James Renews Suspension of State Debt Collection
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that the state has renewed, for the 10th time, an order to halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state of New York that has been specifically referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for collection — with limited exceptions — through February 28, 2021.
In response to continuing financial impairments resulting from the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the OAG has again renewed orders, which took effect this morning and goes through Sunday, February 28, 2021. After this period, the OAG will reassess the needs of state residents for another possible extension. Additionally, the OAG will accept applications for suspension of all other types of debt owed to the state of New York and referred to the OAG for collection.
“While we continue to vaccinate more New Yorkers every day, our state is still suffering the health and economic effects of this deadly disease,” said James. “Hundreds of thousands of businesses have shuttered their doors, millions remain unemployed, and the economic fallout of this public health crisis is still being felt in every corner of our state. In an effort to counter the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, my office is, once again, renewing the suspension of state and medical debt referred to my office for another month. We must do everything in our power to rebuild our state’s economy and give New Yorkers a helping hand.”
Eugene Warns About Blizzard and More
Council Member Mathieu Eugene (D-Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Park, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) informed his constituents about how to maintain safety during a blizzard. These measures include:
-Stay inside and only venture out if you need to or in case of an emergency
-Stay off the roads and allow city snow plows to keep streets and roadways clear for emergency vehicles.
-Do not go near or touch downed wires, instead report immediately to 3-1-1.
-If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
-Refrain from strenuous outdoor activity such as prolonged snow shoveling.
-Please be aware those who suffer from cardiovascular disease are at an increased risk of heart attack when shoveling snow due to sudden spikes in blood pressure and a decrease in oxygen to the heart.
-Please do not use an oven or stove to heat your home.
-For elderly or disabled residents who are in need of snow plowing at their residence, please call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov/311 and provide a specific address for service.
Gillibrand to Announce Legislation to Invest in Schools
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today will announce legislation that would invest billions in public school infrastructure and help cash-strapped school districts safely reopen under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2021 would invest more than $100 billion in grant funding to schools with facilities that pose health and safety risks to students and staff, allocate funding for updates to combat the spread of COVID-19, and expand access to reliable, high-speed broadband to continue digital learning.
Gillibrand said America’s public schools were in need of significant investment to rebuild aging infrastructure before the pandemic. Now, thousands of schools in New York and across the country are grappling with the need to make major repairs to ventilation and other systems to protect the health of students and staff, and meet reopening guidelines established by the CDC. However, schools rely on state and local governments for funding, and these administrations are facing massive budget shortfalls and have already had to make cuts to education budgets — including cuts to programs and staffing.
The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2021 would help fill the funding gap for New York’s public schools so they can safely reopen and make investments in infrastructure that would create good-paying jobs to support the economic recovery, she said
Jeffries on Black History Month
U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens), in recognition of Black History Month, issued the following statement:
“African Americans have been here since before there was a country. We arrived on these shores in 1619 in shackles and as a result of our blood, our sweat, our tears, our intellect, our ingenuity, our hard work, we helped to build this great country.
This month is a time to reflect on the countless achievements by our African American ancestors and acknowledge the price generations have paid to bring us to where we are today. We must use the momentum granted to us by generations of civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to rise up and mark another era of progress.
Despite more than 150 years since the abolishment of slavery, African Americans continue to fight for equal protection under the law. This once-in-a-century pandemic and economic crisis has opened up a lot of eyes as it relates to the need to deal with the systemic racism and inequality in America that have been in the soil of our nation since its birth.
It’s clear that while we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go. As we continue our long, necessary and majestic march towards a more perfect union, we must never forget how we arrived here. In the words of the late, great Representative John Lewis, we must never give up, never give in and never give out because together, we can redeem the soul of America.”