Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 28, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

BP Adams Celebrates Williams’ Special Election For Public Advocate Win

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams congratulated City Council member and Public Advocate-Elect Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) on his special election win yesterday.

On Tuesday night, Williams beat out a field of 16 other candidates to win the special election. According to the unofficial Board of Election results with 98.1% of the votes tallied, Williams received  33.2% or 133,809 votes. City Council Member Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) who received 19.1 % of the electorate or 77,026 votes, came in second place.

Former City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito came in third place with about 11 % or 44,158 votes followed by Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake with about 8.25 percent or 33,198 votes.

“Jumaane Williams has been a tireless advocate for years in the City Council. He’ll be tireless in fighting for our city as public advocate. I congratulate my good friend and longtime colleague in public service, the ‘People’s Advocate,’ for winning this special election,” said Adams.

“I look forward to continued collaboration with Public Advocate-Elect Williams on the issues that impact our borough and all New Yorkers, from combating gun violence and tenant harassment to raising the bar in public education and social justice,” added Adams.

Treyger Hosts Black History Month Community Showcase

City Councilman Mark Treyger

City Council member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst) will host a Black History Month Community Showcase today.

The event will feature performances by students from local schools, as well as members of community organizations, in recognition of the significance of Black History Month. Performances will range from song and dance to spoken word, poetry recitation and scripted scenes. The showcase will also include an exhibition of relevant art.

Every February since 1976, the country celebrates National African American History Month, an occasion to remember the contributions made by African-Americans in countless aspects of American life.

The national observance began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.

The event is slated for 5 p.m., today, Feb. 28, at P.S. 188 Michael E. Berdy School, at 3314 Neptune Avenue in Coney Island.

Persaud’s Bill Educating Driver Responsibility During Traffic Stops Passes Senate

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud’s (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill,  Starrett City) bill that adds instruction on proper behavior when stopped by law enforcement to driver’s education and defensive driving classes, passed the State Senate earlier this week.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed Bill S1082-A, which includes mandatory instruction concerning traffic stops in pre-licensing, also known as “five-hour,” courses and defensive driving courses. Under the new legislation, New Yorkers trying to earn a driver’s license or learning how to drive safer would be taught their responsibility when stopped by law enforcement, as well as what to do — and what not to do — during traffic stops. Additionally, instructors must incorporate at least one question on the subject matter in their exams.

The legislation aims to mitigate any danger involved in police interactions with drivers when stopped, usually over a misunderstanding, and keep traffic stops straightforward so law enforcement are more available for emergencies.

“While traffic stops are often untroublesome, things can get out of hand if the driver is not familiar with how to act in these situations because law enforcement must be on the lookout for potential threats. By educating motorists on proper behavior when stopped, the likelihood of them unintentionally alarming officers and subsequently being harmed decreases greatly,” said Persaud.

“We hope this legislation incites safer traffic stops and that law enforcement officers adhere to their duty and uphold peaceful interactions,” added Persaud.

Rose Votes To Pass Universal Background Checks Act

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

Congressman Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) an Army combat veteran, yesterday, voted to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, a gun violence prevention measure which aims to save lives.

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act would close the background check loophole and require a background check for every gun sale or transfer, to ensure that individuals already prohibited from gun possession under federal law are not able to obtain firearms. The plan includes some reasonable and explicit exceptions that, for example, allow a person: to give a gun as a gift to a close family member; loan a gun for hunting or target shooting; or provide a gun in the moment of self-defense.

Rose was co-sponsor of the bill. This is the first gun safety legislation to pass the House of Representatives since the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1994 mandated federal background checks on firearms purchases in the U.S. Since then, more than 3.5 million sales have been blocked to violent criminals and other prohibited people.

The current background check system doesn’t require people background check for people purchasing a  gun from an unlicensed gun seller—such as buying a gun at a gun show, online, or person-to-person. According to Rose’s office, a recent study found that about 22 percent of gun owners got their most recent firearm without a background check. Another study found that up to 80 percent of firearms used for criminal purposes are obtained without a background check.

“We cannot continue to share our thoughts and prayers after every mass shooting and call our work done—we need action, and this is a huge first step towards keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. This is not partisan, this is not controversial—this is commonsense. It’s long past time we do the right thing and close this background check loophole,” said Rose.

Myrie Introduces Electronic Pollbooks Bill

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie

State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn), Chair of the Elections Committee, yesterday introduced Senate Bill S508 to allow electronic poll books in New York.

The bill gives county Boards the option to purchase equipment and implement the use of electronic poll books beginning this fall. It also requires the State Board of Elections to promulgate security standards for electronic poll books and develop backup procedures in case of any equipment failures.   

Last month, the legislature passed and the Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that will allow early voting beginning this fall. To make early voting easier to implement, many counties have already requested approval and equipment for electronic poll books. The bill will go into effect on the first of January following the date when it is signed into law.

In the general election of November, 2018, voters throughout the five boroughs were frustrated with long lines at the ballot box. This was in part because in order to vote, poll workers must first locate every voter on a large paper voter registration book and have the voter sign their name with a pen to receive a ballot.

Electronic poll books will make it more efficient to look up voter registration status, reduce the possibility of errors, reduce phone calls to the Board of Elections (BOE), affidavit ballot or other extra work required when voters cannot be found in “the book.”

“We’re still recording voter history in the same way we did during the years of Tammany Hall and that makes absolutely no sense. For too long, New York has been stuck in the past when it comes to our voting system. We can pay for a coffee by signing an iPad, but we have to sign our name in script to vote. It’s time to bring New York’s voting system into the modern era. E-poll books are an efficient and safe way to to just that,” said Myrie

Gounardes Denounces Planned MTA Fare Hike

Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend) yesterday denounced the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) fare hike announcement on MetroCards and MTA controlled bridges and tunnels.

The MTA board voted Wednesday to increase fares for unlimited weekly and monthly MetroCards. The board also voted to hike fares on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North lines as well as the agency’s bridge and tunnel tolls.

Increases on the commuter trains will hit riders on April 21, while bridge and tunnel tolls will go up March 31, according to the New York Daily News.  However, the transit authority voted to keep the base fare for subway, bus and Access-A-Ride trips at $2.75, while eliminating the 5% bonus for putting multiple rides on a pay-per-ride MetroCard.

“For the sixth time since 2009, the MTA has shifted the responsibility of mismanagement and disinvestment onto the backs of hard working New Yorkers most reliant upon our public transit system.  Fare hikes without accountability reform are simply unacceptable,” said Gounardes.

“New Yorkers need a subway system that works, accessible stations, and bus service that arrives on-time and on a regular basis: Real solutions to chronic and rampant transit issues that does not involve pushing working-class families, many of whom live in my district, to the brink of their financial limits,” added Gounardes.

Malliotakis Calls For DOI Investigation Following Termination of Renewal Schools

Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref – Brooklyn/Staten Island) is calling on the City’s Department of Investigation (DOI) to investigate the city’s funding of the Renewel Program for struggling NYC schools.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio alongside the Department of Education (DOE) announced termination of the program following four years, almost $800 million, and a mixed record of success for a program aimed at improving the City’s most troubled schools. Renewal paired struggling schools with a slew of social services, including partnerships with non-profit organizations, extra mental health counseling, and dental clinics — in addition to academic help such as teacher training, longer school days, and new curriculum.

However, the Mayor did announce a new approach to fixing under performing schools called Comprehensive School Support. Under the new approach, any city school could theoretically be eligible for similar help, though what that looks like could vary by school and there would be no guarantee of dedicated social services. At first,124 schools identified as struggling by the state and 71 previous Renewal schools will get extra support, according to Chalkbeat.

“After $773 million dollars have been wasted by Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal schools program, it has finally been cancelled after only a quarter of the 100 schools targeted by the program were reported to have seen any improvement at all. All along I have said that these failing schools should have been closed and reopened as smaller learning institutions where more attention could be given to students,” said Malliotakis.

“In 2017, during my campaign for mayor I cited the Renewal Schools program as one of the de Blasio administration’s biggest failures and, at the end of last year, I suggested that the Department of Investigation look into how the Department of Education managed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars without significantly improving the experience of students in the schools that struggle the most. The DOI needs to investigate where the $773 million went because our most disadvantaged students, their parents and all New York City taxpayers deserve answers,” added Malliotakis.