MANH Lawmakers on the Move, May 28, 2020

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Kavanagh to Host Town Hall on How to Reopen the City

State Senator Brian P. Kavanagh
State Senator Brian P. Kavanagh

Tonight, State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Lower East Side) will be hosting a town hall meeting on how to safely reopen the City.

The meeting will feature a panel of experts, including Wellington Chen, Chinatown BID/Partnership Executive Director; Marcus Book, Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations for the MTA; Jackie Bray, Deputy Executive Director of NYC Test and Trace Corps; and Dr. Jane Bedell, Assistant Commissioner at NYC DOHMH. The panelists will discuss how to reopen our economy without allowing a second surge in infections.

The event will take place tonight from 7-8 p.m. on Zoom. To RSVP, click here.

Krueger to Host Town Hall on Housing Issues During Pandemic

State Senator Liz Krueger
State Senator Liz Krueger

Tonight, State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Lenox Hill) will be hosting a virtual town hall on housing issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Krueger, along with tenant attorney Ellen Davidson, will discuss the moratorium on evictions, the temporary closure of Housing Court, and pending legislation to further protect tenants during the crisis, among other topics. The meeting will also feature a Q&A session with Davidson, although viewers will have to submit their questions in advance.

The event will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at To RSVP, click here.

Quart Introduces Bill to Decriminalize Face Masks

Assembly Member Dan Quart
Assembly Member Dan Quart

Assemblymember Dan Quart (D-Murray Hill, Lenox Hill) introduced a bill to decriminalize the wearing of facial coverings in public spaces.

On Apr. 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an executive order forcing all New Yorkers to wear face masks in public when social distancing is not possible. However, wearing a facial covering in public is still technically illegal under New York state law; specifically, Penal Law 240.35(4) states that anyone in a public place “being masked or in any manner disguised by unusual or unnatural attire” is guilty of loitering.

Quart’s bill would strike this from the penal code.

“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Quart. “Not only is the continued criminalization of face coverings confusing for all New Yorkers, it exposes men of color to police harassment. If we are to stop the spread of COVID-19, we must ensure that everyone feels safe wearing a mask in public, without the threat of arrest, prosecution, or worse.”

Johnson, Miller Say It’s Time to Give FDNY EMS Workers their Due

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

Yesterday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) and Councilmember I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens) wrote an op-ed for the Gotham Gazette calling attention to the unequal pay received by paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

According to the article, EMS members – who are predominantly people of color – receive an average of $12,000 less per year than their firefighting counterparts. Given the invaluable service EMS members are providing us during the pandemic, we have to correct this inequality now more than ever.

“To this day, the most progressive city in America is denying these first responders their due,” they wrote. “Mayor de Blasio himself previously described the work of EMTs and paramedics as ‘different’ from firefighters, but has since given them numerous platitudes. If the dedication, bravery, and sacrifice of FDNY EMS wasn’t apparent to him before COVID-19, it surely is now.”

Read the full article here.

Legislature Passes Hoylman/Rozic Bill to Crack Down on “Virus Profiteers”

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

Yesterday, the New York State Legislature passed a bill to strengthen New York’s laws against price gouging during the pandemic.

The bill, sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and Assemblymember Nily Rozic (D-Queens), expands New York’s price gouging law to include “essential medical supplies and services” and “any other essential goods and services used to promote the health or welfare of the public.” The law also bans price gouging of products that aren’t sold directly to consumers, but still benefit the general public.

“Virus profiteers and scam artists tried to rip off New Yorkers, selling medical supplies at sky-high prices to desperate hospitals and local governments,” said Hoylman. “It’s unconscionable that someone would use the COVID-19 crisis as a way to make a quick buck. That’s why I introduced this bill to expand our price gouging statute, protecting more New Yorkers than ever from these rip-off schemes.”