NY Lawmakers on the Move March 10, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Mayor Adams Supports EQUAL Act Inclusion in Congress’ Omnibus Spending Package

Mayor Eric Adams

Mayor Eric Adams yesterday issued the following statement in support of the EQUAL Act — which would end the federal sentencing disparity between drug offenses involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine — in the upcoming spending omnibus package currently being negotiated by the U.S. Senate:

“Safety and justice go hand in hand, and the EQUAL Act of 2021 would correct a longstanding injustice that has devastated Black and Brown communities across the country. The sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses is one of the worst vestiges of the war on drugs, and I’m pleased to join members of New York’s congressional delegation, civil rights groups, and law enforcement organizations in supporting this critical piece of legislation.” 

BBP Reynoso Brings “Brooklyn is Africa” Exhibit to Borough Hall

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso yesterday announced the “Brooklyn is Africa” exhibit being displayed at Brooklyn Borough Hall in March. 

Partnering with the Cultural Museum of African Art (CMAA), the exhibit will feature a selection of Eric Edwards collection of rare and historical African artifacts, representing the diaspora of the borough. 

“As home to the largest population of Africans in the United States, it is Brooklyn’s pride and obligation to celebrate this rich and diverse history that’s still omnipresent in our communities,” said Reynoso. “Further, we are honored that our first event open to the public at-large is featuring pieces from the Eric Edwards collection, someone who has dedicated his life to the preservation of this history right here in Brooklyn.”

The exhibit will feature three main themes: maternity, music, and awareness. The maternity theme will honor women and birth, revered as a symbol of life and perpetuation of life in Africa, an important symbol in African ceremonies. The theme of music was one used in many ceremonies for initiation and to summon spirits, and used for communication within and between tribal groups. The awareness theme showcases pieces used in ceremonial initiation for when young boys were transitioning from child to man and young girls from child to woman.

Brooklyn is home to the largest population of Africans in the United States, underscoring the importance of showcasing this rich history and heritage at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The themes of the exhibit have a direct correlation to the priorities and mission of the Brooklyn Borough President, including his goal of reducing crisis-level maternal mortality rates within the borough, and reintroducing art, music, and cultural celebrations to Brooklynites. 

The free exhibit will be open to the public weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from March 10 through March 21.To RSVP, visit www.brooklyn-usa.org/bk-is-africa.

Jeffries Applauds 21% Boost to MRA Funds in Omnibus Package Allowing Increases to House Staff Pay

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) yesterday lauded the inclusion of a 21% increase in Member Representational Allowance (MRA) funding in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus legislation. 

Hoyer and Jeffries have long advocated for this increase to the MRA in order to ensure that Members, leaders, and committees can attract and retain the best and brightest to help them serve the American people while promoting a more diverse workforce.

“We were very glad to see that the Omnibus appropriations package unveiled this morning includes the 21% MRA increase that we have been pushing to secure. With Congressional staffers moving on to more competitive opportunities after an average of just three years, creating the space for raising staff pay across the board is critical to recruiting and retaining the best and brightest to help us serve our constituents, particularly in district offices that engage most directly with them on casework and services,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

“This will also help us recruit a more diverse workforce that reflects the American people we serve while keeping those on staff who have built up institutional knowledge essential to successful policymaking,” they added.

Brooks-Powers Decries DOF Parking Discounts for Big Delivery Companies

City Council Member Selvena N. Brooks-Powers

City Council Member Selvena N. Brooks-Powers (D-Queens), chair of the Council Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, yesterday decried the city’s Department of Finance (DOF) for offering discounted parking fines to big delivery companies.

“Parking violations by delivery trucks impact all of us: they can snarl traffic, block buses, and put cyclists and pedestrians in danger. The Finance Department’s Stipulated Parking Fine Program, offering discounted fines to big delivery companies for various parking violations, is already an inequitable incentive to ignore our City’s traffic rules,” said Brooks-Powers. 

“We have to move away from placing the brunt of financial burdens on everyday New Yorkers and our city’s small businesses while big corporations get a break. Increasing discounts will only encourage parking violations and make street conditions worse for everyone. The Department of Finance’s action to increase discounts without any public rationale raises major flags and needs to be explained and reconsidered to ensure we are prioritizing safety, equity and the well-being of our city.”

PA Williams, AM Septimo Demand Hochul Fund Electric School Buses

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Assemblymember Amanda Septimo

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Assemblymember Amanda Septimo, (D-Bronx) today will join Earthjustice, Parents to Improve School Transportation, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Bronx borough parents and residents demand Gov. Kathy Hochul enact electric school bus funding in the New York State fiscal year 2023 Budget 

The demand follows the announcement of Governor Hochul’s electric school bus mandate, and  advocates and parents will speak on the need to secure funding for electric school buses in a final push before the state budget approval. 

The rally is slated for 10 a.m., today, March 10 at 1316 Oak Point Avenue in the Bronx.