MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Mar. 11, 2020

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Johnson Postpones State of the City Address

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) announced yesterday that he had to postpone his annual “State of the City” Address.

The address was originally slated for tomorrow at 12 p.m at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). However, due to mounting concerns about COVID-19, Johnson has decided to reschedule the event for later.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are postponing my State of the City speech,” Johnson said in a statement. “We felt this was the right decision to ensure that Council employees and the hundreds of guests we invited remain safe and healthy.

“To be clear, the city’s Health Department is not calling for a prohibition on public events for all New Yorkers at this time. At the moment, officials are urging the elderly, those who are sick and those with chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or a weakened immune system to avoid unnecessary events and gatherings. The NYC Health Department is monitoring the situation, and will adjust as needed.

I was looking forward to the speech, but at a time when we are urging New Yorkers to consider measures like telecommuting and staggered work hours, it seemed an unnecessary risk. The good news is we will still announce the policies and proposals we had planned for State of the City on Thursday, and are looking forward to getting feedback from New Yorkers on those plans.”

AG James Announces Change in Policy Allowing Transgender Minors to Correct Birth Certificates

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced a change in policy at the New York State Department of Health, allowing transgender minors to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates.

The policy change came soon after a case brought on behalf of a transgender boy, who wanted to change his designation from female to male. Going forward, transgender New Yorkers will no longer have to wait until age 18 to make the change. The policy change will also make the process easier for transgender adults.

“Thanks to the brave determination of this young man, New York State has made the right decision and changed its policy to allow minors to obtain birth certificates that accurately reflect their gender identity,” said James. “Effective immediately, transgender individuals born in New York will have the right to make this deeply personal decision without the government’s unwarranted denial or without having their privacy violated. In New York State, we will not allow an outdated policy to stop us from providing every individual with equal dignity and respect.”

Maloney to Host Hearing on Coronavirus Preparedness

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

US. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, will hold a hearing tomorrow evaluating the Trump Administration’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The virus first arrived in the United States on Jan. 21. Since then, the virus has infected more than a thousand citizens and caused 28 deaths. Press reports have revealed the scarcity of testing kits and the flaws in the few that were made available, raising concerns about the Trump Administration’s ability to properly respond to the outbreak.

The hearing will take place today at 9:30 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building. Watch the hearing live here.

Niou Calls for Comprehensive Action on Coronavirus Outbreak

Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou

At a press conference yesterday, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Chinatown, Financial District) called for swift, comprehensive action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and treat those already infected.

In particular, Niou advocated granting paid sick leave to patients, cracking down on price gouging for health products and helping businesses that have taken a hit because of the outbreak.

“We must act quickly and decisively in the face of this outbreak to provide treatment and assistance to all — especially the communities that are the most vulnerable and do not have access to the resources they need to seek help during this crisis,” said Niou. “There are steps we can take immediately to lessen the impact of this outbreak and protect all New Yorkers — regardless of their immigration status or whether they have health insurance. We must make at-home testing available to all, cover the cost of testing and treatment, provide paid sick leave to all who must stay home from work, and make sure that we’re not just providing assistance, but making it accessible to all.”