Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Oct. 15, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Schumer Calls For Senate Vote Opposing Trump’s Withdrawal Of Syria

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced Sunday he will demand a vote this week on the Senate floor opposing President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria and requiring a new strategy to contain and defeat ISIS, as well as reengage and defend Kurdish partners.

“As I’ve said, when it comes to defeating ISIS, President Trump has no coherent strategy. His decision making is erratic. It’s impulsive. He makes critically important decisions on a whim and seems to disregard the advice of our national security leaders and military commanders,” said Schumer.

Schumer and other lawmakers—from both parties—have warned that the president’s rash decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Northern Syria would undo a largely successful strategy that has crippled ISIS, diminishing their power and presence as a global threat, particularly to America. 

Schumer has said the president’s erratic decision-making is aiding and abetting an ISIS jailbreak. Schumer announced he will seek to hold a vote this week in an attempt to undo the aforementioned threat to our national security.

“For New Yorkers, this action a world away delivers a deep worry here at home because we, more than anyone after 9/11, know terrorism can begin as a tiny cell from as far as ‘7,000 miles away’ and then metastasize into a domestic attack on our doorstep. Our partnership with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) not only contained ISIS, but helped ensure the security of Americans right here in New York, and now we have taken a giant step back,” Schumer added.

Nadler Lauds Court Injunction Barring Trump “Public Charge” Rule

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler, (D-Borough Park, Kensington, and parts of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Midwood, Manhattan) chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) on Friday released a statement applauding the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York decision, granting a preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from implementing its recently finalized “public charge” rule.

The proposed Trump Administration “public charge” rule would withhold green cards (Permanent Residence Cards) to those immigrants who use public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits a.k.a food stamps.

“Today, the Southern District of New York upheld the rule of law by preventing the Trump Administration from implementing its recently finalized, so-called “public charge” rule.  As the court recognized in its order, the Trump Administration’s lawless rule would have upended over 130 years of legislative, judicial, and executive precedent and subverted decades of Congressional action expanding working families’ access to critical public health and nutritional programs,” the lawmakers said.

“In 1882, Congress defined the term “public charge” to refer to individuals who are primarily dependent on government benefits to survive, making this limited group of individuals inadmissible to the United States. For over 130 years, all three branches of government have reaffirmed that traditional understanding: Congress has amended the grounds of inadmissibility but not changed the definition of public charge.  Executive branch officials in Republican and Democratic administrations have issued guidance to the same effect. Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have followed suit. The Southern District of New York recognized the Trump Administration’s rule as both a historical aberration, and an unlawful attempt to change the long-established “public charge” definition by fiat,” they added.

Without the injunction, the rule would have gone into effect tomorrow Oct. 15.

Ortiz Bill Helping LGBTQ Runaway Youth Signed Into Law 

Assembly Member Feliz Ortiz

Assistant Speaker Félix W. Ortiz’s (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) last week saw Gov. Andrew Cuomo sign his legislation, A.3619-A, that will require employees of programs providing care to runaway and/or homeless youth to attend LGBTQ specific training.

LGBTQ youth can make up to 40% of the population in facilities that care for homeless youth and runaways. Its common sense to ensure staff are trained in the use of appropriate terminology, how to address homophobia or transphobia from other youth, and deal with challenges specific to the LGBTQ youth community, noted Ortiz.

“Many of these young people have faced difficult family situations due to their sexual orientation and/or gender expression. We need to support all young people, ensuring that homeless youth of all orientations are treated with the respect and sensitivity they may not have gotten at home,” said Ortiz. “I will continue the fight to support LGBTQ communities on all fronts. Today’s bill signing represents one step towards a more progressive New York.”

AM Williams Holds Annual Bluefish Festival

Assemblymember Jaime R. Williams
Assemblymember Jaime R. Williams

Assembly Member Jaime Williams (D-Canarsie, Georgetown, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach) along with the Famous Nick’s Lobster House, the National Park Service, and Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy and some wonderful volunteers recently celebrated the 59th Assembly’s Bluefish Festival honoring the aquatic life and marine environment surrounding the 59th Assembly District.

The students, parents and faculty of PS 276 and others, joined in the festivities by taking part in aquatic-themed activities such as beach cleanups and nature walking. 

The Canarsie Pier Festival celebrates the need for the preservation of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s legislation limiting the amount of bluefish and the size of the bluefish caught, all with a focus on the growth and expansion of the natural living aquatic environment just inches off the pier. 

Additionally, the festival celebrates Williams’ legislation, A10203, on the importance of the environment and the natural synergy with bill A-5764, which details certain shellfish regulations and includes scallops as species for purpose of proper handling all local species in our native waterways. 

“The importance of inculcating within our youth the ability preserve and care for their local marine environment will only garner and foster a respect and love for Jamaica Bay and the surrounding shore,” said Williams.

“Many of these young people have faced difficult family situations due to their sexual orientation and/or gender expression. We need to support all young people, ensuring that homeless youth of all orientations are treated with the respect and sensitivity they may not have gotten at home,” said Ortiz. “I will continue the fight to support LGBTQ communities on all fronts. Today’s bill signing represents one step towards a more progressive New York.”

Deutsch Announces City Hall Sukkah Open to Public

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest, Midwood), chair of the council’s Jewish Caucus, announced for the first time ever, city hall will erect a sukkah in honor of the Jewish holiday of Sukkos. 

Deutsch worked with Pinny Ringel, Community Affairs Unit Liason for Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Inspector Howard Redmond, Speaker Corey Johnson, and members of the NYC Council’s Jewish Caucus – in close partnership with Rabbi Shmuel Butman of the Lubavitch Youth Organization- to arrange for the sukkah to be built in front of the entrance to City Hall on Broadway.

It is a Jewish custom to erect a temporary “hut” for the eight-day holiday of Sukkos, which begins at sunset on Sunday evening, Oct. 13. In ancient times, after being freed from slavery in Egypt, the Jewish people dwelled in huts in the desert as they traveled towards the Land of Israel. In modern times, these huts are assembled as a reminder of G-d’s protection during that 40 year period. Observers “live” in the sukkah as much as possible during the holiday, including eating, drinking, sleeping, and spending time with family within the four walls. 

Sukkahs resemble tents or wooden structures and are topped with “schach”, leafy greenery.

“I am immensely grateful to Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, the NYPD, and the Lubavitch Youth Organization for working together to erect a City Hall sukkah that is open to all New Yorkers. The entire Jewish Caucus is eager to welcome our neighbors and friends to visit our sukkah and learn all about the Jewish holiday of Sukkos,” said Deutsch.

The City Hall Sukkah will be open during the Intermediate days of the holiday, beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 16  and lasting until Sunday, Oct. 20. The City Hall sukkah will be located across from 250 Broadway, in front of the Broadway entrance to City Hall. (Next to the bodega, for those who know the area).

Colton Lauds Cuomo For Ordering National Grid To Restore Gas Service

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D–Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) this weekend commended Governor Cuomo for responding to the pleads of the helpless gas customers that were held hostages by the National Grid and ordering the utility company to restore service.

“The residents and small businesses were devastated by the decision of the greedy National Grid Gas Company. I am grateful that the NYS Public Service Commission has ordered National Grid to immediately connect over 1,100 residential and small business gas customers that were previously denied service unless the controversial new pipeline was approved by the state,” said Colton.

“It was demonstrated in the press conference I held over a month ago, that neighborhood residents and businesses were suffering and threatened with the loss of their hard-earned family savings because of National Grid’s greed in seeking to perpetuate its antiquated business model of selling gas and failing to plan a smooth transition to clean renewable energy which is the hope of the future. National Grid tried to hold New Yorkers hostage to its business short-sightedness by forcing approval of a pipeline which would cost one billion dollars, the construction of which National Grid was passing on to gas users as it quietly applied for more than a 15% gas rate increase. 

“And worst, after getting New Yorkers to pay the cost of the construction of this controversial underwater pipeline, which raised serious environmental concerns, it was planning to use the pipeline to transport the excess gas, it hoped to control to other parts of the world such as Canada and other states, once NY converted to renewable energy sources. The Governor responded to the calls we made to order National Grid to stop denying gas to people in its exclusive supply area until it could prove it was unable to supply such gas and if National Grid could not meet its responsibility to supply such gas or was refusing to do so, we must look for other options or gas suppliers who could. The people of the State have won a crucial battle for the future of energy in New York,” Colton stated.

Velázquez Mourns Passing of Miriam Cruz

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Lower Manhattan) mourned the death of Williamsburg born-and-raised civic activist Miriam Cruz.

Cruz died on Oct. 6. She was 68.

“Miriam Cruz was a beloved member of the Williamsburg and Transfiguration Parish communities. A champion for children, Miriam worked tirelessly to strengthen our community and serve working families. In 1974, she joined Nuestros Niños Childhood Development Center, a care facility serving predominantly young, low-income women and families. After many roles, Miriam was named the Center’s executive director in the early 2000s, a position she held until her untimely and unexpected passing,” said Velázquez.

“Our community has lost a steadfast public servant and I have lost a dear friend.  Miriam L. Cruz will be deeply missed, but always remembered for her kindness, warmth and the countless lives she improved,” she added.

Frontus Honors Pathways to Apprenticeship Program Graduates

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Brighton Beach Gravesend) on Friday attended the Coney Island Pathways to Apprenticeship (P2A) Program graduation ceremony at the Carey Gardens Community Center in Coney Island.

Earlier this year, Frontus secured $100,000 in the 2019-20 state budget for P2A, which seeks to end intergenerational poverty by helping individuals in low-income communities gain building trades experience to begin rewarding careers.

“Those who are willing to put the work in should be given every opportunity to succeed, no matter their background or financial status,” Frontus said. “That’s why I was so proud to speak at the P2A program graduation ceremony and congratulate the new graduates who’ve worked so hard to build a better life for themselves. This program gives Coney Island residents from all walks of life a chance to gain some hands-on experience, and I know each of the graduates has a bright future ahead of them.”

The P2A program provides individuals in low-income communities – including those who live in public housing or receive public assistance, the underemployed and the formerly incarcerated – access to union construction apprenticeships that lead to good-paying jobs. Graduates completed four weeks of classwork in a range of subjects, toured building trades training centers and received a tool bag to use as they transition into their new careers. 

The program has already seen successful results, with more than 85% of graduates still employed in the building trades.

Persaud’s Menstrual Product Ingredient Disclosure Bill Signed Into Law

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Ocean Hill and Starrett City) last week saw Governor Cuomo make history last week when he signed her legislation, S2387B/A164B requiring full ingredient disclosure on all menstrual products into law – the first such law in the nation.

Tampons and other menstrual products are widely used by women across the United States, resulting in a multi-billion dollar industry. Tampons are marketed and sold with little or no data to assure the public that they contain safe ingredients. The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  considers these products to be ‘medical devices’, which means that manufacturers are not required to go into specifics regarding the products’ ingredients.  

“It seems logical considering the personal nature of menstrual products that we require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in the products that are widely used by women in the most intimate part of their bodies,” said Persaud. “Consumers deserve transparency when shopping for any product. I am thrilled to see New York lead the way in the implementation of common-sense policy, and hope to see more states follow suit. Many thanks to Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal for championing this bill, and much appreciation to the Governor for seeing the importance of this landmark new law.”