Lawmakers on the Move, Jan. 14, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Tannousis calls for Hochul to boot Bragg 

Assemblyman Michael Tannousis

Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn) and his GOP colleagues on the Assembly Judiciary Committee yesterday sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urging her to remove Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg from the public office, effective immediately.

The letter points to Bragg recently stating,” the Office of the District Attorney will ignore the bail laws of this State by exercising a “presumption of pre-trial non-incarceration” for most serious felony offenses. Mr. Bragg further published that his office will not prosecute a host of other criminal offenses. When Mr. Bragg was sworn in, he took an oath of office to enforce the laws of this State, but subsequently rescinded that pledge.

“Since taking office, Mr. Bragg has shown through his actions that he has no intention of performing his duties as a district attorney. His decision to ignore the bail laws of this state and his outright refusal to prosecute numerous other crimes clearly demonstrates a dereliction of his duties. He is unfit for the office he holds. Gov. Hochul has the authority to remove him from office and should do so immediately,” the letter concludes.

Felder applauds Hochul signing Applied Behavior Analysis Legislation  

State Sen. Simcha Felder

State Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) applauded Governor Kathy Hochul for recently signing legislation he supported allowing licensed Applied Behavior Analysts (ABA) in New York to provide behavioral health treatment to more individuals with a wider range of health disorders.  

Previously, behavior analysts in New York were only allowed to treat autism and autism spectrum disorders, exclusively. This newly signed law will remove the restriction and allow licensed behavior analysts to fully utilize their training by providing behavioral health treatment to individuals with Down Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Dementia, Drug Addiction and other health conditions. 

“The profession of behavior analysis has made countless improvements in the lives of individuals with many disorders other than autism, and should not be defined by a particular disorder. I applaud Governor Hochul for signing this important legislation into law, thereby expanding access to ABA and bringing New York State in line with the rest of the country,” said Felder. “For those struggling with different mental health or developmental diagnoses, this change in the law will increase access to life-changing treatment.” 

According to the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA), ABA generally involves teaching individuals more effective ways of behaving and working to change their circumstances. Treatment approaches based on ABA have been empirically shown to be effective for a wide variety of populations and circumstances, including education, ADHD, autism, drug and alcohol addiction, brain injury, and obesity, among many others. 

Malliotakis Applauds Supreme Court for Blocking Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandate 

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. Photo from her Congressional website.

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn) yesterday applauded the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) for blocking the Biden Administration’s top-down Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard requiring private employers with over 100 employees to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing.

Last week, Malliotakis joined over 130 House Republicans and over 40 Senators in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting the plaintiffs of the case. The brief argued that Congress did not give OSHA the authority to impose a vaccine mandate and urged SCOTUS to stay the mandate.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a huge victory for business owners and employees across the United States,” said Malliotakis. “President Biden circumvented Congress to impose a mandate that was an egregious overreach of government, infringing on Americans’ freedoms stripping their livelihoods, exacerbating labor shortages, and further disrupting the supply chain. I’m pleased to see the Supreme Court block it and I’m hopeful that this decision will be helpful to local businesses suing the city over similar mandates.”

Malliotakis, who is vaccinated and has sponsored several COVID-19 vaccine pop-up clinics and PCR testing sites in Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, has been an outspoken critic of COVID-19 vaccine mandates. While she encourages Americans to get vaccinated, she argues that stripping people from their livelihoods is the wrong approach and a government overreach that will impact the economy and lead to more staffing shortages in industries across the nation.

Malliotakis recently wrote to the President urging the administration to turn its focus toward increasing the supply and distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments and therapeutic medicines to treat COVID-19 infections. 

In the weeks following Malliotakis’ push, New York has received nearly five times the amount it was receiving at the beginning of December.

Meng, Bowman Spearhead request to Biden for more NYC COVID Help

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng
U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman

U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Queens) and Jamaal Bowman (D-Bronx/Westchester) yesterday led a request to President Biden asking him to help New York City battle the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

In a letter spearheaded by Meng and Bowman, and signed by other members of New York’s congressional delegation, the lawmakers asked the President to provide free rapid test kits to New York City, and issue additional guidance for schools to ensure that they are safe. The letter also asked for rapid test kits to be accompanied with translations to make sure that all communities in New York City can access and understand how to use the tests.

“Rapid COVID-19 tests provide New Yorkers not only with the ability to test in the comfort of their own home, but also help alleviate the hours-long lines we have seen at brick and mortar and mobile testing sites since late December,” the lawmakers wrote. “Without COVID-19 rapid test kits, New York City is not able to sustain its current efforts to limit the spread of the virus. We further emphasize the need to ensure at-home tests are made available free of charge to remove barriers that may otherwise prevent people from receiving the care they need and keeping our communities healthy and safe.”

Those who also signed the letter include New York Reps. Adriano Espaillat, Ritchie Torres, Thomas Suozzi, Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velázquez, Jerrold Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke.

Cymbrowitz Leads Push to Make Alcoholic Beverages to Go Permanent  

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) has renewed his push for legislation (A.7732) that would allow restaurants and bars in New York State to sell and deliver serving sizes of wine, mead and other alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises. 

In her “State of the State” address earlier this month, Gov. Kathy Hochul expressed support for reinstating and making permanent the popular pandemic-era measure that allowed liquor license holders to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption. 

According to a recent report by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, employment in the restaurant, retail and recreation (RRR) sectors in New York City was down by 169,700 jobs in November 2021, accounting for 41 percent of total private-sector jobs lost since November 2019. The report also found that the restaurant subsector currently employs 30% fewer workers than in 2019, and that only 35% of the restaurants that applied for Restaurant Revitalization funding received it before the program ran out of money.

 The legislation requires customers to buy a food item with the alcohol to go. Bottle sales will not be permitted, eliminating any competition with liquor stores. 

“The coronavirus has taken an immense toll on the restaurant and hospitality industry in New York State,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. “With the Omicron variant once again leaving bars and restaurants with empty seats and the possibility of other variants impacting our lives in the future, it makes sense to enact legislation that will let the hospitality industry benefit permanently from a  revenue stream that could make the difference between staying open and losing their  livelihood forever.”