MANH Lawmakers on the Move, June 30, 2020

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Maloney Applauds SCOTUS Ruling Ensuring Access to Reproductive Healthcare

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Photo credit:
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement yesterday in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo.

The case examined a Louisiana state law that imposed a targeted, unnecessary regulation on health clinics that offer abortions; specifically, it mandated that doctors performing abortions have admission privileges in a state hospital no less than 30 miles away. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the law was unconstitutional.

“Today, the Supreme Court once again upheld a woman’s fundamental right to abortion in the United States,” said Maloney. “While I am pleased by the Court’s decision, I remain deeply troubled that nearly 50 years after Roe v. Wade affirmed access to legal abortion as a constitutional right, anti-choice officials at every level of government continue to target individuals’ reproductive health and freedom. 

“As these attacks continue, it is imperative that Congress take action to safeguard access to abortion care in this country.”

Powers Commends De Blasio for Efforts to End Solitary Confinement

Council Member Keith Powers
Council Member Keith Powers

Councilmember Keith Powers (D-Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill) released a statement yesterday after Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced a new initiative to end solitary confinement.

Previously, de Blasio signed an executive order banning solitary confinement for prisoners with asthma, heart disease and other chronic conditions. He also announced that he’s compiling a task force to oversee his effort to end solitary confinement entirely.

“Today’s task force formation is a welcome step forward for those who have long fought to end a practice that is inhumane, abusive, and condemned by the international community,” said Powers. “At this time in our city, we must uphold our commitment to a fairer, more humane justice system. As a next step, we must hold this task force, the Board of Correction, and the Mayor accountable to acting swiftly once recommendations come in.

“As Layleen Polanco’s death at Rikers Island reminded us, solitary confinement puts individuals at risk while they are out of sight. This news is long overdue.”

De La Rosa, Espaillat Demand Justice for Dominique Alexander

Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa (Photo credit:
Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa

Yesterday, Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa (D-Upper Manhattan) and U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) sent out a letter demanding an investigation into the murder of Dominique Alexander.

On June 9, a pedestrian found the body of 27-year-old Dominique Alexander hanging in Manhattan’s Fort Tyron Park. A week later, the City’s medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

However, De La Rosa and Espaillat are skeptical of the ruling. Given the timing of the death, both of them are suspicious that it was not a suicide, but a lynching. In a letter to New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance (D), the electeds called for oversight in the investigation into his death.

“Mr. Alexander’s death did not occur in a vacuum,” they wrote. “In the month after the nationwide protests demanding an end to police violence and racial inequities erupted, at least two other black men have been found hanging from trees in apparent suicides. Our concern that the death of Mr. Alexander may not have been an isolated incident is furthered not just by these cases, but also by the fact that nooses have been found hanging in Marcus Garvey Park in East Harlem and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

“Any of these incidents alone are cause for concern, but together they suggest a potentially racist and dangerous pattern.”

Levine Beckons City to Delay Indoor Service Reopening

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

Yesterday, Councilmember Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) sent out a petition calling on the City to postpone the scheduled reopening of indoor restaurant service.

Currently, the City plans to reopen indoor bar and restaurant service on July 6, as part of its greater reopening schedule. However, Levine insists that it’s too soon, and that opening this early could cause a second spike in COVID-19 infections.

“There is growing scientific consensus that the risk of coronavirus spread is far greater in indoor settings,” reads the petition. “And there is significant evidence that reopening of bars and restaurants in southern states has contributed to the surge in COVID-19 cases there. There have been documented cases of significant spreading even in restaurants with reduced capacity and extra space between tables.

“Thousands of restaurants in NYC have started dining service on sidewalks and streets.  Outdoor dining, together with take-out, should be the way that New Yorkers enjoy and support our wonderful bars and restaurants at this difficult moment.”

Read the full petition here.