Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Oct. 23, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Gillibrand Legislation Aimed At Helping Older Adults In Nursing Facilities

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced new, bipartisan legislation that would help protect older adults and long-term care patients from abuse by improving health care worker hiring practices. 

The Promote Responsible Oversight & Targeted Employee background Check Transparency for Seniors (PROTECTS) Act would help expand access to the National Practitioner Data Bank for Medicare and Medicaid providers to conduct background screenings on potential employees. Currently, New York has over 269,000 older adults in long-term care facilities.

Health care providers use the National Practitioner Data Bank to screen potential hires to verify that they do not have a history of malpractice. This database is currently inaccessible to some Medicare and Medicaid providers, potentially putting the health of older adults and long-term care patients in New York and across the country at risk. 

“Families need to trust that when a loved one is living in a long-term care facility, they will be safe and cared for professionally. Unfortunately, there have been far too many reports of abuse in these facilities, and this is unacceptable,” said Gillibrand, a member of the Special Committee on Aging. “One way we can help protect our loved ones is by expanding access to the National Practitioner Data Bank. This system allows hospitals, medical boards, and law firms to screen health professionals for a history of malpractice, but long-term care facilities are not allowed to use this important tool. I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan PROTECTS Act, which would change these rules and ensure that long-term care facilities can access critical information. We must do more to protect our vulnerable older adults and long-term care patients in New York, and I urge my colleagues to join me and support this bill.”

Cuomo Orders State Investigation Of Deed Fraud Targeting Brooklyn Homeowners

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday called on the State Department of Financial Services (DFS) to launch an investigation of apparent deed fraud and deceptive practices targeted at homeowners in Brooklyn. 

Cuomo also directed DFS to dispatch the Department’s Foreclosure Relief Unit to provide assistance to homeowners who believe they may have been a victim of deed fraud or unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices in regard to the sale or attempted purchase of their home. Finally, the Governor urged affected homeowners to call the DFS foreclosure relief hotline – 1-800-342-3736 – for assistance.

“The illegal and deceptive actions to rob New Yorkers of their homes reported today are disgraceful and must be stopped,” Cuomo said. “I am calling on the state Department of Financial Services to investigate these transactions and the entities behind this deceptive behavior, and to deploy foreclosure relief services to affected communities so we can start helping impacted homeowners now. Anyone found guilty of this repugnant behavior will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

In August, Governor Cuomo signed legislation enhancing consumer protection measures and closing loopholes to prevent deed fraud and mortgage scams. The new law (A.5615/S.1688) provides better protections for homeowners whose homes are either in default or in foreclosure, increasing the likelihood that a victim will have the opportunity to seek recovery in court.

Adams Brings Light To PrEP Aware Week

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Amida Care, and the National Black Leadership Commission on Health (NBLCH) today will join forces to support and promote the first annual PrEP Aware Week, which runs from Oct. 20-26.

The State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute. Events will take place statewide throughout the week to increase PrEP awareness and uptake.

PrEP is a game-changing pill that has proven to be 99% effective in preventing HIV transmission. New York State recently announced that the number of new HIV infections was down 11% from 2017 to 2018. Increasing PrEP usage can reduce that number even further and move us closer to ending the epidemic.

Brooklyn bears a disproportionate burden of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with more than 30,000 people living with HIV. In 2017, Brooklyn experienced 640 new HIV diagnoses, representing a 10.15% increase in new diagnoses from the previous year — making Brooklyn the only borough with an increase. Most alarmingly, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights are among the hardest-hit neighborhoods citywide, accounting for a quarter of new diagnoses in the borough.

Health resources and educational materials about PrEP will be available to the public.

Adams will discuss the issue more in-depth at 12 noon, today, Oct. 23 at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Davila Holds Know Your Rights Tenant Forum

Assemblywoman Maritza Davila

Assemblywoman Maritza Davila (D-Bushwick, Williamsburg) today is partnering with RiseBoro Community Partnership and Mobilization for Justice, Inc (MFJ) in a forum to discuss the current New York State rent laws and how to combat tenant harassment.

The event welcomes all community members to partake in this event and learn about the New York State rent laws that were recently passed and how they protect renters. Presentations will be given by RiseBoro and MFJ. 

There will also be an intake session, where individuals can provide their information and receive legal advice based on their personal case. The following organizations will table and provide information to community members: NYC Buildings, NYC Tenant Support, Communities Resist and NYC Housing Preservation & Development.

The forum is slated for 6-8 p.m., tonight, Oct. 23 at the RiseBoro Youth Center, 1474 Gates Avenue. 

Persaud Hearing Looks At Proposed Changes to Food Stamp Program 

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, Starrett City), chair of the Senate Social Services Committee and Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse), Chair of the Senate Aging Committee, this week convened a hearing to obtain witness assessments of how pending changes to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and methodology used to determine Official Poverty Measure (OPM), will impact New York programs that assist populations served by the human services sector.

The Senators heard testimony from the following agencies and organizations:

  •       Michael P. Hein, Commissioner, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)
  •       Grace Bonilla, HRA Administrator, NYC Department of Social Services
  •       Michele McClave, Commissioner, Albany County Department of Social Services
  •       Gail Myers, Deputy Director, NY StateWide Senior Action Council
  •       Sherry Tomasky, Director – Communications and Public Affairs, Hunger Solutions New York
  •       Dede Hill, Director of Policy, Schuyler Center for Analysis & Advocacy

In addition, several organizations submitted written testimony.

“The testimony we received from state and local commissioners, advocates for New York’s seniors, anti-hunger and anti-poverty experts, brought forth an overwhelming wealth of knowledge about the current state of New York’s safety net,” said Persaud. “We heard loud and clear that vulnerable New Yorkers, particularly tens of thousands of young children and seniors, will bear the brunt of these misguided federal proposals.  I look forward to working with our partners in government and advocacy groups to continue fighting to prevent these proposed changes.”

Gounardes Announces Statewide Civil Service Tour

State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) Chair of the Committee of Civil Service and Pensions, yesterday kicked off his Statewide Civil Service Tour that will take place from now through December. 

His office announced stops and dates for the tour, which will include visits to first responders and public servants across the state, including southern Brooklyn, Long Island, Syracuse, Buffalo, the Hudson Valley and Albany.

“As Chair of the Committee of Civil Service and Pensions, I have a deep respect for all who choose to become public servants. These are the individuals who save our lives, teach our children and keep our public transportation going. To effectively legislate, I need to meet with public servants in person to hear about the issues they’re facing on the ground. I am excited to kick off this tour and visit public servants all across our great state,” said Gounardes.

The planned stops and dates are as follows:

  • 10/22, 11 a.m.: Nassau County Police 3rd Precinct (other Precincts TBD)
  • 10/28, 11 a.m.: Public Safety Answering Center II, The Bronx 
  • 10/30, 12 p.m.: Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn 
  • 10/30: 8:30 p.m.: Engine 321 in Marine Park, Brooklyn
  • 10/31, 8:30 p.m.: Engine 241 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
  • 11/1, 11:00 a.m.: Suffolk County Courts (TBD) 
  • 11/19: NYS Trooper stations, Hudson Valley (TBD)
  • 11/25: Onondaga County Health Department, Syracuse 
  • 11/26: Buffalo Tour with Senator Tim Kennedy: City Hall, Erie County Building, NFTA bus garage 
  • 12/3, 9:00 a.m.: Coxsackie Correctional Facility, Coxsackie
  • 12/3, 11:45 a.m.: Albany County DMV

Additional stops and locations may be added, as will additional details for existing stops and special guests.