NY Lawmakers on the Move, Feb. 2, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Myrie’s Black History Month Legislation

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) said yesterday that being inspired by award-winning writing, Brooklyn-based science fiction author N.K. Jemisin essay “How Long ‘Til Black Future Month,” he is highlighting legislation throughout the month of February aimed at undoing the harms of the past and uplifting communities of color for a just, safe, healthy and secure future.

“Many of the neighborhoods that make up our district have some of the most consistently poor health outcomes in New York. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated these disparities, but they’ve always been here. From poor maternal healthcare to high rates of respiratory illness, diabetes and heart disease, Central Brooklyn has long been the epicenter of a racial health gap that plagues our people from birth, diminishes our quality of life, and often leads to premature death. Enough is enough,” wrote Myrie in his e-newsletter..

The three bills Myrie is sponsoring that take aim at these health disparities are:

S.7516, banning the use of “bug bombs”: 1.5 million New Yorkers suffer from asthma, and people of color are over 300% more likely to be exposed to polluted air (a trigger for asthma) than their white counterparts. This bill would restrict the use of total release fogging pesticides, commonly known as “bug bombs,” from consumer sale and prohibit their use in multi-unit commercial buildings. 

S.322, the Chisholm Chance Act: This legislation would direct millions in additional resources to create a maternal health hub at SUNY-Downstate Hospital, located in the epicenter of the severe maternal morbidity crisis. Severe maternal mortality rates are as much as three times higher among Black women than white women, and these rates have been going up, not down, in recent years. The Chisholm Chance Act would invest in women-of-color-led community-based organizations that support maternal and children’s health.

S.7487-A, the Predatory Marketing Prevention Act (PMPA): Obesity and related co-morbidities are currently the second leading preventable cause of death in the US. New Yorkers living and working in lower-income neighborhoods are exposed to almost twice the proportion of predatory food and beverage marketing messages as those in higher-income communities. PMPA would allow state regulation of food industries that advertise unhealthy foods which cause child obesity, diabetes and other harmful effects.

Hoylman, Gottfried’s ‘Sammy’s Law’ Passes Transportation Committee

Sen. Brad Hoylman
Assembly Member Richard Gottfried

State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) yesterday saw the Senate Transportation Committee passed their ‘Sammy’s Law’ legislation (S.524-A/A.4655-A) that would allow New York City to lower speed limits to 20 mph citywide and as low as 5 mph on streets with traffic calming measures like those participating in NYC’s Open Streets program. 

“Sammy’s Law” is named after Samuel Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year-old who was killed by a driver on Prospect Park West in 2013. 

“Statistics show that even just a one mph decrease in a car’s speed can result in a 17% decrease in fatal crashes. Sammy’s Law will give NYC the authority to lower its own speed limits and save lives. It’s no wonder, then, that over 70% of voters favor giving New York City greater control over setting its own speed limits,” said Hoylman. 

In 2021 there were 273 traffic-related fatalities reported across New York City. That is the highest number of street fatalities in any year since 2013 and the launch of Vision Zero the subsequent year. This comes on the heels of 2020, a year when more than 240 New Yorkers lost their lives because of car accidents. 

Lower speed limits in New York City, authorized by the State Legislature in 2014, contributed to a 36 percent decline in pedestrian fatalities at priority locations in the City. However, current state law still mandates a minimum speed limit of 25 mph and 15 mph in school zones. This is despite findings that an estimated 30% of pedestrians struck by motor vehicles at an impact speed of 25 mph will sustain serious injury and about 12% will die. Each one mph increase in speed resulted in nearly a three percent increase in the mortality rate.

QBP Richards to Hold Candlelight Vigil for Slain Police Officers

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., NYPD officials and community leaders from across Queens will gather on the steps of Queens Borough Hall tonight for a candlelight vigil in memory of Police Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, who were shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call in Harlem on Friday, January 21 and subsequently died of their wounds.

Rivera has since been posthumously promoted to Detective First-Grade.

The vigil will also recognize Police Officer Sumit Sulan, a Queens resident, who responded to the domestic violence call with Officers Rivera and Mora and shot and killed the suspected gunman, likely preventing further loss of innocent life.

“The senseless slayings of Detective Rivera and Officer Mora — two public servants who dedicated their careers to inclusive, community-first policing — was a gut-punch felt across New York City, including right here in Queens. Join us tomorrow to pay tribute to these heroes with a candlelight vigil in their memory on the steps of Queens Borough Hall,” said Richards. “We will also show our support for our fellow Queens resident, Officer Sulan, as he copes with this unimaginable tragedy, as well as all our NYPD first responders who bravely put their lives on the line to protect us every single day.”

The vigil is slated for 5:30 p.m., tonight, Feb. 2 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens in Queens.

Addabbo to Host Free Senior Benefits Webinar

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) is partnering with LiveOn NY on a free webinar to explain the types of benefits seniors are eligible for and how they would be able to apply for them. 

During the webinar, representatives from LiveOn NY will provide information about their organization and what they do, discuss the stigma and misconceptions around receiving benefits, review all of the benefits that are relevant to older adults — which includes discussing what these benefits address, the eligibility criteria and the application process — and finish with a brief Q&A from the audience and they will give out their contact information so anyone interested in reaching out. 

“Many of our seniors are on fixed incomes, making it more difficult for them to afford the rising costs of living in the city,” Addabbo said. “Organizations like LiveOn NY are able to help this vulnerable population find out what benefits they are eligible for and how they can apply to receive those vitally important benefits. I want to thank LiveOn NY for their continued partnership and for helping my constituents with virtual webinars like this one.” 

Some of the benefits LiveOn NY can help constituents register for include SNAP, SCRIE, HEAP, the Medicare Savings Program, Medicaid, and property tax exemptions. While LiveOn NY cannot assist participants in registering for these benefit programs during this meeting, seniors are encouraged to contact LiveOn NY after the webinar to talk about their specific situations and to find out if they qualify and how to apply. 

The live webinar will take place via Zoom at 4 p.m., Wednesday, February 23. Those interested in taking part in the webinar must register by following this link: https://bit.ly/3fRWtkD. For more information, call Addabbo’s office at 718-738-1111 or LiveOn NY at 212-398-5045 or email by email at [email protected] 

Nadler, Adams Issue Joint Statement Following Congressional Delegation Meeting

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (Photo Credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Mayor Eric Adams

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn), chair and Dean of the NY Delegation and Mayor Eric Adams issued the following statement after yesterday’s bipartisan congressional delegation meeting:

“We had a collaborative and productive meeting with members of the Congressional delegation this afternoon to discuss the issues that are most urgent for our city.

“That includes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, how we are working through it, and how the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act revitalizes our city’s critical infrastructure.

“We also spoke on the rise in gun violence in the city and how we can collectively ensure we don’t lose any more lives to senseless violence. Our meeting additionally covered what New Yorkers need, particularly regarding housing. We have already come together as a delegation to urge the Biden administration to send New York City more funding for housing assistance and agreed to continue to work together to keep families in their homes with food on their tables.

“In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever for all levels of our government to work in tandem to provide for the needs of our constituents. By working together, we can continue to get New Yorkers the help they need while investing in our social infrastructure to keep New York City competitive in arts, business, and culture.”