Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 10, 2016

News Site Brooklyn

Persaud Pushes For Stronger Paid Family Leave Program

Sen. Roxanne Persaud speaks about Paid Family Leave legislation.
Sen. Roxanne Persaud speaks about Paid Family Leave legislation.

Senator Roxanne J Persaud (Canarsie, Mill Basin, East New York) yesterday joined members of the Senate Democratic Conference to push for a stronger paid family leave program and unveiled initiatives to help families during the critical early childhood period.

“Maternal Depression does not only affect the mother; it does not only affect the child; it affects the entire family.” Persaud said.  “These initiatives will ensure a greater quality of life for New York’s working families and young children while also generating long-term savings for our state.”

The Senate Democratic Conference proposals include a stronger paid family leave program, increased access to childcare, assistance for New York’s working parents and caregivers and support for the growth and development of all New York children. Additionally, the Senate Democrats are calling for increase treatment resources for women facing maternal depression.

“The child bearing process can be a very stressful time for women. The stigma associated with the term depression often discourages mothers and pregnant women from talking about their feelings and symptoms of depression. It is time to require physicians and other healthcare professionals to screen for pregnancy related mental illnesses to help new mothers better care for themselves and their families. This is a common sense way to ensure families receive the mental health services they may require and help remove any lingering stigmas for these new mothers,” said Persaud.

Adams, Treyger Address Options For Sandy-Impacted Homeowners

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Coney Island City Council Member Mark Treyger, chair of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, along with Build it Back Director Amy Peterson will make an announcement today regarding housing options for Sandy-impacted homeowners participating in the City’s recovery program.

The announcement includes encouraging property owners to consider short-term leases for victims of Superstorm Sandy who need a place to stay while their homes are undergoing construction. Visuals will include a video of a home elevation and photos of ongoing work in Brooklyn.

The announcement is slated for 1 p.m., today at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Velazquez On Obama’s FY17 Budget

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Northern and Central Brooklyn Congress Member Nydia M. Velázquez yesterday hailed President Obama’s $4 trillion federal Fiscal Year 2017 budget as making vital investments in the nation’s future, and would strengthen the City and create greater opportunity for New York’s working families for decades to come.

“I was particularly pleased to see this Budget places so much focus on creating educational opportunity.  It includes $9.6 billion for Head Start, $434 million more than what was previously enacted for 2016, increasing the length of Head Start programs.  This initiative has been vital to New York City children and I’m happy to see it prioritized.  The Budget also increases funding for Preschool Development Grants, laying the groundwork for universal preschool throughout the nation,” said Velazquez.

“Likewise, the President’s Budget would strengthen our economy for the long term while generating greater opportunity for working families and American businesses.  By investing in America’s small manufacturers and directing additional resources to workforce training programs, the Budget would help strengthen our industrial base.  In Brooklyn and throughout New York City, we are seeing a manufacturing resurgence and the President is wisely calling on us to further bolster that sector.”

Velazquez also praised the budget for including over $38 billion in rental housing assistance to support 4.5 million low-income families through the Housing Choice Voucher, Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Public Housing Programs. With homelessness on the rise in the City, the budget also invests $11 billion in mandatory spending and $2.8 billion in discretionary spending for targeted homeless assistance, she noted.

Velazquez also was heartened to see the budget urge Congress to approve a debt restructuring mechanism for Puerto Rico. The fact is that without a meaningful debt restructuring the situation in Puerto Rico will only continue deteriorating.  Now, it is incumbent on Speaker Ryan and Congressional Republicans to join their Democratic colleagues in moving such a proposal forward, she said.

Malliotakis Legislative Agenda To Make College More Affordable

Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis
Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

Bay Ridge/Staten Island Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis and her Republican Assembly Minority colleagues yesterday unveiled a legislative agenda designed to make a college education more affordable for students and families in New York State.

In 2015, the Project on Student Debt reported that from 2004 to 2014, the average student debt at graduation rose 56 percent, from $18,550 to $28,950. To address the student debt crisis, Malliotakis and the Assembly Minority Conference have put forth legislation that would increase the number of students eligible to receive critically-needed tuition assistance.

“Too many New Yorkers are graduating with unsurmountable debt and we need to make higher education more accessible and affordable to our citizens,” said Malliotakis. “New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) has not seen its income eligibility threshold increase in 16 years and graduate students were stripped of eligibility altogether in 2010. We must make these issues, not the Dream Act, our priority.”

Legislation co-sponsored by Malliotakis and supported by the Assembly Minority Conference would take steps toward reducing sky-high college debt by:

  •          Launching a “Learning for Work” program in New York high schools, designed to accelerate career readiness by offering apprenticeships and enhanced professional degrees. The legislation creates a $1,500 per apprentice tax credit for businesses which accept apprentices (A.8695).
  •       Increasing transparency by requiring colleges and universities to disclose certain financial statistics to students (A.8681).
  •       Creating a Student Loan Payment Tax Deduction of up to $4,000 for single filers; $6,000 for head of household filers; and $8,000 for married filers (A.8675).
  •       Endowing the Community College Merit and Mobility Scholarship Program, which offers the state’s top high school graduates $1,000/year scholarships to attend a New York State community college (A.8691).
  •       Petitioning the federal government to support legislation which would increase the options available for refinancing federal student loan debt (K.00903).

In addition, legislation proposed by Malliotakis and co-sponsored by Lupinacci would:

  •       Increase the household threshold income cap on tuition assistance for the first time since 2000, from $80,000 to $100,000 (A.3049).
  •       Restore graduate programs as programs eligible for approval under the state TAP for the first time since it was eliminated in 2010 (A.3051).

Cumbo Bills Get Signed Into Law

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo
City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

Fort Greene/Clinton Hill City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, yesterday hailed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signing of several bills, in which she was either the prime sponsor or was heavily involved in seeing their passage.

The first set of bills would standardize sex education in public schools, and the second would extend the MetroTech Area Business Improvement District and expand its budget to better serve area businesses, academic and cultural institutions.

“We must engage our youth in real conversations that will address gender identity, cultivating healthy relationships, and their options. As Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, I would like to thank the de Blasio Administration, NARAL Pro-Choice New York, Planned Parenthood NYC and the New York Civil Liberties Union for their tireless advocacy for equitable reproductive rights. Under the progressive leadership of Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito, the bills introduced by Council Members Corey Johnson, Vanessa Gibson and I will have a resounding impact on how we educate the next generation of young adults about sexual health,” said Cumbo.

As the representative of Brooklyn’s Cultural District, Cumbo engaged the community in discussions to assess how the local business improvement district could assist in their continued growth and development. Through the expansion of the MetroTech BID, several cultural institutions including BAM; Theatre for a New Audience; the Mark Morris Dance Group; and BRIC will receive additional support to expand their reach and attract thousands more visitors to frequent the neighborhood of Fort Greene for a unique arts experience.

Donovan Meets With FJCC

Congressman Dan Donovan
Congressman Dan Donovan

In keeping with his campaign pledge, Southern Brooklyn Congressman Dan Donovan recently returned to meet with the Flatbush Jewish Community Council and representatives of Brooklyn’s orthodox Jewish community to update leaders on his first nine months in office.

The Sunday morning meeting was hosted by FJCC, Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, executive board member Alan Esses, a longtime Flatbush Hatzoloh and Sephardic Bikur Cholim leader.

Issues discussed included federal employment discrimination cases for Americans with relatives in Israel accused of dual loyalty, and the BDS movement on college campuses and federal sanctioning of labeling goods from Judea and Samaria.

Donovan, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee pledged to work hand in hand with the Jewish community to combat rising anti Semitism and threats to the Jewish community.

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