Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 9, 2021

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Colton Applauds Decision to Reopen Indoor Dining

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) is glad that Governor Cuomo announced that indoor dining can resume on February 12, 2021, at 25% capacity.

“Originally Governor Cuomo planned to reopen indoor dining on Valentine’s Day. The small neighborhood businesses and especially restaurants continue suffering greatly. The restaurants’ owners asked Governor Cuomo to reopen on February 12th, 2021 to make the best of the Valentine’s Day weekend and I am glad that he made that decision,” Colton stated.

“Another significant factor is that this year the Chinese Lunar New Year is on February 12. Allowing indoor dining on February 12, is very important for many families, so they can celebrate with restaurant meals on Lunar New Year’s Day,” Colton added. 

Gillibrand Endorsing Baby-Bonds Program 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) joined colleagues in the reintroduction of the American Opportunity Accounts Act, legislation she has co-sponsored seeking to create a national program commonly referred to as “Baby Bonds.” 

The program will create a federally-funded savings account for every American child at birth. The funds will sit in an interest-bearing account, which can be accessed by account holders at age 18 for allowable uses like buying a home, paying for educational expenses or starting a business. 

“In order to rebuild our economy equitably and address systemic racism, we must enact a bold agenda that will provide tools and resources to communities who were already hurting before the pandemic,” said Gillibrand. “Not only will Baby Bonds legislation help families build intergenerational wealth, regardless of where they are from or what they look like, but it enables investment in our communities from the moment our children are born.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and in the House to get this legislation passed.”

The American Opportunity Accounts Act, also known as “Baby Bonds”, will create a new American birthright—giving every child a fair chance at economic opportunity and mobility. The legislation will create and seed a savings account of $1,000 at birth, with additional deposits of up to $2,000 each year, depending on household income. The funds will sit in an interest-bearing account, which can be accessed by account holders at age 18 for allowable uses like buying a home, paying for educational expenses or starting a business.

Schumer Finds Way to Help COVID Burial Costs

U.S. Senator Charles Schum

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) along with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez formally announced that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will help pay for the funeral and burial of COVID-hit families that cannot afford it via a $2 billion national pot of disaster funds. 

“Families across New York are already paying the ultimate price with the tragic loss of their loved ones to the coronavirus,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “For families, the unspeakable loss of a loved one is being exacerbated by the substantial costs of funerals and burials that many cannot afford right now. This historic use of FEMA’s funeral assistance program helps ensure those grappling with this crisis are not also saddled with the financial burden of exorbitant funeral costs, and that is what Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and I worked to deliver here—and we got it done. The work now centers on making sure eligible families know this is happening and know how to access the funds—that’s why our next job is to get the word out.”

Schumer and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said that families across New York, particularly those in communities of color and low-income communities like Corona, Queens, which was the epicenter of the crisis early on, have already paid the ultimate price amid the pandemic and that these special FEMA funds will help alleviate some of the pain in being unable to afford or give a proper burial and funeral to a loved one. Schumer and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez were joined by the Frankie Miranda, Executive Director of Hispanic Federation, Nathaly Rubio-Torio, Executive Director of Voces Latina and the Executive Director of theElmcor Senior Center as they pushed to get the word out on these funds and explained what will happen next with FEMA.