MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Mar. 18, 2020

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Stringer Urges Lawmakers to Start Budgeting for the Virus

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) appeared on NY1 yesterday to discuss the possible economic fallout from COVID-19.

On Monday, Stringer released an analysis of the virus’s predicted impact on NYC. The analysis estimates that the virus will cost us $3 billion in tax revenue over the next six months. To mitigate this loss, he advises New York lawmakers to curb spending where they can, so that we have more money available for critical healthcare services.

“Right now, I think the priority has to be doing everything we can to fight this virus,” said Stringer. “Closing the schools and closing the restaurants and bars were all smart decisions. While we are fighting this virus, though, our budget people have to look at and evaluate all of our programs: see what we can save money on. We haven’t really done an efficiency program in the City since I’ve been Comptroller.”

Rosenthal Announces Closure of City Council Headquarters

Council Member Helen Rosenthal
Council Member Helen Rosenthal

Council Member Helen Rosenthal (D-Central Park, Lincoln Square) announced Monday that the City Council would be closing its headquarters at 250 Broadway.

The announcement also confirmed the closure of the Council’s district offices, including Rosenthal’s office at 563 Columbus Ave. The Council took the measure in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 – which, as of this writing, has infected over 1,000 New Yorkers.

However, Rosenthal clarified that she will remain in contact with her constituents via phone, email and social media.

“What all of us do in the next few days matters greatly,” said Rosenthal. Please stay home and avoid public gatherings as much as  possible. The City has expanded restrictions to our public school system, restaurants, bars and theaters, and large gatherings generally.”

Gottfried, Rivera Write Letter Calling for Bail Reform

Richard N. Gottfried
Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

Yesterday, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) wrote an open letter calling for bail reform in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter argues that during the current pandemic, bail reform is more necessary than ever. Jails can often be breeding grounds for pathogens, for two simple reasons; first, they commonly ban hand sanitizer as contraband and restrict inmates’ access to soap and toilet paper. Second, they’re cramped environments where social distancing is nearly impossible.

Furthermore, 40 percent of our incarcerated population suffers from pre-existing conditions, making them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Protecting bail reform is an issue of racial justice and public health with or without COVID-19,” reads the letter. “Rolling back this important policy now would worsen a public health crisis. And ramming it through as part of an ‘accelerated’ budget process is even more offensive.”

Speaker Johnson Wishes a Swift Recovery for Council Member Torres

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

Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) released a statement yesterday after Council Member Richie Torres (D-Bronx) tested positive for COVID-19.

Torres and his staff will be quarantined for the next several weeks. The Council is also working to alert anyone who has been in contact with Torres recently.

“Everyone at the Council is praying for Ritchie’s speedy recovery,” said Johnson. “He is a great friend and colleague. I know he is anxious to get well and continue serving the people in the Bronx who elected him.”

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