MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 17, 2020

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Maloney Calls on Postmaster General to Testify on Sweeping Changes to USPS

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

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) invited Postmaster General Louis DeJoy (R) to testify at an upcoming hearing on his massive organizational changes to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

The previous week, Maloney, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent out a detailed letter to DeJoy demanding an explanation for the changes. All of them expressed concerns that the changes could slow down the mail and impede the delivery of mail-in ballots this November.

“Over the past several weeks, there have been startling new revelations about the scope and gravity of operational changes you are implementing at hundreds of postal facilities without consulting adequately with Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, or the Board of Governors,” said Maloney.  “Your testimony is particularly urgent given the troubling influx of reports of widespread delays at postal facilities across the country—as well as President Trump’s explicit admission last week that he has been blocking critical coronavirus funding for the Postal Service in order to impair mail-in voting efforts for the upcoming elections in November.”

The hearing will take place on Monday, Aug. 24 at 10 a.m.

Hoylman to Hold Meeting on Issues Facing Law School Graduates

State Senator Brad Hoylman (photo provided by Avi Small)
State Senator Brad Hoylman

Tomorrow, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) will be holding a meeting on the problems facing New York law school graduates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In July, Hoylman introduced a bill to guarantee law students “diploma privilege”, enabling them to practice law without taking the bar exam in person (which would put them at risk for infection). The meeting will focus on the issue of diploma privilege, and other pathways to attorney admission.

The meeting will take place tomorrow at 10 a.m. To watch it live, click here.

Espaillat Calls for Continued Support of Small Businesses

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) released a statement last Thursday calling for additional relief to small businesses – particularly minority-owned ones.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on small businesses in general, but minority businesses owners have been hit particularly hard. Since the pandemic began, an estimated 450,000 Black-owned businesses have had to close down. Even worse, those same businesses owners have benefited minimally from nationwide relief efforts, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)and the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Facility.

“Systemic discrimination in lending and programmatic implementation challenges have left too many minority-owned businesses without relief,” said Espaillat. “While Congress subsequently approved set-asides for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions that serve distressed and underserved communities, we must do more.”

Stringer Audit Exposes DOT’s Subpar Maintenance of Street Name Signs

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

Last Friday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) released an audit of the Department of Transportation (DOT), revealing severe deficiencies in their oversight of the installation and maintenance of street name signs.

Stringer released a similar audit of the DOT in 2017, and provided them with a number of recommendations to help resolve the issue. Among the recommendations were developing an inventory of street signs and ensuring that it properly addresses complaints filed through the City’s 311 service. Since then, the DOT has failed to heed those recommendations; according to the audit, the DOT failed to address the vast majority of 311 complaints it received in July 2017 and Jan. 2018.

“Our streets form the physical foundation and framework of our city, and move millions of people and goods throughout the five boroughs every day,” said Stringer. “If we want New Yorkers to get around efficiently, we need reliable corridors that are clearly marked. Structurally sound street signs are imperative for maximizing safety and efficiency in our streets, and keeping New York City functioning and running smoothly. The DOT is dragging its feet on making necessary upgrades to its system for installing and maintaining street name signs. Consequently, its program remains riddled with deficiencies, as progress on recommendations I made three years ago lags far behind. What New York City needs and all New Yorkers deserve is accountability and a streamlined, thoughtfully planned system to identify, track, and fix defective street name signs and address all complaints in a timely manner.”

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