• Need-to-Know News: Dec. 23, 2011

    December 23, 2011

    Updates from Us

    • A Message from LAC President and Director:

      The establishment and protection of rights for people with histories of addiction, criminal justice involvement, and HIV/AIDS through cutting-edge policy advocacy, precedent-setting litigation, direct legal services and public education has been a hallmark of LAC for almost 40 years. Now more than ever, we need to stand strong and speak out against discrimination and inequality. Stand with us by making your year-end gift today.

      Your support is critical to the work we do and the people we serve, which is why I'm asking you to support our year-end campaign. It is a time when your donation can have an even greater impact; I urge you to give generously.

      Wishing you and yours happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.


      Paul N. Samuels

    Headlines on Our Issues


    • The Affordable Housing Work Group, a sub-group of New York's Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT), included a "Moving On Initiative" in its recently released "Final Recommendations." The Initiative aims "to incentivize and support tenants who are ready to or already live in independent housing." The Initiative does not include a 30% cap on rent for individuals with HIV, a policy HIV advocates have long promoted. Instead, the Recommendations call for the work group to "evaluat[e] mechanisms" for supporting individuals who receive enhanced rental assistance but who cannot afford to live independently without a cap. The MRT is scheduled to submit its final recommendations to Governor Cuomo on December 31. The Governor may indicate which recommendations he intends to accept when he issues his "State of the State" on January 4. Additional details will appear when the Governor releases his budget.
    • In an article in Sunday's New York Times, Nicholas Peart, a 23-year-old New York City college student, describes the experience of being stopped and frisked on a regular basis without cause.

    • A new study of national statistics, to be published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics, reports that over 30% of 23-year-olds who participated in the study reported having been arrested at some point for an offense other than a minor traffic violation. The last study to look at this information, which dates from 1965, found a much lower rate of 22%.
    • A new article in the Associated Press examines the causes and employment consequences of errors in background checks performed by private companies.
    • An article in Sunday's New York Times examined the growing risk of identity theft and privacy violations that result from the increasing computerization of U.S. medical records.
    • A new study by Kaiser Permanente, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, found that the US could save nearly $2 billion per year if Kaiser Permanente Early Start, a Kaiser program that assists pregnant women who are at risk of abusing substances during their pregnancy, were implemented nationwide. This study follows a 2008 study that found that the program also helps participating women and their children to achieve similar health outcomes as women who do not use alcohol, cigarettes or drugs.
    • An article in the New Republic argues that imposing new requirements, including drug testing, on individuals wishing to receive unemployment benefits will not significantly help reduce U.S. unemployment and criticizes those who suggest that people are remaining unemployed by choice because of the supposedly generous benefits they are able to receive without a job.