Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move June 19, 2017

News Site Brooklyn

Schumer Calls On DEA To Zero In On NYS Heroin Epidemic

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Brooklyn) is demanding that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) commit to providing New York State with one of four special heroin enforcement groups being delivered to states suffering from heroin abuse.

Schumer secured$12.5 million in federal funding for the DEA in the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) omnibus for the creation of four new enforcement groups specifically dedicated to counteracting heroin trafficking and eradicating its availability. The funding will enable 42 agents for the new teams, including 32 special agents.

According to reports from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the state’s heroin overdose death rate increased by 30 percent in 2015. Between the years 2005-2014, the state documented a 115% increase in heroin treatment admissions in upstate New York and a 116% increase on Long Island. In all, approximately 1.4 million New Yorkers suffer from a substance abuse disorder. In 2016, on average four fatal drug overdoses occurred each day compared to an average of two in 2013.

“New York’s rampant heroin epidemic proves we are in desperate need of one of the four special heroin enforcement teams being launched throughout the country. With more than a thousand deaths related to heroin overdoses in 2016 alone, it’s time for the DEA to bring it’s A-team to New York so that we can finally zero in on this epidemic and stop the scourge in its tracks,” said Schumer.

CM Williams Decrys Patton Appointment

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams

City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood),Chair of the Committee of Housing and Buildings, is denouncing the appointment of Lynne Patton as head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

President Trump appointed Patton last Friday to head of HUD’s New York and New Jersey Offices. Patton has no prior experience in housing policy except as a senior adviser and director of public engagement at HUD since January of this year. Patton was recommended for the role by HUD Secretary, Ben Carson.

“As chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, it is extremely concerning that a person with zero experience in housing or government sectors is being charged with overseeing how billions of tax payer dollars are spent for federal

 housing programs, including the struggling New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).How these dollars are spent, or not spent, has an impact on millions of families across New York and New Jersey. People are relying more and more on government to help fill the gap between what they come home with and what they’re able to afford for housing expenses,” said Williams. 

Williams went on to state, “Housing to this Administration is clearly more of a play thing, than a serious resource that so many communities are being starved of.This appointment is just the latest example of why the job of local legislators and leaders is especially important now. We cannot trust that the people placed to lead critical offices, such as HUD, will be effective or competent in addressing the needs of the people. It’s time we step up.”

Espinal Fights to Protect NYC Nightlife

City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr.

City Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Cypress Hills, Bushwick, City Line, Oceanhill-Brownsville, East New York) will fight for NYC’s nightlife today ahead of a Consumer Affairs Hearing.

Alongside nightlife advocates, bar owners and workers, Espinal will address enforcement of the city’s Cabaret Law and the creation of the Nighlife Task Force & Office of Nightlife.

The Cabaret Law, passed in the 1920s, prohibits three or more people from dancing in a club or bar that does not have a proper license. The law was originally intended to target black jazz establishments, going so far as to limit permitted instruments to strings, keyboards, and electronic sound systems. The law is still enforced today and is considered a discriminatory and arbitrarily enforced law.

The event is slated for 10 a.m., today, June 19, on the Steps of City Hall with the Consumer Affairs  Hearing slated for 1 p.m. in the City Hall Chambers in Lower Manhattan. 

Carroll Applauds Passage Of “Boss Bill”; Women’s Reproductive Rights

Assembly Member Robert Carroll

Assembly Member Bobby Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) is applauding the passage of the “Boss Bill” in the Assembly last week.

The bill would bar employers from discriminating against an employee on the basis of the individual’s or their dependent’s reproductive health decision making (A.566-A, Jaffee).

The legislation would prohibit employers from accessing an employee’s personal information regarding reproductive health decision making or imposing any requirements that would obstruct an employee’s ability to exercise their right to make these decisions and access related health and medical services. Additionally, the bill would take steps to ensure that employees are notified of their right to freely exercise their reproductive health choices and provides for remedies and penalties for employers who violate these rights.

“The Boss Bill continues New York’s long history of protecting individuals from discrimination in the workplace by strengthening and expanding state law to ensure that an employer cannot retaliate against an employee because the employee or their dependent accessed care related to pregnancy, family planning or any reproductive health service,” said Carroll. 

Cymbrowitz Works To Protect Tenant Rights

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach) Chair of the Housing Committee, is applauding the passage of his bill (A.6285), that would protect people in rent-regulated apartments from the sudden loss of their preferential rent.

Prior to a change in law, a preferential rent was permanent for the duration of a tenancy and could only be increased upon vacancy. As a result of amendments to the rent laws in 2003, however, landlords are now permitted to abandon a discounted, preferential rent and impose the statutory rent upon vacancy or renewal of a lease.

The legislation would prohibit a landlord from switching to the legal regulated rent upon a lease renewal when the tenant’s lease began with a preferential rent, and would mandate that only upon a tenant’s vacancy could an owner increase the rent back to the legal regulated rent. Landlords would still be allowed to adjust the preferential rent based on all legally authorized increases at the time of lease renewal. In addition, the bill specifies that a vacancy cannot be caused by an owner’s (or agent of the owner’s) failure to maintain the apartment in a habitable condition.

“As housing costs increase across the City of New York, the displacement of working families and middle-class residents from rent-regulated apartments has resulted in a housing crisis. The displacement of rent-regulated tenants has been aggravated by a landlord’s ability to abandon a preferential rent upon the renewal of a lease,” said Cymbrowitz.

Cymbrowitz continued, “In order to stem the displacement crisis in New York City and preserve the affordable housing stock available to working families and moderate-income residents, the rent regulation laws are in need of reform. This proposed amendment of the preferential rent provisions is an important step in that direction.”

Persaud Praises Charter School Oversight Bill

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud

State Senator Roxanne Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown) is praising the recent introduction of bill S.6578, that would provide enhanced transparency and accountability of charter schools.

Senate Bill S.6578, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman (D-), will implement a series of common sense regulations and guidelines for charter schools in regards to enrollment targets, discipline policies, management and operation of the charter school, charter reserve funds, charter facilities rental aid payments, information disseminated to parents regarding probationary status, and residency dispute issues. Currently, charter schools run with nearly no oversight or transparency, despite the fact that they serve thousands students and operate in part with taxpayer money.

“Our students deserve a vigilant government to ensure they receive the education and support they deserve. This legislation will help level the playing field to provide more transparency, parity and accountability to schools currently receiving taxpayer funds, but with limited government oversight. I will continue to fight so that all students, regardless of where they attend classes, have access to a high-quality education,” said Persaud.