MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 14, 2020

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Johnson Announces Appointment of Adrienne Adams as New Public Safety Committee Chair

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

Last Friday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) announced the appointment of Councilmember Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) as the new Chair of the Public Safety Committee.

The Public Safety Committee, one of the Council’s most important committees, oversees the New York Police Department, and also holds jurisdiction over the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. Adams is succeeding former Councilmember Donovan Richards (D-Queens), who is now the Queens Borough President.

“The Council’s Committee on Public Safety plays a critical role in holding NYPD accountable and making changes to improve how the department operates,” said Johnson. “Council Member Adams will push the NYPD to be more transparent and practice smart and fair law enforcement, and I look forward to working with her and all committee members to make our city stronger.”

James Commends Supreme Court for Rejecting Texas Lawsuit

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

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a statement on Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) seeking to overturn the presidential election results in four other states.

The lawsuit, filed on Dec. 8, sought to contest the election results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, on the grounds that they allegedly violated their own election laws. The Supreme Court rejected the suit, arguing that the state of Texas had not demonstrated “judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.”

“The Supreme Court has denied Texas’ efforts to invalidate the results of the 2020 election, and Americans across the country can rest assured that the will of the people will be heard,” said James. “The court’s decision to throw out these ridiculous claims ensures the integrity of our elections are protected and that elections cannot simply be overturned because we disagree with the results. On Monday, I and other members of the Electoral College across the nation will fulfill our constitutional duty and take the final step to ensure that Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States and that Kamala Harris becomes the 49th vice president of the United States.”

Levine Offers Recommendations to Ensure Equity in COVID Vaccine Distribution

Council Member Mark D. Levine (Photo source: Wikipediting, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Council Member Mark D. Levine

Last Saturday, Councilmember Mark Levine (D) co-wrote an op-ed with Dr. Uché Blackstock for the Gotham Gazette, entitled “New York Must Not Exacerbate Disparities Again: Key Considerations for Equity in Covid Vaccination“.

Levine wrote that, while the pandemic has devastated us all, it has been particularly damaging to low-income people of color. This is largely because they tend to live in neighborhoods where hospitals are understaffed and testing centers are few and far between. It is critical, he wrote, that we distribute the vaccine in an equitable manner.

How do we do that? Levine wrote that it’s a matter of how we define the categories of people who receive early access to the vaccine. For instance, most agree that the first wave of vaccinations should prioritize healthcare workers. However, that category includes cleaning staff, cafeteria workers and security guards – not just doctors and physicians.

“The federal government will be imminently rolling out guidelines on key aspects of the vaccination distribution process,” he wrote. “But it will be up to state and local governments to tailor these plans to the needs of their local communities.

“It is critical that here in New York City, and across the country, we design a fair and equitable vaccination program that ensures that no one is left behind. Lives depend on it.”

Hoylman’s Police STAT Act Goes Into Effect

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

Last Saturday, the Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act, sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown), officially went into effect.

The bill requires the State to record the sex, race and ethnicity of anyone charge with a crime or misdemeanor, and that of anyone who dies in police custody. It passed the New York State Legislature in June, amid a national outcry against police misconduct.

“Starting today, we’ll finally have the data necessary to identify and root out the systemic and discriminatory policing practices that law enforcement uses to target Black and Brown New Yorkers,” said Hoylman. “I’m thankful for the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Codes Committee Chair Jamaal Bailey, and Assembly sponsor Joe Lentol for helping me usher this bill to passage, Governor Cuomo for signing it into law, and Communities United for Police Reform for advocating for this legislation for years. I am also grateful for every single New Yorker who took to the streets demanding action in the days following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and through their voices made passage possible.”