Lawmakers on the Move, Jan. 7, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Hochul Calls for Special Election to Fill Brooklyn, Manhattan Assembly Seats

Governor Kathy Hochul

Gov. Kathy Hochul yesterday issued a proclamation declaring that a special election will be held to fill the vacancies in the 60th and 72nd Assembly Districts on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.

The special election will fill the vacancies created by former Assembly Members Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) and Carmen De La Rosa (D-Manhattan), who are now serving as members of the New York City Council.

“With two vacant seats remaining open in the New York State Assembly, I am declaring a special election to ensure the residents of the 60th and 72nd Assembly Districts are fully represented in the State Legislature,” said Hochul. “I wish both Charles Barron and Carmen De La Rosa well in their new roles as members of the New York City Council and look forward to working with the new leaders that will be chosen by the residents of these districts to continue delivering results for New Yorkers.”

AM Rosenthal Lauds Court’s Decision on Reopening Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) Portal

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) yesterday lauded a State Supreme Court decision to issue a preliminary injunction requiring the state to reopen the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) Portal.

“From the outset, I, along with many others, argued that the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) should not have closed the ERAP portal in the first place. I am gratified that the Supreme Court of the State of New York agreed by saying, ‘[the State’s] decision to stop accepting ERAP applications is necessarily irrational,’” said Rosenthal.

“New York State was and continues to work toward securing additional funding from the federal government. Closing the portal when the initial round of funding had been exhausted denied thousands of tenants with broad protection against eviction, which we in the Legislature intended to provide when we designed New York’s ERAP program,” she added.

Rosenthal also expressed gratitude for the Legal Aid Society’s tireless advocacy on behalf of New York’s tenants. 

“Instead of appealing this decision, I encourage OTDA to instead devote its resources toward securing additional federal funding or identify an alternative state source of funding. With the State’s temporary eviction moratorium set to expire on January 16, 2022, a fully operational ERAP program will stave off the looming eviction crisis while making small landlords whole. The ERAP program is the single best way to ensure New York’s financial recovery,” Rosenthal said.

Addabbo Lauds Approval of Four Licensed Mobile Sports Wagering Operators

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens), chair of the Senate’s Gaming Committee, yesterday lauded the NYS Gaming Commission’s greenlighting of four licensed mobile sports wagering operators to start taking bets.

“The announcement by the New York State Gaming Commission that four of the nine licensed Mobile Sports Wagering Operators have been approved to begin operations starting on Saturday, January 8, 2022, is great news for New York in terms of revenue, new funding for education, addiction programs and youth sports, as well as new jobs,” said Addabbo.

“I want to thank the Gaming Commission for their efficiency in ensuring that these operators met all of the requirements to bring their mobile sports betting product to the people of New York ahead of the NFL playoffs. I look forward to the other five operators satisfying the statutory and regulatory requirements necessary to launch in the near future and working with the Hochul Administration and Gaming commission.”

Meng Announces Reopening of Elmhurst Post Office

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced yesterday that the U.S. Post Office in Elmhurst, Queens reopened this week on Monday (January 3) after being closed since September due to flooding caused by Hurricane Ida. 

All repairs to the Elmhurst A Post Office have been completed and the facility will now be functioning at normal capacity, she said.   

“After making multiple inquiries with the Postal Service, I’m pleased that the Elmhurst A station has now reopened and will again be able to provide residents with the much-needed postal services that people rely on,” said Meng. “The water damage that the post office sustained during the storm was devastating. But through the hard work and resilience of those tasked with fixing it, the facility is again ready to serve the community.”     

The Elmhurst A Post Office is located at 80-27 Broadway, Elmhurst, N.Y. 11373. The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Cymbrowitz Urges DOE to Restore Remote Learning Option 

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), is urging the NYC Department of Education to restore a remote learning option in the wake of the surging COVID infections. 

In a letter yesterday to Schools Chancellor David Banks, the lawmaker said that he’s heard from public school parents in his district who are “deeply concerned” about the absence of a remote option for classroom learning. 

“While I agree wholeheartedly with the DOE’s commitment to keeping schools open for in-person learning, the decision to eliminate a remote option entirely was always risky,” said Cymbrowitz. “The quick rise of the easily transmissible Omicron variant has demonstrated the  dangers of relying only on a best-case scenario and failing to consider COVID’s  unpredictable trajectory.”

Cymbrowitz said one parent at P.S. 195 in Manhattan Beach told him this week that in the absence of remote learning, his child’s teacher was forced to resort to a  system of “self-guided study,” where materials are posted online and absent students are expected to learn the material on their own. The parent brought his concerns to the school’s administration and, within a day, the child’s teacher scheduled a math class on Zoom. 

“We can all agree that remote learning doesn’t come close to being as effective or engaging as in-person learning, but it is certainly better than the void that currently exists for the thousands of students who are missing school each day due to COVID,” Cymbrowitz said.