Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 26, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Mosley Sees His Veterans Protection Act Signed Into Law

Assemblyman Walter Mosley

Assemblymember Walter T. Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy) on Friday saw Gov. Andrew Cuomo sign his legislation (S.4807/A.6292) to protect veterans from scammers and unscrupulous businesses who attempt to sell unneeded financial products or services to veterans to earn a commission or fee. 

The Pension Poaching Prevention Act prohibits any entity from receiving compensation for helping veterans and their dependents prepare a claim for benefits services that the entity is not authorized to provide, except as allowed under the United States Department of Veterans Affairs standards. The bill will take effect 120 days after becoming law.

Pension poaching is a growing scam nationwide involving unscrupulous financial planners, insurance agents or other entities who target elderly and disabled veterans. These unethical entities claim they are assisting veterans and their families obtain benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but in fact, they are often convincing veterans to reposition their assets to qualify for benefits they are not eligible for and which have specific and strict qualifications. 

The measure puts several provisions in place to protect veterans and their families. This legislation makes it illegal to receive compensation for assisting with the preparation of a claim and prohibits these entities from charging unreasonable fees for services and guaranteeing that an individual will receive a specific amount of veterans’ benefits money, a dishonest tactic that pension poachers commonly employ. In addition, the legislation requires that entities offering these services inform veterans and their families that the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services and their local Veterans Service Agencies can provide free services regarding Veterans’ benefits.

“I am proud to have sponsored the strongest state legislation in the nation in an effort to protect our veterans and their families. As such, I commend the Governor for signing the Poaching Prevention Act. As the son and grandson of veterans, I have always felt a deep connection to our women and men who have and currently serve in our armed forces,” said Mosley.

“Many fellow New Yorkers who made the great sacrifice of serving and putting our country before their friends, families, and personal safety. Just as they have done time and time again, it is time for us to ensure that they have the protections and resources they need to be financially secure. It is our turn to ensure that our great state will protect our veterans so they won’t have to worry about their financial security being attacked,” he added.

Clarke, Lander Host District Roundtable on Climate Change

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
City Council Member Brad Lander

U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) and City Council Member Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) will host a district roundtable tonight to discuss how smart technology can make New York’s 9th Congressional District more resilient in the wake of climate change.

 The conversation with city-wide experts is about how technology, innovation and policy can make the city more resilient and how to strengthen various communities within the borough. Among the participants include Ke Wei from the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency and Sustainability, David Armour from Siemens, Natalia Quintero from Transit Tech Lab, Thaddeus Pawlowski from the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes at Columbia University and William Solecki from the kCUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities)

 The roundtable discussion is slated for 6:30-8 p.m., tonight, Aug. 26 at the Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza in Grand Army Plaza.

Rose Backs “9-8-8” National Dialing Code for Suicide Hotline

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

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) last week helped introduce bipartisan legislation week to establish “9-8-8” as a universal, nationwide telephone number for the national suicide prevention hotline system.

Rose’s legislation comes following the recent rise in suicides among New York Police Department Officers.

“What we’ve seen with these tragic suicides among NYPD officers is that all too often, the barriers for getting help are just too high. When people make the difficult decision to seek help, every second counts,” Rose said. “We’re in the midst of a mental health crisis in this country, especially among law enforcement, first responders, veterans, and the LGBTQ community. The data shows that suicide hotlines save lives, and we need to be doing everything we can to make them as accessible as possible.”

The bipartisan National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, of which Rose is an original cosponsor, addresses the current patchwork of government agencies and nonprofits providing suicide prevention services, each with its own phone number. 

The legislation designates the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recommended number of 9-8-8 as the dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and gives the FCC one year to complete the necessary upgrades to its system to support 9-8-8. It also empowers states to support local crisis call centers affiliated with the 988 network.

Rose also challenged Mayor de Blasio to take seriously the issue of veteran suicide and join the national “Mayor’s Challenge,” a comprehensive program meant to empower city governments to build interagency teams for veteran suicide prevention efforts.

Adams, Espinal Rally For MTA Broadway Junction Investments 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
Council Member Rafael Espinal
City Council Member Rafael Espinal

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Councilmember Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills) today will join advocates to call on the MTA to seriously invest in Broadway Junction, a hub ignored for decades despite being Brooklyn’s third busiest station. 

The transit hub, which serves over 100,000 commuters daily, deserves:

  • Funding for elevators and full ADA access across all five subway lines, for people with disabilities, families with strollers, elderly people, and people with injuries.
  • Responsible repairs on consistently broken escalators to ensure they’re reliable.
  • General reinforcements and upkeep of conditions throughout the station.

The rally is slated for 10 a.m., today, Aug. 26 at the Broadway Junction in East New York.

Cuomo Announces Second Kosciuszko Bridge To Open Thursday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Friday that the second span of the Kosciuszko Bridge will open to traffic before rush hour early Thursday morning, August 29. 

The Kosciuszko Bridge project will replace the existing 77-year-old bridge, first opened in 1939 under President Roosevelt’s administration, with two new state-of-the-art, cable-stayed bridges, one Queens-bound and one Brooklyn-bound.

The Kosciuszko Bridge, which will be the first new major bridge crossing constructed in New York City since the Verrazzano Bridge in 1964 and is four years ahead of schedule and on budget, will be open to the public from 12 noon – 6 p.m. for the community to bike or walk over the new bridge before it opens to traffic on early Thursday morning. 

“While the federal administration obsesses over building walls, in New York we are building bridges and other infrastructure critical to moving our 21st-century economy forward,” said Cuomo. “With the opening of the second span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge on Wednesday, we will once again demonstrate to the nation that it’s possible to take on big projects and to get them done on time and on budget.”

Starting early Thursday morning, the Queens-bound bridge will carry five lanes of traffic and a separate Brooklyn-bound bridge will carry four lanes, as well as a 20-feet-wide bikeway/walkway with spectacular views of Manhattan. 

Shoulders have been added to both bridges, where none currently exist. The roadway incline has also been lowered by approximately 35 feet, making it easier for trucks and other large vehicles to maintain consistent speeds on the bridge – helping reduce traffic congestion. In April 2017, traffic was shifted onto the new Queens-bound bridge and the existing bridge was removed to complete Phase 1 of the project.