MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Oct. 16, 2020

Manhattan Lawmakers on the Move bannner

Quart Secures Early Endorsements in East Harlem

Assembly Member Dan Quart (Photo by NYCP)
Assembly Member Dan Quart

Yesterday, Assemblymember Dan Quart (D-Murray Hill, Lenox Hill) announced his first slate of endorsements for his Manhattan District Attorney campaign.

Quart has received endorsements from three local lawmakers representing East Harlem: Councilmember Diana Ayala (D-El Barrio, Mott Haven), Robert Rodriguez (D-East Harlem) and State Senator Jose M. Serrano (D-Manhattan, Bronx).

“I am proud to have the support of my colleagues and friends in East Harlem,” said Quart. “I look forward to working with them to bring about greater fairness into our criminal justice system and transform the Manhattan DA’s office. Together, we will end cash bail, hold the police accountable, and advance racial justice.” 

Johnson, Treyger Release Findings Showing Racial Disparities in Student Engagement

Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)
Council Member Corey Johnson

Yesterday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) and Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) released data demonstrating racial disparities in student engagement and attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data came from the New York Department of Education (DOE), and was released in response to a subpoena from the City Council. According to the data, schools with predominantly Black and Hispanic students were eight times more likely to report low student engagement and poor attendance, compared to schools with smaller black and Hispanic populations. By contrast, schools with student bodies that were at least 25 percent white reported high levels of student engagement.

“By forcing the Education Department to release attendance data on the pandemic, the City Council was able to confirm what many feared – that there were racial disparities in student engagement during remote learning,” said Johnson. “But we are still not seeing the full scope of the inequities that exist in remote learning because we don’t have specifics on what type of instruction these students received. The school system’s policy is to say a student attended even if all they did was send a text or email. The de Blasio Administration needs to provide us with more clarity and understanding of remote learning during COVID-19 so we can properly address the disparities and provide the support New York City’s students need.”

Espaillat, Clarke Condemn FEMA Move to Cut COVID-19 Funding

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

Yesterday, U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) led several of their colleagues to call on FEMA to reverse the newly instated policy “COVID-19 Pandemic: Work Eligible for Public Assistance.”

Under the new policy, FEMA has stopped assisting local governments with COVID-19 safety measures, such as PPE acquisition. Because of this, local schools, transit stations and other facilities are no longer eligible for federal reimbursement for their mandatory PPE purchases.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, the representatives demanded that the policy be revoked to help local institutions manage the increasing rate of infections across the country.

“The practical impact of this policy is to deny communities access to the supplies they need to stop the spread,” they wrote. “Only reimbursing for safety costs associated with ‘eligible emergency work,’ such as medical treatment, means that schools, community centers, transit agencies, and countless other essential, but non-emergency, service providers will struggle to meet the needs of the public, our constituents, and communities. As a result of this policy, PPE distributions in our City have already been curtailed, due to a lack of funding.”

Read the full letter here.

James Issues Political Activity Guidance for Nonprofits Ahead of Election

Attorney General of NY Letitia James (Photo by KCP)
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

Ahead of the national election, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) issued guidance for New York nonprofits to remind them of what they can and cannot do.

Nonprofits and charitable organizations may not engage in any political campaign, or take any action on behalf of a candidate. This means they cannot endorse a particular candidate, use the organization’s resources to engage in campaigning, or make or solicit contributions on a candidate’s behalf. They can, however, distribute non-partisan voter guides, host candidate forums and run voter registration drives.

“We must ensure the integrity of the election in November, which means ensuring everyone is abiding by the rules on election activities,” said James. “The nonpartisanship of non-profits ensures that these groups can operate transparently and with the trust of the public. My office remains committed to helping New York charities understand the laws regarding political activity and their responsibility to uphold them.”