MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Nov. 16, 2020

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Jackson, Dinowitz to Celebrate Newly Signed Tenant Law

State Senator Robert Jackson (Photo Credit:
State Senator Robert Jackson

Today, State Senator Robert Jackson (D-Washington Heights, Fort George) and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) will be hosting a zoom session to celebrate a newly signed tenant law.

The law prevents landlords from getting more than one extension for court-ordered repairs on their properties. Going forward, they will only be allowed one 60-day extension, which will require just cause. Dinowitz, the bill’s author, drew inspiration from an incident in the Northwest Bronx in 2002; an 8-year-old child died in a fire at 3569 DeKalb Ave., a property with numerous code violations and outstanding repair orders.

The event will take place today at 9:30 a.m. over Zoom.

James Calls on Barr to Abolish Policy Eroding Public Confidence in Election

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

Last Friday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr (R) to reverse an abrupt policy change that enables the Department of Justice (DOJ) to interfere with the election results.

On Monday, Nov. 9 – two days after the Associated Press called the election for challenger Joe Biden (D) – Bar issued a directive stating that U.S. attorneys can pursue allegations of voter fraud without restriction. Before the directive, the DOJ had agreed to leave the responsibility of maintaining elections to the states.

In a letter to Barr, James and 22 other attorneys general urged him to reverse the policy, claiming that his concerns about voter fraud are unfounded.

“State and local officials conduct our elections,” they wrote. “Enforcement of the election laws falls primarily to the states and their subdivisions. If there has been fraud in the electoral process, the perpetrators should be brought to justice. We are committed to helping to do so. But, so far, no plausible allegations of widespread misconduct have arisen that would either impact the outcome in any state or warrant a change in DOJ policy.”

Read the full letter here.

O’Donnell, Salazar Urge Cuomo to Sign Gender Neutral Bathroom Bill

Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell (Photo credit: O'Donnell's facebook page)
Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell

Last Friday, Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights), State Senator Julia Salazar (D-Bronx) and a coalition of LGBTQ advocates wrote a letter urging Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) to sign a bill making all public single-stall bathrooms gender neutral.

The law, in short, would make single-stall bathrooms open to anyone – male, female or nonbinary. It would apply to restaurants, bars, gyms, public schools and all other public facilities. Removing the gender distinction would allow transgender and nonbinary people to use the facilities without fear of harassment or discrimination.

“Placing restrictions on who can use public restrooms not only violates individuals’ basic civil rights; it all too often threatens the privacy and safety of transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people who are just trying to go about their day,” they wrote. “New York has long been a leader in pushing forward LGBTQ rights. Our state must continue that proud history.”

Read the full letter here.

Williams Releases COVID-19 Second Wave Response Recommendations

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

Last Friday, Jumaane Williams released a paper entitled “In the Event of a Second Wave”, consisting of a series of recommendations to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The release came amid rapidly rising daily infection rates across the City and State; as of this writing, New York’s test positivity rate currently stands at 2.9 percent.

In the report, Williams recommends the immediate closure of non-essential businesses and a shutdown of indoor dining. To help those businesses during the closure, he calls on Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) to procure relief funding by taxing billionaires who have profited during the pandemic.

“As cases rise across the country spike to new highs, here in New York City it is now undeniable that we are seeing the rise of a second wave – but its outcome is not inevitable.,” said Williams. “In order to prevent the level of pain and devastation that was inflicted by the compounding public health and economic crises in the spring, we have to learn from our mistakes and be proactive. On both governing and individual levels, we need to take responsibility and take action to slow the spread and save lives. We have seen the worst of this pandemic in New York, and we cannot allow it to return with the second wave. The quicker and more decisively we act now, the less pain we will see in the long term.”

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