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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

Monday, September 26, 2016
Forums and Events

Upcoming Events

Constitutional Convention 2017: The Judiciary and Justice
New York County Lawyers' Association, 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY
Thursday, September 22, 2016
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Enhancing Governance Through Research: The Role of Research and Analysis in Storm Recovery and Resiliency Planning
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Reeves Great Hall Conference Center, Corner of 7th Avenue and 28th Street, New York, NY
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
9:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Public policy events at Rockefeller College and the University at Albany

Recent Forums and Events

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New York State Affordable Care Act Presentation

Monday, June 6, 2016
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New York State, including New York’s Basic Health Plan, was be the subject of a presentation of a recently completed report on the New York experience from researcher Sarah F. Liebschutz, a distinguished service professor emerita of the State University of New York (SUNY) and former chair of the political science department at SUNY Brockport.

Video: Alice Rivlin & Richard P. Nathan

Video: Keynote Address

In addition to the presentation by Professor Liebschutz, there were three panel discussions:

Discussion of NYS Experience:
  • Thomas Gais, moderator, director, Rockefeller Institute of Government
  • Donna Frescatore, executive director, NY State of Health, Department of Health
  • Judith Arnold, director of Medicaid Eligibility and Marketplace Integration, Department of Health
  • Alice Rivlin, senior fellow, Center for Health Policy, Brookings Institute, and project co-director, ACA Implementation Research Network, Rockefeller Institute of Government
  • Richard Nathan, senior fellow and project co-director, ACA Implementation Research Network, Rockefeller Institute of Government
            Video: Panel 1

New York’s Basic Health Program:
  • Richard P. Nathan, moderator
  • Danielle Holahan, deputy executive director, NY State of Health, Department of Health
  • Jennifer Tolbert, director of State Health Reform, Kaiser Family Foundation
            Video: Panel 2

Exchange Enrollment Hurdles: Rural and Urban Navigational Assistance at Local Levels:
  • Elisabeth Ryden Benjamin, moderator, vice president for Health Initiatives, Community Social Service Society New York
  • Lona Cook, navigator, S2AY Rural Health Network
  • Rehan Mehmood, director of Health Services, South Asian Council for Social Services
            Video: Panel 3

Agenda & Biographies of Presenters

Complete Video

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Practical Experience with Election Modernization: A Discussion with Colorado Election Administrators Donetta Davidson and Matt Crane

Co-Sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the New York Voters Coalition
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

New York State county and state election officials recently had the opportunity to hear from Colorado State election officials on policy changes they have implemented that have resulted in a dramatic increase in electoral participation.

Panelists included:

  • Donetta Davidson, former Colorado secretary of state and former chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
  • Matt Crane, clerk and recorder of Arapahoe County, Colorado
  • Dustin Czarny, Onondaga County Democratic County Elections commissioner
  • Peter Kosinski, Esq., commissioner, New York State Board of Elections
  • Todd Valentine, co-executive director, New York State Board of Elections and president, National Association of State Election Directors
Moderated by John R. Dunne, Esq., former New York State senator and co-chair of the New York State Bar Association Special Committee on Voter Participation

Matt Crane’s PowerPoint Presentation

Video and Audio

The Impact of Blight on Communities: Definitions, Effects, and Programs

Co-Sponsored by TW&A Construction Management, the University at Albany's Division of Research, and Cisco
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
10:00 a.m. – Noon

Cities throughout the United States are facing the increasingly persistent and costly problem of blighted and vacant properties. These properties consume seemingly endless resources, depress market values, and directly affect public safety and economic development. To combat the cycle from distressed to blighted or vacant, urban leaders across the nation are working in new ways to create 21st century remedies.

To promote understanding of the problem of urban blight and increase awareness of some remedies that are already working, and some that are emerging, the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany, the Center for Urban Studies at the University at Buffalo, and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, all part of the State University of New York, co-hosted this forum. The issue of urban blight was discussed and defined within the context of New York State and the issues of economic and social impact on cities and municipalities were considered. The keynote speaker and expert panelists discussed the financial cost to cities and municipalities, as well as deterioration, decay, and neglect of the physical environment, with a particular focus on exploring the challenges involved in solving these problems. This program was part one of a two-program series designed to consider the issue of urban blight and property abandonment. The second program will be scheduled at the University at Buffalo at a date to be determined.

Keynoting the program was Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress, a national center that exists to help meet the growing need in America's cities and towns for effective, sustainable solutions to turn vacant, abandoned, and problem properties into vibrant places. Mr. Mallach is nationally known for his work on housing, economic development, and urban revitalization, and has worked with local governments and community organizations across the country to develop creative policies and strategies to rebuild their cities and neighborhoods.

Additional panelists included:

  • George Galster, Ph.D., distinguished professor, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • Gary McCarthy, mayor, City of Schenectady
  • Henry Louis Taylor, Ph.D., professor and founding director, Center for Urban Studies, University at Buffalo
  • Susan VanDeventer, analyst, NYS Office of the State Comptroller
  • Nora Yates, director, Community, Opportunity, Reinvestment (CORe) Initiative, New York State Governor's Office
Panel moderator: Theresa A. Pardo, Ph.D., director, Center for Technology in Government.

Alan Mallach’s PowerPoint Presentation

Video and Audio

New York State and the Importance of Immigration

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Our state has long stood for the promise of opportunity. Many of us are here only because our parents and their ancestors were inspired by this promise. They came here alone and unable to speak the language, but with the belief that through hard work, they too would share in the American Dream. This nation and our government welcomed these newcomers. And, in return, they helped us become the richest, most powerful nation in the world. This is not new to New York State. We are a land of immigrants and a State of Opportunity. Today, more than one in four people of working age in New York State's workforce are immigrants and about 31.2 percent of all New York State businesses are immigrant-owned. The rest of the nation is recognizing this success. Places like Dayton, Cleveland, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Lansing are trying to restart economic growth by luring enterprising immigrants to their cities.

This forum addressed the importance of immigration within New York State and discussed the state's efforts to assist New Americans.

Keynoting the presentation was Jorge Montalvo, deputy secretary for economic opportunity for New York State. In this role, Montalvo is responsible for many of the state's antipoverty programs, the State Division of Consumer Protection, and the Cemeteries Division. Montalvo created and oversees the New York State Office for New Americans and also developed the state's Opportunity Agenda to ensure those living in poverty were included in the state's economic revitalization. Deputy Secretary Montalvo discussed the role the state has, and can continue to play, in immigration integration.

Panelists participating to discuss efforts to integrate immigrants into the life of the Capital Region included:

  • Sarah Rogerson, director of the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School
  • Fabrizia Rodriguez, director of community mobilization for Centro Civico of Amsterdam
  • Anne Erickson, executive director of the Empire Justice Center
  • Diane Conroy-LaCivita, executive director for the International Center of the Capital Region
  • Lisa Frisch, executive director of the Legal Project: Capital District Women's Bar Association
  • Nicole Comstock, staff attorney for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Albany
The event was moderated by Times Union editor, Rex Smith.

This program is part of Albany Pro Musica's City of Immigrants, sponsored by Bank of America. This special concert and event series explored the cultural heritage of our Capital Region.

Video and Audio:

Can a NYS Constitutional Convention Strengthen Government Ethics?

Co-Sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY, the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, the League of Women Voters of NYS, and the Siena Research Institute. Additional Sponsor: The NYS Bar Association.
Friday, March 25, 2016
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

With so much talk about the erosion of integrity in government, can the problems with elected officials that so frequently dominate our headlines be fixed statutorily or are they more appropriately addressed through constitutional change? As November 2017 and a statewide referendum on whether or not to call a constitutional convention nears, this and other questions will be increasingly on the minds of the voters. This forum addressed these important issues.

Introductory remarks were made by former NYS Comptroller H. Carl McCall. Mr. McCall served as a former three-term New York State senator, ambassador to the United Nations, commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and as commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights. He is currently the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY).

The keynote address was by Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain professor of legislation at Columbia Law School, former assistant counsel to Governor Hugh Carey and a member of, or consultant to, several NYC and NYS commissions dealing with state and local governance.

Panelists included:

  • Barbara Bartoletti, legislative director of the New York State League of Women Voters;
  • Richard Brodsky, senior fellow at Demos and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU, and a former 14-term member of the NYS Assembly;
  • John Dunne, attorney with Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, former NYS senator, and former U.S. assistant attorney general;
  • Blair Horner, executive director of the NY Public Interest Research Group;
  • Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program;
  • Richard Rifkin, special counsel to the New York State Bar Association, former counsel to Governors David Paterson and Eliot Spitzer, and former executive director of the New York State Ethics Commission; and
  • Karl Sleight, attorney with Harris Beach PLLC, and former executive director of the New York State Ethics Commission.
The event was moderated by Henry M. Greenberg, attorney with Greenberg Traurig LLP, former assistant U.S. attorney, former counsel to the attorney general, and chair of the NYS Bar Association's Constitution Committee.

Video and Audio:

Introduction and Keynote Address
Panel 1 – Should Ethics Reform Be in the NYS Constitution
Panel 2 – The Issues
Panel 3 – Summary Discussion

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Facing the Global Immigration and Refugee Crisis

Thursday, March 17, 2016
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

In recent years, devastating natural disasters and the lack of durable political solutions in several conflict areas have created protracted crises and unprecedented displacement levels. Nearly 60 million people, half of them children, have had to flee their homes due to conflict and violence. In this forum, U.N. officials, those responsible for responding to the refugee crisis here in the United States, and those living through it will discuss the human costs of this historic human crisis.

Keynoting the presentation was Maher Nasser, director of the Outreach Division for the United Nations' Department of Public Information (DPI). Mr. Nasser has more than 28 years of work experience in the United Nations during which he has worked in various capacities in Gaza, Jerusalem, Amman, Cairo, Vienna, and New York. Mr. Nasser became director of DPI's Outreach Division in February 2011. Mr. Nasser first joined DPI in January 2006 as director of the UN Information Centre in Cairo.

Panelists participating included:

  • Jill Peckenpaugh, director, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Albany Field Office
  • Sana Mustafa, Bard College student and Syrian refugee
This program is part of Albany Pro Musica's City of Immigrants, sponsored by Bank of America. This special concert and event series explored the cultural heritage of our Capital Region.

Jill Peckenpaugh’s PowerPoint Presentation

Video and Audio: