MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Feb. 23, 2021

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Rodriguez Testifies in Favor of Bill to Establish Office of Sports Recreation

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (Photo credit:
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights, Inwood) testified at a City Council hearing yesterday in favor of Int. 1959, a bill he’s sponsoring that would establish a Mayoral Office of Sports Recreation.

The office would be responsible for formulating strategies to support athletic activities throughout New York City. Rodriguez said that his intent is to provide a “pipeline” to competitive sports for disadvantaged children, thus promoting more equity in that field.

“We thank everyone that provides opportunity to our children and our youth in different sports; however, we can do better,” said Rodriguez. “Here in New York City, we have Fordham University Division 1 in baseball. They have about 35 players. You know how many of those are black or Latino? Three. Why? Because we don’t have a pipeline to identify and support the youth, so that they get connected with all the training, with the coaches that they need to hone the talent that they have.”

Espaillat Announces 2021 High School Congressional Art Competition

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (Photo credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Last Saturday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) announced the launch of the Congressional Art Competition for high school students in District 13.

The annual contest has high school students submit their best pieces of artwork, with the potential prize of having their art on display in the U.S. Capitol for up to a year. There is no required theme, but the contest favors artwork that highlights the diversity and culture of New York’s 13th.

“New York is home to some of the world’s most celebrated artists and that artist talent starts early. I am proud to serve as a co-host of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition and encourage high school students from my district and from around the nation to submit their artwork for a chance to showcase their creativity and artist talents as part of this outstanding program,” said Espaillat.

To read the complete rules, click here.

Hoylman Commends Supreme Court for Ruling on Trump Tax Case

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

State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) released a statement yesterday, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance (D) could move forward with his subpoena of former President Donald Trump (R) for his tax returns.

New York’s TRUST Act, of which Hoylman was a sponsor, allows Congress to request the New York State tax returns of all lawmakers and other political officials.

“Donald Trump spent four years trying to Make America Corrupt Again. His disregard for ethics and the rule of law set a dangerous precedent—and he must be held accountable.

“That’s why we passed the TRUST Act two years ago, allowing Congress to request the New York State tax returns of certain elected officials including the President of the United States. It was a crucial step forward in presidential accountability. Now, New York stands ready to assist Congress in carrying out its oversight duties.

“There must be accountability for Trump’s egregious misconduct. We must protect the rule of law.”

Williams Calls for Passage of His Bill to Create Mental Health Emergency Phone Line

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Photo credit:
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Yesterday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) called for the passage of his bill to create a three-digit mental health emergency hotline, at a hearing of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction.

Int. 2222 would require the creation of a hotline staffed by mental health experts. The Office of Mental Health – which would be established separately under legislation sponsored by Councilmember Diana Ayala (D-El Barrio, Mott Haven) – would be responsible for creating the hotline and training call operators. The new number, 988, would ensure that health professionals, rather than law enforcement, are responsible for handling mental health emergencies.

“Mental health should not be seen or responded to as an untreated public threat,” said Public Advocate Williams of the bill. “I hope through our legislative process, we can collectively create a crisis response where persons living with mental health diagnosis feel safe in their communities and know they’ll receive the proper care that they need. I also hope that we can bring healing to families that have experienced a loss or any trauma as a result of the system we now have in place now.”