Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 21, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Montgomery/Wright Foster Care Re-Entry Bill Passed

Senator Velmanette Montgomery photographed by tracy collins
Senator Velmanette Montgomery
Tremaine Wright
Assemblymember Tremaine Wright

State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, Park Slope) and Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright’s (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Brooklyn) Foster Care Re-Entry bill (S8834/A10581-B) was signed into law last Friday by Governor Cuomo.

This law makes it easier for young people who aged out of foster care to return to placement if they need for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

“COVID-19 has had a multiplier effect on the struggles faced by our most vulnerable populations. Young people aging out of foster care already face immense hurdles as they try to secure stable housing, employment and healthcare. We cannot throw them out to fend for themselves in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic,” said Montgomery. “This law will bring them a level of stability so they can focus on staying healthy while we get through this pandemic. I am glad we were able to get this done and I thank my colleagues and the many advocates involved for moving on this issue.”

“The Foster Care Re-Entry bill provides a necessary safety net for youth that may need ongoing support during this pandemic.  Allowing foster care youth to return to care during a pandemic without a court motion is a smart, efficient and protective measure, said Wright. “I am proud of New York for clearly supporting our foster care youth and I thank the Governor, Senator Montgomery, our child welfare advocates and other partners who worked diligently to make this a reality.  Our efforts improved the health and safety of our community.”

Normally young adults are able to return to foster care with approval from Family Court if they have no alternatives and agree to participate in a vocational or educational program. Because access to court has been severely restricted during the pandemic, this law will allow local social service districts to automatically grant these requests for assistance by youth between ages 18 and 21. It also waives the requirement for participation in vocational and educational programs to eliminate barriers to returning to care.

Treyger Learning Transparency Bills Pass

Council Member Mark Treyger

Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend) last week had two pieces of legislation pass unanimously: Intro 2104-2020, the Remote Learning Metrics bill and Intro 2058-2020, the Remote Learning Student Attendance Data bill were enacted as local laws.

Intro 2104 will require the NYC Department of Education (DOE) to report on a series of metrics any time the department is providing any type of remote instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Intro 2058 will mandate that the DOE report monthly on school attendance records when remote learning is utilized. 

“Once schools shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic we swiftly shifted to remote instruction; however, the DOE has yet to provide a breakdown of how many students were receiving live instruction. We need a more granular look into the remote learning experience, to better understand its impact on students and faculty. We need to ensure that every student is receiving a high-quality education, whether in-person or remote, so that vulnerable student populations are not left behind,” said Treyger. “I’m proud of Intro 2104 passing today so that we can understand the gaps in remote education and identify where additional resources are needed. I thank Speaker Corey Johnson for his continued commitment to fighting for our students, school communities and his support of this bill.”

Adams on DOI Statements on George Floyd Protests 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Admas released a statement on the DOI investigation into NYPD response to George Floyd protests. 

“The DOI report accurately details the tactical errors and acts of heavy-handed policing we saw on our streets this summer. To rebuild trust between police and communities, we must make immediate changes to the NYPD now as well as reforms that will change its culture for the future, including far more diversity in leadership and enhanced training in de-escalation and implicit bias. I have detailed my plans for the department and will continue to demand these changes are made before the next mayor is in office. In particular, the NYPD must implement my recommendation for a new specially trained unit of officers with excellent communication and de-escalation skills, echoed in DOI’s recommendations. 

“There is no true safety without justice, and no true justice without safety. They go hand in hand, and the NYPD has to reflect that no matter the challenges,” he said.  

Gillibrand Talks with Secretary of Agriculture Nominee 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement following the meeting with secretary of agriculture nominee Tom Vilsack. 

“Today I had a productive meeting with Secretary of Agriculture nominee Tom Vilsack about the incoming Biden administration’s plans to address hunger and food security, and the challenges facing our nation’s farmers, all of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Having previously served in this position, Tom is eminently qualified and is committed to helping farmers weather the current crisis, combatting food insecurity and to rebuilding our rural communities. During our conversation, I urged Tom to focus on policies that will increase SNAP benefits to keep Americans fed, strengthen the farm to food bank supply chain, help farmers overcome their debt, and stabilize milk pricing. Tom will be a strong leader in the face of the country’s growing challenges and I look forward to working with him to build a stronger and more equitable agriculture industry.”