Hamilton Announces Free Lead Testing For Children In July
Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) and KāMIN Health Crown Heights Urgent Care announced the launch of a new free lead testing for children initiative yesterday.
The free lead testing for kids program will restart during the month of July, in part due to recent revelations that more than 800 children living in public housing tested positive for elevated levels of lead from 2012 through 2016.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system. Lead also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage.
Hamilton has introduced three legislative proposals addressing the dangers lead poses this session, with all three bills still in committee. Senate Bill 6971A would include lead screening in pre-school and kindergarten students in school entry protocols, treating lead screening similar to immunization. Senate Bill 7796 would strengthen follow-up state health protocols when a health care provider finds elevated lead levels in a child’s blood, directing an environmental investigation by the Department of Health. Senate Bill 7633 would require New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to issue an annual report on lead paint inspections and fund the training of NYCHA residents to inspect for lead and repaint apartments.
“Free lead testing for children is especially important now as we learn more about the full extent of the public health hazard NYCHA exposed residents to by filing false paperwork on lead inspections for four years. We must continue to mobilize as a community to ensure all parents have access to the information they need to make decisions about their children’s health. We must continue to take action and keep all our children healthy and give more parents peace of mind about their child’s health,” said Hamilton.
The testing is available for children in July regardless of insurance coverage. Due to prior demand, testing will be by appointment. KāMIN Health Crown Heights Urgent Care is located at 555 Lefferts Avenue, in Crown Heights.
Treyger Introduces Legislation Increasing Transparency, Accountability To School Funding
City Council member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend), Chair of the Committee on Education, introduced legislation this week aimed at increasing transparency in allocation of funding when it comes to the city’s schools.
The bill, Int. 1040, would require the City to issue public reports centralizing all data about the allocation of funding to each of the city’s schools, including specific reporting on the calculation and distribution of Fair Student Funding. If the measure were to become law, the City would be required to publicly post online and submit reports to the City Council thrice annually detailing all budget allocations for every school citywide, including the calculated Fair Student Funding formula for each school and the percentage of that calculation that each school actually receives. Under the specifications of the legislation, the City would be mandated to submit reports in a searchable and sortable format.
Currently, some school budget data is made publicly available, but the City does not provide such data in a centralized format. Similarly, it is possible to find a particular school’s Fair Student Funding allocation, but that data can only be retrieved on an individual school basis.
Fair Student Funding is a critical part of each school’s budget, affording school administrators flexibility to address challenges that are specific to their school’s student population, including the hiring of additional social workers and guidance counselors, the creation or enhancement of cultural arts enrichment programs, and the implementation of other integral support services.
“Fair Student Funding helps school leaders better meet the unique needs of their respective student bodies. As we strive for true, meaningful equity in our school system, my bill will make the process through which this critical funding is distributed to our schools more transparent so we can ensure that all of our city’s students have access to the same opportunities for a quality education,” said Treyger.
Ortiz Bill Urges Congress To Abolish ICE Agency
Assembly member Felix W. Ortiz (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park) introduced a resolution yesterday urging Congress to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) was created after 9/11 to improve national security. After 9/11, President George W. Bush requested that lawmakers consolidate 22 federal agencies and 170,000 employees under a new Department of Homeland Security, at which point ICE was created.
In recent months, the immigration agency has come under attack for its former “zero-tolerance” policy regarding illegal migrants. In particular, the agents would previously separate families caught crossing the border, detaining children separately from their parents.
“ICE’s mission is to enforce our laws. Instead, it has turned into a force used to raid communities, detain hard working people and to separate families. This must stop,” said Ortiz.
“Congress must abolish ICE and create an agency designed to protect our borders, ending ICE’s ability to conduct horrifying raids in our towns and cities. We need an immigration agency that works within the law and that recognizes that all people are created equal, deserve respect and must be treated with honor,” added Ortiz.
Donovan Introduces Bill To Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction
Congressman Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, introduced the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act yesterday.
The bill strengthens national security efforts by ensuring that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the structure, authority, and tools it needs to counter weapons of mass destruction. The legislation makes improvements to the DHS structure to improve defense capabilities in heightened threat environments.
The bill authorizes the creation of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office, composed of the Office of Health Affairs and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, to streamline and improve coordination and anti-terror efforts. The measure also includes language from Donovan’s Securing the Cities Act to permanently authorize the Securing the Cities program, which provides resources to federal, state, and local governments to detect and prevent nuclear and radiological attacks in high-risk urban areas, like New York City.
“The threats our nation faces from our adversaries are always evolving. Terrorist groups want to inflict maximum damage by using a wide scope of weapons including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents,” said Donovan.
“The improvements my bill calls for come directly from expert testimony outlined during a previous hearing on weapons of mass destruction, and it’s critical that we continue to give DHS the tools needed to secure our nation and the American people,” added Donovan.