MANH Lawmakers on the Move, June 11, 2020

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Velázquez Bill Would Demilitarize Police

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (Photo Credit: ballotpedia.org)
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) has introduced legislation that would eliminate a program that provides local police forces with military-grade equipment.

The 1033 program, instituted in 1997, transfers surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies. While former President Barack Obama (D) significantly curtailed the program during his administration, President Donald Trump (R) has since fully reinstated it.

“When our police forces are equipped like an occupying army, they act like one, treating New Yorkers and the American people as an enemy force,” Velázquez said. “The deadly consequences of this policy disproportionately affect people of color and this initiative should be scrapped, completely.”


Espaillat Introduces Bill to Hold Police Accountable for Constitutional Right Violations

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

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) announced legislation last Tuesday to hold law enforcement officers accountable for violating civilians’ constitutional rights.

The Denial of Rights Prevention and Accountability Act would introduce a statute making it easier for prosecutors to hold officers liable for civil rights deprivations.

“This moment we are witnessing following the murder of George Floyd must be different and our efforts to bring about change must be strong,” said Espaillat. “I am calling on my congressional colleagues to join me in this effort as we each have a duty and responsibility to take meaningful action to hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and to help reconcile the wounds inflicted on communities around our nation for generations.”


O’Donnell Celebrates Repeal of 50-A

Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell (Photo credit: O'Donnell's facebook page)
Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell

Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights) released a statement Tuesday following the passage of a bill to repeal New York Civil Rights Law Section 50-A.

Section 50-A severely restricts the public release of officers’ personnel records, making it harder to hold them accountable for misconduct. The bill, which O’Donnell himself sponsored, was part of a larger package of police reforms.

“Today is a monumental day for justice,” said O’Donnell. “For too long, 50-A has shielded law enforcement officials from accountability when they commit wrongdoing. For too long, we have allowed 50-a to erode the trust between police officers and communities, particularly communities of color. Today, the New York State Legislature passed my bill repealing 50-a and opened a new chapter for New York State that increases trust, accountability and safety for all.”


Niou Calls for Full Funding and Cleaning of NYCHA

Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou (Photo credit: Pnguyen5482, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou

Yesterday, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Financial District, Chinatown) called for a full funding and disinfecting of NYCHA, denouncing the State for failing to do so.

In April, the state budget passed with no new funding for NYCHA, despite Niou’s best efforts. As a result, the agency currently needs at least $32 billion to address its maintenance backlog.

“Years and years of disinvestment has virtually guaranteed NYCHA’s slow and ineffective response to this pandemic. Federal underfunding, state underfunding, and the incompetence of NYCHA’s administration are completely outrageous, bordering on criminal,” said Niou. “As so many of us are sheltering in place, NYCHA residents are forced to stay in unsafe, unhygienic homes. This is unacceptable.” 

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