NYSAAP Advocacy & Policy Update

Elie Ward

Elie Ward

Elie Ward, MSW is the Director of Policy, Advocacy, and External Relations for NYS AAP Chapters 1, 2 &3.

With the election over, we are focusing once again on getting our bills, those that have passed both houses of the legislature, signed by the Governor.  Priorities for the Governor’s signature include Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, Cumulative Impact Act and the legislation to establish a primary care reform commission.

Whenever you get an Alert from me, please make your phone calls and send your emails.  Now that the Governor is secure for another four years, it’s time we raise our voices to encourage her to do the right thing for kids and for pediatricians.

Looking toward the future which includes the upcoming state budget and the 2023 Legislative Session, we are working with partners to push for significant investments to address child poverty, including an expansion of the Child Tax Credit, presumptive eligibility for all Medicaid and CHIP eligible children from birth through age 6, Universal Free School Lunch statewide, improving children’s access to vital mental health services, oversight of the spending and investment plan for the recently passed Environmental Bond Act, protection for children and families in the unwinding of the Federal Public Health Emergency, and working to assure that children and families’ needs are included in the State’s new application for the 1115Waiver.  We will also be working with partners on moving an Omnibus Adolescent Consent bill forward.  These are just some of the things we are engaged in on behalf of the children and families we serve.  There are many more, like the Birds and Bees Protection Act to protect children and all New Yorkers and our birds and bees from a toxic and unneeded neonicotinoid pesticide.

Even more issues will arise as we see the state budget develop and get a clearer picture how many of our priority investments are included.  And we will begin working with legislators again to help them understand and encourage them to support our issues.

One big issue that may be coming up this year is legislation requiring Influenza and COVID-19 (once fully approved by the FDA) immunization for school attendance.  A bill is already on file, and the sponsors have indicated that they want to try to move it in the 2023 session.  As you know, NYSAAP has a public policy statement clearly supporting this requirement.  If the sponsors do move the bill, and we engage in support, which we will, get ready for a rocky ride.

As always you are the voice for children, families, and pediatricians.  The legislative and policy work we do can only move forward if you join in the chorus.  Call the Governor when we ask.  Meet with your legislators when we have legislation or policy Alerts or Updates.  Make your voices heard.  There’s a lot of competition out there in the world of politics and policy, but we have credibility, and we take care of peoples’ children!  Ours is an important and highly valued voice.  Let’s use it and use it well.