Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Sept. 29, 2016

News Site Brooklyn

Deutsch Bill Would Have Accident Reports Sent Via Email

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch
City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach) yesterday introduced a bill that will offer motorists the option to receive a copy of an accident report via email.

Deutsch noted that currently when motorists are involved in an accident, it can often be a stressful and time-consuming experience to attempt to obtain an accident report from the local precinct. It can involve multiple phone calls, a long waiting period, and generally having to go down to the precinct to pick up the report in person.

“For NYPD officers, preparing the report and then coordinating with the involved parties for pickup can also occupy an unnecessarily lengthy amount of time that would otherwise be spent fighting crime and dealing with more important matters,” Deutsch wrote on Facebook. “My bill will expedite that process for both the police officer and the drivers involved in the accident. With one click of a button, the report can be sent out and received expeditiously.

Deutsch said the measure has widespread support among his colleagues in the City Council including that of Public Safety Committee Chair City Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

James’ Legislation to Protect Pedestrians Enacted into Law

Public Advocate Letitia James
Public Advocate Letitia James

City Public Advocate Letitia James’ legislation to protect pedestrians crossing at intersections was enacted into law yesterday.

The new law will change an outdated traffic law that stated a pedestrian only had the right of way during the steady “walk” phase of the signal, but not once a flashing red hand or countdown display appeared on a crosswalk signal.

“Every day, millions of New Yorkers cross the street,” said James. “But until today, a legal loophole meant that when the countdown clock was running, pedestrians didn’t have the right of way. An outdated law gave the right of way to drivers, even when the countdown clock ran or a flashing hand appeared, falsely signaling to pedestrians that it is safe to cross. Thanks to this new law, pedestrians can confidently cross the street and know that they have the right of way when the countdown clock is running.  By passing this law, we are taking a common-sense step toward protecting pedestrians and making New York’s streets safer.”

The new law will reflect how all New Yorkers operate and will provide the right of way to pedestrians crossing the street when a numerical countdown has already begun. It will allow law enforcement officers, investigators, and prosecutors to hold reckless drivers accountable if they fail to exercise due care. Previously, if a pedestrian entered the crosswalk after the hand began to flash or the countdown began, the driver had no legal liability should a crash have occurred.

This new law will provide pedestrians with the right of way until the countdown clock expires, signaling to both walkers and drivers that it is no longer safe to cross. 

Schumer, Donovan On Congress Override Of Obama JASTA Veto

Congressman Dan Donovan
Congressman Dan Donovan

U. S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Congressman Dan Donovan (Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) yesterday both hailed the Congressional override of President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which would have allowed Saudi Arabia to be sued for any alleged role in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Obama rejected the measure because of concerns that U.S. officials would face retaliation in the courts by foreign governments, and that civil courts in such litigation would have trouble wading into terrorism issues, resulting in incomplete information and risk having different courts reaching different conclusions.

But Congress yesterday voted to override the veto.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

“This rare moment of bipartisanship is a testament to the strength of the 9/11 families, and the validity of their pursuit of justice. Overriding a presidential veto is something we don’t take lightly, but it was important in this case that the families of the victims of 9/11 be allowed to pursue justice, even if that pursuit causes some diplomatic discomforts. I hope the House will quickly follow suit so that the families can have the day in court they deserve,” said Schumer.

“Today, Congress refused to let foreign threats dictate American policy. We put 9/11 families first. That a foreign government could hide behind sovereign immunity after slaughtering Americans in our homeland was an outrage, and Congress properly rectified it. Every American victim of terror deserves the chance to seek well-deserved justice against individuals and governments,” said Donovan.

Cumbo Department Of Corrections Reform Passes City Council

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo
City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

The City Council yesterday passed Council Member Laurie Cumbo‘s (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill) proposed bill that would require the Department of Corrections to utilize trauma-informed care, a method of treating victims of trauma that has been developed in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

This method has been successfully used in a variety of contexts, including in correctional facilities, and involves recognizing the symptoms of trauma and using trauma-specific interventions that may deescalate volatile situations and help stabilize inmates. The bill would also require an annual report on the use of trauma-informed care.

“Many incarcerated women and men have experienced some aspect of trauma, often ongoing, during their lives,” said Cumbo. “The majority of women in our criminal justice system have experienced various degrees of sexual violence, rape, assault, and childhood sexual abuse, or they may have witnessed violence done to others. Research suggests that correctional systems working with women offenders should be designed specifically to meet women’s needs.

“For people to become productive members of society once they are released, it is vital that they are provided effective mental health resources while they are incarcerated. Trauma-informed care helps staff recognize symptoms of trauma and adjust therapy accordingly. Studies have shown that this method resulted in a 62% reduction in staff assaults and a 54% reduction in inmate assaults. There is evidence that trauma-informed care leads to less suicide attempts, disciplinary actions and prison violence.”

Clarke Decries Resumed Deportation Of Undocumented Haitians

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (Crown Heights, Flatbush, Sheepshead Bay) released the following statement on the resumed deportation of undocumented Haitian immigrants from the United States.

“I am deeply concerned by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent decision to resume the deportation of undocumented Haitian immigrants. As we are all too aware, over the past decade, Haiti has unfortunately been severely impacted by natural disasters and political instability which contributed to its status as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and caused extreme hardship in the lives of her people,” said Clarke.

“Although Haitian infrastructure has improved somewhat since the deadly 2010 earthquake, the country has been contending with a cholera outbreak that has afflicted more than 750,000 people and killed more than 9,000 of women, men, and children. Given this public health crisis and the current economic and political instability in Haiti, we have a responsibility to our Caribbean sisters and brothers to act with compassion, which includes providing for Haitians already present in the United States. I am particularly concerned about the timing of this DHS action, which occurs just a few weeks ahead of Haiti’s upcoming elections. I continue to monitor this situation closely and work with my fellow Members of Congress to address this critical humanitarian issue.”

Cornegy Reminds Brooklynites Of City’s Forgiving Fines Amnesty Program

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr
City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights), yesterday, sought to remind Brooklynites that the city’s Department of Finance’s (DOF) “Forgiving Fines: The New York City Amnesty Program,” which started earlier this month will continue to run until December 12.

“Forgiving Fines: New York City Amnesty Program,” is a DOF program that forgives penalties and interest on violations received by individuals and business owners from the Department of Sanitation, Department of Buildings and other City agencies.

The program covers violations left unpaid that are now in judgment. To have a violation in judgment means the City of New York has filed a public record of liability due on a violation for the entire amount.

To find out more information and receive answers to the most frequently asked questions on the program please click the link:

Williams Honors LGBTQ Advocate & Artists

City Councilman Jumaane Williams
City Councilman Jumaane Williams

City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) yesterday honored the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, Immigration Equality, and five LGBTQ artists for their hard work and advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community in Brooklyn. The five artists include:

  • Rebecca Centeno, LGBTQ New Americans – Oral History Project
  • Wilfredo Hernandez, LGBTQ New Americans – Oral History Project
  • Jackie Yodashkin, LGBTQ New Americans – Oral History Project
  • Sue-Elise Peebles, Artist & Activist
  • Gabrielle Royal, Photographer & Fashion Blogger

“I’ve dedicated my life to working for social justice and equity,” said Williams, “because of this it’s my honor to recognize others who too have dedicated their lives to promoting equality, and helping others share their stories in doing the same.”

Since 2008, Brooklyn Community Pride has provided a premier network of programs and services for the LGBTQ community in Brooklyn. The center has enabled the LGBTQ community to actively participate in positive, life-affirming activities.

The LGBTQ New Americans project began February 2016 and continued through June. The Brooklyn Center in collaboration with Immigration Equality developed this oral history project to document and share the unique stories of LGBTQ immigrants and refugees in Brooklyn. The goal of the project is to share stories that humanize people, and help others understand the unique experiences of LGBTQ immigrants and refugees, who add to the American cultural landscape, and to Brooklyn in particular.