Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 1, 2018

News Site Brooklyn

BK Elected Officials Call for Instant Runoff Voting

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
City Council Member Brad Lander

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, and City Council Member Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Gowanus) alongside Public Advocate Letitia James and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer will call on the Mayoral Charter Revision Commission to implement Instant Runoff Voting as part of the City’s systematic approach to voting reform today.

Lander introduced the bill for Instant Runoff Voting back in 2012, as a less expensive and better option to the current runoff system that is held two weeks apart from primary elections with electronic voting machines. Currently, if no candidate gets 40% of the vote there is a separate runoff election between the two top finishers.

Under the instant system, voters rank the candidates on the ballot in order of preference. If no one gets a majority, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their votes parceled out to the voter’s second choice – a process that continues until one candidate has a majority.

Additionally, the current runoff system also makes it nearly impossible to get ballots to absentee and military voters in time.

The event is slated for 12:30 p.m., today, May 1, at the Steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Simon Announces Upcoming Passage of Gender Neutral Police/Firefighter Bill

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (D-Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill) alongside Senator Betty Little (R-Glens Falls) will announce the impending passage of gender neutral legislation (A8321/S6542) to update antiquated and inaccurate language in state law relating to police officers and firefighters.

The bill would replace all instances of the words “fireman” or “policeman” with the words “firefighter” or “police officer” in order to update language and promote participation in the professions regardless of gender.

The legislation will modernize the outdated language in the state statue to promote the idea that the professions of law enforcement and firefighting are not exclusive based on gender, and to reflect the current reality of the women who hold professions in law enforcement and firefighting.

The event is slated for 1 p.m., today, May 1, at LOB 130, LCA Press Room in Albany.

South BK Lawmakers Pay Tribute To Brighton Beach Local

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch
City Councilman Mark Treyger
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

City Council members Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Midwood) and Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst) alongside Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Canarsie, Mill Basin, Brownsville, East New York, Coney Island) will pay tribute to Brighton Beach local Valeriy “Larry” Savinkin today.

The lawmakers will host a street co-naming ceremony in honor of Savinkin, who passed away in March of 2017.

Larry Savinkin was a longtime, active member of the Brighton Beach and Coney Island community in his capacity as an aide for Jeffries, as a Brighton Beach BID board member, as a founder of the September 11 Family Group, and as a board member of the Holocaust Memorial Committee.

The event is slated for 5p.m., today, May 1, at the southeast corner of Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue (in front of Chase Bank) in Brighton Beach.

CM Williams Calls On NYPD To Change Civil Litigation Procedures

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams

City Council member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) called on the New York Police Department (NYPD) to implement changes into their policies and procedures surrounding civil litigation against the department in the wake of a new DOI report.

On Monday, the Department of Investigation (DOI) released a report regarding the NYPD’s use of litigation data, one which identifies deficiencies and recommends corrections to the process. The report was created as a result of Local Law 166, formerly Intro 119-D, legislation passed in September of 2017 of which Williams was the prime sponsor. The law requires the Inspector General of the Police Department to review information on police misconduct and develop recommendations related to the disciplining, training, and monitoring of police officers. To facilitate this review, the Law Department would be required to publish information on civil actions every six months.

The DOI looked at the number of claims filed in six precincts. Using data from 2013 to 2016, the report looked at case volume involving allegations such as false arrests or use of force. The DOI tracked whether those allegations were increasing or decreasing, which varied depending on the precinct. According to the report, when the NYPD does identify a potential problem from litigation data, the department doesn’t address it through formal channels. Instead, it tends to be dealt with through an informal discussion with commanders, effectively keeping the policy recommendation from being implemented department wide.

As a result, the DOI recommended several fixes, including that the NYPD add more workers to focus on analyzing department wide litigation trends, create internal reports that look at trends to share with those in department leadership roles, and create public reports about the general nature of claims and the current state of potential policy changes.

The DOI recommendations made as a result of the findings in this new report are indicative both of a need for reform and an opportunity to use data to improve policing practices and prevent future incidents and offenses. The intent of this legislation was to use concrete data and factual evidence to determine to try and forecast opportunities of positive intervention before a crisis occurs. After this first reporting period, the recommendations by the DOI present a real opportunity for the NYPD engage in this process in a positive and constructive way,” said Williams.

Donovan Hosts Federal School Safety Roundtable

Congressman Dan Donovan

Congressman Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) hosted senior officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the New York City Department of Education (DOE) for a roundtable discussion on school safety yesterday.

Donovan, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, convened the meeting to allow federal security experts to share their thoughts on best practices and provide information to local education stakeholders on opportunities for collaboration and grant funding.

At the meeting, Robert Kolasky, DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary of the National Protection and Program Directorate’s Office of Infrastructure Protection, shared several steps the Department is taking to produce a more secure educational environment. Like adapting the “See something, say something” program to make it usable in a school setting. Additionally, the Department is analyzing the school threat environment to try to intercede earlier, before a student is about to cause harm. The Secret Service is also involved in research efforts in this area. FEMA has also initiated an “Until Help Arrives” campaign to offer easy training on how to administer first aid to a victim who is badly injured while awaiting first responders.

Last month, Donovan voted to pass the Stop School Violence Act, which reauthorizes, modifies, and expands a Department of Justice program to award grants to state and local governments for improvements to school security.

“No parent should drop a child off at school and fear for his or her safety. I asked the nation’s leading security experts to come to our community and share their perspectives. NYPD and DOE officials also had the opportunity to discuss their initiatives and, most importantly, identify opportunities for partnership with the federal government,” said Donovan.

Gillibrand Demands Passage of Military Sexual Assault Bill In Wake of DOD Report

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) demanded that Congress pass the Military Justice Improvement Act in the wake of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) latest report on sexual assault yesterday.

On Monday, the DOD released its annual report showing data on the number of sexual assaults reported in the military. The report revealed that sexual assault in the military continues to rise across the services, with the highest increase among the services reported by the Marine Corps.The Pentagon said there were 6,769 cases reported in fiscal year 2017, up 10 percent from 6,172 reported in fiscal year 2016.

Of those 6,172, there were 998 Marine Corps cases, up 14.9 percent from the year before; 2,706 Army cases, up 8.4 percent; 1,585 Navy cases, up 9.3 percent; and 1,480 Air Force cases, up 9.2 percent, according to the report. However, the report also revealed that Commanders had sufficient evidence to take disciplinary action in only 62 percent of accused Service member cases and evidence supported taking action on only 54 percent of sexual assault allegations with the court-martial process. The lack of prosecution has Gillibrand worried about accountability efforts by the military justice system.

Gillibrand’s bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act would remove the sole decision-making authority over whether serious crimes are prosecuted from the military chain-of-command and give it to independent, trained military prosecutors.

While reports might be up, accountability for sexual assault offenders is going down. Despite the fact that it is clear that sexual assault survivors rightfully do not have confidence in the current military justice system, Congress has allowed this lack of accountability to continue by refusing to pass legislation to professionalize and modernize the way sexual assault cases are prosecuted. We must pass the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act to give survivors confidence in the system and create a military justice system worthy of their sacrifice,” said Gillibrand.

AM Williams Launches Emergency Preparedness, Pillow Case Project

Assemblywoman Jaime Williams

Assembly member Jaime Williams (D-Canarsie, Georgetown, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach) alongside the Red Cross launched the Pillow Case Project this week.

With a grant given by The Walt Disney Company along with American Red Cross Volunteers,the Pillow Case Project instructs students in fun and entertaining ways to stay safe and highlight how to create their own emergency supply kits by packing essential items in a pillowcase for easy transport during a disaster.

The interactive workshop increases students’ awareness and understanding of natural hazards and teaches safety, emotional coping skills, and personal preparedness for unfortunate disaster and calamities.

The program culminates with students having the opportunity to decorate and personalize their pillowcase as an important reminder of the program.

“That the slightest improvement in response times can same thousands of lives and children are the key to help bring this about. Not only do the students walk away with personalized pillow cases and kits but also each are awarded a certificate from the Assembly of the State New York acknowledging their participation in this wonderful program,” said Williams.