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News & Press Releases

May
10
2016
Lawsuit Challenges Shameful Exclusion of Farmworkers from Right to Organize

Farmworkers are excluded from the critical protection of the right to organize without fear of retaliation under New York state’s labor law, a violation of the state constitution that forces them to work in life-threatening, sweatshop-like conditions, according to a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union against New York state and Governor Cuomo today in the State Supreme Court. It is the first lawsuit that demands that farmworkers receive the same basic protections from the state that virtually every other worker receives.

Apr
1
2016
Paid Family Leave Passes in Civil Rights Victory

The New York State legislature today is taking action on historic legislation that would provide paid family leave benefits for New York workers. This paid family leave policy will ensure that New Yorkers will no longer have to choose between caring for an infant or an incapacitated parent and keeping their jobs. The benefit will have the greatest impact on the state’s most vulnerable workers - women and low-income workers. The New York Civil Liberties Union is among the advocacy organizations that led the effort to pass the legislation.

Mar
31
2016
Federal Judge Approves Solitary Confinement Overhaul in New York State

Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin today approved a settlement agreement between the New York Civil Liberties Union and New York State that will comprehensively overhaul solitary confinement in New York State -- one of the largest prison systems in the country -- and provide a framework for ending the state’s overreliance on extreme isolation.

Mar
15
2016
NYCLU Sues Buffalo Police Department for Refusing to Open its Books

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Buffalo Police Department last evening after it refused to comply with a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request seeking basic information about how one of the largest police departments in the state functions. The NYCLU sought policies and data on a variety of policing tactics, such as the use of force, stops and temporary detentions, surveillance technologies and the enforcement of non-criminal offenses.

Mar
12
2016
State Senate Stands Up for NY’s Families by Including Paid Family Leave in Budget

The New York State Senate released a proposal for paid family leave today as part of its budget that in key respects adopts the proposals put forward by the Paid Family Leave coalition, Governor Cuomo and the State Assembly, and moves New York a significant step closer to smart, sensible solutions that will help New York’s families and businesses. The Senate proposal would grant all workers in New York paid leave with two-thirds of their salaries and job security for 12 weeks to care for a new child or a seriously ill family member.

Mar
2
2016
No Tax Credits for Donors to Private and Religious Schools

The New York Civil Liberties Union is joining a coalition of government watchdog groups, religious associations and education advocates today in Albany to present a legislative briefing on the proposed Parental Choice in Education Act, an education tax credit that would effectively transfer public tax dollars to private and religious schools. The act, which was rejected last year, is geared toward wealthy donors, and allows as much as $1 million in tax credits for donations made to a private or public school.

Feb
29
2016
NYCLU Applauds Ruling Denying Government Request to Unlock Apple iPhone

A federal judge today denied the government's request to order Apple to unlock an iPhone in a criminal investigation. The government had asked for the order under the All Writs Act, a law that is more than 200 years old. The judge ruled that such an order would go farther than the law allows. The following statement can be attributed to NYCLU Executive Director, Donna Lieberman:

Feb
4
2016
NYCLU Praises Budget for Funding Public Defense in Five Counties, Calls for Statewide Reform

The New York Civil Liberties Union, testifying at a Joint Legislative Hearing on Governor Cuomo’s 2016-17 Public Protection Budget, will commend the governor for allocating funds for public defense reform. The funding will be provided to five counties in accordance with the terms of a settlement in Hurrell-Harring v. State of New York, brought by the NYCLU and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP.

Jan
21
2016
Now With Bipartisan Support, Statewide Public Defense Bill is NY’s 2016 Priority

In a joint press conference today with State Assemblymember Patricia A. Fahy, State Senator and Deputy Majority leader John A. DeFrancisco announced his support of legislation that would reform public defense services across the state. This historic bill was first introduced by Assemblymember Fahy in 2014, after the New York Civil Liberties Union and New York State entered into a settlement agreement requiring the state to improve public defense for people too poor to hire an attorney in five counties named in the lawsuit.

Jan
13
2016
Governor’s Progressive Agenda Deserves Support but Must Include Statewide Public Defense

In response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement, attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

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