Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 11, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Carroll Bill Would Make For Quicker Count of Mail-in Ballots

Robert Carroll
Assemblymember Robert Carroll

Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Ditmas Park) on Monday introduced legislation, A.10940, to count and canvass mail-in ballots as they are received by the Board of Elections, so that election results are reported in a more timely and efficient manner. 

After New York’s Primary Election in June, it took more than six weeks to count mail-in ballots and certify election results. Current law in New York requires that the Board of Elections begin counting mail-in ballots no more than 8 days after a Primary election and 14 days after a General election.  In practice, the Board does not begin counting mail-in ballots until seven days after a Primary or General election and has no ability to legally count and canvass mail-in ballots prior to election day. 

“Because of New York’s antiquated election laws there will be multiple down-ballot races where the results will not be known for weeks to come. This will have implications on the U.S. House, State Senate, and New York State Assembly. The current law creates confusion and mistrust in our election systems. A similar antiquated law in Pennsylvania made it seem that Donald Trump had won the state on election day and for many days after when in fact Joe Biden had won,” said Carroll.

“There is no reason that New York cannot count and canvass Mail-In ballots as they are received, while also giving New Yorkers the flexibility to vote early or on Election day. Multiple States already do this and if New York’s Presidential results were in question, our current laws would be the laughingstock of the nation,” he added.   

The Board of Elections will begin counting mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 general election yesterday, a full week after the election.   

Ortiz on Supreme Court Signaling Upholding Affordable Care Act

Assembly Member Feliz Ortiz

Assemblymember and Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) released a statement upon hearing the news that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday appeared ready to uphold certain tenets from the Affordable Care Act in light of recent challenges it has faced by President Trump and Republican-led states. 

“I was pleased to hear  that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court justices may vote to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act after it was challenged by Republican-controlled states and the Trump Administration. 

“Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh  signaled that the Congressional  decision in 2017 to end the penalty for not buying health insurance didn’t mean Congress wanted to end Obamacare entirely. 

“I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to do its job as a responsible separate arm of the federal government and not let rejected Trump politics get in the way. Americans need and deserve health care. This is not the time to let politics prevail over good public policy initiatives,” he said. 

Gillibrand Calling for Benefits for Veterans with Agent Orange Diseases 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will hold a video press conference to push for the inclusion of expanded health care and benefits for veterans suffering from Agent Orange linked illnesses in the final Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

Gillibrand is calling on House and Senate Armed Services Committee leadership to maintain the bipartisan amendment to establish a presumption of service-connection for Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism for veterans exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. 

New York State is home to more than 240,000 Vietnam-era veterans. Thousands of these veterans have been diagnosed with Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism. While the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has long established a link between these conditions and exposure to Agent Orange, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to deny veterans desperately needed care and benefits for these conditions. 

Colton Announces Toys for Tots Drive 

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) announced his annual TOYS FOR TOTS DRIVE for theU. S. Marine Corps and several other organizations.

My office has been helping to collect TOYS FOR TOTS on behalf of the U. S. Marine Corps for a number of years. In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps. In 1996, the Commander, Marine Forces Reserve expanded Toys for Tots to cover all 50 states by authorizing selected Marine Corps League Detachments and selected local community organizations (generally led by a Marine veteran), located in communities without a Marine Reserve Center, to conduct toy collection and distribution campaigns in their communities,” Colton said.

 “The US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program is a perfect example that our servicemen and women are doing more than just serving our country. Any contributions are appreciated and will help millions of less fortunate children to enjoy the magic of the holidays. I have also helped to collect toys for a number of different community organizations including for children at Coney Island Hospital in conjunction with the Shorefront Toys for Tots, among others. Shorefront toys for Tots have also been collecting toys for years, which was started by community activist Brian Gotlieb in honor of the memory of his mother. I strongly believe that this year is more significant to many families who have lost their jobs and have real hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Colton added.       

Anyone who would like to donate toys is welcome to drop it off at Coltons district office at 155 Kings Highway (between West 12th and West 13th Streets). Toys must be new in the original package and unwrapped. The deadline for toys drop off is Monday, December 18, 2020.