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LAS Unveils 2023 Statewide Legislative Priorities

As a new legislative session begins, The Legal Aid Society is calling on lawmakers in Albany to pass a comprehensive set of bills that will improve the lives of its clients and all New Yorkers.

The Civil Practice is focused on legislation aimed at keeping New Yorkers in their homes. Good Cause eviction protections would require landlords to demonstrate a good reason for evicting tenants in market-rate units and a proposed Housing Access Voucher program would create a state-level rental subsidy for low-income New Yorkers.

The Criminal Defense Practice’s priorities include Clean Slate, which would automatically seal certain conviction records. The Communities Not Cages sentencing reform package would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, allow judges to review excessive sentences, and create more opportunities for incarcerated New Yorkers to earn time off of their sentences. The Treatment Not Jail Act will ensure that New Yorkers with substance use challenges, mental health concerns, and other disabilities have an off-ramp to obtain treatment and support in their communities rather than be incarcerated.

The Juvenile Rights Practice is focused on proposals that would serve young New Yorkers as they interact with the criminal legal and child welfare systems. #Right2RemainSilent legislation would ensure that young New Yorkers have access to an attorney prior to a police interrogation and The Youth Justice and Opportunities Act would expand alternatives to incarceration and record sealing for young adults. The Preserving Family Bonds Act would allow a court to order continued contact between biological parents whose rights are terminated and their children, when it is in the child’s best interest. Currently, the termination of parental rights results in the severing of all ties to a child’s family of origin, even when it is harmful to the child.