MANH Lawmakers on the Move, June 9, 2020

Manhattan Lawmakers on the Move bannner

Velázquez, Schumer, Gillibrand, Jeffries Seek Changes to HUD Coronavirus Funding

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (Photo Credit:
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Yesterday, U.S. Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to change how it allocates COVID-19 relief funding.

In a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson (R), the lawmakers specifically cited the latest disbursement of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. They argued that New York got far less funding than it needed, given its status as the epicenter of the pandemic.

“The formula HUD developed for Round 2 funding failed to include the most pertinent metrics and the best available data,” they wrote. “As a result, the State of New York was denied critical funding resources that are still desperately needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in our state.  In fact, despite New York being the epicenter of the pandemic here in the United States, the failure in HUD’s allocation methodology resulted in the State of New York seeing the largest decline in share of CDBG funding between Round 1 and Round 2 of any state in the country.”

Read the full letter here.

Espaillat Signs On as Supporter of H.Res 988 

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (Photo credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) signed on as a co-sponsor of H.Res 988, a house resolution against police brutality.

U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the resolution in response to the murder of George Floyd. In addition to calling on the House to condemn all forms of police brutality, the resolution also calls for the adoption of “sound and unbiased law enforcement policies at all levels of government” to minimize the problem.

“First and foremost, we must change the laws governing law enforcement and the ability and tendency of police officers to use force without consequence,” said Espaillat. “From Eric Garner to George Floyd and many more, we must put an end to murders by police in purported attempts to subdue someone resisting arrest. Communities around the nation are tired of witnessing police brutality and abusive enforcement tactics on African Americans and Latinos. Enough is enough. I am proud to stand in united with my colleagues to condemn police brutality and bring resolve to this pandemic plaguing communities of color far too long.”

Levine to Host Town Hall on Workplace Rights and COVID-19

Council Member Mark D. Levine
Council Member Mark D. Levine

Tomorrow, Councilmember Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted workers’ rights.

The meeting will cover changes to paid leave laws and the rights that freelancers are entitled to, among other topics. Levine will be speaking alongside Department of Consumer Affairs Commisioner Lorelei Salas.

The event will take place tomorrow from 4-5 p.m. To register, click here.

NY State Senate Passes Benjamin’s Anti-Chokehold Act

State Senator Brian Benjamin (Photo by T.E.Shaw, CC BY-SA 4.0)
State Senator Brian Benjamin

Yesterday, State Senator Brian Benjamin (D-Harlem, Upper West Side) had his bill, the “Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act”, passed in the State Senate.

The bill bans the usage of chokeholds in law enforcement, and classifies aggravated strangulation as a class-C felony.

“I can’t breathe. Eric Garner’s dying words have been chanted in the streets of New York for nearly six years,” said Benjamin. “Now, they have reached a deafening roar as worldwide protests against police brutality continue in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, another Black life lost to excessive force by police officers. We are taking an important step forward today to end excessive force by police by unanimously passing my bill, S.6670B, the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act, which prohibits the use of chokeholds by law enforcement and establishes the crime of aggravated strangulation as a Class-C felony. Black Lives Matter, and this bill will ensure that police are finally held accountable when they use the kind of excessive force they have used disproportionately on Black Americans like Eric Garner, George Floyd, and Breona Taylor.”