MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Feb. 18, 2021

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James Sues Amazon for Failing to Protect Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic

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

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) filed a lawsuit against Amazon for its failure to instate health and safety precautions for its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

James’s suit alleges that, by failing to maintain a safe and hygienic work environment, Amazon endangered its workers and violated New York State Labor Law. The suit also alleges that the company fired workers who spoke up about the unsafe conditions.

“While Amazon and its CEO made billions during this crisis, hardworking employees were forced to endure unsafe conditions and were retaliated against for rightfully voicing these concerns,” said James. “Since the pandemic began, it is clear that Amazon has valued profit over people and has failed to ensure the health and safety of its workers. The workers who have powered this country and kept it going during the pandemic are the very workers who continue to be treated the worst. As we seek to hold Amazon accountable for its actions, my office remains dedicated to protecting New York workers from exploitation and unfair treatment in all forms.” 

Krueger Introduces Bill to Repeal Fossil Fuel-Related Tax Expenditures

State Senator Liz Krueger (Photo provided by Krueger's Communications Office)
State Senator Liz Krueger

State Senator Liz Krueger (D) introduced legislation yesterday to repeal over $300 million in fossil fuel-related state tax giveaways.

Every year, the State forgoes roughly $1.5 billion in tax revenue through oil-related tax expenditures. Krueger’s bill would begin the process of aligning New York’s fiscal policy with its long-term climate goals.

“In the past few years, New York State has taken unprecedented action to mitigate the effects of climate change, but there are still areas where we are on the wrong track,” said Krueger. “We spend $1.5 billion every year on tax subsidies that support the use of dirty fossil fuels. Some of these subsidies are needed to help hard-working New Yorkers, but many are just sops to an outdated industry, wasting taxpayer dollars and making our climate crisis worse. This bill represents a down payment, a first step we can take right now to begin aligning our tax policy with our climate goals, by repealing the most egregious subsidies. In the face of a significant revenue shortfall, now is the perfect time to get rid of these counterproductive subsidies.”

Benjamin, Jean-Pierre to Introduce Legislation to Address Trauma in Prisons

State Senator Brian Benjamin (Photo by T.E.Shaw, CC BY-SA 4.0)
State Senator Brian Benjamin

Today, State Senator Brian Benjamin (D-Harlem, East Harlem) and Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Lindenhurst) will be announcing the introduction of the Post-Traumatic Prison Disorder Shawanna W76337 Act.

The act is named for Shawanna Vaughn, a criminal justice reform advocate and the co-founder of Silent Cry, a New York-based nonprofit that takes “a holistic approach to aftercare from mass incarceration, gun violence and trauma,” as per their website. Vaughn will be speaking at the event, along with Manhattan DA candidate Lucy Lang and Hazel Dukes of the NAACP, among others.

The event will take place today at 11 a.m. at Mount Zion A.M.E. Church, 1765 Madison Ave.

Levine Pays Respects to April Tyler

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

Councilmember Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) released a tweet yesterday mourning the loss of HDFC Coalition leader April Tyler.

Tyler was a tireless and tenacious advocate for affordable housing and the preservation of local landmarks. In a press release, the HDFC Coalition called her “an undisputed leader and irreplaceable member”, crediting her for helping relaunch the group after the passing of HDFC Coalition founder Jordi Reyes-Montblanc.

“West Harlem has lost another cherished leader. I am devastated by the sudden passing of April Tyler, one of the smartest, most committed activists I have known,” said Levine. “She was a force for affordable housing, economic justice and more. My deepest condolences to her family & loved ones.”