MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Feb. 11, 2021

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Hoylman, Niou Introduce Bill to Require COVID Sites to Offer Non-English Translations

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

Last Tuesday, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Financial District, Chinatown) introduced bicameral legislation to ensure that non-English speakers have access to the latest information about COVID.

The bill would require State agencies to offer non-English translations on all of their official websites, particularly those with information pertaining to the pandemic. Upon passage, all sites relating to the pandemic would have 30 days to comply with the standard, while all other sites would have 90 days.

“More than five million New Yorkers live in households where the primary language isn’t English,” said Hoylman. “That’s why we can’t let language be a barrier to life-saving information, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

Niou agreed, noting that she has received countless complaints from her constituents about the issue.

“There is a tremendous gap between those who have the resources and ability to access the resources we have available and those who do not,” said Niou. “It is essential that we promote equity and provide culturally sensitive, language accessible information and services in our online resources and information, especially when it comes to COVID-19 related issues.”

James Files Lawsuit to End Harassment of Women Entering Manhattan Planned Parenthood Center

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

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) filed a lawsuit last Tuesday against two anti-choice protesters who have repeatedly obstructed and harassed patients and staff passing through Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s (PPGNY) Manhattan Health Center.

James charged Bevelyn Beatty and Edmee Chavannes with blocking access to the center and violently threatening people passing in and out. Her suit alleges that at the height of the pandemic, Beatty and Chavannes tried to use the threat of the virus to intimidate patients and escorts from entering. They also endangered the health of said patients by refusing to comply with social distancing and mask guidelines.

“For almost 50 years, Roe v. Wade has made clear the right of women to control their own bodies,” said James. “Despite the clear protections under the law, these individuals used violent and illegal tactics to harass, threaten, and block women from entering Planned Parenthood. Let me be very clear: no person, no business, and no government body has the right to deny or limit a woman’s access to an abortion, and I will continue to do everything within my legal power to support the reproductive rights of women.”

De Blasio Announces 200 Million Meals Distributed Through GetFoodNYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo credit: Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced that GetFoodNYC has distributed over 200 million meals to food insecure New Yorkers to date.

GetFoodNYC is the emergency food program that de Blasio initiated in 2020 to combat food insecurity related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, the program facilitated the distribution of Grab & Go meals at hundreds of Department of Education sites, and delivered meals directly to New Yorkers who couldn’t leave their homes and lacked any private delivery options.

“Last March, we were facing unprecedented levels of food insecurity in the five boroughs,” said de Blasio. “We acted quickly to stand up an enormous interagency effort to get food to the people who need it. This milestone is proof of our efforts to ensure no New Yorker goes hungry.”

Council to Vote on Rosenthal’s Bill to Combat Healthcare Discrimination

Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Photo: Emil Cohen/ NYC Council)
Council Member Helen Rosenthal

Today, the City Council will vote on Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s (D-Central Park, Lincoln Square) bill to establish an advisory board to address gender and racial discrimination in healthcare.

Intro 2064-2020 would mandate the creation of an advisory board, which would issue annual reports and recommendations to the Mayor and City Council related to workplace discrimination and harassment in the healthcare system. The Council will also vote on Rosenthal’s resolution calling for implicit bias training for all med students in New York State.

The vote will be preceded by a press conference, which will take place today at 10 a.m. over Zoom.

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