MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Jan. 4, 2021

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James Releases Annual Report Highlighting Key Actions Taken in 2020

Attorney General Letitia James (Photo credit: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)
Attorney General Letitia James

Last Thursday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released an interactive report summarizing her most noteworthy accomplishments in 2020.

Since last January, James has taken several measures to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers. Many (but not all) of those measures directly involved the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of the year, she:

  • Lead a historic lawsuit against tech giants Facebook and Google for violating antitrust laws;
  • Cracked down on retailers for price gouging consumers for health supplies in the midst of the pandemic;
  • And fought to hold gyms accountable for continuing to charge consumers and refusing to let them cancel their subscriptions.

“As we close out this year and set our sights on 2021, this annual report highlights some of the most important legal actions we have taken to protect New Yorkers,” said Attorney General James. “From advocating for everyday New Yorkers, to holding powerful interests accountable, to safeguarding civil rights and the environment, my office has been relentless in the pursuit of justice. This past year has certainly been a year of great challenge and struggle, but it has also been a year marked by hope and progress. I am grateful for my team of attorneys and other professionals who work hard on behalf of our state every single day, and I am grateful to all New Yorkers for giving us the opportunity to serve them.”

The PDF version of the report is available here.


Hoylman Gives Poignant Welcome to Moynihan Train Hall

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

Last Friday, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) released a video on Twitter from inside the Moynihan Train Hall, to celebrate its opening and pay respects to one of its developers.

Michael Evans, former President of the Moynihan Station Development Corporation (MSDC), worked on the project for nearly a decade before it became a reality. Sadly, he wouldn’t survive to see the project’s completion; on March 17, 2020, Evans died at the young age of 40.

“I’m standing here in the middle of this remarkable new public space,” said Hoylman. “The 255,000 square foot Moynihan Train Hall, that just opened today, New Year’s Day. But this is a bittersweet moment for so many of us, who knew one of the main driving forces behind the construction of this train hall – Michael Evans, who died by suicide in March, and was unable to see his work to completion. My heart goes out to Michael’s partner Brian, his dear friend Joe, and all of Michael’s colleagues and friends in the LGBTQIA community.

“This train hall will forever be a testament to Michael’s energy, vision and grace.”


Cuomo Refuses Early Access to Vaccine

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Photo Credit: www.governor.ny.gov)
Governor Andrew Cuomo

Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) delivered remarks at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, pledging he would not be first in line to receive the vaccine.

One of Cuomo’s top priorities is ensuring that the State delivers the vaccine in an equitable manner. As such, he will not take the vaccine until it becomes widely available in poor communities of color.

“I am committed to social and racial justice in the distribution of this vaccine,” said Cuomo. “It will be available as fairly and as quickly as we can make it happen. Race or income will not determine who lives and who dies. And I mean it. And that’s why I say to you today that I want to take the vaccine. I move around a lot and come into contact with many people and I would feel much safer if I took the vaccine, but I will not take the vaccine until the vaccine is available for my group in Black, Hispanic, and poor communities around the state.”


Levine Beckons the City to Ramp Up COVID-19 Vaccinations

Council Member Mark Levine (Photo credit: Credit Emil Cohen/NY City Council)
Council Member Mark Levine

Councilmember Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) posted a thread on Twitter detailing the need to expedite the COVID-19 vaccination process.

Levine compared the current pandemic to the smallpox outbreak that ravaged New York in the 40’s. During that time, the City managed to vaccinate 6 million people in 23 days. According to Levine, they accomplished this by:

  • Keeping vaccination sites open 24/7;
  • Enlisting an army of thousands of workers from various city agencies to help the vaccination program;
  • And distributing the vaccine from multiple different facilities, including public schools, community centers and city halls.

“NYC doesn’t need an unprecedented mobilization on covid vaccination,” said Levine. “Because there is a precedent in smallpox 1947. We do need a massive investment of resources and energy to increase our current vaccination rate by 10x. We did it before, and we can do it again.”


Congress Passes Maloney/Gillibrand Bill to Rename Manhattan VA After Margaret Corbin

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Photo credit: maloney.house.gov)
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Yesterday, Congress passed bicameral legislation to rename the Manhattan Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital system the “Margaret Cochran Corbin Campus of the New York Harbor Health Care System”.

Margaret Corbin was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War, and the first woman in America to receive a military pension. Once signed, the bill would make the Manhattan VA the first in the U.S. to be named after a female veteran.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Photo credit: U.S. Senate Office of Photography)
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“I cannot wait until New York becomes the home of the first VA named after a woman veteran,” said Maloney. “This will ensure that American Revolutionary War hero Margaret Corbin’s legacy of service endures in the tradition of empowering all veterans, regardless of gender. Although women have fought for our nation since its founding, women service members rarely receive the same recognition as their male counterparts. New Yorkers will be able to take great pride in leading the nation by having the first VA hospital named for a woman veteran right here in Manhattan.”

“Margaret Corbin’s legacy is a testament to all that women veterans have given to our country since its founding,” said Gillibrand. “Corbin is an iconic New Yorker, who until now, has received little recognition for her sacrifices as a soldier on the battlefield. While we have a long way to go to ensure that women veterans get the same treatment and benefits that their male counterparts receive, I am proud to say that New York will soon be home to the first VA named after a woman veteran in the United States.”

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