Political Odds & Ends Nov. 30, 2021

Chalk loudspeaker and inscription odds and ends on black chalkboard
Black chalkboard with drawing of a loudspeaker and inscription odds and ends

Weprin and local leaders to Denounce Menorah vandalism

Assembly Member David Weprin

In response to the recent vandalism of a Menorah in Hollis Hills, Assemblyman David Weprin will be joining local leaders today to denounce the incident. On Saturday Nov. 27 in the early evening, the Menorah was knocked down, damaging several of the lights. A similar incident, published in the Queens Chronicle, happened in December of 2014. This is the 14th year of celebrating Chanukah on Hollis Hill by setting up and lighting this large Menorah at Union Turnpike and 220th street. It normally costs about $300. 

“Chanukah is a time of peace and joy,” said Assemblyman Weprin. “We celebrate the persistence of light in the darkness. This act of vandalism and anti-Semitic hate will not be tolerated.” Weprin’s district covers parts of Briarwood, Bellerose Manor, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hillcrest, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village, Richmond Hill, and Utopia. 

The gathering will be held at noon at the site of the Menorah, Union Turnpike and 220th street.


Malliotakis and Republican colleagues introduce Parents Bill of Rights

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) has joined about 80 of her Republican colleagues in introducing the Parents Bill of Rights, related to children and their education. “With divisive curriculum such as Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, and parents who are expressing concerns about curriculum and policy being treated as domestic terrorists by government agencies, it’s critically important to protect parents’ rights to transparency regarding their child’s education,” said Malliotakis in a press release. 

The bill requires school districts to make all curriculum publicly available and meet with parents regularly about it. Formed by the Republicans in the Committee on Education and Labor, it also requires schools to let parents know if and when they will eliminate a Gifted and Talented program. The bill also provides guidelines on privacy and safety when it comes to children’s data and violent incidents. Though it wouldn’t prevent Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, it creates a framework for dialogue between parents and schools. 


James files Amicus brief for Transgender rights

Attorney General Letitia James

Attorney General Letitia James continues her fight for Transgender rights in schools by filing an amicus brief in the case of Adams v. School Board of St. John’s County. Drew Adams is a transgender boy who was prohibited from using the bathroom at his school in St. John’s County, Fla. 

James filed in support of the student, who says that the occurrence violates his constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause and the Title IX section of the Education Amendments act of 1972. The student is recognized as male by his birth certificate and his drivers license and has completed gender reassignment surgery, though anyone can identify as trans without these factors. 

“This lawsuit is about more than just equal bathroom access — it is about eliminating unfair treatment of non-cisgendered students across the nation.” James said. She and a coalition of other attorneys general believe that policies that include transgender students have individual and societal benefits “without jeopardizing student safety or privacy.” 


Bichotte Hermelyn to hold public hearing on maternal health 

Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Today, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and the Assembly Standing Committee on Health and the Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues (of which she is chair) will hold a public hearing on the quality of prenatal care and maternal health. Because people of color are more likely to experience maternal death, the committee will examine the barriers to proper care and the quality of that care. According to the full notice, “the Committee and Task Force would like to examine the causes and consequences of maternity care deserts and the cultural competency of care throughout the state.”

This in-person hearing will take place Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. at 250 Broadway, 19th Floor Hearing Room. The public may watch virtually at https://nyassembly.gov/av/live/.