MANH Lawmakers on the Move, May 13, 2020

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Espaillat Urges Cable Companies to Maintain Service During Pandemic

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

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) sent a letter to the country’s four primary cable companies, calling on them to maintain service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to the CEOs of Verizon, AT&T, Charter and Altice USA, Espaillat urged them to promise not to cut service to customers who can’t pay their monthly bills due to the pandemic. He also released a statement on the matter concurrently with the letter.

“Considering the community-first spirit evoked by this pandemic, and that cable and internet service has become requisite for millions of American families’ mental, physical and financial health, I believe these multi-billion-dollar cable corporations should immediately freeze all service discontinuation due to financial hardship, and instead implement payment plans,” said Espaillat. “Furthermore, I believe that such an action would be in the long-term financial interest of these corporations, as it will discourage current customers from proactively cancelling services they cannot afford in the immediate future.”

Velázquez Announces $99 Million in Aid to Local Hospitals

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) announced that two hospitals in her district are receiving federal funding from the CARES Act.

NYC Health and Hospitals Woodhull and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center will receive an aggregate of $99 million to combat the pandemic. The hospitals were chosen based on their high rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

“New York City has been an epicenter of this pandemic,” said Velázquez, “Our healthcare workers are performing heroically to provide patients with quality treatment, but hospitals are struggling against unprecedented surges in patients and demand for care. These targeted grants, appropriated under the CARES Act, focus on specific hotspots of activity, servicing the areas that need it most. I’m pleased to see these funds allocated for our hospitals to supply our doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals with the tools they need.”

Williams Celebrates Enactment of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Ban

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) released a statement yesterday after a ban on pre-employment testing for marijuana usage took effect.

The law, which the Council voted on last year, bars most employers from testing any prospective employees for tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). It grants exceptions for certain safety and security sensitive jobs, however.

“Marijuana testing isn’t a deterrent to using the drug,” said Williams. “It’s an impediment to opportunity dating back to the Reagan area – one that disadvantages low-income workers, often workers of more color, many of whom we now call essential but treat as expendable. Particularly now, as we are grappling with how to recover from the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst levels of unemployment in a century, we need to be creating more access points for employment, not less- and if prospective employers aren’t testing for past alcohol usage, marijuana should be no different. This is an economic recovery issue, a worker justice issue, and one that New York City must lead the way on.”

Krueger to Host Town Hall on Food Safety and Security

State Senator Liz Krueger
State Senator Liz Krueger

Tomorrow, State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Lenox Hill) will be hosting a virtual town hall on food security in the era of COVID-19.

Krueger will join Dr. Charles Platkin to discuss healthy eating, how to handle the food we buy and the challenges facing food supply chains.

The event will take place tomorrow from 7-8 p.m. at