Harlem To The Hudson Members Of The BPHA Caucus Unveils Comprehensive Policy Agenda

May 23, 2023

The Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus (Caucus), led by Chair Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, is proud to announce its policy agenda aimed at addressing critical issues affecting Black, Latino, and AAPI New Yorkers.

The agenda covers key areas such as housing, health, labor, education, environment, and human services, with a strong focus on equity, justice, and inclusivity.

Access to affordable, safe, and stable housing remains a top priority for members. Poor housing conditions disproportionately impact marginalized communities. To combat this, the Caucus is committed to addressing lead poisoning and enhancing fire safety. Other measures focus on tenant rights and protections, utility support, and combating housing discrimination. The Caucus aims to ensure equal access to high-quality housing for all New Yorkers, regardless of race or income.

In the health and mental health section, the Caucus emphasizes the need to address racial health disparities and promote health equity. Specifically, policies that support maternal health, tackle high prescription drug prices, and expand access to mental health services, particularly for vulnerable populations. Additionally, the body is pushing forward major immigration rights measures such as the New York for All Act.

The Caucus’s agenda extends to labor rights, economic development, environmental justice, and education. The document prioritizes the protection of workers’ rights, fair wages, and safe working environments, while also working towards stimulating economic growth and addressing transportation issues. In the realm of environmental justice and energy, the Caucus focuses on improving health outcomes in marginalized communities, transitioning from fossil fuels, and supporting initiatives related to clean water, safe food, and climate action. In the field of education, the concentration is on supporting student success, equity, parental engagement, and teacher diversity, aiming to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students.

“Our goal is to join forces and shape a brighter future for all New Yorkers. By tackling these important issues and fostering fairness, justice, and inclusivity, we can empower Black, Latino, and AAPI communities and build a more resilient state, ” said Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, Chair of the Caucus.

“Enacting the People’s Agenda will close New York’s racial health and wealth gaps, support affordable housing, reform our criminal legal system and much more. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this bold agenda, and look forward to fighting for these priorities in the remainder of this session,” said Senator Zellnor Myrie, Caucus Vice Chair.

“Everyone should feel safe to go about their daily lives in their communities – but as it stands now in New York State, simple tasks like dropping off your kids at school or calling 911 in an emergency can result in immigrant families being ripped apart. The New York For All Act would right this wrong by ending any collusion between local law enforcement and ICE. New Yorker’s tax dollars should not be spent on federal immigration enforcement, and advancing ICE’s cruel agenda. We thank the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus for standing up for all low-income New Yorkers – and for fighting for housing, healthcare, mental health, labor rights, economic development, environmental justice, and education – to make sure that everyone who calls New York home can feel safe and protected here,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition.

“AARP New York commends the Caucus for supporting legislation to require advance disclosure of prescription drug price hikes, expose shady ‘pay for delay’ deals that delay consumer access to less expensive generic versions of prescription drugs, guarantee tenants legal representation when fighting unfair evictions, and enact ‘benefits matching’ to ensure New Yorkers receive the assistance for which they qualify. We look forward to working with the Caucus to turn these essential bills into law,” said Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director

“We are grateful to the Caucus and particularly Caucus Chair Solages, our bill sponsor, for championing the Solutions Not Suspensions Act. The crisis around racist school discipline policies is nothing new. For decades, Black and brown students have been pushed out of school and deprived of their right to an education, often for the same behaviors that their white, wealthy peers exhibit but are not disciplined for. Systemic racism has no place in our public institutions and especially not in our schools. We hope that the leadership of the BPHA Caucus, combined with historic hearings in the NYS Senate, will move the legislature once and for all to pass the Solutions Not Suspensions Act and do right by our children,” said Amshula Jayaram, Campaigns Director, Alliance for Quality Education. 

“We thank the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus for standing up for public health and climate justice in the Adirondacks and beyond,” said Raul Aguirre, Acting Executive Director of the Adirondack Council, ” The Birds and Bees Protection Act and Public Water Justice Act are critical policies that will safeguard Adirondack water and wildlife for our children.

Alok Disa, Senior Research and Policy Analyst with Earthjustice, said, “The Clean Deliveries Act would require the state to mitigate emissions from e-commerce mega-warehouses, which are currently unregulated, and which can emit as much pollution as a power plant, impacting local & regional air quality and exacerbating climate change. This is a major environmental justice issue, since these facilities are disproportionately cited in communities of color, and crucially, the bill would require enhanced mitigation in disadvantaged communities and near “sensitive receptors” such as schools and daycares. Earthjustice thanks the Caucus for prioritizing this critical bill.”

The Caucus’ comprehensive policy agenda reflects its commitment to advancing equity, justice, and inclusivity in all areas of governance. By addressing these critical issues, the Caucus aims to create a better future for all New Yorkers.

The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus

The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus is a sixty-seven-member body of state legislators representing a quarter of residents across the State of New York from Long Island, the metro New York City area, and upstate. To learn more, visit bphacaucus.com.

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