NY Lawmakers on the Move May 27, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Meng receives award for closing the homework gap

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced yesterday that she received an award from the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) honoring her in addressing the Homework Gap through the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund, an initiative providing funding to help more students obtain access to the internet including students in Queens and throughout New York City.

Also honored for their efforts were Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

“I am honored to have received this award recognizing my own hard work and that of Senator Markey and Chairwoman Rosenworcel,” said Meng. “The homework gap is an issue near and dear to my heart. We have seen over the last two years that lacking an internet connection means millions of students miss school assignments including their homework. As a mother of two young boys, I have seen firsthand how technology has transformed their learning environment. It is unacceptable for the homework gap to persist. We must continue to make sure that all students are given the same opportunity to be successful in school and at home, and this means every student must have internet access.” 

The Emergency Connectivity Fund covers the cost of Wi-Fi hotspots, tablets, computers and helps secure home internet connections and devices for k-12 students. It became law in March 2021 and its funds were distributed to schools and libraries through the American Rescue Plan. After helping to secure the money for the program, Meng last year announced millions for New York City public schools and schools in Queens, as well as local libraries.

The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training is a non-partisan organization that examines and supports the use of technology to improve education and training in America.

Brannan votes to increase fines for big truck that park illegally

City Council Member Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) yesterday issued strong support for the passed City Council resolution requesting the New York State Legislature pass a proposed bill that  would “amend the administrative code of the city of New York and the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to increasing the fine for tractor-trailer combinations that park on residential streets overnight.” 

The measure was introduced by Queens lawmakers Senators Leroy Comrie and John Liu, S.3259, and Assembly Member Clyde Vanel, A.3817. The legislation would increase fines for large tractor-trailers and 18-wheeler trucks, which can often be seen illegally parked along Poly Place near Dyker Park and the Brooklyn VA Hospital, from $250 to $400.

“These trucks have no business being parked on our residential streets. Increasing the fines is a good start but I will only be truly satisfied once they are no longer parking here. This is a citywide problem we are dealing with from Brooklyn to the Bronx. The city must find a designated place for these trucks to park overnight. They cannot continue parking on our residential streets. In the meantime, I will continue to work closely with the NYPD to make sure these truckers obey the law which is very clear.”

The State Legislature’s last day of session this year is June 2, 2022.

Ung Joins Mayor, Schools Chancellor for Announcement of New AAPI Curriculum in Schools

City Council Member Sandra Ung

City Council Member Sandra Ung (D-Queens) yesterday joined Mayor Eric Adams, Schools Chancellor David Banks, and her colleagues in government to announce a new curriculum in New York City’s public schools that will center on the experiences and voices of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

“Since taking office I have been a vocal supporter of teaching AAPI history in our schools, not only in an effort to stem the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes by promoting an understanding of the rich history of the AAPI community in this country, but also to instill a sense of pride among our children in the Asian American community,” said Ung. 

“Last week, I introduced a resolution in the City Council with my colleague Linda Lee to support legislation at the state level to add AAPI history to the curriculum in schools across New York State. I am pleased the Department of Education is leading the way in this effort, and has pledged to begin teaching AAPI history and culture and sharing our stories in the city’s classrooms without a mandate from Albany,” she added.

Malliotakis decries proposed water usage rates

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn) yesterday submitted testimony to the New York City Water Board regarding its proposal to raise water rates by 4.9%, the largest increase in nearly a decade.

“This proposal could not come at a worse time,” Malliotakis wrote. “New Yorkers are struggling with record high prices at the pump, skyrocketing utility bills, higher priced groceries, and burdensome costs of living. To usher in the largest water rate increase in eight years, amidst the economic turmoil we are currently facing is tone deaf, shortsighted, and wrong.”

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, customers currently owe more than $750 million in unpaid water bills. In addition to the rate increase, the proposal would increase interest rates on certain properties for late payments from 5% to 18%.

Malliotakis added: “Water is a necessity, not a luxury. Like oxygen, it is a most basic element needed for survival. Our city‘s leadership, in good conscience, cannot and should not raise the cost of this life necessity…I urge my local colleagues to be fiscally conservative, not continue to take from hardworking New Yorkers, who have seen the cost-of-living skyrocket while quality of life plummets.” 

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