Clarke, Fed Lawmakers Make Strides In Eliminating Robocall Schemes
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, Park Slope) alongside Representatives Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Virginia Foxx (NC-05) and Tim Walberg (MI-07) introduced the Ending One-Ring Scams Act of 2019 (H.R. 3264) last week.
The bipartisan legislation empowers the Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop robocallers from defrauding consumers through malicious phone call scams. When consumers call back a missed call, often unaware it’s a robocall, robocallers can collect fees from cell phone carriers. These incurred fees trickle down to consumers on their cell phone bills.
YouMail estimates that there were nearly 48 billion robocalls in 2018, a 64 percent increase since 2016. First Orion predicts that this year, 44.6 percent of all calls to mobile phones will be scam calls.
Specifically, the Ending One-Ring Scams Act of 2019 would:
- Ensure the FCC initiates a proceeding to protect the called consumers from one-ring scams;
- Ensure the FCC considers how it can work with Federal and State law enforcement agencies to address the issue, work with governments of foreign countries, incentivize voice service providers to stop calls made to perpetrate the issue, work with entities that provide call-blocking services to address the issue;
- Encourage the FCC to work with the governments of foreign countries to address one-ring scams;
- Require the FCC to publish a report on the status of its work to Congress no later than 1 year after passage; and
- Require the FCC to consult with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to educate consumers on how to avoid one-ring scams and incentivize voice service providers to stop calls made to perpetrate one-ring scams.
“We know that robocalls are annoying and harassing, but they also have the potential to cause financial harm to the American people. More than 200,000 people complained to the Federal Communications Commission last year about robocalls—topping the list of complaints to the FCC. The Ending One-Rings Scams Act will safeguard Americans from falling victim to dangerous robocall scams,” said Clarke.
Treyger Announces Pay Parity For Early Education Staff To Become Reality
City Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend) and Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg, Greenpoint) last week announced that the City Council along with Speaker Corey Johnson have recently committed to achieving pay parity for early childhood educators and staff at community-based providers.
Currently, there is a wage gap when it comes to the salaries of teachers at public schools compared with salaries of educators at community-based pre-K providers. The mayor has made free pre-K available for every 4-year-old in the city at breakneck speed, an accomplishment made possible by the very pre-K teachers now demanding equal pay. In order to serve so many children, the city relies on community organizations, which enroll almost 60 percent of the students in universal pre-K. The rest attend public schools, according to Chalkbeat.
Teachers employed in community centers have a starting salary around $42,000. Those employed by the education department (DOE), represented by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), have salaries that start around $59,000. The yawning gap has made it a struggle to recruit and retain teachers, community operators say.
“Based on the Council’s advocacy and feedback from providers, there have been significant improvements to the Early Childhood RFPs, an extension of the response deadline to July 15th, and, now, a commitment to get to salary parity once and for all, stabilizing the system. All parties committed to finalizing a salary agreement by the end of summer 2019,” said Treyger.
“I will continue to monitor the progress of the pay parity negotiations to save our universal pre-k programs in the city and close the wage gap among early education staff,” added Treyger.
Felder Announces Drivers License & Measles Checkup Events
State Senator Simcha Felder (D-Boro Park, Midwood) announced on Friday two upcoming quality of life events for constituents of the 17th Senate District.
The first event to kick off on Monday will assist any individual who would like to check the status of his or her driver’s license. The most common reasons for suspensions, include unanswered traffic tickets or unpaid surcharges, according to Felder.
“I urge everyone to check their driver’s license before heading upstate. Every summer minor traffic violations turn into arrests for unlicensed driving. This is 100% avoidable. Please don’t wait to find out the hard way,” said Felder.
The second event will allow local residents to get tested for measles. This is the third measles testing event being held by Felder, who represents a high number of Orthodox Jewish community members, who have been most affected by the recent measles outbreak. Felder is collaborating with Kamin Health Urgent Care to provide an after-hours, no-cost, titers test.
“Our goal is to help you stay healthy and safe so you can enjoy the summer,” said Felder.
The driver’s license event is slated for 9:30 a.m., to 4 p.m., every Monday through Thursday, at Senator Felder District Office, 1412 Avenue J in Midwood.
The measles event is slated for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 25, a Kamin Health Urgent Care, 4502 13th Avenue in Borough Park. Appointments required, please call 718-253-2015.
Myrie, Senate Majority Pass Tenant Protection Bill
State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn) alongside the Senate Majority last Friday passed the “Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019.”
The bill would dramatically expand and make permanent rent regulations that affect millions of tenants in New York City and across the state. In New York City, rent-stabilized units house more poor and low-income people than all other forms of subsidized and public housing combined.
In Myrie’s district, 57 percent of tenants pay more than a third of their income on rent, and 33 percent of tenants pay more than half their income on rent, according to analysis by the Community Service Society. The majority of those who live in rent-stabilized units are considered low-income tenants, and people of color are more likely than their white counterparts to live in rent-stabilized housing.
The announcement comes following a series of hearing across the state led by the Chair of the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Lower Manhattan, Northwestern Brooklyn) on rent regulation and tenant protections so that the final legislation would reflect the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders. The hearings provided an opportunity for tenants, property owners, stakeholders, and New Yorkers from around the state the opportunity to provide testimony and discuss affordable housing concerns directly with their State Senators.
“For decades, our communities have lost hundreds of thousands of rent regulated units, but with this legislation, we are putting power back in the hands of tenants. We are taking a historic step forward in the fight for housing as a human right, and I am proud to have stood with colleagues, advocates, and, most importantly, tenants, to lead this fight,” said Myrie.