Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move July 21, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Walker Pushes Automatic Voter Registration Act

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brownsville, Ocean Hill-Brownsville, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, East Flatbush) announced last night that the State Assembly and Senate have reached an agreement on the parameters of the New York Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2020 (AVR) 

”Once passed by both houses and signed by the governor, this legislation will change the way New Yorkers interface with the voting process. For centuries registering to vote has been a coveted process separating the haves and the have nots. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that I, as a Black Woman, gained the right to vote unencumbered, and it is a right that I have vowed to protect as an attorney and as a Legislator,” said Walker, the lead sponsor of the legislation.

AVR streamlines the voter registration process for anyone that interacts with various State and City Agencies. Many of these agencies are utilized by millions of New Yorkers to receive basic necessities such as housing, social services, health insurance, disability services, unemployment insurance.

Walker said she was adamant about including state agencies that the majority of New Yorkers and disenfranchised communities interface with on a regular and ongoing basis. The agencies involved in this bill are: New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Health (DOH), Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Vocational and Educational Services, for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), and County and City Departments of Social Services.

“Five years ago, no state had automatic voter registration. I am proud to join the now 16 states and the District of Columbia, that have reformed voter registration to make it more accessible to our communities finally,” said Walker.

“Automatic voter registration leads to cleaner voter registration records because the process updates existing listings with current addresses. We can eliminate the often distracting conversations that persist around voter fraud. As a long-standing member of the Election Law Committee and Chair of the Legislative Commission on Science and Technology (LCST), I am confident that this path aligns us on the right side of progress and launches our registration system into the 21st Century.”

Cornegy, Senior NYPD Leaders Host Family Day & Town Hall

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

City Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) today will join senior New York City Police Department (NYPD) leaders to hold a family day and town hall to address violent crime in Central Brooklyn.

The day-long event comes in the wake of recent shootings in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights that have left three dead, including one-year-old baby Davall Gardner Jr., and at least nine injured, 

The Stop the Violence Town Hall will take place at the same playground where Davall Gardner Jr. was shot and killed and three others were injured. The event is part of a broader strategy of community engagement and surging resources to the Central Brooklyn communities that have suffered from the recent uptick in gun violence. 

The event kicks off with Family Day activities from 2-6 p.m., then moves into the Gun Violence Town Hall from 6-8 p.m. and concludes with a family-friendly film from 8-10 p.m., all today, July 21 at the Raymond Bush Playground, 308 Marcus Garvey Blvd in Bed-Stuy.

Myrie Announces Farmers Market at Kings County Hospital

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) announced yesterday that Kings County Hospital will launch an affordable Farmers Market on their grounds starting tomorrow.

The affordable farmers market is a partnership between GrowNYC and Harvest Home Farmers Market and NYC Health + Hospitals in which health facilities around the city, which offer fresh, affordable food and accept EBT/SNAP, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons, and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) coupons. 

The farmers market will take COVID-19 precautions and will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., every Wednesday starting tomorrow, July 22 through Nov. 25 at Kings County Hospital, 451 Clarkson Avenue between E. 37th and E 38th Streets in East Flatbush.

Rose-backed Bill Compensating Public Safety Officers Goes to President’s Desk

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island), who led efforts in the House of Representatives to ensure public safety officers who contract the coronavirus while on duty are eligible to receive death and disability benefits, issued the following statement on the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act passing both chambers of Congress, sending it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“The last thing a grieving family or recovering first responder should be dealing with is fighting with the government to prove where or how they got sick,” Rose said. “These heroes have been on the frontlines of this pandemic from day one and we can never forget that. They were there for us and this law will ensure that we’ll be there for them.”

The legislation, which previously passed the U.S. Senate and was passed by unanimous consent today in the House of Representatives, will expand an existing federal program to ensure that public safety officers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty are eligible for benefits should they become disabled or die from the virus. 

Rose previously introduced similar legislation, which passed the House of Representatives in May, and worked with the Senate sponsors and House leadership to get this effort across the finish line.

Adams Amplifies Proposal to Provide Relief to Frontline Workers 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams yesterday amplified a new proposal to put more money into the pockets of frontline workers as the city continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Called the “COVID-19 Heroes’ Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Supplement,” the proposal calls for providing a tax credit supplement to frontline workers in health care, law enforcement, as well as fire and emergency services who earn up to $100,000 a year, in addition to families earning up to $150,000 a year. 

The proposal is part of a series of recommendations laid out in his “Real Recovery NYC” report released earlier this month. The report lays out a roadmap for helping the city recover from the intersecting crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing economic fallout, and the racial injustices laid bare by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the nationwide protests that followed. 

“Amid a devastating pandemic that claimed the lives of over 22,000 New Yorkers and decimated our economy, our frontline workers risked their health, and the health of their loved ones, to keep our city running. Unfortunately, some lost their lives while trying to save those of their fellow New Yorkers,” said Adams.

“Symbolic gestures won’t be enough to express gratitude to these workers for their heroic efforts during this crisis. We need real, tangible policies to show we recognize the depth of their sacrifice. The COVID-19 Heroes’ Earned Income Tax Credit Supplement would deliver much-needed relief to frontline workers at minimal cost. I urge the City and State to adopt this innovative proposal so that we can begin the process of a just, equitable recovery,” he added.

Simon Sponsors Bill Granting Emergency Diploma Privilege

Jo Anne Simon
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon

Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D-Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn) announced she and State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and have sponsored a bill to grant emergency “diploma privilege” to graduates of American Bar Association accredited law schools seeking to practice law in New York State. 

The measure allows that if law school students complete other portions of the licensing process, including the mandated character and fitness review, they would be admitted to the bar. Wisconsin has done this since 1870. Other states have recently instituted diploma privilege, as well. This would eliminate the risk the candidates, proctors, and building staff would be exposed to from taking an in-person test right now with several thousand people.

Each year, over 10,000 people take the NY Bar Exam. The bar exam is offered only twice a year, in February and July. The greatest number of candidates for the NY Bar Exam take the test within New York City. The New York Court of Appeals had originally postponed the July 2020 exam until September 9-10, 2020, but that would have forced candidates to take an in-person bar exam under conditions that put them and others at risk of COVID-19.  

Further, thousands of out-of-state residents normally come to New York to take the exam (many of these candidates would have had to self-quarantine for 14 days due to current state requirements).  On July 16, 2020, the Court of Appeals canceled the September exam, leaving test-takers in a prolonged state of limbo.

Expansion of diploma privilege to these individuals during the pandemic would be the most equitable option for applicants for the State bar, many of whom have taken on enormous student debt, and who have also found their anticipated jobs have evaporated, leaving them without jobs and without the ability to practice law. 

“Current applicants for the bar need to be able to begin the practice of law without endangering their health and safety and that of their families. It may be a long time before an in-person bar exam can be held. I will continue to push for Diploma Privilege,” said Simon.


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