Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move March 2, 2017

News Site Brooklyn

Deutsch’s Online Publishing Collision Reports Passes Council

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

City Council Member Chain Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach) yesterday saw the City Council approve his bill (Intro 1280-B) requiring the NYPD to make automobile collision reports available online to certain interested parties.

It is currently difficult for victims of automobile collisions to obtain necessary paperwork. The requesting party must appear at a particular police facility to obtain a copy of the report.  This process is burdensome and inconvenient, especially for people injured in an accident.

Under the bill, collision reports would be made available to persons named on the report that have provided their driver’s license number, date of birth, license plate number, and license plate state of issuance to the NYPD for preparation of the report. Reports would be accessible through a single web portal located on the NYPD website.

“Today’s passage of Introduction 1280-B is a victory for all New Yorkers, who will now be guaranteed online access to collision reports,” said Deutsch. “Prior to the launch of the NYPD’s Collision Report Retrieval Portal, drivers involved in car accidents were required to appear in person at their local precinct to obtain a copy of the report. This often made an already stressful situation even more aggravating. Now, motorists can conveniently print that report from the comfort of their home or office, without interrupting their busy daily schedule.”

Parker Proposes Legislation To Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

Sen. Kevin Parker

State Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Park Slope) yesterday announced he has proposed a legislative package of four bills that will have a significant positive impact on the lives of those affected by the scourge that is domestic violence.

The package includes:

  • Senate Bill S2856 – Ensures that domestic violence victims are afforded an unpaid leave of absence of up to 20 days to further protect their job position and benefits.
  • Senate Bill S3075 – Creates a commission that will study and make recommendations on the negative implications of dating violence among women.
  • Senate Bill S3116 – Authorizes a victim of domestic violence to apply to remove the violent felony offender from the deed of a co-owned real estate property.
  • Senate Bill S3432 – Also called the Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act, this proposed law will improve public safety and prevent domestic violence incidents from escalating by keeping guns out of the hands of known perpetrators.

“The unfortunate truth is that New York State needs to do more to ensure protection for victims of domestic violence,” says Parker. “We need to pass the kind of legislation that gives greater support to domestic violence victims so they are able to maintain their jobs and stay in their homes. But at the same time, we need to work with survivors as well as current victims in identifying patterns with an aim at prevention and ultimately decreasing domestic violence cases in the long term,” added the Senator.

Jaime Williams Helps Fix STAR Program

Assembly Member Jaime Williams

AssemblymemberJaime Williams(D-Canarsie, Mill Basin, Gerritsen Beach) announced yesterday she helped pass legislation fixing the state’s School Tax Relief (STAR) program to ensure all eligible homeowners get the tax relief they’re owed in a fair and timely manner (A.5969).

“Last year’s STAR changes overcomplicated the program and overburdened the very families and seniors it was created to help,” said Williams. “That’s why I fought for this legislation to pass quickly – because homeowners deserve robust tax relief that makes their lives easier.”

Changes were made to STAR last year that included switching administration of the program over to the state Department of Taxation and Finance instead of local assessors and altering how certain homeowners receive their tax relief. Before last year, all eligible homeowners saw a yearly reduction in their school tax bill.

Currently all new homeowners – those who bought their first home and those who moved to a different home – have to pay a higher school tax bill then register for a rebate check from the state, which they are supposed to receive each fall. Although the amount of the benefit is the same, the new system is incredibly inconvenient for the affected homeowners, noted Williams.  

To make matters worse, countless homeowners reported receiving their checks much later than they were supposed to or even receiving ones for an amount that fell far short from what it should have been, leaving hardworking families in a bind and making it difficult for them to pay their school tax bill on time, the lawmaker said.

The Assembly legislation reverses these changes and transitions the program back to the way it was, providing all homeowners with their deserved tax relief upfront as a reduction in their school tax bill. Administration of the program is also returned to the hands of local assessors, and further, the bill requires the state to help localities in notifying residents of these changes so that all qualified homeowners receive the exemption.

“The STAR changes aren’t working. They are causing headaches for homeowners, and far too many New Yorkers are being given the runaround by the state instead of receiving the tax relief that’s rightfully theirs,” said Williams. “We listened to residents’ concerns and took action.”

Menchaca Joins Recycling Facilty Workers For Ash Wednesday

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) yesterday joined workers from SIMS, a Sunset Park municipal recycling facility, who are trying to organize into a union, as Ash Wednesday was observed.

Also meeting at Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility, 472 2nd Avenue were Teamsters Local 210 observed Ash Wednesday in support of a recent successful vote to organize. The show of solidarity comes the day after a City Council Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee hearing revealed SIMS Municipal Recycling operators refuse to negotiate.

The outdoor gathering was a demonstration of solidarity with workers fighting to organize and obtain workplace safety and fairness under union representation. The Sunset Park SIMS facility, which processes most of New York City’s residential metal, glass, plastic and paper recycling lacks the union representation that is present at similar facilities in the region.

SIMS employees have filed unfair management practices complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. They assert a union-busting campaign has included threats, prohibited incentives, and retaliation against union supporters.

SIMS Operates on City-owned property under a billion dollar contract and provides services essential to the City’s long-term environmental and resilience goals. Yet the more than 70 workers there have not been recognized by management and instead have been met with union busting tactics while forcing a vote in an unfair and fearful setting, said Menchaca.

Harris Condemns Threats Against Jewish Community Centers

Assembly Member Pamela Harris

Assemblymember Pamela Harris (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights) yesterday condemned the bomb threats pouring in against Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions across the country, most recently at a Jewish Community Center in Staten Island.

“Our Jewish neighbors are being threatened and each and every one of us should take that personally. Here in Brooklyn, we know our strength comes from our diversity. As a community, we must stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish friends to denounce anti-Semitism in every form. Together, we can show that Brooklynites protect and support each other,” said Harris.

“These crimes cannot be ignored. Jewish community centers serve the whole community, providing educational and social services in a welcoming environment. Threats against them not only do harm to our community, they are bigotry, pure and simple. Standing idly by is un-American. And while the perpetrators must be brought to justice, we must also work on legislative solutions to combat hate and foster tolerance. As your representative in Albany, I’ll continue to support measures such as the governor’s proposed hate crimes task force to keep our community safe and take a stand against hate. Brooklyn – and New York – is only strong when we stand together.”

Mosley Questions Trump Speech Before Congress

Assemblyman Walter Mosley

Assemblymember Walter T. Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) yesterday questioned President Donald Trump‘s budget announcements during his recent speech before both chambers of Congress.

“The President’s budget that was released promised huge increases in military spending with no cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Important as these programs are, promising to protect these programs at the expense of equally necessary domestic spending is irresponsible. The President plans to increase the military’s budget by $54 billion dollars by cutting $54 billion from other government agencies. While the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department will be hit particularly hard, every government agency will be under pressure to cut 10% of their spending. This means vital services like medical care for veterans, research into public health epidemics, and spending on education, would face cuts for which they are not prepared,” said Mosley.

“Dramatic cuts to the State Department make us less safe. It is very important that the United States continue to maintain strong diplomatic relations with countries around the world, and major cuts to the State Department will hurt this effort. And if the EPA does not have the money to research and work to prevent climate change, our world will become a less hospitable place for generations to come. While specifics on education cuts have not been released, there is reason to think that the President will gut our Education Department as well, which would put our children at risk. Goals and progress that were already threatened by the Trump administration are even more at risk now, and it is vital that Congress and our states stand up to the federal government and prevent these cuts.”

Jumaane Williams On Trump’s Immigration Ban & VOICE

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams

City Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) yesterday slammed President Donald Trump‘s renewed immigration ban and creation of the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE).

The renewed policy builds on a previous executive order that banned citizens from even Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and temporarily suspended the entry of all refugees. Under the modified policy, legal permanent residents and existing visa holders will be excluded from the ban.

“Trump’s continued assault on immigrants is deeply troubling, and continues to further divide this country. His new Muslim ban will translate into the unwarranted and unconstitutional profiling of people because of their ethnicity and race. This new xenophobic version of his executive order does nothing to comfort immigrant communities. It is just another signal to organize, and resist his divisive policies and rhetoric.

“In addition, to create an office such as VOICE takes that division a step further. By creating a government bureau as a propaganda machine to further a climate of fear, we can then allow horrible things to happen to human beings and families. This is from a playbook we’ve seen before, and it is terrifying to watch so many acquiesce. Suggesting that a crime committed by an undocumented immigrant deserves its own bureau or division is an affront to all victims in this country. It unfairly compares loss and pain, by placing victims in different categories based more on who the assailant was, than helping to deal with the pain and developing real solutions to actual crises.

Cumbo On Women’s History Month

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

City Councilmember Laurie A. Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect heights, Crown Heights), Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus, yesterday noted March is Women’s History Month.

“In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. By the early months of 2017, the women of New York continue to make so many historic strides,” said Cumbo.

“In January, I, along with 400,000 other women, pounded New York’s pavement for the historic Women’s March to stand up for equality for all groups, especially women, LGBTQ, people of color, immigrants, and those with disabilities. In solidarity, we reminded every person, in every country, every state, every town, and every village that women will never be silenced. We raised our voices to tell the highest branch of government: we can think for ourselves, define our own reproductive rights, will push back against hateful rhetoric, and will continue to make our voices heard.

“We live in a time where women at times feel unprotected and powerless. Women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population, but only 19 percent of the legislative body in Washington elected as the voice of the people. It is time to cheer on girls and women of all backgrounds who deserve the opportunity to make a difference.

“This month, let us use each day to educate our sons and daughters of the women who said ‘who is going to stop me?’ Pioneers like Mae Jemison, Aretha Franklin, Margaret Thatcher, Shirley Chisholm, Madeleine Albright, Junko Tabei, Edith Wharton, or Hattie McDaniel; all women who helped change our world for the better. They have fought for equal rights, demanded equal treatment, and broke new ground in politics, music, movies, sports, literature, and science.  Join me in celebrating women for their strength, courage, confidence, and ability to tackle any challenge so that our children know no limitations.”

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