NY Lawmakers on the Move, May 6, 2022

Lawmakers, prescription drugs

Riley, Ung Introduce Legislation Strengthening Adult Continuing Education

City Council Member Kevin C. Riley
City Council Member Sandra Ung

New York City Council Members Kevin C. Riley (D-Bronx) and Sandra Ung (D-Queens) yesterday introduced legislation that seeks to provide comprehensive professional, educational, and personal development resources to New Yorkers across all five boroughs. 

Calling on the City to establish a multi-agency collaboration to connect families with all-embracing support and service, this bill would expand outreach to underserved communities, raising awareness and access to adult education and literacy services in the city. This is vital not solely to the individual development of community members, but it would additionally encourage progress in community development citywide. 

The measure, Int. 354, would establish an Office of Continuing Education and Adult Literacy. This office would be responsible to liaise and facilitate connection to adult training programs and resources to enhance technological proficiency. 

“As the Co-Chair of the Black, Latino, Asian Caucus, I seek to prioritize that the needs of our underserved communities are met with the tools that would empower them to succeed,” said Riley. “Investing into our people through comprehensive support services, extensive professional training and educational programming makes all the difference in inciting individualized growth for New Yorkers while rebuilding and uplifting our communities as a whole. 

“Continuing education and adult literacy programs are crucial tools to help members of our low-income and immigrant communities advance in the workforce and better provide for themselves and their families,” said Ung. “We need a Mayor’s Office of Continuing Education and Adult Literacy to expand and promote these programs in the neighborhoods where they will have the greatest impact. However, it’s not enough to simply provide access to these programs, we also need to provide the necessary services to ensure that once a person is enrolled, they have the best chance to succeed.”

Bichotte Hermelyn Sees Assembly Pass Her ‘Haitian Heritage Month’ resolution

Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (D-Brooklyn) yesterday saw the assembly pass her resolution designating May as ‘Haitian Heritage Month’ statewide. 

Speaking to the chamber, Bichotte Hermelyn noted Haiti’s status as the first free Black republic in the Western Hemisphere. 

“We are a people that have been fighting for our freedom for generation after generation, including in America,” she said, referring to the period in 1779 when Haitian’s fought alongside the Union in the Battle of Savannah. “We saw the beacon of freedom that America promised, and we helped seize it.”

The designation of Haitian Heritage Month commemorates Haitian heritage and culture, including the nation’s notable leaders like Jean Jacques Dessalines, who defeated Napoleon and the French colonists at the Battle of Vertières in 1803; General Toussaint Louverture, who commanded his revolutionary army to victory; and female revolutionaries like Marie-Jeanne Lamartinière – who fought as a soldier in the Indigenous army – and Catherine Flon, a nurse, who is credited with crafting the independent Black Republic of Haiti flag in 1803; and Jean Baptiste Dusable, the first settler of Chicago, also known as the “father of Chicago”. 

Other notables include Jean-Michael Basquiat, one of the defining artists of the 20th century – and Jackson Georges, a painter – both Haitian – as well as modern day leaders like actor Jamie Hector, and reporter Vladimir Duthiers.

Two Stavisky Bills to Make Higher Education More Affordable Passes Senate

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky

Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens), chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, saw the senate pass her legislative package designed to help students struggling to cover the cost of tuition. 

Among the bills passed in this critical package is S.7916A, which increases income eligibility for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) from $80,000 to $110,000. TAP provides thousands of dollars to help eligible New Yorkers cover the cost of tuition. 

“The Tuition Assistance Program is a lifeline for young men and women trying to better themselves and their prospects for the future,” explained Stavisky. “For years we’ve seen what TAP has done for low income and working class families. As New Yorkers battle the financial stress of the COVID-19 health crisis and the current inflation squeezing families, we ought to be extending that support to our middle class as well. Investing in our students now, at this time of great need, is an investment into the future of New York.” 

The Senate also advanced Stavisky bill S.4449, which will streamline the process for determining financial eligibility for students. Under this proposal, the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) will have 60 days once the application is completed to review a student’s aid application and make a determination on their eligibility.  

“Students should not have to suffer in limbo after applying for loans, TAP awards or other aid,” says Stavisky. “The longer the eligibility process drags on, the more strain falls on the student, their families and the institution they are hoping to attend.” 

Legislator Lafazan Announces Legislation to Combat Auto Theft in Nassau County

Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan

Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan (D-Woodbury), in the wake of vehicle break-ins and auto thefts, this week called on NCPD to purchase new vehicles for the Nassau County Auxiliary Police squadron. 

He also proposed increasing funding for the purchase of license plate readers for the police cars. Additionally, Legislator Lafazan called to ban the sale of license plate film within Nassau County and increase penalties for those who are caught using license plate films throughout the county.

The Nassau County Auxiliary Police squadron currently has about 25 cars. However many are currently broken down and unable to operate. Lafazan called for the purchase of at least 10 more vehicles for Auxiliary Police. To combat the rise in vehicle break-ins, our neighborhoods need increased patrols and public safety measures, which can be accomplished by increased funding to the auxiliary police squadron. 

“At a time when some across the nation call to defund the police, we know we need to FUND the police and keep increasing funding for public safety to keep our community secure” Lafazan said. “The dedicated volunteers in the auxiliary police squadron are a key factor in keeping our communities safe. By increasing funding to the auxiliary police, we are helping increase patrol throughout our neighborhoods and will deter those from committing these crimes such as auto theft.” 


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