MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Apr. 8, 2020

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Stringer Calls on City to Assess Impact of COVID-19 on New Yorkers by Demographic

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Yesterday, Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) called on the City to release data on the impact of COVID-19 on New Yorkers by race, ethnicity and occupation.

In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, Stringer emphasized the importance of identifying systemic inequalities that affect how our most vulnerable demographics can adapt to a crisis.

“By all accounts, this crisis is deepening systemic social and economic inequalities in New York City and the consequence of these disparities is reinforcing a cycle of transmission, mortality, lost income and poor health care that disproportionately affects lower-income people of color. Our response and relief efforts must consider impacts of these widening divisions, which is why I think it is so important for the City to fully assess the role played by race and ethnicity in this outbreak.”

Read the full letter here.

Velázquez Presses Bureau of Prisons on Coronavirus Response

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) wrote to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), raising concerns about how they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her letter, Velázquez cited reports of soap shortages, the rotation of guards between quarantined and non-quarantined areas, and policies that force guards to work for days after they show symptoms.

“Given tight quarters and other challenges, those detained in our federal prison system are especially susceptible to potential infection,” said Velázquez. “Allowing coronavirus to spread rampantly among the prison population is not only morally unacceptable and inhumane, but it also puts guards, staff and their families at risk, further fueling spread inside and outside these facilities. Walls won’t stop the virus and I’m concerned the prison system could be a potential powder keg of coronavirus infection if BOP doesn’t move fast.”

Hoylman, Krueger, Dinowitz Introduce ‘NYS Tenant Safe Harbor Act’

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

Yesterday, State Senators Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Lenox Hill), and Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), introduced a bill to protect New Yorkers from eviction during the COVID-19 crisis.

On Mar. 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) enacted a 90-day moratorium on evictions. The new bill would strengthen this moratorium by barring landlords from evicting tenants for missed rent payments during the State of Emergency, and for six months afterward.

“The Governor’s 90-day eviction moratorium was a good first step to protect tenants from losing their homes during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Hoylman. “But it’s not enough. Unless we act, we’ll see a tidal wave of evictions immediately after the moratorium ends when tenants who’ve lost income are suddenly forced to pay several months’ worth of rent. Our legislation prevents an impending eviction disaster by providing tenants who’ve lost their jobs a safe harbor to get healthy and back on their feet while our country recovers from this economic disaster.”