MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 2, 2020

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Hoylman Calls for Universal PrEP and PEP on World Aids Day

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

Yesterday, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) released a statement calling for providing all New Yorkers with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) – two medications that help prevent HIV infection.

Hoylman is currently sponsoring a bill with Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights) that would require insurers to cover the cost of PrEP and PEP.

“While the COVID pandemic continues to escalate, we must remember that the AIDS epidemic never ended,” said Hoylman. “At least 700,000 Americans have died from AIDS since the epidemic began and 15,500 Americans with HIV infection died in 2018. PrEP and PEP are the key components of a cost-effective strategy that can block HIV transmission and save lives, but we must make widespread uptake of these drugs a priority. This is especially true for communities of color, who continue to account for a disproportionate amount of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. I’m hopeful that passage of the package of bills I’ve introduced with Assemblymembers O’Donnell, Gottfried and Barrett will help make universal access of PrEP and PEP a reality in New York.”

Espaillat Prepared to Defend ACA

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 on Monday announcing his intention to defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The verdict of the pending Supreme Court case California v. Texas will determine the fate of the ACA; if the Supreme Court rules the law unconstitutional, millions of Americans could lose their coverage in the midst of a global pandemic.

“I vow to continue my efforts with my Democratic colleagues to stand ready to defend and strengthen pre-existing conditions protections together with every other benefit and protection of the Affordable Care Act,” said Espaillat. “My colleagues and I are prepared to remedy what the Supreme Court is likely to do to undermine the health, financial security and well-being of American families.”

The open enrollment period for the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace ends on Dec. 15, 2020.

Williams Critiques Mayoral Reopening Plan

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

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) released a statement on Monday evaluating the de Blasio Administration’s school reopening plan.

Starting Monday, Dec. 7, students in 3-K, Pre-K and Grades K through 5 will return to in-person learning; Middle and High School classes will remain remote for the time being. Furthermore, all students and staff will be required to sign a consent form for weekly random testing.

“A phased-in approach beginning with younger students and students most in need, paired with a large increase in testing has always been essential to the goal we share of safely returning students to the classroom,” said Williams. “But we can neither prioritize a schedule over safety, nor wait for the Mayor to come to the right conclusions at the wrong moments in time. As a second wave rises and much remains unknown about the specifics and scope of this re-opening, I would seek clarity and urge caution.”

“With cases and uncertainty rising, this is not the time to overextend our resources and expand risk. I do not want the city to go too far, too fast, and potentially lead to further spread of the virus and further trauma-inflicting changes to the system. As testing increases, so too must transparency about how localized data and trends inform both this framework and its inevitable updates.”

Stringer Releases Annual Making the Grade Report for M/WBEs

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

Yesterday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) released his annual “Making the Grade” report, which evaluates the City’s record on accommodating Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBEs).

The results? Not great. When graded on M/WBE spending and transparency, 80 percent of City agencies received grades that were either equal to or lower than what they received last year. Overall, the City received a grade of C – just enough to pass.

The report also looked at the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on M/WBEs. In a July survey, 85 percent of M/WBEs said they would not be able to survive the next six months.

“As thousands of businesses struggle to stay afloat amid the economic fallout of COVID-19, it is painfully clear that the pandemic is disproportionately hurting M/WBEs. A long history of systemic inequality and exclusion is being compounded by COVID-19 and if we want an equitable recovery, we can’t stand idly by,” said Stringer. “It is a failure of government that, in the face of our M/WBE community’s severe economic distress, the City showed little to no improvement toward reaching M/WBE spending goals this year.  As we work to rebuild our economy, we must ensure that the local engines of wealth creation—our minority and women businesses owners—have the tools, resources, access and opportunities to participate and share in that recovery.  Our economy is strongest when it is inclusive and representative of our city’s diversity.”

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