Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 2, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Jeffries Intros Legislation Expediting Creation of Affordable Prescription Medication

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie, Mill Basin, Coney Island, parts of Queens),Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, this week introduced a new bipartisan bicameral legislation to curb the abuse of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) petition process and increase access to affordable prescription drugs.

The Stop Significant and Time-wasting Abuse Limiting Legitimate Innovation of New Generics (Stop STALLING) Act would reduce the incentives for branded pharmaceutical companies to interfere with the regulatory approval of generics and biosimilars that would compete with their own products, a tactic that delays patient access to more affordable medications.

The bill would also give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enhanced authority to take action against those who file sham petitions. 

Specifically, the Stop STALLING Act would:

  • Create an FTC cause of action against sham petitions as unfair methods of competition,
  • Create a rebuttable legal presumption of illegality for certain petitions referred from the FDA with a finding that they were submitted for the primary purpose of delaying the approval of a drug application, and
  • Grant the FTC the authority to seek civil penalties for violations.

Although interested parties may file petitions with the FDA in connection with its review of certain drugs, concerns have been raised that pharmaceutical companies file serial petitions or last-minute petitions in attempts to delay generic approval, while imposing significant and unnecessary review costs on the FDA.

“No one should be forced to make the unthinkable choice between life-saving prescription drugs and putting food on the table. The Stop STALLING Act aims to drive down the sky-high cost of medicine by expediting access to affordable generic drugs for everyday Americans. Senators Klobuchar and Grassley, along with Representatives Sensenbrenner, Nadler, Collins and Welch should be commended for their leadership in this regard,” said Jeffries.

PA Williams Address School NYC School Diversity Issue

Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams yesterday addressed the issue of segregation in NYC public schools ahead of an oversight hearing, calling on passage of his bill (Int. 2019-4281) aimed at codifying the mayoral School Diversity Advisory Group that was established in 2017 to “reshape citywide policies and practices such as admissions and program planning.”

The advisory group would be made up of Council appointments, mayoral appointments and Department of Education (DOE) appointments. The advisory group would be tasked with examining factors as they relate to school diversity and would be required on an annual basis to provide a public report to the Mayor and the Speaker on increasing diversity in all schools.

The annual report will also require a multi-year plan to be developed that can be adopted by DOE to address integration in schools. The report will also require a one-year look back measurement to track measurement of goals achieved.

“I’m a public school baby, and I’m proud of that fact and the education I got. I’m also a specialized high school alumni. But despite that pride and because of that history, I know that our system, and our students, are in desperate need of reform. This issue is not about special interests, but students’ interests- and confronting the inherent segregation in our system is vital to our students’ future,” said Williams.

“Educational segregation goes beyond eight schools, or one test, and we need to recognize that the failures of our system on race also speak to economic, geographic, and cultural division and disenfranchisement. It also highlights a lack of funding in some areas, for some students. We need to ensure, it is the mandate of our government, that every student in New York City can get a quality education regardless of zip code or family income,” added Williams.

Brannan Furious Over Bay Ridge Snub In BOE Early Voting Site List

Justin Brannan
City Council Member Justin Brannan

City Council member Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst) yesterday denounced the Board of Elections’ (NYC BOE) decision to not put an early voting site in Bay Ridge.

On Tuesday, BOE approved 38 sites where voters will be able to cast early ballots in future elections, coming in just short of the state’s deadline of May 1. Under state law, the elections board needed to assign at least 34 locations across the city as early voting sites: seven in each borough except for Staten Island, where six locations were required. (The minimum number of sites is based on the total number of registered voters in each county.)

However, the sites left out Bay Ridge in South Brooklyn, angering Councilman Brannan who argued the omission was unacceptable and called for an immediate site.  

The announcement came just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio committed $75 million from the city budget for the BOE to up the early polling sites to 100 in an effort to ensure efficient voting process. Early voting begins this year starting with the 2019 General Election this Fall slated for October 26 through November 3.

“I am calling on the New York Board of Elections to fix this disgraceful omission and provide an early voting site in Bay Ridge for the 2019 election and every subsequent election. Why does the Board of Elections continue to make participating in our democracy disproportionately more difficult for Bay Ridge residents? The Board of Elections refuses to provide, or even allow in most cases, interpreters at specific Bay Ridge poll sites. Now the Board of Elections wants to screw Bay Ridge over even more by not placing an early voting site in Bay Ridge. Sunset Park? Check. Bensonhurst? Check. Coney Island? Check. Bay Ridge? Put your walking shoes on,” remarked Brannan.

“How is it possible the that Board of Elections can find early voting sites in nearly every neighborhood surrounding Bay Ridge, but nothing actually IN Bay Ridge? For decades Bay Ridge has been disenfranchised through various gerrymandering schemes in the Senate and Assembly. This unofficial policy of telling Bay Ridge voters they don’t count needs to end now,” added Brannan.

Gounardes To Hosts Parent Town Hall

Andrew Gounardes
State Sen.-Elect Andrew Gounardes

State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend) announced yesterday that he will be hosting a “Parent Town Hall” this week.

The event will provide parents in the community the opportunity to ask questions and hear directly from the Senator, other elected officials, and agency representatives on a variety of top-of-mind issues affecting families in Southern Brooklyn.  

At the event will be Assembly member Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights) FDNY Lt. Jerry Rocco, New York Police Department (NYPD) 68th Precinct Commanding Officer Robert Conwell and Superintendent of District 20 Karina Costantino amongst other local leaders.

The event is slated for 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., today, May 2, at William McKinley-I.S. 259, 7301 Ft. Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge.

Felder Announces Free May Health Screening &  MetroCard Events

Sen. Simcha Felder

State Senator Simcha Felder (D-Boro Park, Midwood) this week announced that he will once again be offering free essential health screenings including cholesterol, glucose and hearing, at no cost this month.

Felder will also host a MetroCard Bus event, which will give mass transit bus riders an opportunity to meet with MetroCard staff for issues and questions regarding the transit card and supportive services.

“Screening is an easy and effective way to safeguard your long-term health and overall well-being. We are here to help,” said Felder.

“The MetroCard bus offers services that people find very helpful, especially seniors who qualify for reduced fare MetroCards. This is a one-stop shop,” explained Senator Felder. “Just bring your government issued ID and they walk you through the application, take your photograph and give you a temporary card to use immediately until your permanent card arrives in the mail.”

Free Cholesterol and Glucose Screenings:

  • Flatbush, 1412 Avenue J, on Thursday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Boro Park, 4623 16th Avenue, on Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Free Hearing Screening in collaboration with Medstar SBH:

  • Thursday, May 9, at 209 Avenue P from 1:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m.

Appointments are necessary for all health screenings, those interested please call 718-253-2015.

MetroCard Bus event is slated for Thursday, May 30 at two locations:

  • Flatbush, 1412 Avenue J, from 10 a.m. – 12-noon
  • Boro Park, 4623 16th Avenue, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.