MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Apr. 14, 2020

Manhattan Lawmakers on the Move bannner

Johnson, Moya Call for Emergency Fund for Final Resting Arrangements

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

Last Sunday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) and Council Member Francisco Moya (D-) called on the State to create an emergency fund to finance final resting arrangements for all the New Yorkers who died from COVID-19.

Currently, the NYC Human Rights Administration (HRA) is providing financial assistance to individuals who need help paying for funeral expenses. However, given the scope of the crisis, Johnson maintains that that won’t be enough.

“Many low-income communities of color have been the hardest hit by this terrible virus, and the cost of burying or cremating a loved one can be out of reach,” said Johnson. “The HRA program that the City currently has to help pay for death arrangements is not sufficient. To be eligible, both the deceased and the person applying must provide a social security number. We are a proud city of immigrants, and know that one doesn’t need to have a social security number to be a New Yorker. So much about this virus is unfair, including its disproportionate impact on black and brown New Yorkers. We must create an emergency relief fund for final resting arrangements for all New Yorkers.”

Niou Calls for Universal Absentee Ballots in New York

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

Yesterday, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Financial District, Chinatown) made a statement calling for further measures to ensure that all New Yorkers can vote in the upcoming primary.

Earlier, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed an executive order entitling all New Yorkers to vote absentee in the primary. To register for a ballot, voters can either apply online or print out an application and mail it to the Board of Elections.

However, as Niou pointed out, this system will still leave out New Yorkers who lack internet access; instead, she suggested that the states should mail ballot applications directly to us.

“As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers should not have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” said Niou. “We have to make sure that in our push to protect democracy and expand voting options, no one is left out. That our family, friends, and neighbors can exercise their right to have a say in our political system while protecting themselves from this pandemic. That’s why I’m calling for us to go one step further and mail ballot applications to every eligible voter in the state. Now, more than ever, we need to fight for government accessibility and representation for our constituents to ensure all voices are heard.”

Stringer Launches Workshop Series for Small Business and M/WBEs

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Yesterday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) announced that he would be starting a biweekly online workshop series to expand aid and resources for small businesses and M/WBEs impacted by COVID-19.

The workshops will consist of Zoom presentations covering a wide variety of topics, covering financial resources from both the public and private sector.

“During this difficult time, we want to make it as simple as possible for M/WBEs and small business owners to navigate available resources and access business opportunities,” said Stringer. “Our multilingual webinar series ensures that businesses have easy access to a one-stop-shop for the most up-to-date and critical information. M/WBEs and local businesses are essential to our economy and identity as a city, and we will do everything in our power to help our small business community rebuild stronger than ever before.”

The first workshop will take place on every Tuesday and Thursday until May 14, starting on Thursday, Apr. 16.