MAHN Lawmakers On The Move May 9, 2019

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Hoylman Bill Holding President Trump Accountable Passes State Senate

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman’s (D-Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, UWS, Midtown/East Midtown, Columbus Circle, Times Square, LES) bill aimed at authorizing New York State to release state tax returns requested by Congress passed the Senate yesterday.

The legislation will allow New York State officials to release state tax returns in cooperation with Congressional investigations by authorizing the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance to furnish state tax returns upon written request of the Chairpersons of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The bill passed as part of a larger State Senate effort to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his financial audits including his federal tax documents that he has kept private since his entrance into politics nearly four years ago.The legislation also passes as The New York Times reported this week that Donald Trump’s tax returns, 1040 forms from 1985 to 1994, lost $1,17 billion in 10 years—“more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.”

The other measure approved by the Senate yesterday was a bill (S.4572) sponsored by State Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Island) allowing state authorities to prosecute someone even if they receive a Presidential reprieve, pardon or other form of clemency.

“Today, the New York State Senate voted to do its part to assist Congress in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities by passing the TRUST Act, allowing the State Tax Department to cooperate with congressional committees requesting New York State tax returns. We must ensure that Congress can’t be blocked in their attempts to hold even the highest elected officials in the land accountable to the American people,” said Hoylman.

Rosenthal Introduces City Ban On Deadly, Untraceable “Ghost Guns”

Council Member Helen Rosenthal
Council Member Helen Rosenthal

City Council members Helen Rosenthal (D-Central Park, Lincoln Square) introduced legislation yesterday banning the possession of unfinished lower gun frames or receivers, which are then used to create untraceable firearms or so-called “ghost guns.”

Ghost guns and 3-D printed guns are especially popular among individuals who are unable to purchase guns legally because they have no serial numbers, which makes them virtually untraceable by law enforcement and allows criminals to bypass background checks and licensing laws. Ghost-guns can also be customized because they are assembled from unfinished parts, according to the City Council members.

Rosenthal’s bill, Intro. 1553, will make it illegal to possess or dispose of an unfinished frame or receiver. These unfinished frames represent 80% of a completed gun, with the remaining 20% easily purchased online or at a hardware store. Once the frame is complete, the gun is enabled to function as intended. Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000, or imprisonment for 1 year, or both. This bill joins that of City Council member I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens) who also introduced legislation aimed at reporting the number of ghost guns seized by NYPD officials.

In March, an investigation of a suspected cocaine ring in southern New Jersey led to the discovery that the ring was selling AR-15 style ghost-guns, the parts of which were shipped to nearby Pennsylvania in an attempt to circumvent New Jersey’s new law making it illegal to buy, manufacture, sell, or possess ghost-guns. The AR-15 is an extremely powerful weapon similar to the rifle that was used in the Pittsburgh synagogue attack last year.

“It is urgent that we take every possible measure to block untraceable weapons in New York City. Unfinished ‘ghost guns’ can easily be completed with parts bought online or from a hardware store, but they have the same lethal power as finished guns purchased from a licensed retailer,” said Rosenthal.

Schumer, Gillibrand Push To Increase Funding To Protect NonProfits Against Terror Attacks

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced a new bipartisan push to increase funding to protect nonprofit institutions that are at risk of being targeted for terror attacks.

As the Senate considers funding priorities for the upcoming Fiscal Year, Gillibrand and Schumer are leading the bipartisan coalition of 33 senators to provide a total of $75 million in the 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

The program provides essential funding for nonprofit institutions to install critical physical security enhancements and prevent attacks. The requested $75 million would increase total funding for the program by $15 million from last year’s level, strengthening the NSGP and helping to ensure that Congress is doing everything possible to protect communities from targeted terror attacks.

The request for an increase in funding comes as recent attacks on places of worship highlight the unique vulnerabilities that communities face across the country. Just last week, the Anti-Defamation League’s 2018 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents in New York report showed that there was a 55 percent increase in Anti-Semitic Assaults in 2018, all of which occurred in New York City. The report also showed that after the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, incidents of Anti-Semitism increased by 170 percent over the previous quarter. The February 2019 FBI, DHS, and NCTC Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) found that domestic extremists, perpetrators of hate crimes, homegrown violent extremists, and foreign terrorist organizations will continue to pose a lethal threat to faith-based communities, particularly against perceived soft targets such as religious and cultural facilities.

“There have been far too many heartless and horrific hate crimes targeting places of worship throughout America recently and we must do all we can to help people of all faiths worship in security and safety. This increase in funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program will help protect all houses of worship and other nonprofits from these horrific acts,” said Schumer.

“Nobody should ever have to live in fear of being targeted for a terror attack. It is a tragedy that hate crimes are on the rise in our country, and one way Congress can help protect vulnerable communities is by increasing funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. This program helps nonprofits pay for the tools they need to stay safe,” said Gillibrand.

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