Call members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Senate Housing Committee TODAY!

Earlier this year, Assembly Member Latoya Joyner and Senator Rachel May introduced statewide Right to Counsel legislation (A7570/ S6678) alongside the RTCNYC Coalition and members of our Housing Courts Must Change! campaign. This important legislation would guarantee tenants across New York State the right to a lawyer when facing an eviction  ALL tenants, ALL cases, in every part of New York. 

For a bill to become law, legislators in one or more of the State Assembly committees and one or more of the State Senate committees need to discuss the bill and allow it to proceed to either another committee, or to a vote. The statewide Right to Counsel legislation needs to pass through the Assembly Judiciary Committee before it can be voted on in the Assembly; and through the Senate Housing, Construction & Community Development Committee, before it can be voted on in the Senate. We need to put extra pressure on the Assembly Members who sit on the Judiciary committee and the Senators who sit on the Housing Committee, as they hold outsized power over the future of our bill! That’s why it’s important that you call EACH member of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Senate Housing Committee and try to convince them to support the legislation.

How can I contact Committee Members?

Step 1: Refer to the contact info table below, which has Assembly Judiciary Committee and Senate Housing Committee contact info.

Step 2: For each legislator, call their office and use the call script below to request their sponsorship of statewide Right to Counsel.

Step 3: If you don’t reach the legislators or their staff, follow up over email, using the email template below.

Step 4: Once the legislator’s office responds to your email, use the next steps from the call script to follow up on your ask.

If you need more information on the bill, refer to our resource guide below.

CONTACT INFO TABLE

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CALL SCRIPT

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I am a tenant and New York State resident. I am calling to urge [ASSEMBLY MEMBER OR SENATOR’S NAME] to cosponsor A07570 / S06678, a bill introduced by Assembly Member Joyner and Senator May that would guarantee ALL tenants across New York State the Right to Counsel when facing an eviction. I am also calling to ask if [ASSEMBLY MEMBER OR SENATOR’S NAME] will vote favorably for the bill and advocate for its passage through [the Assembly Judiciary Committee OR Senate Housing Committee].

Right to Counsel is proven to stop evictions – 84 percent of tenants in New York City who had a Right to Counsel lawyer won their case and the seven cities that now have Right to Counsel have seen up to a 77 percent reduction in evictions. Earlier this year, Washington State also passed Right to Counsel statewide. Here in New York, nearly all landlords across the state have lawyers, while the vast majority of tenants do not, which creates an imbalance of power in the courts that largely favors landlords. 

With 1.2 million households behind on rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and landlords actively trying to evict more than 237,000 tenants statewide, New York tenants need Right to Counsel, so they can fight evictions and remain safe and securely housed! [Explain why this bill is important to you personally].

Has [ASSEMBLY MEMBER OR SENATOR’S NAME] signed on to co-sponsor A07570 / S06678?

IF THEY SAY YES >>>>

  • Thank them for their support

  • Ask if they can commit to demonstrating their support for the bill by:

    • Voting favorably for the bill?

    • Advocating for the bill's passage through the Assembly Judiciary Committee OR the Senate Housing Committee?

    • Asking two of their colleagues to also sponsor statewide Right to Counsel?

    • Sending a statement to press and/or posting their support on social media?

    • Writing an op-ed in support?

    • Or, anything else that you'd like them to do!

  • If they agree to support in any of these ways, let them know you will follow up with their office soon to coordinate, and include this information in the notes in this Google form, so an organizer can follow up with you to help you hold the representative accountable to their commitment.

  • Before you hang up the phone, remember to get the name, title and email address of the person you spoke to, and thank them for their time!

IF THEY SAY NO >>>>

  • Ask them to cosponsor the legislation.

If they say they will cosponsor >> 

  • Thank them for their support. Ask them when they will cosponsor by.
  • Before you hang up the phone, remember to get the name, title and email address of the person you spoke to,  and thank them for their time!

If they say they don’t plan to cosponsor >> 

  • Ask them, "why not?" Be sure to record their response in the Google form.

 If they say “maybe”, “I’ll consider it”, or “I’ll need to review the legislation first” >> 

  • Offer to email them more information (feel free to download and send any of the resources in the Resource Guide below).
  • Ask them, "by when can you let me know what you decide?"
  • If they have any questions, refer to the Resource Guide below.

EMAIL TEMPLATE

Hi [ASSEMBLY MEMBER / SENATOR NAME],

I hope you’re doing well. My name is [NAME] and I am a tenant and New York State resident. I am writing today to urge you to support and cosponsor our statewide Right to Counsel legislation (A7570/ S6678) this session, if you have not already done so, and to work with tenants, organizers, advocates, and legal services providers to ensure prompt passage of this legislation into law. I am also emailing to ask you to advocate for the bill’s passage through [the Assembly Judiciary Committee OR Senate Housing Committee].

If you have already co-sponsored, would you consider:

  • Voting favorably for the bill?
  • Advocating for the bill's passage through [the Assembly Judiciary Committee OR the Senate Housing Committee?]
  • Asking two of your colleagues to also sponsor statewide Right to Counsel?
  • Sending a statement to press and/or posting your support on social media?
  • Writing an op-ed in support?

The statewide Right to Counsel legislation, introduced by Senator Rachel May and Assembly Member Latoya Joyner, would ensure that every tenant in New York State has the right to a lawyer when facing an eviction and:

  • Covers every tenant across the state, regardless of income. 
  • Covers any legal proceeding that could result in a tenant losing their home. 
  • Requires that tenants be represented throughout their entire case, not just when they show up in court. This includes legal advice, advocacy, and assistance. 
  • Requires the State to contract with non-profit legal services organizations to provide Right to Counsel and with non-profit community based organizations to provide tenants’ rights education and tenant organizing.

With 1.2 million households behind on rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and more than 237,000 eviction cases pending across the state, New York tenants need Right to Counsel now more than ever. New York State’s eviction crisis will only get worse if we don’t enact permanent solutions that strengthen tenants’ rights and empower tenants to fight for their homes. We hope you will join us in fighting for our vital Right to Counsel.

Our 2-pager about the legislation is here and you can read more about the campaign on our website. Please let us know if you have any questions or need any additional information.

We look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Thanks so much!

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

NOTE: Many legislators have automatic emails set up that include contact information for key people in their office. Don’t delete that auto email! Save the contact information for their staff, so you can follow-up with them later.

RESOURCE GUIDE

Statewide Right to Counsel would guarantee ALL tenants across New York State the right to a lawyer when facing an eviction. For more materials and resources, go to www.righttocounselnyc.org/statewidertc