2024 – Governor’s Budget Proposals

2024 – Governor’s Budget Proposals

Position Statement – 2024

Governor Hochul’s Budget Proposal
NY State Fiscal Year 2025 – Executive Budget Proposal

The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”), an organization comprising thousands of attorneys and judges from across the state in private practice, government, academia and the courts, is dedicated to the advancement of women in law and society.

As an initial matter, WBASNY would like to thank the Governor for returning the $100 million for civil legal services (IOLA) rather than sweeping it into the General Fund, but we urge Governor Hochul and the Legislature to reject the sweep of the ILS funding for criminal legal services as well. Among other things, ILS funds are necessary to provide required indigent defense legal services and to provide the representation of parents in family court. Sweeping these funds from their designated account to the general fund leaves New York vulnerable to litigation and, more importantly, will leave many New Yorkers without adequate legal representation. Both IOLA and ILS funding are integral to ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of income level, have equal access to justice under the law.

On a related matter, while WBASNY is grateful that the Legislature and the Governor enacted increased rates for 18-b panel representation during the last legislative session, we are gravely concerned that no cost-of-living adjustment for 18-b panel counsel has been included in the budget. We encourage the Governor and Legislature to consider covering the full cost of the 18-b increase rather than requiring counties to expend additional county monies and include a cost-of-living adjustment going forward.

WBASNY has reviewed various sections of the Executive Budget Proposal for the State Fiscal Year 2025 that we believe would impact women, children, and the members of our profession. Our positions on these sections are addressed below:


Part J – Require Paid Breaks for Breast Milk Expression in the Workplace

WBASNY supports Part J, which would require paid break time of up to 20 minutes for breast milk expression. WBASNY recognizes that this measure is an important step toward wage parity and keeping breastfeeding parents in the workforce.

Although WBASNY supports this legislation, we encourage the Governor and Legislature to amend this bill to address the practical realities of breast milk expression. Most breastfeeding parents spend considerably more than 20 minutes expressing breast milk during the workday. We would suggest asking that the legislation be amended to provide at least two, 45-minute breaks every 8 hours for the purpose of breast milk expression.


Part M – Continuous Eligibility for Children Ages 0-6

WBASNY supports Part M, which would allow children to remain enrolled in Medicaid and Child Health Plus programs without needing an annual redetermination of eligibility. Access to continuous and quality healthcare is essential to the long-term health of all children, and removing administrative barriers to continuous healthcare access that many children currently face under the Medicaid and Child Health Plus programs will help ensure that coverage.

Part N – Maternal and Reproductive Health

WBASNY strongly supports Part N, which authorizes the Commissioner of Health to issue a non-patient specific statewide standing order for doula services; expressly affirms that pregnant minors capable of consenting to medical, dental, health and hospital services are entitled to comprehensive healthcare as a fundamental component of individual health; and codifies contraception access under the Reproductive Health Act.

Access to maternal and reproductive healthcare is a WBASNY priority, and WBASNY strongly supports legislation which ensures New Yorkers’ fundamental rights to access reproductive healthcare.

Part O – Medical Debt Protections

WBASNY supports Part O, which places reasonable limitations on the collection of medical debt from low-income New Yorkers. This legislation would limit a hospital’s ability to commence legal action relating to the recovery of medical debt or unpaid bills against patients earning less than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This legislation would also expand hospital finance assistance programs for low-income New Yorkers, limit the size of monthly payments and interest charged for medical debt, and implement other protections to improve access to financial assistance.

WBASNY supports this legislation, especially to the extent it will allow women and children improved access to potentially life-saving healthcare and prenatal care and reduce maternal mortality rates (particularly for women and children of color, whose maternal and child mortality rates vastly exceed those of the general population).


Part F – Judicial Protection

WBASNY strongly supports Part F, which would protect judges and court personnel from the disclosure of their sensitive and confidential personal information, such as their home addresses or the addresses of their immediate family members. WBASNY believes this legislation is essential to ensure the judiciary’s physical safety and allow the bench to carry out justice unimpeded by threats of violent reprisal.

Judicial security is a WBASNY priority and has been a WBASNY priority for several years. Sitting judges, their families (including minor children) and their court personnel are subject to verbal and written threats, stalking and violence and should not have to fear for their safety to do their jobs. Members of our organization, both serving on the Bench and within the Court system, have been harassed and threatened simply for carrying out their duties under the law. WBASNY strongly urges the Governor and Legislature to take swift and meaningful action to protect the physical safety of New York state judges and court personnel.

Part M – Establish First-In-Nation Paid Prenatal Leave

WBASNY strongly supports Part M, which would expand New York Paid Family Leave to include up to 40 hours of leave for prenatal medical appointments. This legislation would provide 40 hours in addition to the 12 weeks of leave already guaranteed under New York law. Leave can be taken by eligible employees in hourly increments.

Despite WBASNY’s strong support, we urge the Governor and Legislature to amend the proposed legislation to create an exception to the notice requirement, allowing employees to retroactively seek prenatal leave under Paid Family Leave since many individuals begin seeking prenatal care well before they are ready to announce their pregnancies to their employers.

Part N – Increase Short-Term Disability Leave Benefits

WBASNY supports Part N, which increases short-term disability leave benefits. WBASNY believes this increase is long overdue, as the current benefit was designated approximately 35 years ago.

Part O – Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act

WBASNY supports Part O, which protects children under the age of 18 from unrestricted access to social media. This legislation places restrictions on when social media companies may permit notifications to children and requires social media operators to provide options for parental controls limiting daily access to social media platforms.

Part P – Child Data Protection Act

WBASNY supports Part P, which prohibits websites from collecting, using, sharing, or selling the personal data of minors unless the website obtains informed consent or when the collection of data is necessary for the purpose of the website.

Although WBASNY supports this legislation, we would recommend clarification on the issue of informed consent, including a clarification as to whose informed consent is sought.

Part R – Market-Based Interest Rate on Court Judgments

WBASNY repeats its opposition to Part R, which would adopt a variable market-based, rather than fixed, interest rate to be assessed on court judgments and accrued claims. The current statutory interest rate provides an incentive for judgments to be promptly paid.


Part S – Climate Smart Communities Grant Program

WBASNY supports Part S, which provides grant funding, rebates for electric vehicles, and free technical assistance to low-income communities. This legislation would help local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

Part Y – Minority and Women Owned Business 15-A Extension

WBASNY supports Part Y, which extends New York’s Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program until 2029.

The MWBE program encourages and assists state agencies to award a fair share of state contracts to MWBEs and promote the business development of MWBEs through education and outreach, all of which support and further the development and success of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the state.

Part EE – Insulin Cost Sharing

WBASNY supports Part EE, which, in an effort to keep insulin affordable, would ensure that insulin drug coverage is not subject to cost sharing requirements. WBASNY also strongly urges the Governor and Legislature to consider similar legislation for other life-saving and life-sustaining medications, such as inhalers, EpiPens, etc.

Part FF – Combating Discrimination in Housing

WBASNY supports this bill which would prohibit insurance companies from increasing rates or denying coverage to a policy holder due to their ownership of affordable housing. This legislation, which would not allow an insurer to refuse to issue, refuse to renew or increase the premium on property used for low-income or subsidized housing, would help to ensure the continuing availability of such housing.


One of WBASNY’s legislative priorities for this year is to support legislation and funding that will protect and assist migrant women and children. WBASNY’s mission is to promote the advancement of all women in society and the profession. Currently, New York is experiencing a large increase in migrants entering the state. These individuals frequently find themselves sent to various locales with little input and, at times, little support. To that end, WBASNY supports continued efforts to safely manage the influx of migrants, particularly, funding that would continue current efforts to provide safe housing, medical care and legal assistance.

In addition, WBASNY strongly supports the proposed increased funding for childcare assistance and additional funding to ensure that VOCA shortfalls do not impact crime victims.

Finally, WBASNY is extremely dismayed that calls to fund a statewide supervised visitation initiative have been largely ignored and no funding for such a program is included in the budget. WBASNY urges the Governor and Legislature to prioritize funding for a statewide supervised visitation initiative to ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorkers, our children, are guaranteed a safe, professionally supervised environment to visit with their parents. Mandated, supervised visitation should ensure the safety of all children without regard to a family’s geographical location within the state.