Donovan Votes Against THUD Appropriation
Southern Brooklyn/Staten Island Congressman Dan Donovan, this week voted against the $55.3 billion fiscal year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill.
The legislation, which includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies narrowly passed the House 216-210.
“The THUD appropriations bill that came before the House yesterday contained a drastic $251 million cut to Amtrak, a cut that would severely impact travelers coming to and from New York City. Every year, more than 10 million people use Amtrak via Penn Station, with even more coming through Metropark and Newark. Not only is the Northeast Corridor essential to our city’s economic viability, the revenue generated subsidizes most of Amtrak’s operating budget for the entire nation,” said Donovan.
“I worked with my colleagues in the region on an amendment to the bill that would require revenue generated by the Northeast Corridor to stay there for capital projects. The passage of that amendment would have offset the cuts, allowed for critical infrastructure investments to the system and ensured mass transit options for the residents and employers of our city. Disappointingly, that amendment failed and as a result, I joined with my colleagues in the NEC in opposing this legislation,” he added.
Adams Applauds Passage Of Bill Empowering Pre-K Parents
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, yesterday, expressed delight in the New York State Senate has unanimously passing legislation that would allow parents with children in pre-K programs to run for a seat on a Community Education Council (CEC).
“This bill, introduced at my request by State Senator (Jesse) Hamilton and Assembly Member (Walter) Mosley, will engage and empower parents at an earlier opportunity in their sons’ and daughters’ educational experience, helping families and schools have a more meaningful interaction. We know that parental involvement matters in the holistic growth of a child, and that our education system is stronger when parents that speak for every type of student have their voices heard.
“I thank State Senator Hamilton, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, and the rest of my former colleagues in the New York State Senate for their exercise in leadership on S.4602. I urge the New York State Assembly to pass A.6904 before the end of this legislative session, and for Governor Cuomo to sign it into law,” said Adams.
Golden Intoduces Two Subway Crime-Related Bills
Bay Ridge State Senator Marty Golden, yesterday, announced that two bills he introduced relating to reducing and monitoring crime in the subway passed the senate.
The first measure, S. 3203, would make it a crime for a person to rub his or her sexual or intimate body parts on another person while aboard public transportation. The bill approved would classify such behavior as a Class A misdemeanor, and where forcible touching is coupledwith an emission of certain bodily fluids, the offense would be a Class E Felony.
The bill was sent to the Assembly. Assemblymember Simotas (D-Queens) is the sponsor of the bill in the Assembly.
The State Senate also voted to support S. 5194, a bill that would require the New York City Police Department to submit an annual report to the City Council detailing the total number of criminal complaints and arrests that occur on subway lines and bus routes.
The report would be categorized by type of crime for violent felony offenses, and include all routes operated by the New York City Transit Authority and the Staten
Island rapid transit operating authority.
Windsor Terrace/Kensington Assemblyman Jim Brennan is the sponsor of the bill on the assembly side.
De Blasio Announces City To Run Correctional Health Services
Mayor Bill de Blasio, yesterday, announced that the City will return the management of correctional health services to the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) and will not renew contracts with Corizon, Inc. and Damian Family Care Centers, Inc after their expiration.
The change occurs in the continuing effort of the de Blasio Administration to reform the city’s prison system, and in particular Rikers Island, which has been rife with reports of physical and mental abuse.
“We have an essential responsibility to provide every individual in our City’s care with high-quality health services – and our inmates are no different,” said De Blasio. “This transfer to HHC will give our administration direct control and oversight of our inmates’ health services – furthering our goal of improving the quality and continuity of healthcare for every inmate in City custody.”
Under the change, HHC will be solely accountable for the quality of care provided to the approximately 70,000 people moving through the correctional system each year and the coordination and continuity of services to people during and after incarceration.
The City anticipates a seamless continuation of services and an orderly transition of services and staff completed by December 2015 and August 2016 – the expiration dates of the current contracts with Corizon and Damian, respectively.
All current employees of Corizon and Damian –approximately 1,200 individuals – will be subject to comprehensive background checks, credential reviews, and evaluations of prior performance.
“We are conducting an in-depth review of the current operations, developing a plan that strengthens the integration of physical and behavioral health care provided to individuals while they are incarcerated, and ensuring continuity of services upon their return to the community,” said HHC President and CEO Dr. Ram Raju. “HHC has an important opportunity to improve New York City’s correctional health services, and we look forward to taking on this critical work on behalf of the City.”
“The Mayor and I have said from the beginning that we need to bring real, lasting reform to the city’s jails – and moving healthcare services to HHC represents another strong step in our top-to-bottom reform of our city’s correctional system. In the months to come, we will work closely with Dr. Raju and the HHC team to provide a smooth and successful transition for our inmates and correctional officers alike,” said Department Of Corrections Commissioner Joe Ponte.
Menchaca, Eugene and Deutsch Demand More Funds For Adult Literacy
Brooklyn City Council Members Carlos Menchaca, Mathieu Eugene and Chaim Deutsch, this week, joined the community based organization Make the Road New York to urge Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to restore funding for thousands of classroom seats in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Adult Basic Education (ABE) and High School Equivalency (HSE) preparation programs.
Organizers of the rally held on the steps of City Hall said their was a drastic reduction in these services in de Blasio’s executive budget. De Blasio’s allocation and its reduction from last year was not obtainable at post time.
“We are at an important moment in our City’s history: will we continue our long and proud tradition of lifting people, or turn our backs at a particularly difficult time for our most vulnerable populations?” said Menchaca, who chairs the council’s Immigration Committee. “I am calling on the de Blasio administration to stay true to their progressive platform and secure the resources for adult literacy programs that are going to continue to make our working class families stronger.”
“Reading and writing are necessary components of success. We must restore the funds for the adult literacy programs that thousands of adults use to further their education. Our city must ensure we have opportunities for everyone,” said Eugene, an immigrant from Haiti.
Deutsch, who did not attend the rally, issued a statement saying adult literacy programs are an essential tool for older immigrants seeking to assistance as they settle into a new life here in the United States.
“These classes don’t just teach adults the language, but also help them to learn more about integrating Deutsch. “I have multiple community-based adult literacy programs in my district that serve a large portion of older, disadvantaged immigrants. It is essential that the funding for these programs is continued and expanded for the benefit of our diverse City as a whole.”