Ortiz Floats Proposal To Ban Plastic Bags
Assembly Member Felix Ortiz (D-Sunset Park/Red Hook) yesterday announced he is reintroducing legislation to ban the use of disposable plastic bags by all merchants in the State of New York.
Ortiz’s announcement comes just days after the State Assembly and Senate passed a measure killing the City’s plan to start charging consumers 5-cents for every plastic bag they needed at shops and grocery stores. That measure is now on Gov. Cuomo’s desk, and the progressive wing of the City Council are lobbying the Cuomo to veto it.
“It’s about time that New York go the “full measure” and join California and over 150 other communities across the United States to take this major step forward to protect the environment. Disposable plastic bags are a nuisance. They litter our streets and subways and are clearly harmful to nature. Let’s stop debating taxes over these bags and do the right thing: eliminate them completely,” said Ortiz.
“I’ve been fighting for a ban on disposable plastic bags since 1999 and 2000. New York followed my lead to ban the use of cell phones while driving. Let’s take another step forward by banning these bags.”
Clarke Introduces Bill To Expand TPS For Haitians
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-Crown Heights/Flatbush/Sheepshead Bay/Brownsville) yesterday released the following statement on the Haiti Emergency Relief Act of 2017, a bill she introduced which would dramatically expand the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program to include all Haitian nationals who were in the United States prior to November 4, 2016.
The bill would 18 months of TPS to every eligible individual.
“Temporary Protect Status for Haitian nationals living in the United States was established after the devastating earthquake in 2010 to allow Haiti to start the process of recovery and to provide invaluable support in the form of remittances to family members there. The program was created – and extended – based on need. Those needs have increased since Haiti suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Matthew last year, when hundreds of people were killed and thousands of families were displaced,” said Clarke.
“Unfortunately, despite the difficulties in Haiti, the Department of Homeland Security previously refused to grant TPS to Haitians who reached the United States after 2011, excluding thousands of people who would deservedly benefit. Therefore, Congress must act. If enacted, the Haiti Emergency Relief Act of 2017 would allow Haitian nationals to maintain their remittances, which amount to about twenty-five percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, and the people of Haiti to continue the process of recovery. I urge my colleagues in Congress to work together to aid the people of Haiti at this crucial time.”
Hamilton Visits Senior Centers For Valentine’s Day
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and his team today will deliver flowers and cards to 14 district wide senior centers around Central Brooklyn in an early celebration of Valentin’s Day.
The Monthly Community Engagement Day + Senior Center Valentine’s Sweetheart visit continues Hamilton’s longstanding practice of mobile offices at libraries, community centers, senior centers, and major thoroughfares in the district. Mobile offices regularly provide assistance, including help with SCRIE and DRIE applications, hearing out community concerns, and ensure that all neighborhoods in the community have access to direct services.
“We are active throughout the year in reaching out across the community to hear concerns and deliver services. Our mobile offices have been at libraries, at community centers, on Utica Avenue, on 4th Avenue, on Pitkin Avenue, at senior centers, in parks – wherever we can do constructive outreach. I am glad to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to our community’s seniors and wish everyone a heartfelt Valentine’s Day.” said Hamilton.
Reynoso Assails Trump’s Executive Orders On Policing
City Council Member Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg/Bushwick) assailed President Donald Trump’s three Executive Orders issued yesterday concerning policing.
The executive orders include establishing a Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety to develop “strategies to reduce crime, including, in particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime,” tightening up law enforcement agencies to combat transnational drug cartels, and directing the Justice Department to use existing federal law to prosecute those who commit crimes against law enforcement officers.
The orders came on the same day that the U.S. confirmed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General – a move that a good number of civil rights activists both on Capital Hill and around the country strongly opposed.
“While we do not know yet how any of these orders will be carried out, if the makeup of the mandated violent crime task force looks anything like Trump’s cabinet, we can rest assured it will be predominately white and underqualified, and that it will recommend policy that will set us far back from the positive work that President Obama accomplished with his Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The other directives will surely have an outsized impact on immigrants and people of color as well,” said Reynoso.
“New York City has already cemented its role as a leader in resisting the Trump agenda. We have pledged to remain a sanctuary city, and to protect all our citizens from Trump’s irrational and hateful policies. While we have also made real progress in the last few years on improving community-police relations – stop-and-frisks are down more than 90%, and the city is safer than ever – we now can and should do more to ensure that our citizens’ rights are protected.
“One step we can take immediately is to pass the Right to Know Act, which will further improve the relationship between police and communities by ensuring that New Yorkers who are stopped by police without legal justification understand who is stopping them and why, and clearly understand their right to deny a search.
“Now more than ever, New York City must continue to set an example for the country. Let’s work together to implement our own smart, inclusive policies now and pledge to continue to protect our citizens from what may come from these racist and dangerous directives.”
Wright Swearing In Ceremony Set
Newly elected Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant/Northern Crown Heights) will have her district swearing-in ceremony tomorrow.
Wright, the former Community Board 3 and University of Chicago Law School graduate, succeeds longtime lawmaker Annette Robinson, who remains the local female Democratic District Leader and vice chair of the Kings County Democratic Party.