NY Lawmakers on the Move March 2, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Gillibrand Urges Biden Administration To Grant TPS for Ukrainians 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand partnered with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senator Robert Portman (R-OH) to spearhead a bipartisan letter requesting that the Biden administration take the necessary steps to ensure Ukrainian nationals in the United States are not forced to return to their country by designating Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), in light of Russia’s invasion of the country. 

Established by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief for foreign nationals whose home countries’ conditions prevent them from returning home safe and sound, or where a country is unable to handle the return of their nationals back to their homeland. 

TPS status allows beneficiaries to live and work in the United States for a limited time and allows people to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) and travel authorization, and prevents a national being removed from the United States.

“America’s legacy is founded on the idea of protecting the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and returning any Ukrainian national back into a war zone goes against the ideals that make our nation a beacon of freedom,” said Gillibrand. “Sending any Ukrainian national back to their nation is not only cruel and unconscionable but it is also counter to our values. Ukraine meets the parameters for TPS status and I respectfully request that the Biden administration protect Ukrainian nationals that are currently in the U.S., and protect them from the devastation created by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of their country.”

Adams Announces Summer Youth Employment Applications Opens

Mayor Eric Adams

Mayor Eric Adams yesterday opened applications for the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development’s (DYCD) Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), the nation’s largest summer youth employment initiative.

In addition to a record 90,000 SYEP opportunities, 10,000 summer jobs will be available through other city agencies as the result of a $79 million investment in the Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget that Adams announced last month, bringing the total baselined funding to $236 million.

“Providing programs like SYEP for young New Yorkers keeps them safe and helps them secure a better future,” said Adams. “We are thrilled to open up applications for tens of thousands of youth to engage in summer jobs, develop skills and carry memories that will last a lifetime.”

Programming is available through various service options:  

New York City teens aged 14 and 15 learn about career opportunities and make a difference in their communities through paid project-based activities. Young people aged 16 to 24 improve their work readiness skills and explore career pathways through paid summer jobs in a variety of industries throughout New York City. 

The 2022 program will include two six-week cohorts beginning July 5 and running through August 20.

Applications can be completed online or at a participating community-based organization during the application period, which runs through Friday, April 22, 2022. For more information, New Yorkers can call 311 or DYCD Community Connect at 1-800-246-4646. 

Dinowitz Backs Curbside Composting 

City Council Member Eric Dinowitz

City Council Member Eric Dinowitz (D-Bronx) yesterday decried Mayor Eric Adams’ preliminary budget for its proposed $18.2 million in cuts to the DSNY budget and the cancelation of the expansion of the City’s curbside compost program. 

“The curbside composting program is crucial as we combat climate change and strive for greater sustainability. I am deeply disappointed to learn about cuts to DSNY that impacts furthering the rollout of this critical program. I have been a fierce advocate for bringing composting to District 11, and I will continue to push for its implementation in every neighborhood,” said Dinowitz.

“Composting prevents soil erosion, conserves water, assists in stormwater management, and reduces overall waste. Last year we were told that our district was not eligible for the program, but I did not accept that. I met with DSNY multiple times, and started a grassroots, organized effort to receive the necessary amount of signups to bring curbside composting to District 11. Now, those eligible in Bronx Community Board 8 have access to the program, and I will continue to work to bring it to the remainder of our district, and advocate for citywide implementation.”

Addabbo Highlights Importance of NY’s Gaming Addiction Programs

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) yesterday said with New Yorkers enjoying the start of mobile sports betting in the state, it is vital that there are anti-addiction programs for those who may have an issue with gambling. 

Addabbo, chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, worked for years to bring legal mobile sports betting to the state, and now that that vision has become a reality, he is looking to keep those who wish to place their bets safe. 

“By bringing mobile sports betting to New York we are able to allow New Yorkers to safely bet legally in their own state rather than heading to neighboring states or the illegal market,” Addabbo explained. “And while a large majority of players are able to regulate their usage and control their betting, there are those who will suffer from problem gambling. Through legalization, we are able to identify those people — and those who may be moving towards a gambling problem — and provide them with the resources they need to control their gaming. During National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I want to shed light on the ways we have increased our problem gaming programs in the state and bring awareness to the issue.” 

With the legalization of mobile sports betting, which legislative language included roughly a dozen safeguards and addiction measures, problem gaming programs in the state have a new source of revenue of $6 million each year for problem gaming education and treatment, the lawmaker said.

“We cannot move forward with gaming in New York without addressing the addiction side at the same time,” Addabbo said. “I want to see gaming flourish even further in our state, thus increasing educational funding, revenue and jobs, but we must have safeguards and help in place for those that have a problem. I look forward to working with those in the gaming addiction filed to provide New Yorkers with the best help and resources.” 

If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling call the free, confidential NYS HOPELINE at 1-877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) for help, and referrals to treatment. 

Meng Joins Family of Queens Resident Guiying Ma for Announcement of her Death

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) yesterday joined the family of Queens resident GuiYing Ma for the announcement of her death after she was attacked last November while sweeping the sidewalk next to her home.

Meng joined her husband, Zhanxin Gao, and the family’s pro bono attorneys at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP at their office in Manhattan.

Ma, 62, died on February 22 as a result of “complications of blunt impact injury of head.” She was struck in the head with a rock on November 26 while she was sweeping and had been at Elmhurst Hospital since the assault took place. The suspect was arrested and indicted for the crime.

Meng also called for combatting the rise in anti-Asian hate and violence.

“I am devastated over the passing of GuiYing Ma and my heart aches for her family,” said Meng. “I will continue to be here for her husband and loved ones at this very difficult time. So many in the Asian American community continue to live in fear due to ongoing attacks against Asian Americans. We must continue doing all we can to combat this heinous violence.”