MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 7, 2020

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Rivera Gives Condolence to Victims of East Village Fire

Council Member Carlina Rivera (Photo credit:
Council Member Carlina Rivera

Councilmember Carlina Rivera (D-East Village, Gramercy Park) released a statement on Saturday after a massive fire destroyed a church in her district.

In the early morning on Dec. 5, a fire broke out at an empty building at 48 East 7th St. It quickly spread to the neighboring Middle Collegiate Church, a longstanding pillar of the community and a source of both physical and spiritual support. The fire also spread to the Women’s Prison Association (WPA) Hopper Home, a longstanding halfway house that served to rehabilitate women with criminal backgrounds and troubled upbringings.

As of this writing, no civilian injuries or deaths have been reported; however, four firefighters suffered injuries from the fire.

“Middle Collegiate Church is one of the great, landmark institutions of our community, having served New York City for almost four hundred years and for over a century providing the East Village with spiritual and physical resources,” said Rivera. “They’ve taken care of so many during the City’s darkest moments, from 9/11, to Superstorm Sandy, to the 2nd Avenue explosion. And the Women’s Prison Association has provided housing, employment and assistance for justice-involved women for generations. The damage this fire has caused goes far beyond the structural effects alone.

“But we know that our East Village community is strong and we will be there beside them every step of this recovery, however we can.”

De La Rosa Hails Reinstatement of DACA

Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa (Photo credit:
Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa

Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa (D-Upper Manhattan) released a tweet last Friday celebrating a recent court order to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Established under the Obama Administration, DACA helps protect undocumented immigrants from deportation if they arrived in the U.S. as children. It offers them a two-year reprieve, during which they can apply for a work permit.

Over the past few years, the Trump Administration has made repeated attempts to hobble or completely dismantle the program. Earlier this year, DHS Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memorandum blocking the acceptance of any new applications and cutting the reprieve period from two years to one.

But last Friday, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn ordered the DHS to fully reinstate the program, as it existed under the Obama Administration. This includes resuming the acceptance of new applications – starting today.

“This is a huge victory for our immigrant communities,” said De La Rosa. “Despite the Trump’s calculated efforts to undermine the value of immigrant communities, we were able to secure the reinstatement of DACA & ensure that recipients can continue to contribute to our culture, society and economy. As we transition to a new administration we must continue to push a progressive immigrant agenda and fight for the rights of immigrant communities.”

James Calls on Congress to Ensure Equitable Access to COVID Vaccine

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

Last Friday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) lead a coalition of 13 state attorneys general in urging Congress to implement measures to ensure all Americans can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.

From the beginning, the pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income communities of color. To make matters worse, a large percentages of these communities are uninsured, underinsured, or reliant on Medicaid or Medicare. In a joint letter, James and her colleagues urged Congressional leaders to do the following:

  • Increase funding for Medicaid to ensure that its beneficiaries have access to the vaccine;
  • Ensure that the Provider Relief Fund (which will make the vaccine available to uninsured patients) can also cover co-pay and out of pocket expenses;
  • and codify the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) Interim Final Rule, which ensures that all vaccines approved by the FDA are available to Medicare beneficiares at no cost.

“Operation Warp Speed’s goal is to deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with initial doses available as early as mid-December 2020,” they wrote. “We all support the expeditious development of safe and effective vaccines. However, it is critical that we do not allow financial or other barriers to deter people from receiving an effective vaccine and stopping the spread of the virus.”

Read the full letter here.

Council to Host Oversight Hearing on Maternal Mortality in NYC

Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Photo: Emil Cohen/ NYC Council)
Council Member Helen Rosenthal
Council Member Carlina Rivera (Photo credit:
Council Member Carlina Rivera
Council Member Mark D. Levine (Photo source: Wikipediting, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Council Member Mark D. Levine

Today, the Committees on Women & Gender Equity, Hospitals, and Health – chaired by Councilmembers Helen Rosenthal (D-Central Park, Lincoln Square), Carlina Rivera (D-East Village, Gramercy Park) and Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville), respectively – will be holding an oversight hearing on the City’s maternal mortality crisis.

Over the past 25 years, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) has dramatically increased. By 2016, it climbed to 28.7 deaths per 100,000 live births, which is shockingly high compared to other developed nations. The MMR is particularly high among black mothers; an analysis of 2006-2010 data in New York City found that black women were 12 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

The hearing will take place today at 10 a.m., and will be livestreamed here.