Weekly Round-Up: March 21, 2014

Education

  • Yesterday, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina testified at a City Council Budget Hearing.  Chalkbeat (previously Gotham Schools) outlined “5 things we learned” from yesterday’s council meeting.  These “5 things” include plans for more dual language programs and emphasis on art education, as well as changes to teacher evaluations.  To read about the “5 things” please click here.

Family Court

  • As the New York State Budget deadline is approaching, the New York State Bar Association is urging the state legislature to increase the number of Family Court Judgeships in the 2014 budget. NYSBA’s President, David Schraver, stated that “Increasing the number of Family Court judges is a top priority of the New York State Bar Association.” In the 2014 State of the Judiciary Address, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman stated that legislative action is required to address the crisis in Family Court, and called for the creation of 20 new Judgeships. In addition, the 2013 Family Court Task Force Report illustrated the current burden on the Family Court system and how additional Judgeships would greatly alleviate this burden. The proposed Legislative and Judiciary Budget Bill can be viewed here.

Health Care

  • The Supreme Court of the United States will be hearing arguments about one of the more controversial points of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  The issue in question is the provision that requires certain for-profit companies to offer insurance benefits for birth control and other health reproductive services without a co-pay.  The issue is whether or not companies can refuse this provision based on the claim that it would violate the owners’ religious beliefs.  The Supreme Court is expected to rule in June as to whether or not companies have the right to religious liberties or if those protections only apply to individuals.  To read an article framing this issue, please click here.  (CNN).  Also for petitions and briefs on the accompanying cases, please visit these links:  Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.  (SCOTUS Blog)
  • Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed his first bill into law expanding paid sick leave.  The new law expands the requirement for employers to provide paid sick leave coverage to businesses with 5 or more employees.  Previously, the sick leave provisions covered those businesses with 15 or more employees.  The new law extends to over 200,000 workers who previously did not have paid sick leave.  For the NYC press release, please click here.