MAHN Lawmakers On The Move May 10, 2019

Manhattan Lawmakers on the Move bannner

MAHN Lawmakers Applaud Groundbreaking of Taystee Lab In West Harlem

State Senator Robert Jackson
New York State Senator Brian Benjamin
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
City Councilman Mark Levine

State Senators Robert Jackson (D-Upper Manhattan), Brian Benjamin (D-Harlem, East Harlem (El Barrio), Upper West Side, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, Morningside Heights), Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville, Hamilton Heights) yesterday applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement of the groundbreaking of the Taystee Lab Building in West Harlem.

The building is an 11-story, 350,000 square foot LEED-Certified Class-A property that will serve as a state-of-the-art home for companies and organizations in the life sciences, technology, academia, non-profit and arts sectors in the burgeoning Manhattanville Factory District.

Developed by Janus Property Company, the new building will be the anchor of the district, which stretches from West 125th Street to West 128th Street and includes both new construction and the redevelopment of former industrial buildings. This project furthers Governor Cuomo’s goal of fostering inclusive economic growth in communities across the state. To support Janus’ investment of up to $350 million to demolish the dilapidated former factory and build the new Taystee Lab Building, Empire State Development has offered up to $10 million in performance-based grants. The building is on track for substantial completion in late 2020.

“It is exciting to witness the groundbreaking for this building in West Harlem. I am looking forward to meeting with Janus Property to discuss the ways this development can serve the needs of the West Harlem and broader Northern Manhattan community for decades to come,” said Jackson.

“The Taystee building will bring additional innovation and resources to Harlem, which has always been a neighborhood well known for its commitment to innovation. I join Governor Cuomo in celebrating this grounding breaking and community focused development today,” said Benjamin.

“We all know that Harlem is booming—and buildings like the Taystee Lab ensure that it blooms for everyone. I thank Empire State Development for its work on this project that will create jobs and opportunities for our young talented entrepreneurs in a range of industries while also providing much treasured public space,” said Brewer.

“The Taystee building has emerged out of years of close collaboration with the West Harlem community, as part of a new district that builds on the industrial history of the area. Once completed it will be an important source of jobs and economic vitality for the community, and I am excited to see the project move forward,” said Levine.

Schumer Announces Reintroduction Of Marijuana Freedom & Opportunity Act To Decriminalize Marijuana

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) alongside Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) yesterday announced the reintroduction of the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, a measure aimed at decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Specifically the legislation would remove cannabis from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, effectively implementing decriminalization at the federal level. Schumer first introduced the legislation last year.

Specifically, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would:

  • Decriminalize Marijuana: Remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970, effectively decriminalizing it at the federal level.
  • Respect States’ Rights: Maintain federal law enforcement’s authority to prevent trafficking from states that have legalized marijuana to those that have not.
  • Level The Economic Playing Field: Establish dedicated funding streams to be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for women and minority-owned marijuana businesses that would be determinant on a reasonable estimate of the total amount of revenue generated by the marijuana industry.
  • Ensure Public Safety: Authorize $250 million over five years for targeted investments in highway safety research to ensure federal agencies have the resources they need to assess the pitfalls of driving under the influence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and develop technology to reliably measure impairment.
  • Invest In Public Health: Invest $500 million across five years for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work in close coordination with the Director of National Institutes of Health and the Commissioner of Food and Drug Administration in order to better understand the impact of marijuana, including the effects of THC on the human brain and the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for specific ailments.
  • Protect Children: Maintains the Department of Treasury’s authority to regulate marijuana advertising in the same way it does tobacco advertising to ensure cannabis businesses cannot target children in their advertisements. The bill also allows the agency to impose penalties in the case of violations.
  • Incentivize Sealing and Expungement Programs:  Provides $100 million over five years to the Department of Justice in grants to encourage state and local governments to administer, adopt, or enhance expungement or sealing programs for marijuana possession convictions.

“It’s time to decriminalize marijuana, and this bill is a critical first step. The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would give states the right to make their own choices when it comes to regulation; better equip all Americans, particularly communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana’s criminalization, to participate in the growing marijuana economy; and, by incentivizing sealing and expungement programs, provide Americans with low-level marijuana convictions the opportunity to move forward,” said Schumer.

Kallos Push Back Against Mayor’s Changes To SHSAT

Council Member Ben Kallos
Council Member Ben Kallos

City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side’s Yorkville, Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Roosevelt Island, Midtown East, Sutton Place, El Barrio in East Harlem) alongside a group of parent leaders will rally together to oppose Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to change the admission process to the eight elite Specialized High Schools (SHS).

The Mayor is looking to overhaul the admission system to SHS that currently relies on a one-time high stakes exam, Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT), that has come under fire for its lack of diversity. Black and Brown students currently make up approximately 70% of the population of the public school system but only make up 9% of the population of specialized high schools.

Specifically under the two part plan, 20 percent of spots would be reserved at each specialized high school for low-income students whose test scores put them just below the admissions cutoff and the SHSAT would be eliminated in favor of a system where the top students at every middle school would be guaranteed a spot at a specialized high school.

The event is slated for 9:15 a.m., today, May 10 at 250 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.