Cuomo Gets Lawyer For Villavicencio
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced yesterday he has secured pro-bono legal counsel for Pablo Villavicencio, the undocumented immigrant who U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained after he was stopped trying to deliver a pizza at the Fort Hamilton Army Base in Bay Ridge.
“Earlier today, I spoke with Sandra Chica, the wife of Pablo Villavicencio, and expressed my deep frustration with the federal government’s assault on New York’s immigrant families. Sandra spoke to me as a mother of their two daughters – worried for her husband and her children. As a father of three daughters, I can’t imagine the fear she and Pablo are feeling right now,” said Cuomo.
“I had one message for her: Anything we can do to help, we will do. I confirmed with her that New York State, working with our partners, has secured pro-bono legal counsel to represent Mr. Villavicencio, who is currently held at a federal detention facility in New Jersey. The legal counsel, provided through the first-of-its-kind Liberty Defense Project, has already communicated with Mr. Villavicencio. I also assured her that we would provide counsel and support to her and her family during this time of need.
“ICE’s arrest of Mr. Villavicencio while he was simply doing his job was an outrageous affront to our New York values. Mr. Villavicencio is a father and loving husband, and his detention doesn’t make us any safer. In New York, we stand with our immigrant communities and we will never stop fighting to protect the rights of all New Yorkers.”
Persaud Bill Including Bodegas & Delis Under Definition of Food Service Establishments Passes Senate
State Sen. Senator Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill) this week saw her nill, S5823, that includes bodegas and delicatessens in the definition of food service establishments pass the senate.
This bill is designed to uphold local bodegas and delicatessens to the same health standards as restaurants across the city. Ensuring that the conditions of bodegas and delicatessens are up to par in regards to food handling, food temperature, personal hygiene and vermin control is important in sustaining the quality of life for New Yorkers.
“I will continue to fight to ensure that everyone has access to healthy food regardless of his or her spending power. We are aware of the problem and who is affected most: Lower income families, which include children and seniors. It is time to be proactive and find authentic solutions that will allow constituents to have access to food that is clean and safe,” said Persaud.
Hamilton Fights To Protect Homeowners From Foreclosure Scams
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) yesterday united with colleagues and advocates to press for senate passage of legislation that would protect homeowners vulnerable to foreclosure from scams and would ease the pathway for victims to seek redress (S. 6171).
The measure comes as more than 100,000 New York homeowners face potential foreclosure each year. The legislation passed the assembly unanimously in January and has passed senate committees. For final passage, senate leaders must put the bill onto the floor for a vote by the full senate. Hamilton strongly urged colleagues to pass the legislation he spearheads in the senate.
“Scammers constantly change their methods in attempting to take advantage of people in vulnerable circumstances,” said Hamilton, the bill’s chief sponsor. “The financial crisis resulted in a foreclosure crisis and meant scammers trying to steal from people desperate to stay in their own homes. We need to update the protections afforded homeowners and give victims of home equity theft the tools to better seek redress. The measures we highlight today would strengthen the Home Equity Theft Prevention Act of 2006 to help shield consumers from scams and give those who have been victimized an easier path to peace of mind.”
The legislation (S. 6171 / A. 1408) would:
- Allow homeowners 14 days, up from the current five, to cancel a contract with a “distressed property consultant”
- Eliminate the requirement that a homeowner post a bond to bring a lawsuit against a scam artist
- Provide a clear legal path to restore the title of a property to the victim after the criminal conviction of a scammer
- Prohibit a prospective buyer from taking undue advantage of a seller in default
- Prohibit property consultants from pretending to be law enforcement or government representatives, from threatening to disclose false information about the homeowner ‘s creditworthiness, from harassing homeowners and family members, from threatening to enforce non-existent rights, from using communications simulating a judicial process, and from encumbering properties with liens having no contractual or legal basis.
Golden Bill Gives Straphangers Two Free Transfers
State Sen. Martin J. Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Bath Beach, Gerritsen Beach) yesterday announced that the senate approved his legislation (S. 7862) that would require the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to apply two free transfers within two hours for every paid fare.
This legislation would help straphangers affected by the rising costs of MTA subway and bus fares. This amendment of current State law would automatically add an additional free transfer for straphangers utilizing MetroCards to travel by MTA subways and/or buses.
“For the New Yorkers that have to transfer more than once from train to bus, or train to train, or bus to train, financial relief is on the horizon. I urge the assembly to pass the companion bill and call upon Governor Cuomo to sign this bill into law,” said Golden.
“New Yorkers who take three or more trains or buses, or a combination, could have already saved a bundle if the governor had not vetoed this bill last year. There is no reason for a veto on this bill and we must step up to the plate and offer this free extra transfer to straphangers. Some need to make an additional transfer because of service reductions and changes. It is not fair to have them forced to pay more because of the MTA’s decisions,” he added.
The legislation was approved by both houses of the state legislature last year but Cuomo vetoed it.