Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 8, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Zellnor Announces District Inauguration Celebration

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie

State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn) announced that he will hold a 20th Senate District inauguration celebration this week.

The event will give local residents and constituents an opportunity to celebrate Myrie’s freshman year as a member of the State Legislature. The program will feature community performances and prominent speakers.

The event is slated for 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, Feb 10, at SUNY Downstate, Auditorium, at 395 Lenox Road in Flatbush.

Espinal Demands Answers About L Train Smell

City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr.

City Council member Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York) is demanding answers from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) about the potentially toxic fumes on the L train this week.

On Tuesday, a heavy blanket of foul fumes shut down the L train for several hours MTA struggled to find the source of the stence and straphangers were forced to inhale the potentially harmful fume, according to initial reports.

According to MTA officials, the smell is being traced back to a long-forgotten diesel tank under a defunct gas station in Bushwick as the likely source of the fumes. The gas station — which was either a Hess or Shell outlet — was abandoned more than 20 years ago at the intersection of Metropolitan and Bushwick avenues in East Williamsburg, said the sources.

“L train riders and MTA staff deserve answers and they deserve action to clean up the potentially toxic fumes that have been plaguing them. No one should have to risk getting sick to get to work. The MTA needs to be held accountable. Installing fans to air out the tunnel, while not knowing what is causing the smell, is not good enough,” said Espinal.

“This is yet another example of how the MTA desperately needs better funding for maintenance and repairs. My plan to stop giving Wall Street a free ride and redirect $11 billion of tax rebates into fixing the MTA and NYCHA would give the MTA the resources it needs to stop potentially dangerous problems like this from happening,” added Espinal.

Deutsch, Jewish Caucus Reflect Upon Holocaust Education Week

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

City Council member Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest, Midwood) and the New York City Council’s Jewish Caucus participated in a week of Holocaust education that began on January 27th.

The Holocaust Education Week was born from Resolution 673, a bill sponsored by Councilman Chaim Deutsch that recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Day in New York City, and declared the entire week as an opportunity to teach about the Holocaust throughout the City. In particular, the Holocaust Education Week aimed to teach teenagers and young adults about the Holocaust, as a way to combat anti-Semitism and promote understanding and tolerance among their generation.

The bill which states: “[This] can be an avenue for learning about the impacts that the Holocaust continues to have on the present-day. Highlighting the history of the Holocaust would help educate City residents about the past and encourage empathy towards others. As there are nearly 45,000 Holocaust survivors living in New York City, it is important that the history of the Holocaust…is remembered and taught within New York City.”

In observance of Holocaust Education Week, Jewish Caucus members visited schools in their district with Holocaust survivors, shared educational information on their social media, and attended events to memorialize the millions of victims of the Holocaust.

“As the generation of survivors dwindles, it is incredibly important to hear personal accounts from survivors about their experiences. Holocaust education should be happening every day, but this last week was an opportunity to raise awareness, particularly for young students, about the atrocities that were inflicted upon the Jewish people. Learning from a history book is not comparable to seeing a lesson come to life before the student’s eyes,” said Deutsch.

Rose’s Amendment Expanding Childcare Coverage To Veterans Seeking Addiction Treatment Passes House

Max Rose
U.S. Rep.-Elect Max Rose

Congressman Max Rose’s (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) amendment  to the Veterans Access to Child Care Act to expand childcare coverage from the Veterans Affairs (VA) to apply to veterans seeking treatment for addiction passed the House yesterday.

The amendment includes substance or drug abuse counseling in the definition of covered health care services, and ensures that veterans seeking help are adequately supported, and able to pay for child care. In 2011, Congress created a pilot program to provide free child care at a small number of VA medical centers and clinics. Since then, Congress has reauthorized the program multiple times.

The Veterans Access to Child Care Act would make the VA’s Child Care Pilot Program permanent and expand it so that all veterans, who are primary caretakers, have a safe, reliable, and cost-free option for child care when they use VA healthcare. Since its inception, over 10,000 children have used the program. Women veterans used the service at a rate four times their population among the veteran community at large.

The passage comes as the pilot program was set to expire on October 1, 2019. The full bill is expected to be voted on today.  

 “As the fathers, wives, husbands, and children of the veterans fighting this disease can attest, combating this addiction is daunting, and heartbreakingly difficult. Imagine how excruciating it can be when a mother has to make the choice between receiving the treatment that she so desperately needs, and making sure that her own children are cared for. That is the choice veteran-parents need to make time and time again. It’s a disgrace, and on both sides of the aisle, we haven’t done enough. Make no mistake–if Congress does not act, these barriers to treatment will persist. Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, it’s our constituents who are suffering, and we need to act now,” said Rose.

CM Williams Resolution Calling For Repeal of Polling Secrecy Law Get Hearing

Jumaane Williams
City Council Member Jumaane Williams

City Council member Jumaane Williams’ (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) bill that calls on the Governor and State Legislature to repeal the highly controversial section of the New York Civil Rights Law commonly known as ’50-a,’ got a public hearing yesterday at City Hall.

On Thursday, the bill was heard as part of a joint hearing between the New York City Council Committees on Public Safety and the Justice System in which a number of police reform and public safety legislative efforts were presented. The measure, 50-a, which states in part that “All personnel records used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion, under the control of any police agency…shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review” without a lawful court order or written officer consent. It is frequently cited in order to block the release or accessibility of information regarding officers involved in police misconduct.

This state-sanctioned secrecy has been used in recent years to directly block many efforts at transparency, preventing any real public accountability about officer misconduct, whether in use of force, in so-called ‘testilying,’ or many other offenses.

Policing reform advocates testified at the hearing to the urgent need to repeal 50-a, citing recent reporting that many officers who have committed serious infractions have remained on the force and have not faced any real consequence. This hearing also follows the release an independent report last week confirming the systemic failures of a system that allow officer misconduct to go largely unchecked.

“The two areas of policing where people are yearning to see some kind of change is in transparency and accountability, and in those two things we haven’t seen much movement. That is going to change. 50-a must no longer be used as an excuse to tie the hands of District Attorneys, as a reason for “slap on the wrist” treatment of officers who have undermined their duty to protect, or as an unnecessary cause of added pain and trauma to individuals and families simply seeking justice,” said Williams.  

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