MANH Lawmakers on the Move, July 17, 2020

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Stringer Releases Report Showing NY Getting Shortchanged in PPP

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (Photo credit: Thomas Good, CC BY-SA 4.0)
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Last Wednesday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) released a troubling new analysis of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The report found that a paltry share of New York’s eligible businesses received a PPP loan. Barely 12 percent of its eligible businesses received a loan; comparatively, states like Nebraska and Iowa had more than 20 percent of their eligible businesses receive loans.

“New York is contributing more to the federal government than nearly any other state, but Washington continues to return the favor at pennies on the dollar. In our time of need, Congress is failing to step up,” said Stringer. “New York City is the economic engine of the nation and PPP loans should be a lifeline to our businesses that have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. But Washington has made it too hard for small businesses to access these PPP dollars, which means the small businesses that need help the most are getting shut out. Our analysis proves New York City’s workers and entrepreneurs have been shortchanged — especially nonprofits and outer-borough businesses that were hardest hit. The federal government must to step up to the plate and help New Yorkers get back on their feet — enough is enough.”

Nadler, Lofgren Lead 70 Members in Opposing Trump Admin Rule Restricting Asylum

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (Photo Credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Earlier this week, U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) led 70 members of Congress in opposing the Trump Administration’s newly proposed alteration to our national asylum laws.

The rule, published last Wednesday, would tighten the standards for demonstrating eligibility for asylum and eliminate protections for asylum seekers. In a letter to the Office for Immigration Review, the members invoked the Refugee Act of 1980, claiming that the proposal runs counter to the spirit of that law.

“The Refugee Act of 1980 is intended to guarantee that [refugees] would have a full and fair opportunity to present a claim for asylum,” they wrote. “Indeed, ‘[t]he objectives of [the] Act are to provide a permanent and systematic procedure for the admission to this country of refugees of special humanitarian concern to the United States,’ based on a ‘uniform process.’ The Departments’ proposal runs directly counter to these goals by creating a less inclusive, irregular, and inefficient asylum system that is inconsistent with ‘one of the oldest and most important themes in our nation’s history: [w]elcoming homeless refugees to our shores.'”

Read the full letter here.

Mayor Signs Williams’ “Right to Record” Legislation

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Photo credit:
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Last Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) signed legislation from Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) codifying the right of citizens to record police activity.

The law, first introduced in 2016, got a boost from momentum from the recent nationwide protests against police brutality. In particular, videos of the protests revealed further police misconduct, strengthening the case to pass the law and hold officers accountable.

“Because of the advocates who pushed this need for years, we are now codifying the right to record into city law, further protecting the ability for the public to provide transparency and demand accountability as we move forward together in a holistic strategy to have safer streets and better policing at the same time,” said Williams. “We cannot give into the false and destructive notion that communities must choose between accountability and transparency in policing or safer streets. The people of this city deserve both. Working together, we can provide it.”

Hoylman Introduces Anti-SLAPP Bill

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

Yesterday, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D) and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn) wrote an op-ed for Democrat & Chronicle informing readers of a new bill they’ve written, intended to crack down on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs).

They wrote the bill in response to the “avalanche” of cease and desist letters the Trump Campaign sent out to stifle criticism of the Trump Administration. As an example, the article cites a defamation lawsuit Trump filed in April against a Wisconsin TV station for airing an anti-Trump political ad.

As the article explains, the purpose of the lawsuit isn’t to win; it’s to deter other broadcasters from showing content that puts Trump in a negative light, lest they have to go through the same litigation.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” they wrote. “Our bill improves New York’s existing anti-SLAPP statute by expanding coverage to speech (or other lawful conduct) relating to an issue of public interest. If a defendant’s speech or activity fall under the protection of the statute, judges will have the ability to dispose of these bogus claims quickly.”

Read the full article here.

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