Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 23, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Espinal, Williams Introduce Tenant Transparency Act

Council Member Rafael Espinal
City Council Member Rafael Espinal
Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

City Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills) and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams today will introduce legislation that will hold the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) more accountable on issuing violations affecting tenants in buildings.

Dubbed the Tenant Transparency Act, the measure comes after elected officials receiving a lot of calls from harassed tenants, and often in addition to troubles with their landlord, they also have a really hard time dealing with DOB and HPD. 

The measures set out a few different ways to make DOB and HPD more accountable to the tenants they are supposed to be helping. The Tenant Transparency Act includes:

  • Photo-Evidence Bills: In relation to requiring the DOB/HPD to submit photographic documentation when issuing a notice of violation for violations where the underlying condition is visual and capable of being captured by a photograph. The DOB/HPD would be tasked with promulgating and publishing rules regarding which violations will be subject to the photograph requirement.
  • Scheduling Inspection Bill: In relation to requiring HPD to provide a time frame when scheduling inspections and repairs

The lawmakers will speak about the legislation at 11 a.m., today, Jan. 23 on the steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Colton Lauds American Debate League

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D–Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) lauded the American Debate League, which organizes debates in public schools.

Colton’s office helps sponsor the debate league and Colton was a judge and impressed with the students of the Brooklyn School of Inquiry, I.S. 87 and I.S. 30 during the debate tournament.

“It was an honor to be a judge as well as a sponsor of the debate. All the students were well prepared and organized in their thinking and very strong in their arguments. I was honored to present the trophy to the best speaker at the debate,” said Colton.

“At the end of the tournament, it was a great pleasure to receive a plaque presented to me by the American Debate League. We have good reasons to be proud of all these students, and I am grateful to the American Debate League for making these debates occur,” he added.

Rose Hosts Nonprofit Security Grant Program Workshop

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island), chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, this past Tuesday hosted a Nonprofit Security Grant Program Workshop at the Sephardic Community Center in Brooklyn.

Rose helped lead a successful bipartisan effort to increase funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to $90 million, a 50 percent increase, which provides critical support and protection for nonprofit and religious institutions like synagogues, churches, mosques, religious schools and community centers which have increasingly been targets of terrorism and hate crimes.

“No American should ever be afraid to worship, gather for prayers, or celebrate with their community. Unfortunately with rising hate and violence taking place across our city and country, it’s a reality that’s occurring far too often,” said Rose, the first Jewish Member of Congress from Staten Island. “I was proud lead a successful, bipartisan effort to increase funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, but increasing it alone is not enough if those who need the funding most don’t know about the program or how to apply. That’s why I’m so committed to making sure that everyone in our community has the tools and resources they need to apply for funding to improve security at their institutions.”

Rose’s workshop was attended by more than 50 local nonprofits organizations and religious institutions who learned about the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and how to apply for funding to help improve security systems that best fit the needs of the institutions. 

Speakers at the workshop included representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees the grant program, as well as from the New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the New York City Police Department, who spoke to actions being taken on the state and city level to protect high-risk nonprofit and religious institutions. 

Cuomo Announces Legislation Banning Contributions From Foreign-Influenced Corporations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced legislation in the FY 2021 Executive Budget to ban contributions from foreign-influenced corporations to political campaigns statewide.

The bill bans corporations from contributing to political campaigns in New York or from making independent expenditures to influence elections, if a single foreign entity controls 5 percent ownership. The proposal would also ban corporations with more than 10 percent ownership in aggregate by two or more foreign entities from making such contributions or expenditures. 

Finally, the proposal will ban campaign spending if more than 10 percent of a corporation’s board members are foreign nationals, or a foreign national participates in the decision making with respect to a corporation’s political activities in the United States.

“We’ve seen undeniable proof that foreign entities have tried to undermine and influence our elections, and today New York takes is taking a bold step forward to protect the integrity of our democratic process,” said Cuomo. “With this measure, we are once and for all closing a loophole that allowed foreign-controlled corporations to donate to campaigns and in the process, helping to restore confidence in our elections.”  

Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Help Support People With Disabilities

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rob Portman (R-OH) yesterday announced new, bipartisan legislation that would help support patients, particularly older adults and people with disabilities, by allowing them to maintain their direct support professional (DSP) during short hospital stays. 

DSPs are personal aids that support people in ways that promote independent living and community inclusion. Currently, Medicaid does not cover personal DSPs when a patient is admitted to the hospital, and the individual must be treated by other hospital staff who may be unfamiliar with the patient and not trained on their particular needs. 

Gillibrand and Portman’s legislation, the Ensuring Access to Direct Support Professionals Act, would change this provision by allowing Medicaid to cover DSPs during short-term hospital stays. This would help give patients, including people with disabilities, access to DSPs they know, helping them to navigate the hospital visit with full independence and leading to better health outcomes.

“Direct support professionals fill a vital role for older adults and people with disabilities, helping them live independent lives and enabling their full participation in the community,” said Gillibrand. “When individuals enter the hospital without the support of their DSP, it can often lead to a slower and less ideal recovery. This bill will enable Medicaid to cover the cost of DSPs, and will ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the best care possible and that their rights are respected.”

Montgomery Brings Future Farmers Of America To Red Hook

Senator Velmanette Montgomery photographed by tracy collins
Senator Velmanette Montgomery

State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, Park Slope) recently welcomed young members of Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga (TST) New Visions Future Farmers of America (FFA) program to PS15 and PS 676 in Red Hook.

High school seniors traveled from Ithaca to Brooklyn to share “The Maple Experience,” an interactive display housed in a 24-foot long trailer, which depicts all facets of the maple industry. New York is the second-largest maple syrup producing state in the country, producing over 800,000 gallons last year. 

Red Hook students were offered a first-hand look at how sap is harvested and collected from maple trees, and then processed into pure, sweet maple syrup. The presentation concluded with samples and examples of how to use maple syrup in foods.

“I absolutely love programs like this because it connects young people from such different backgrounds and regions within New York State. Last session we were able to provide funding to the FFA and the Maple Experience Mobile Museum,” said Montgomery. “As a member of the Senate Agriculture committee, I feel it is important for our children to be more connected to where their food comes from, whether it be upstate or a local community garden. These young people are the future leaders who will work on solving issues relating to food insecurity and a changing agriculture industry.”

Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a premier life sciences program that promotes leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education and participation in projects like the Maple Experience Mobile Museum. Members are future chemists, veterinarians, government officials, entrepreneurs, bankers, international business leaders, teachers and premier professionals in many career fields including the agriculture industry. 

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