Cornegy, Deutsch Fire Safety Bill Passes City Council
City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) and Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Midwood) this week saw their bill, Int. 604-A mandating certain smoke alarm standards in residential buildings pass the city council.
The measure was one of a package of fire and safety bills the council passed to address fire safety after a series of Bronx and Brooklyn fires in December and January resulted in 20 deaths and 29 injuries.
Specifically the measure would require that after January 1, 2021, smoke alarms in residential occupancies that are installed within 20 feet of a fixed cooking appliance must comply with standards for reduction of nuisance alarms. Often, nuisance alarms while cooking prompt residents to disable smoke detectors in or near their cooking appliances, which is a clear hazard. Installing smoke alarms that meet these higher standards for reduction of nuisance alarms will reduce the need to disable these smoke detectors and reduce the associated risk.
“Promoting the safety and well-being of New Yorkers is the number one priority of the Council’s Committee on Housing & Buildings. As the Committee Chair, I am proud to sponsor this piece of legislation which, along with several others sponsored by my colleagues, will make critical updates to the City’s building and fire codes to increase fire safety in residential buildings throughout our city,” said Cornegy.
Brannan Brings Power Washing To 3rd Avenue
City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst) announced yesterday that the city’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will expand the “CleaNYC” initiative to 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge. The program started on the other end of the district near 18th Avenue and 86thStreet on May 1.
CleaNYC is a holistic effort to keep communities across the five boroughs clean and enhance quality of life for residents. The Program was first started by Mayor de Blasio in 2016. Applauding the City’s Quality of Life program, the mayor charged the EDC with expanding its successful Graffiti-Free program to add power washing abilities to clean sidewalks in heavily trafficked corridors in all five boroughs.
“One of my top priorities will always be keeping our neighborhoods clean. Third Avenue is a busy commercial stretch that can use the extra attention so when the CleaNYC became available, I was all for bringing it to 86th Street near 18th Avenue and now 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge. Something as simple as clean sidewalks help build welcoming, vibrant communities and business districts, ultimately helps our neighborhood put its best foot forward,” said Brannan.
The sidewalk power washing will be done at night in order to minimize inconveniences to local businesses during normal business hours.
Golden Bill Making Private Education More Affordable Passes Senate
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend) this week saw his bill helping parents who send their children to yeshiva, parochial, and other non-public schools save more of their hard-earned dollars.
The legislation makes New York’s tax law consistent with changes to 529 plan tuition eligibility that recently took effect on the federal level.
The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Trump enacted last year expanded the traditional limits of 529 plans, which help ease the burden of college tuition, to include tuition expenses for all non-public elementary or secondary schools. Currently, New York tax law considers these tuition expenses ineligible for 529 plan benefits.
The Senate bill (S7783) enables 529 plan distributions used to pay for elementary or secondary school tuition expenses incurred after January 1, 2018, to have the same tax benefits as distributions used for attending an eligible institution of higher education.
“My bill will allow New York’s non-public school families to take full advantage of their 529 plans on their New York State income taxes,” said Golden. “All New York families, regardless of where their children go to school, deserve the same benefits and choices granted by the federal government.”
Clarke, Velázquez Demand Answers After Trump’s SBA Deletes LGBT Web Resources
U.S. Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, Eash Flatbush, Brownsville, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay) this week wrote the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), pressing the agency on why it has deleted online resources that previously existed to assist Lesbian, Gay and Transgender (LGBT) entrepreneurs.
In the Tuesday missive, the two federal lawmakers asked the SBA Administrator why the pages were removed in January of last year, shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“Erasing these resources from SBA’s website shortchanges gay, lesbian and transgender Americans who happen to be among our nation’s most successful small business owners,” said Velázquez. “The fact that this move took place shortly after Donald Trump came into office raises troubling concerns and, as the Committee of jurisdiction, we intend to get to the bottom of how this happened and see the situation rectified, quickly.”
“I am deeply concerned by the SBA’s removal of its LGBTQ Outreach Page,” said Clarke. “While we were originally assured that this page was removed for routine construction, enough time has passed for it to be back up and running again. The SBA must explain why it has taken so long to address this issue and make its intentions clear toward the LGBTQ community going forward.”
Over one year ago, shortly after the inauguration of President Trump, Democratic Staff of the House Committee on Small Business pressed Small Business Administration (SBA) officials over the disappearance of LGBT resource pages on SBA’s website.
At the time, Committee Staff were reassured that the pages would be reactivated in the near future, yet they remain missing. In their letter, Velázquez and Clarke ask for any instructions the SBA may have received from other parts of the Administration with regards to the LGBT resource pages.