Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 22, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

Rose Introduces Raising the Bar Act to Address Terrorist Content on Social Media

Congressman Max Rose (D-South Brooklyn, Staten Island), Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counterterrorism, introduced legislation yesterday to help hold social media companies accountable and stop the spread of terrorist content online in a way that would “raise the bar” on how well social media companies shut down terrorist activity on their platforms.

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

“Social media companies have become institutions in our society and have a responsibility to stop the spread of terrorist content on their platforms,” Rose said. “While we’ve made progress in pushing them to do more, the reality is we all need to work together—private companies, non-profit and research institutions, and the federal government. This commonsense program, which has similarly worked well in Europe, would hold social media companies accountable to their own written standards and encourage the kind of partnerships that are needed to properly stop the spread of terrorist content online.”

Rose’s Raising the Bar Act, which is inspired by the European Union’s Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, would establish an exercise program in which online terrorist content is flagged for social media companies. During each exercise, approved flaggers identify terrorist content to help test the efficacy of companies’ practices to address such content on their platforms within 24 hours. Social media companies are then rated on their performance in each exercise by a lead institution, such as a university or non-profit organization, which will be selected by the Department of Homeland Security.

Along with Chairman Thompson, Rose’s Raising the Bar Act is co-sponsored by Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay), Kathleen Rice of New York, Lauren Underwood of Illinois, Donald Payne, Jr. of New Jersey, and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan. The legislation is also endorsed by the Coalition for a Safer Web, Counter Extremism Project (CEP), Global Intellectual Property Enforcement Center (GIPEC), NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

De Blasio Announces Record-High 48,782 NYC Students Enrolling in College

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza released the announced that a record-high 48,782 students in the Class of 2018 enrolled in college, up approximately 8,000 students since the start of the administration and approximately 3,600 students compared to the year prior. 

“Our schools launch our kids to successful futures, and now more students than ever are enrolled in college and taking another step toward fulfilling their potential,” said de Blasio. “We are making sure our students know college isn’t just for a select few and that zip code no longer determines who gets to go.”

Sen. Kevin Parker

Additionally, college enrollment is at its highest ever – 62 percent of New York City’s Class of 2018 (students entering 9th grade in Fall 2014) enrolled in a two- or four-year college, vocational program, or public service program after graduation, up 3 percentage points from the previous year and up 11 percentage points from the Class of 2013.

Through College Access for All, more students are completing key milestones and directly applying to college: they are visiting a college campus with their high school, taking the SAT, applying to college, applying for financial aid, and enrolling in college and postsecondary programs. 

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio and his forwarding thinking Equity and Excellence agenda that has worked to significantly improve academic outcomes for students across our city,” said State Senator Kevin Parker (D-East Flatbush, Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas Park, Kensington, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace). “Though there is much more to be done to close the sprawling achievement gap, I am encouraged by the progress the Mayor has made for our students and their families, and I remain eager to support his efforts in any way that I can.”

Assembly Member Feliz Ortiz

Thanks to the increased attention, more students are enrolling in programs at CUNY, SUNY, New York State private colleges and out of state colleges. In addition to increases in college enrollment and college readiness, the 2018-19 School Quality Reports, released today, give families a clear, concise picture of the quality of each school, and the School Quality Guide provides more detailed information intended for schools to use to inform their planning efforts.

“A college education opens the door to countless opportunities. I am pleased that so many of our high school students are applying to college this year,” said Assistant Speaker Felix W Ortiz (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park). “Let’s continue to emphasize the need for higher education as a meaningful experience towards a more productive future.”

More information about the School Quality Reports, including reports for individual schools, training materials, and a link to the School Performance Dashboard, is available online.

Cornegy, Menchaca, Grodenchik Rally for Fire Safety Legislation as NYC Fire Deaths Surge

Council Members Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights), Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook, Greenwood Heights, Borough Park, Dyker Heights, Windsor Terrace), and Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Queens) rallied to support new legislation with fire safety advocates and community leaders yesterday. The law would fortify fire safety measures and stem escalating deaths by fire in large residential properties. Introduction 1146-A would ultimately require residential buildings over forty feet high to install sprinklers by 2029. 

The legislation is sponsored by Grodenchik and co-sponsored by Cornegy, who is Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, along with several other Council Members.  The bill aims to improve fire safety as Local Law 26 of 2004 did for commercial buildings, and comes as New York City’s fire death toll grows.  

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

According to a study conducted by the University of Nevada’s College of Urban Affairs, smoke detectors are not enough to save lives or prevent property damage.

“I know firsthand the devastation that fires in tall buildings can cause. This April, a fire ripped through a building in my district in the neighborhood of Sunset Park. Many of my neighbors were displaced and had to enter shelters or leave New York City,” said Menchaca. “That is simply unacceptable. Fire safety must be understood as more than a safety issue. It’s a housing issue; a human rights issue. From that lens, no cost is too high. We must do the right thing and install sprinkler technology wherever we can.”

According to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), fire fatalities in New York City shot up to 88 in 2018 from 43 in 2017. So far this year, there have been 56.  Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fire Investigation’s annual report shows there were 3,032 accidental fires and 1,001 fire injuries in 2018. 

“Fires, especially those that break out hundreds or thousands of feet above street level, require more than passive solutions like smoke detectors and fireproof construction,” said Cornegy. “Sprinkler systems represent an active solution to life-endangering fires in large residential buildings.  It is time we bring the law up to date to protect New York citizens.”

Velázquez and Others Write Letter Calling on NYCHA to Provide Heat This Winter

U.S. Reps Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens), Grace Meng (D-NY), and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) led the New York City Congressional Delegation on a letter to NYCHA Chair and CEO Gregory Russ calling on the Housing Authority to take immediate action to ensure NYCHA residents have adequate, consistent heat this winter.

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

“It is simply unconscionable that working families, seniors and other vulnerable neighbors who live in NYCHA facilities are entering the winter months with no assurance we won’t again see widespread heat outages,” said Rep. Velázquez. “I’ve authored legislation to make a historic federal investment in public housing, helping reverse decades of disinvestment. However, we must also have transparency and accountability at the local level. NYCHA’s winter heating plan must be approved and released to the public as soon as possible so we know how the agency’s leadership will address these issues.”

This is the second time Congress has called out NYCHA. In 2016, the New York City Congressional delegation was successful in passing an amendment as part of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, which directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to issue federal guidelines establishing minimum heating requirements for federally-supported public housing units such as NYCHA. 

These guidelines were issued on November 19, 2018. Yet despite these guidelines, NYCHA has been unable to keep all of its boilers working and its units at a proper temperature.