Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Nov. 1, 2018

News Site Brooklyn

Adams Joins Byford, Cumbo Commemorating Centennial Of City’s Deadliest Transit Disaster

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will join MTA Transit President Andy Byford, City Council Member Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) and FDNY and MTA officials in hosting a centennial commemoration dedicated to remembering the lives lost in the Malbone Street Wreck — the deadliest transit disaster in New York City and one of the worst in the history of the United States.

On November 1, 1918, at least 93 lives were lost in the train accident — also known as the Brighton Beach Line Accident — in which a five-car train heading toward Prospect Park station derailed and left the tracks as it was going into a tunnel beneath the intersection of Flatbush Avenue, Ocean Avenue, and Malbone Street, which is now Empire Boulevard.

In the wake of the tragedy, the majority of Malbone Street was renamed Empire Boulevard — a name it still bears today. Immediately following the ceremony, Adams and participants will lay a wreath at the B/Q Prospect Park station, near the location where the wreck took place 100 years ago.

The event is slated for 12 noon today, Nov. 1 at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue, Ocean Avenue and Empire Boulevard considered the entrance way to Flatbush.

Williams Sees Council Pass His Commuter Van Safety Legislation

Jumaane Williams
City Council Member Jumaane Williams

City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) yesterday saw the city council pass his legislation aimed at closing a loophole and helping to reform the city’s approach to illegal commuter van operations, while supporting those businesses who operate legitimately and in good faith.

The bill, Intro 925-A, amends the definition of “for-hire vehicle” to include vehicles that seat more than 20 passengers for the purposes of the enforcement authority of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). This bill also amends the definition of “commuter van” to make explicit that, for enforcement purposes, the definition of “commuter van” also includes vehicles that seat more than 20 passengers. It had been introduced in May of this year.

Under the previous law, TLC was only permitted to regulate vehicles containing up to 20 seats, allowing some operators to circumvent necessary regulations and licensing processes by adding more capacity to their vehicles. This loophole disadvantaged law-abiding businesses operating in good faith and providing a vital service to communities where public transportation is not expansive. Passing this legislation today will help to ensure that all drivers are made to adhere to existing safety regulations.

“Commuter vans provide a vital service to communities in my district and around the city, where transit deserts are created by the lack of public transportation options,” said Williams. “I’ve been proud to support these services throughout my career, creating a path for commuter van businesses to operate legally, with a license and insurance. I would encourage drivers to take that path in order to expand successful commuter van operations. When bad actors circumvent those laws with unsafe, larger vehicles, they hurt the industry and the public they serve. Today’s bill will close a loophole and help further the success of  commuter vans in our communities.”

Donovan Pushes Bipartisan Never Again Education Act

Congressman Dan Donovan

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) along with U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) yesterday formally requested that the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hold a hearing on their bipartisan bill to bolster Holocaust education across the country.

The measure, The Never Again Education Act (H.R. 5460) was introduced in April 2018.

In their letter to committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) the members explain the importance and need for this legislation in light of Saturday’s attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue.

“On Saturday, October 27th, 11 Jews were killed on Shabbat simply for being in synagogue and practicing their faith. This attack is believed to be the deadliest on the American Jewish community in our nation’s history. This is horrific and unconscionable and comes at a time when anti-Semitic incidents and online harassment are on the rise,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The Anti-Defamation League reports that anti-Semitic incidents were up 57% in 2017, from the previous year. As we condemn this horrendous attack and the anti-Semitism that caused it, we also must ensure that our children and students understand the dangers of rising anti-Semitism and that they know its history. For if we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it.”

Mosley To Introduce Bill Strengthening Penalties Against Those Who Attack Houses Of Worship

Assemblyman Walter MosleyAssemblyman Walter Mosley

Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) along with New Jersey Assemblyman Gordon Johnson today will also announce the introduction of legislation in their respective states to strengthen penalties against those who attack houses of worship.

The lawmakers will announce the legislation as the join with interfaith ministers and other elected officials in standing together to denounce the hateful acts of the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh that targeted the Jewish community.

The event is slated for 10 a.m., today, Nov. 1 at Rubenstein PR, 1301 Avenue of the Americas, 13th Floor in Manhattan.

Brannan Co-Introduces Bill To Protect City From New Federal Tax Law

Justin Brannan
City Council Member Justin Brannan

City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) yesterday introduced legislation designed to protect New York City residents from a new federal tax law.

Int. 1213 would create a charitable-gifts reserve fund to which taxpayers could donate to in lieu of paying some local and state taxes. These charitable gifts could then be used for federal tax deductions.

The bill provides a workaround to a new federal law that caps state and local tax deductions at $10,000 starting this year. Without the alternative championed by Brannan, the Trump-signed law would effectively raise taxes on many New Yorkers and be a disincentive for individuals to donate to charities at the level they are used to. The Brannan co-sponsored bill then protects taxpayers, donors, and nonprofit organizations that rely on donations; entities Brannan believes make our state and city stronger.

“This federal cap on state and local tax deductions is one of those Trump policies that seem tailor-made to hurt us New Yorkers,” said Brannan. “As local representatives we have a mandate to protect our city from the madness in Washington, and that’s exactly what our bill does. When it comes to local tax deductions, we were doing fine on our own. D.C. should stay out of the way.”

Having been introduced, the bill will now go on to committee hearings before a final Council vote.