Kavanagh, Simon Urge State To Include Gun Violence Prevention Laws Into Final Budget
State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan) and Assembly member Jo Ann Simon (D-Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, DUMBO) are urging State lawmakers to include their Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) bill into the final budget.
The ERPO legislation would authorize families and law enforcement to seek court issued orders restricting access to guns for individuals who are likely to harm themselves or others. Kavanagh and Simon are part of a larger coalition aiming to get the bill passed in the wake of the deadly Marjory Stoneman High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Last week, the Senate and Assembly each included measures intended to prevent gun violence in their respective budget resolutions and Governor Andrew Cuomo this weekend announced additional gun safety measures he is looking to include in the state budget. The budget is due to be enacted by March 31.
“The State budget is the most immediate opportunity to strengthen New York’s laws, and as part of budget negotiations, the Governor, the Senate, and the Assembly each have proposed legislation intended to reduce gun violence,” read a joint statement from the ERPO Coalition.
“However, we believe that any package of legislation without an extreme risk protection orders bill would leave New York’s gun laws incomplete, and would allow preventable tragedies to continue occurring. An ERPO law would help ensure that individuals who are likely to harm themselves or others aren’t able to access guns. It would empower family members and police to take action before a tragedy occurs. And it would uphold the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers while saving lives,” continued the joint statement.
Ortiz’s LGBT Runaway, Homeless Bill Passes Assembly
Assembly member Felix Ortiz (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park) applauded the passage of his LGBT runaway and homeless bill yesterday.
On Wednesday, the State Assembly passed the legislation on a 104-1 vote. The legislation directs the state Office of Children and Family Services to expand protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender runaway and homeless youth by requiring employees of approved programs to provide care to run away and homeless youth. Employees would also be required to complete training on the needs and issues of LGBT youth, with emphasis on the terminology to use when talking about gender and sexual identity issues.
A recent audit from the New York City Comptroller reported that an estimated 112,000 students are homeless or in temporary housing. LGBT youth are also more likely to be targeted by peers, anti-LGBT groups, and family members for their orientation and gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) conducted a survey of more than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth aged 13 to 17 (see link below). The survey indicated that four out of ten communities do not readily accept LGBT people in community affairs. LGBT youth are twice as likely to indicate they have been physically assaulted at school and more than a quarter said their major problems are not feeling accepted by their families, being bullied at school, and a fear of being “outed”.
“We must take care of the needs of our most vulnerable youth. In a diverse state like New York, we need a law to protect LGBT youth. It’s time for the Senate to take up this bill now,” said Ortiz.
Malliotakis Rejects Proposed Drug Injection Sites
Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge, Staten Island) is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to outright reject a proposal to establish supervised injection sites for heroin and other drug users across the city.
On Wednesday, New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett gave testimony in front of the City Council that called for the establishment of the injection sites. However, the proposal violates current federal law and would force the City to sue the federal government to pass the measure.
Malliotakis says the City should instead be more proactive by expanding drug education and increase the number of beds for long term rehabilitation. Additionally, she’d like the Mayor and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill to support her bill that closes the loophole that allows hardened drug dealers with multiple felonies to be sentenced to drug treatment with first and second time offenders who are true addicts.
“Providing addicts with a place to inject and feed their drug dependency instead of a place to recover and overcome their addiction is patently irresponsible and completely misses the mark in solving the opioid epidemic. City officials need to stop and ponder what kind of message such a facility will send to our community and its children,” said Malliotakis.
“Just like I don’t believe hardened drug dealers should be mingling with addicts in treatment centers, I don’t believe taxpayer funded injection sites are needed in communities that are attempting to fight an epidemic. Give us community centers, senior centers and after-school programs, not a heroin center,” added Malliotakis.
CM Williams Hosts 5th Annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration
City Council member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) will host the 5th Annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration this week.
The event will recognize extraordinary women in New York City who are blazing new trails in their fields while motivating and inspiring women across the country to pursue their dreams.
This year’s honorees include:
Nadia Lopez, Author, Principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy
Hafida Torres, Community Leader and Storyteller
Young MA, Rapper and Hip-Hop Artist
Kathryn Erbe, Actress of stage, television, and film
Anthonine Pierre, Community Leader and Activist
Michelle Anderson, President of Brooklyn College
The keynote address will be delivered by Fox 5’s Lisa Evers, with a special appearance by Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights) and hosted by Council Member Williams and his Deputy Chief of Staff, Farah Louis.
The event is slated for 7 p.m., Friday, March 23, at Stevan Dweck Auditorium at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch, at 10 Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Heights.
Carroll Hosts St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Assembly member Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Ditmas Park) will host a belated St. Patrick’s Celebration this week.
The event will celebrate Irish heritage and will include traditional music, drinks and dancing from the Brooklyn Bards and a performance from the Fitzpatrick Academy of Irish Dance.
The event is slated for 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday, March 23, at Rocky Sullivan’s, at 44 Beard Street in Red Hook.