Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move March 11, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Colton Supports Health Insurance for Airport Workers

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D-Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) yesterday noted that there are a substantial number of airport workers exposed to serious illnesses and who don’t have health insurance, which he said is unacceptable.

“Bill A8142 which is the Healthy Terminals Act was introduced in the assembly where I am a co-sponsor. This Act is to amend the labor law, to enacting the “healthy terminals act.” It’s obvious that our airport workers are exposed more than anyone else to many dangerous diseases and many of them don’t have medical insurance. These workers are exposing themselves and their families to this contagion while doing their job. I support assuring that they will have health insurance to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Colton said.

“The CDC advises everyone to visit a doctor if they are experiencing any symptoms, but not everyone can afford to do it. Without health insurance going to the doctor means an expenditure out of pocket. Therefore, it’s even more necessary now to have health insurance, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. At minimum health insurance must be included as a part of their job and we should ensure that the resources are available to provide all safeguards to protect these workers in carrying out their critical jobs in protecting all those individuals and families who are traveling,” Colton added.

Frontus Calls for Unity at Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach) joined 200 revelers last Sunday at Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the Sino American New York Brooklyn Archway Association for a Chinese Lunar Year 2020 celebration.

The emotional gathering followed a rise in tensions within Asian communities that have been scapegoated for the coronavirus. Frontus shared her experience as a child of Haitian immigrants whose community was targeted as HIV/AIDS emerged as a public health threat in the 1980s.

“People are panicking and they are allowing deep-seated stereotypes to take control and we can’t allow that,” Frontus said.

Frontus expressed her solidarity with the Asian community and condemned the recent rise of anti-Chinese bigotry and violence including recent physical attacks of Chinese seniors and commuters on the subway. The celebration took place at New Star Seafood Restaurant in Brooklyn’s Chinatown within Sunset Park. 

Frontus and her staff dined at New Star and shopped in the neighborhood the following day.

Treyger Urges DOE To Provide Options to Sickened School Staff 

Council Member Mark Treyger

City Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Bach, Gravesend) yesterday urged the city’s Department of Education to provide options to school staff with compromised immune systems.

Treyger’s urging comes after noting the de Blasio Administration has announced that anyone who has a compromised immune system should reduce their risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, and hearing the DOE is not granting school staff with compromised immune systems the ability to telecommute, stay home or any options to address their vulnerability. 

“The DOE needs to establish a plan for susceptible school employees to minimize their risk of exposure to the virus. As always, New Yorkers should continue to stay home from work if you are sick,” said Treyger, chair of the Committee on Education.

PA Williams Calls for Increased Enforcement Against Unauthorized Dollar Vans

Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams yesterday called for increased enforcement against unauthorized commuter van operations today after a Brooklyn cyclist was struck by an unlicensed driver on Saturday. 

Williams was joined by industry advocates outside the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission’s Manhattan office on Tuesday afternoon to address the need to utilize enforcement powers as established, to protect the public and legitimate commuter van companies operating in good faith.

“Commuter vans are a critical component of our city’s transportation infrastructure, especially in areas underserved by the  MTA– but unauthorized, often uninsured operators pose a danger to the public, as we unfortunately saw last weekend,” said Williams after meeting with the new TLC Commissioner, Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk. 

“I’ve worked closely with advocates and with the TLC for years to step up enforcement while ensuring that drivers operating in good faith can safely and effectively work with the community. I believe that the new Commissioner will be a strong partner in these efforts going forward,” he added.

Gillibrand Urges Congress to Expand Mandatory Paid Leave

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), confronting the nation’s growing public health crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, yesterday urged Congress to pass new legislation to require employers to provide additional paid sick leave during a public health emergency. 

Currently, many employees have limited or no access to paid sick leave, raising concerns over the ability to make doctor’s visits, quarantine, or stay home if infected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The proposed Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal Family Care Act builds upon current legislation to require paid sick leave coverage for all employees and would expand qualifying events to include the effects of a public health emergency — like school and employer closings, quarantine, and family care. This legislation will address the current crisis and ensure paid sick leave is provided in the future.  

“COVID-19 isn’t just a public health crisis, it’s an economic crisis for millions of working Americans without paid sick leave,” said Gillibrand. “Not only might employees need to stay home for their own health, but school closures will require parents or family members to stay home with children. No one should have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a sick child or loved one, especially during public health emergencies. I believe every worker should have two weeks mandatory paid sick leave and I’m proud to support this legislation that prioritizes working families.”  

Persaud and Senate Majority Boost New York Small Business

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) and the Senate Democratic Majority this week will advance a legislative package to boost small businesses across the state and help grow New York’s economy. 

Small businesses are often unable to get the necessary funds to grow and remain unaware of state assistance that is available to them. The legislation being advanced by the Senate Majority will help small businesses by closing the information gap and improving small businesses’ access to state capital assistance. 

Additionally, these bills will create crime prevention services for small businesses and increase reporting on potentially negative effects new rules and regulations may have on small businesses across New York.

Included in this package is Persaud’s bill, S.7123, which establishes the small business crime prevention services program to provide small businesses with resources to prevent crimes affecting small businesses.  Additionally, the bill authorizes Empire State Development to provide loans to small business municipalities, not-for-profit corporations or other organizations for preventing crimes against small businesses.

“In New York, we support New Yorkers and their pursuit to start their own business,” said Persaud said. “This week, my colleagues and I are passing legislation that will aid current and future small businesses to ensure that they have the necessary support and resources to grow and prosper. I am proud to support these measures, and thank my colleagues for their continued investment in reassuring our small businesses succeed.”

Gounardes Unveils ‘Do Not Darken My Doorstep’ Legislation

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) and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) yesterday announced the Do Not Darken My Doorstep bill (S7819/A9993), one of a series of anti-harassment bills introduced in the state legislature that build on last year’s landmark anti-harassment reforms. 

This bill bars employers from using “no rehire” clauses in settlement agreements with employees or independent contract workers, which would ban employees who settle discrimination or harassment cases from ever working for their employer again.

“No rehire” clauses have been widely known to disincentivize victims from coming forward when they experience harassment or discrimination. By including this clause within settlements, employers are forcing an undue burden on employees who have experienced harassment. Especially when they apply to large multinational corporations or companies following mergers and acquisitions, these clauses can have the effect of banning employees who have been harassed from entire industries.

“Instead of silencing their voices and rights, New York State needs to empower those who have experienced harassment and discrimination. By banning ‘Do Not Darken My Doorstep’ clauses, my hope is that more people who have been harassed can come forward and report the injustices that have been done to them without the fear of future employment being a factor,” said Gounardes. 

DA Gonzalez’s Office Accepting Applications for Summer Internship Program

Attorney Eric Gonzalez
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez yesterday announced the start of the application process for high school juniors and seniors interested in participating in a five-week paid summer internship program.  

The summer internship is open to students who live and/or attend high school in Brooklyn and are interested in learning about the different careers and responsibilities within the criminal justice system. The summer internship runs from July 7 to August 7, 2020.

Students selected to the five-week paid program will be assigned to one of the many specialized units within the DA’s Office, while also getting an overview of the criminal justice system. They can expect to assist with legal research and analysis; help prosecutors to prepare for trial; work on discovery; carry out file maintenance and organization of court documents; participate in Trial Zone workshops; participate in judicial, legal and law enforcement-related field trips; and observe criminal proceedings, including trials, guilty pleas and sentencings.

“Our goal every year is to provide interns with an understanding of how the criminal justice system operates and how my office works to keep Brooklyn safe and strengthen community trust. We are delighted to offer an opportunity for high school students to gain hands-on experience into how criminal cases develop, from the steps taken to investigate and build a case, to how cases are presented in court. The interns are exposed to a plethora of careers available in the criminal justice system, as they consider their future professional goals,” said Gonzalez. 

Participants will receive a weekly $150 stipend plus a MetroCard. To apply, please visit: to upload a transcript, essay and resume. All application materials must be received no later than April 30, 2020. For questions or assistance please contact (718) 250-4873, (718) 250-3191 or email [email protected]

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