MANH Lawmakers on the Move, May 20, 2020

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Niou Endorsed by Elizabeth Warren

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

Yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) endorsed Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Chinatown, Financial District) for re-election.

In her endorsement, Warren gave Niou kudos for investing in public housing, fighting predatory lenders and prioritizing climate change.

Senator Warren’s fierce and principled leadership has inspired me since I was a young activist fighting predatory lending, combating redlining practices, and working to close the racial wealth gap,” said Niou. “She understands the importance of winning progressive victories at the local level as much as in Washington, and her planning and persistence is a model of smart, thoughtful leadership today. This pandemic has laid bare the ways that our systems continue to fail working families, from our public health system to our schools and housing, and it’s clearer than ever that we need bold, effective leadership to fight for the structural change we need. I’m ready to continue fighting alongside Senator Warren for immediate relief for working families and small businesses and long-term investment in infrastructure, healthcare, and affordable housing.” 

Brewer Calls for COVID-19 Sewage Testing

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Yesterday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) called on New York to start testing sewage at waste treatment facilities for COVID-19.

In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), Brewer proposed this as a non-invasive way to detect community spread early. According to the letter, the procedure has already been utilized successfully in the Netherlands.

“With the anticipated easing of stay-at-home restrictions in multiple New York regions, and in
particular as we look ahead to a further reopening of New York City in June, testing sewage at
wastewater treatment facilities for the presence and viral load of SARS-CoV-2 should be
employed along with contact tracing as complementary strategies aimed to control any
resurgence of COVID-19 cases as localities reopen,” wrote Brewer.

Read the full letter here.

Powers Introduces Legislation to Address COVID-19 in City Jails

Council Member Keith Powers
Council Member Keith Powers

Yesterday, Council Member Keith Powers (D-Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill) introduced a package of bills focused on the City’s response to COVID-19 spread in city jails.

The package consisted of the following three bills:

  • Intro 6175, which would create a five-person commission to review and recommend release for certain inmates who have served at least 90 days of their sentence;
  • Intro 6183, which would mandate greater transparency from the Department of Correction (DOC) and Correctional Health Services (CHS) during health emergencies;
  • and Intro 6184, which would lower fees for transferring money into commissary accounts.

“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the need for greater accountability, transparency, and humanity in our criminal justice system,” said Powers. “These issues should not only be addressed in real time in response to this public health emergency, but also to prepare us for the future and address plain injustices.”

Gottfried Calls for Independent Investigation of Nursing Home Care

Richard N. Gottfried
Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) wrote an op-ed for the New York Post last Monday, calling for an independent probe into how the State Department of Health regulates nursing homes.

To date, New York has seen more than 5,000 deaths in nursing homes from the coronavirus. Gottfried wrote that the death count is sobering, but unsurprising given the State’s track record on regulating nursing homes. By his account, New York has given nursing homes “almost complete legal immunity” from consequences for negligence, and that our nursing homes receive inadequate funding through Medicaid.

“We must have a broader, more intensive professional review of the longstanding problems: bad operators, short staffing, inadequate funding and poorly staffed and lax enforcement of resident-protection rules,” wrote Gottfried. “That review must recognize that a lot of the responsibility for these problems — going back decades — lies with the state itself, especially the Department of Health. The role of the state and the Department of Health can’t and mustn’t be overlooked by investigators.”

Read the full article here.