NY Lawmakers on the Move, May 11, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

NYS Senate Passes Felder Bill Expanding Family Court Hours 

State Sen. Simcha Felder

Sen. Simcha Felder yesterday saw the Senate unanimously pass his legislation (S3683-D) requiring New York City Family Court to remain open until midnight at least one day a week. 

Establishing a nighttime Family Court program has been a priority for Felder and is seen as a major step in helping address Family Court’s history of dysfunction and delays. Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (D-Queens) was the Assembly sponsor (A0739). 

“I am pleased to see this important legislation pass in the State Senate and I thank my colleagues for their support,” said Felder. “For years, Family Court has been mired in a bureaucratic mess that prolongs a frightening and traumatic process for our city’s most vulnerable children and families. Offering Family Court night hours will finally help ease the significant burden they carry.” 

“The strain of navigating the complex bureaucracies of the New York Family Court system can be an overwhelming experience for adults, let alone powerless children,” said Assemblymember Rosenthal. “The Senate’s passage of this legislation to offer Family Court night hours is a crucial step forward in ensuring overburdened families and children can remedy their unique circumstances as quickly as possible.” 

Family Court specializes in handling cases such as child custody, juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. Sadly, despite handling some of the most vulnerable people who enter the justice system, Family Courts remain overburdened and under-resourced. 

While many courts in New York City remain open through the evenings, with some open until 1 a.m. Family Courts regularly close at 5 p.m., adding an excessive challenge for working people, under-resourced families, and women and children at-risk. 

Maloney Calls for Covid Relief to Include Funding for Small Businesses

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn) yesterday fired off a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) calling for any future Coronavirus relief package to replenish the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. 

About 340,000 small businesses in New York State – and countless more across the country – have benefited from the EIDL program. The Congresswoman’s District, New York’s 12th, is home to over 58,000 small businesses, the largest concentration of small businesses in any congressional district.

In her letter, Congresswoman Maloney stated, “Multiple constituents have confided in me and my office about facing the closing of a business their parents or grandparents had started; one asked for advice about how to tell his daughter she would have to switch schools because they could no longer afford it; and others expressed deep regrets about having to finally lay off the employees they helped keep afloat throughout the pandemic. For the small business owners that were successful in being fully funded, I also heard stories of joy, and more than anything, relief.”

She continued, “I urge you to protect the EIDL provisions included in the House legislation, with at least $150 billion directed toward the COVID-19 EIDL program as it continues to support the small businesses that are fundamental to our national recovery. I hope that you can come to an agreement to prioritize this critical funding to ensure that American small businesses can participate in an economic recovery that is inclusive, leaving none behind.”

Gianaris’ Environmental Justice Bill Passes Senate

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) announced yesterday the Senate passed his legislation (S.1232) that mandates equal treatment for all New Yorkers in environmental policy. 

This bill explicitly extends the protections of civil rights law into our state’s environmental laws. 

“Representing a frontline environmental justice community, I know that decisions of the past were not made with all New Yorkers in mind,” said Gianaris. “I am pleased the Senate has passed this important legislation and will continue to fight to protect New Yorkers from the threat of the climate crisis, especially those who have been left behind by previous policies.” 

Under Gianaris’ watch as Deputy Majority Leader, the Senate enacted the CLCPA, a historic law to combat the climate crisis. The CLCPA mandates aggressive reductions in statewide greenhouse gas emissions, improves resiliency efforts, ensures local job creation through energy transition, and promotes environmental justice by controlling the regressive impacts of climate change. 

Meng, Schulman Visit Restaurant of of Food Delivery Worker Shot & Killed

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng
City Council Member Lynn Schulman

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) and City Councilwoman Lynn Schulman (D-Queens) announced yesterday that they visited the Great Wall Chinese restaurant in Forest Hills where Zhiwen Yan worked. Yan, 45, was the food delivery worker who was shot and killed a week-and-a-half ago while making a delivery on his scooter.

Meng and Shulman took part in a meeting they facilitated with the restaurant’s owner and the commanding officer of 112th Precinct to discuss safety concerns, and ways to improve security. The two lawmakers also visited other nearby business owners on Queens Boulevard to talk about how they can better protect themselves and their employees.

In addition, Meng and Schulman met at the site with the detectives investigating the case.

“Zhiwen Yan was well known and beloved by many in the community, and our hearts continue to ache for his family,” said Meng and Schulman. “This was such a horrible and senseless tragedy, and we are confident that the person responsible will be apprehended and brought to justice. We thank the 112th Precinct for continuing its investigation into this terrible crime, and for addressing safety in the area with local businesses. We remain committed to helping Zhiwen’s loved ones in any way we can.”

Meng is currently working to help secure a visa for the mother of Yan’s wife so that she can travel to New York from China to attend the funeral, which has been scheduled for May 24.  

The Congresswoman also met with Yan’s family at their Middle Village home the day after he was killed.