax, ban flavored tobacco products, and tighten up enforcement of the current e-cigarette ban. Click <here> to read the letter.
2/13/23 – NYSPHA signed on to a letter by NYSACHO to New York State Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Alexander providing comments on revised Adult-Use Cannabis regulations and expressing our concern that the state is not fully prioritizing public health and safety by including public health protections within the regulations. Click <here> to read the letter.
2/12/23 – NYSPHA PAC member Sean Haley was lead author on a paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research on Public Health titled Neighborhood Alcohol Outlet Density, Historical Redlining, and Violent Crime in NYC 2014–2018. The paper showed that the violent crime experienced by formerly redlined communities in New York City is likely related to a legacy of racialized housing policies and may be associated with state policies that allow for high neighborhood alcohol outlet density. Read the paper here: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/4/3212
02/09/23 – NYSPHA sent a letter to all members of the legislature asking that they sign on to a letter by Senator Persaud and Assembly member Rosenthal. The letter calls for the health department's Cancer Services Program budget to be increased to $26.8 million in Fiscal Year 2023-2024. The additional resources will allow the program to better serve its current patients and increase its reach to more New Yorkers who need help getting access to lifesaving cancer screening.
02/07/23 – NYSPHA sent an alert to all NYSPHA members asking them to send an email to their legislators asking the to support the Governor’s proposal to increase the cigarette tax and ban flavored tobacco products including menthol, and additionally to request an increase in the health department’s Tobacco Control Program. Click <here> to read the alert.
1/19/23 - Kavitha Das, NYSPHA's NYC Policy and Advocacy Sub-Committee chair, represented NYSPHA at a sponsored by the Flavors Hook Kids Coalition to relaunch the campaign to pass the proposed legislation that would restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes in New York City. (see Intro 577 to read the bill). This has been a long-standing NYSPHA goal. Menthol cigarettes are easier to start smoking, because they mask the harsh taste of tobacco, and are therefore harder to quit. This makes them more appealing to kids. And for at least a half of a century, the tobacco industry has targeted Black communities with menthol cigarette marketing utilizing community sponsorships, magazine advertising, youthful imagery, and free or discounted cigarettes. The sponsors of this legislation will not pass any bill that criminalizes individuals who buy or sell illegal tobacco products. In fact, their legislation to restrict menthol sales will codify that the NYPD cannot — and will not — be involved in enforcing the illegal sale of menthol cigarettes.
1/11/2023 - NYSPHA signed on to a letter by the American Cancer Society to the Governor requesting that she restore funding to the New York State Cancer Program. Click <here> to read the letter.
12/19/2022 - NYSPHA sent a letter urging the Governor to issue an executive order to establish healthy food service guidelines for all state facilities and state-supported programs and to include funding for the NYSDOH to lead implementation of healthy food service guidelines in the FY2024 Executive Budget. Click <here> to read the letter.
12/19/2022 – NYSPHA signed on to a letter by the Let’s Get Immunized NY campaign urging the Governor to prioritize immunization access and investment in the FY 2023-24 State Executive Budget. Click <here> to read the letter.
12/__/2022 – NYSPHA signed on to a letter by the Association for Energy/Affordability urging the Governor to adopt policies to electrify 90% of buildings by 2050 while prioritizing the most vulnerable communities for healthy, affordable housing and energy, as well as good, green jobs. Click <here - file pending> to read the letter.
11/22/2022 - NYSPHA wrote to Governor Hochul recommending that she sign A.7408-A (Gottfried) / S.7501 (Hinchey) to amend the public health law, in relation to financial responsibility for human post-exposure treatment for rabies. Click <here> to read the letter.
10/27/2022 - Kavitha Das, NYSPHA's NYC Policy and Advocacy Sub-Committee chair, represented NYSPHA during a visit to New York City Hall organized by the American Heart Association to speak with New York City Council members about legislation (Intro 577-2022) that would end the sale of menthol cigarettes in New York City. Kavitha spoke with several council members including Lynn Schulman, the Chair of the Committee on Health, and expressed support for this bill. This bill will focus on banning menthol tobacco products for NYC residents, and at the same time, it will not penalize individuals for possession of these products.
10/27/2022 - NYSPHA supports the Healthy School Meals for All New York Kids campaign, launched today, calling on Governor Hochul to fund healthy school meals for all New York students in next year’s state budget. Click <here> to read the supporting letter and <here> to read about the policy.
9/22/2022 - NYSPHA signed on to a joint letter by New York State public health, environmental health, patient advocacy, healthcare, nursing, and physician organizations, declaring the burning fossil fuels in our buildings to be a significant climate and health risk. The letter calls for immediate action to protect the health of New Yorkers and mitigate the current and future impacts of air pollution and climate change. Click <here> to read the letter.
8/26/2022 - NYSPHA signed on to a statewide campaign sponsored by Hunger Solutions New York and Community Food Advocates called Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids. The campaign will work to ensure that all students across New York State have secure, equal access to school meals at no cost. Click <here> to read about the campaign.
8/14/2022 - NYSPHA submitted comments on draft state regulations (NYCRR 9, Parts 128 and 129) on Adult-Use Cannabis Packaging and Labeling and Marketing and Advertising. Click <here> to read the comments.
7/1/2022 - NYSPHA signed on to a letter to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, with comments on the Draft Scoping Plan in Support of Direct-to-Consumer Zero Emission Vehicle Sales. Click <here> to read the letter.