Bklyn Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 19, 2021

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Salazar, Legislators Visit Prisons Ravaged by COVID

Julia Salazar
State Sen. Julia Salazar

State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Greenpoint, Williamsburgh, parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York), chair of the Corrections Committee, alongside other state legislators and yesterday spoke about their recent visits to prisons, jails, and ICE detention centers ravaged by COVID-19. 

Joined by currently and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers and families with loved ones behind bars, they called for the swift passage of the Justice Roadmap, a package of state bills that would decarcerate New York and curtail death and torture behind bars. They also called for immediate access to COVID-19 vaccines for incarcerated New Yorkers.

“These visits provided brief exposure and insight into the conditions incarcerated people experience every day. We had opportunities to speak with some of the men and women in these facilities as well as to see the physical environment. I came away even more convinced that our system of incarceration deprives people of their human rights and more committed to taking all steps possible to ensure the people in the state’s prisons are treated with dignity and with respect for their human rights,” said Salazar.

“I will work with my colleagues to do everything we can to reduce the number of incarcerated people in NYS We must ensure that proper health-care is provided, that there is access to COVID-19 vaccines, and, at the least, that elderly people, people with health concerns, and people who pose no risk are released from incarceration and permitted to return to their families and communities.”

Malliotakis Chides Cuomo, De Blasio on Spending

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) this week sent letters to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo calling on both officials, who are expected to receive $50 billion in federal aid from President Biden’s COVID-relief package, to commit to stopping planned increases in tolls, personal income and property taxes. 

She is also urging that a portion of the funds be used to provide aid for small businesses that were mandated to close by the city and state governments.

Malliotakis called on Cuomo to use a portion of the anticipated funds to prevent increases on the Verrazano Bridge, increases on personal income tax and specifically designate funds for small businesses across New York that the state-mandated to close over the last several months. A similar letter was sent to de Blasio asking to freeze the property tax levy which impacts homeowners and renters alike.

“If President Biden and Congress do end up giving $50 billion to New York, there needs to be accountability and commitments that this money will make its way to providing hardworking New Yorkers with real relief,” said Malliotakis. 

“My constituents and I have grave concerns about giving Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio big checks without knowing where the money will go. The worst thing they can do is accept this money and still move forward with toll and tax increases. It would not only be double-dipping on the part of the city and state governments, but it would be a slap in the face to our middle-class families who are struggling to get by during this pandemic and can’t afford increases to their daily cost of living,” she added.

Bichotte Pushes Help for Small Businesses

Rodneyse Bichotte
Kings County Democratic Party Chair and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park) yesterday in her e-newsletter championed the NYC Small Business Resource Network is a unique private/public partnership that provides local businesses with the free, personalized guidance they need right now to survive the pandemic. 

“Once you fill out the brief intake form, you will be matched with a business support specialist. Through this program, all five borough Chambers of Commerce have specialists offering one-on-one support to businesses in their boroughs,” she wrote.

The program is funded by a $2.8 million grant from the New York City-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation and supported by in-kind contributions from other partners, this collaboration, led by the Partnership for New York City, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and all five Chambers of Commerce, leverages the city’s corporate, financial and professional services sectors, as well as universities, philanthropies and expert volunteers to help small business owners gain access to a range of programs and services.

To register online visit: NYCSmallBusinessResourceNetwork.org

James Hosts Virtual Events With Nonprofits

Attorney General Letitia James

The office of State Attorney General Letitia James next week will host a virtual event, Nonprofit Mergers and Strategic Partnerships, in collaboration with Nonprofit New York.

Come join James and nonprofit leaders for a conversation to discuss the legal merger process and strategic partnerships that can be utilized to deepen an organization’s programmatic and operational expansion. 

The event will explore merger case studies, and provide legal merger transaction guidance and best practices. The dialogue will share perspectives on how race and ethnicity can impact organizations, when merging or applying other reorganization and strategic partnerships.

The event is slated for between 10-11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23. RSVP for the Zoom event here: http://bit.ly/nonprofit-mergers.

Levin Looks at Juvenile Justice System During COVID-19

City Councilman Stephen Levin

City Councilmember Stephen Levin (D-Northern Brooklyn, Boerum Hill), chair of the council’s General Welfare Committee, today will hold an override hearing on the juvenile justice system during COVID-19. 

Those expected to testify include representatives from the New York City Administration of Children’s Services (“ACS”) Division of Youth and Family Justice (“DYFJ”), social service providers, advocacy organizations, community organizations, and members of the public.

The New York State Family Court Act gives Family Courts exclusive original jurisdiction to hear juvenile delinquency cases. A “juvenile delinquent” is a youth who is over 7 but less than 18 years of age, who commits an act that would be a crime if he or she were an adult.  During the pendency of juvenile delinquency cases, juveniles are either supervised by the New York City Department of Probation (DOP) or detained in facilities overseen by DYFJ. 

Adjudicated youth who receive a disposition of placement in a secure setting are placed in facilities overseen by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (“OCFS”). A finding of juvenile delinquency is not considered a criminal conviction and therefore does not result in a criminal record. Moreover, Family Court judges, in response to a motion, may seal any records relating to a delinquency proceeding.

The remote hearing starts at 10 a.m. Watch here.