MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Apr. 15, 2020

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Hoylman Introduces Bill Creating Tax Deduction for Medical Workers

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

Yesterday, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) introduced legislation to give a tax break to New York’s frontline healthcare workers.

The bill would create a $5,000 deduction for nurses, first responders and EMTs for transportation and PPE-related expenses.

“New York owes frontline medical workers an enormous debt—one we will never be able to fully repay,” said Hoylman. “It’s particularly outrageous that our federal government is asleep at the wheel, forcing hard-working medical personnel to purchase their own personal protective equipment and other necessities. Medical personnel serving our state during the COVID-19 pandemic deserve all the help our state can give them—and this tax deduction is a crucial first step to accomplishing those goals. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to pass this legislation as quickly as possible.”

Espaillat Announces $21 Million in Coronavirus Funding to District Health Centers

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Last Monday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights, Sugar Hill) released a statement announcing that the federal government has allocated funding for 15 healthcare centers in his district.

By his account, the 15 centers will receive a collective $21 million to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Health care workers, hospitals, medical centers and emergency personnel are on the front lines of our efforts to care for individuals infected with the coronavirus and efforts to combat further spread of COVID-19 throughout our communities,” said Espaillat. “Our recovery as a community will depend on the ability of these facilities to continue to provide the most adequate and necessary care for patients and ongoing treatment as needed. This funding is one part of our efforts to provide relief and support during this ongoing pandemic.”

James Calls on Trump Admin to Enforce “Ghost Gun” Laws

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

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), as part of a coalition of 25 attorneys general from across the nation, called on the Trump Administration to enforce federal laws against 3D-printed “ghost guns” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and U.S. Attorney General William Barr (R), James and her colleagues directed the feds’ attention to Defense Distributed, a hardware company that has been releasing downloadable files for 3D-printed guns on the internet. These files enable the production of plastic firearms, in direct violation of the federal Undetectable Firearms Act.

“The proliferation of undetectable weapons will seriously compromise security and public safety in
locations such as airports, schools, prisons, sporting events, music venues, and government
buildings,” reads the letter. “Easy access to untraceable weapons will also impede law enforcement’s ability to investigate and respond to crimes committed with these uniquely dangerous weapons. Continued dissemination of these files will increase the risk of terrorist attacks and gun violence across the United States.”

Read the full letter here.

Velázquez Accosts Puerto Rican Government for Suppressing Reporters

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement denouncing the Puerto Rican government for preventing journalists from covering its response to COVID-19.

The previous week, Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced (NP) signed an amendment making it illegal for media outlets to dispense “false information” relating to the government’s COVID-19 response. In her statement, Velázquez insisted that reporters shouldn’t have to fear retaliation for reporting on their government’s actions.

“A free, independent press is the hallmark of any democracy and actions by the Puerto Rican government to prevent journalists from covering its response to COVID-19 are shameful,” said Velázquez. “During crises like a pandemic, it is more important, not less, that the public be fully informed and that the media be able to report unadulterated facts, while holding the government accountable for its actions.”

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