MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 3, 2020

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Espaillat: Mothers Need a Bailout, and Fast

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

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) wrote an op-ed for the NY Daily News about how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women.

In September alone, nearly 900,000 women dropped out of the workforce across the United States. Currently, the unemployment rate among women is 6.5 percent – several points higher than that of men. According to Espaillat, this is largely because our social welfare systems have not adapted to accommodate women in the workforce.

For their sake – and, in fact, for everyone’s – we need a bailout for mothers, and childcare workers in particular.

“Businesses in hospitality, leisure, retail and healthcare, which have been hit hardest by COVID-19, all rely predominantly on women to stay afloat, and because of the nature of this work, these women are unlikely to have the opportunity to work from home,” he wrote. “With childcare centers around the country closing or no longer being economically accessible for many, schools remaining closed or requiring at-home learning, women and families are now forced to choose between being unemployed or supporting their children.”

Read the full article here.

Maloney Discusses Child Trafficking on A Starting Point

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

Last Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) released a two-minute for the civic engagement platform A Starting Point about the Supreme Court Case Nestle USA, Inc. v. Doe and the broader issue of human trafficking.

The plaintiffs in the case are former child slaves who were forced to work on cocoa plantations in Côte d’Ivoire. They have alleged that Nestlé USA, Inc. is liable for aiding and abetting their slavery.

“This is an important case seeking corporate accountability for U.S.-based companies’ involvement in human trafficking of children,” said Maloney. “We as Congress members filed an amicus, or ‘friend of the court’ brief, in the case, in order to share information with the court about Congress’s extensive anti-trafficking work, including our efforts to provide a remedy in our federal courts for trafficking victims, even those held in forced labor abroad. What happened to these children is unspeakably evil. As co-founder of the Human Trafficking Caucus, I believe that we have to do all we can to end this violent abuse, no matter where it happens in the world.”

Johnson Announces Legal Victory for Residential and Commercial Tenants

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

Yesterday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D) announced the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging various tenant protection laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suit concerned a COVID-19 relief package for New Yorkers that passed last May. After the package’s passage, a group of landlords filed a lawsuit challenging three of the package’s included bills:

  • The Guaranty Law, which prevents enforcement of personal liability provisions in commercial leases and rental contracts;
  • The Residential Harassment Law, which prohibits landlords from threatening or harassing residential tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • and the Commercial Harassment Law, which provides the same protections for commercial tenants.

The District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected the landlords’ claim that the laws were a violation of their constitutional rights.

“This is a major victory for small business owners who need protection from landlords during this unprecedented time,” said Johnson. “Restaurants and small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they are struggling to keep afloat in this pandemic. They should not have to worry about harassment or the loss of their homes because of the economic hardships this virus has caused their businesses. It’s unfortunate that any landlord would try to fight our attempt to help small business owners, but we are thrilled that the court ruling allows us to continue to protect struggling New Yorkers during this difficult time,”

Cuomo Releases New PSA Highlighting Dangers of “Living Room Spread”

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Photo Credit:
Governor Andrew Cuomo

Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the release of a PSA on the risk of COVID-19 “living room spread”.

According to the State’s latest contact tracing data, 70 percent of new infections originate from households and other small gatherings. The PSA encourages New Yorkers to isolate as much as possible to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

“It’s not just mass gatherings causing the spread anymore,” said Cuomo. “The virus is now literally spreading in households. When you eliminate other options for socialization, people will shift their behavior and begin joining together in their homes. We are seeing the impacts of that now, with a significant number of cases originating in households and small gatherings. I know you may think, ‘I’m in my house with my family and with my friends so this is my safe zone,’ but that just is simply not the case anymore. As we move forward into the winter, addressing living room spread will be one of the biggest challenges in the fight against COVID-19, and we can do it, but only if New Yorkers stay smart.”

Watch the PSA here.