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As New York State Passes Progressive Legislation, SKDK Celebrates Record Session in Albany

ALBANY, NY – From women’s rights to immigration reform to protecting the environment, Albany passed many of SKDKnickerbocker’s clients’ key legislative priorities this session. Taking full advantage of the new Democratic control of both houses and a Governor known for his leadership on many progressive issues, SKDKnickerbocker provided strategic communication services to help position our clients for major wins.

Known for providing unparalleled strategic communications to generate pressure for passage of challenging legislation in Albany, SKDKnickerbocker provided our clients with smart earned and significant paid media advocacy to enhance political will and raise public awareness on some of Albany’s highest profile issues.

“We’re proud to have played a role in helping get these bills across the finish line and we’re grateful to our clients for giving us the chance to be on their teams,” said Morgan Hook, Managing Director and head of SKDK’s Albany office. “No firm has a better understanding of what motivates policymakers in Albany than SKDK, and being able to use that experience to get huge progressive victories in 2019 is a big part of why we do this work.”

Some of SKDKnickerbocker’s 2019 client and advocacy achievements include:

Child Victims Act

For more than a decade, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have urged New York to extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse claims to allow victims an opportunity to seek justice and hold accountable hidden predators, and the institutions that protected them. Working with a coalition of survivors, advocates, and legal experts, SKDK built a statewide campaign to pass the Child Victims Act, significantly increasing the timeline for survivors to file claims and seek justice. It also provided for a one-year window for previously time-barred claims to be filed. Despite being blocked for years by the Republican-controlled Senate, in 2019, the CVA was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law in February.

Nation-leading Climate Change Legislation

As the federal government systematically repeals protections and walks away from international programs to combat climate change, New York’s environmental community sought to make the state a national leader in mitigating significant environmental concerns. Working with The Nature Conservancy, the New York League of Conservation Voters and their environmental allies, SKDKnickerbocker helped amplify the campaign calling for the passage of legislation that would make New York a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increase our capacity for renewable energy-ultimately passed as the Climate Leadership and Protection Act.

New York DREAM Act & Green Light Bills

After years of seeing two key immigrant rights bills stymied by opponents in the State Senate, significant legislation protecting the rights of New York’s undocumented immigrant population, including the “Green Light” Bill and the New York State DREAM Act, were signed into law. Working with FWD.us, SKDK helped to amplify the voices of supporters across New York, giving 265,000 immigrants the opportunity to legally apply for a driver’s licenses and expanding access to college financial aid to approximately 146,000 Dreamers.

Congestion Pricing

Legislation included in the State budget will make New York City the first in the nation to pass a congestion pricing plan that will charge motorists a fee to enter Manhattan’s Central Business District. SKDK worked with Fix Our Transit – a broad coalition of labor, civic, environmental and business groups – to generate support on this contentious issue. The measure is expected to raise billions of dollars and fund critical repairs to the New York Metro Area’s broken transit system.

Criminal Justice Reform

Bipartisan efforts have been reforming criminal justice systems across the country, but prior to this session, New York’s archaic laws have lagged behind, continuing to disproportionally devastate the poor and communities of color. Building on national momentum, criminal justice advocates came together under New Yorkers United for Justice, and with SKDK’s guidance, helped convinced legislative and executive leaders to pass meaningful criminal justice reforms. The 2019-2020 state budget included bail, discovery and speedy trial reforms, and end of session marijuana decriminalization legislation included expungement for previous minor marijuana offenses.

Reproductive Health Act

After 12 years of the Republican Senate blocking women’s reproductive rights legislation, the Democratic-controlled legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act eliminating a pre-Roe criminal abortion law and codifying abortion into state law, ensuring women in New York can continue to make their own decisions about their health and bodies, regardless of what happens in Washington. SKDK was proud to work with the National Institute of Reproductive Health in their successful advocacy to modernize New York’s statutes and protect women’s rights.

Healthcare Funding Cuts

Facing a major budget deficit, New York proposed over $1 billion in cuts to healthcare funding in the 2019-2020 state budget. SKDK produced a comprehensive paid media effort for the 1199SEIU & Greater New York Hospital Association Healthcare Education Project that highlighted the impact of the cuts. The final budget rejected almost all of the cuts.

About SKDKnickerbocker:
SKDKnickerbocker (SKDK) is one of the top communications and political consulting firms in the country and brings unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in New York, Albany, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, SKDK offers strategic support on how to manage a crisis, protect a brand, advocate an issue or win an election. The influential Holmes Report named SKDK as the North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year in 2019, following wins in 2015, 2016, and 2018.

To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at http://www.skdknick.com/.

SKDK is a proud member of the Stagwell Group, a collaborative group of agencies who are out to “reinvent the holding company,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The Stagwell Group portfolio includes more than a dozen best-in-class, digital-first agencies who are focused on what modern CMOs need.

Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellgroup.com.

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Today, SKDKnickerbocker announced Doug Thornell, Oren Shur and Emily Campbell as principals and the new heads of the firm’s political consulting department (SKDKPolitical). Thornell, Shur and Campbell reflect the diversity of the Democratic party and will guide the expansion of the firm’s political advertising work to reach all new platforms where voters consume information.

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Campaigns & Elections journal has announced the winners of their Reed Awards last night and SKDK won in three categories. Named for Campaigns & Elections founder Stanley Foster Reed, The Reed Awards were created to recognize the best of the political industry. The first win was for Best Use of Drone Footage for Katie Hill’s spot “Climb”. The second was for Best Spanish Language TV ad for Josh Harder’s “Ripped Apart” spot. Finally, our production team won Best Mailer for a Congressional Independent Expenditure for the EDF Action’s campaign against Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.