NY Lawmakers on the Move June 17, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Meng introduces bipartisan legislation to keep body armor out of the hands of mass shooters

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Chris Jacobs (R-NY) and Brian Higgins (D-NY) yesterday introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives that seeks to keep enhanced body armor out of the hands of mass shooters, and they named the measure in memory of Aaron Salter Jr., the supermarket security guard killed in the Buffalo massacre who was unable to stop the shooter since he was protected by enhanced body armor during the attack. 

The bill follows last week’s House’s passage of the Protecting Our Kids Act (H.R. 7910), a bill that includes common sense provisions to combat gun violence and keep our communities safe.

The Aaron Salter Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act would prohibit the sale, transfer or possession of enhanced body armor by civilians – specifically those body armor that meets or exceeds a Level III ballistic resistance level as determined by the National Institution of Justice. 

Presently, there are no federal restrictions on civilians’ access to this level of body armor which can be legally purchased online. Law enforcement, active-duty military and other public servants whose job responsibilities require them to possess body armor would be exempted under this measure.

“Armor designed for warfare has no place on our streets, and the ‘Aaron Salter Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act’ is a common sense step to ensure that enhanced body armor is not in the hands of bad actors,” said Meng, a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “Gun violence plagues our communities, and a gunman who is protected by enhanced body armor is even more frightening. 

“Over the last decade, there have been 17 mass shootings where the gunman was protected by some form of body armor. That is two and a half times more than the previous three decades. When would-be shooters are able to arm themselves with military grade equipment, our community is at increased risk. We must ensure that our law enforcement community – and everyone who is the first to respond to shootings – are not facing military grade equipment that inhibits their ability to respond to the shooter. I urge all my colleagues in the House to support this legislation to help prevent future tragedies from occurring.”

City Council votes to extend rent stabilization laws

City Council Member Pierina Sanchez

The City Council yesterday voted on legislation to extend the rent stabilization laws and determine that a public emergency requiring rent control in New York City continues to exist and will continue to exist on and after July 1, 2022.

The legislation, sponsored by Council Member Pierina Sanchez (D-Bronx), declares the Council’s determination that there is an ongoing housing emergency, and that the emergency will continue after the current expiration of the Rent Stabilization Law, July 1, 2022. 

Resolution 247 makes the City Council’s determination of an ongoing housing emergency. Introduction 558-A allows for the continuation of residential rent regulation and would also amend the expiration date of the New York City Rent Stabilization Law from July 1, 2022 to April 1, 2024, which would put the Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS) and renewal of rent regulation back on its ordinary triennial cycle.

“Safe, stable, and affordable housing remains a top challenge for New Yorkers,” said Speaker  Adams. “Extending the rent stabilization laws protects New Yorkers in rent-stabilized homes who are still struggling with the lasting impacts of the pandemic. The Housing and Vacancy Survey demonstrated the dire circumstances of the city’s housing emergency, underscoring the urgency of today’s legislation. I thank Council Member Sanchez for her leadership and advocacy in support of New Yorkers seeking stability and affordability.”

Espaillat hosts community coffee and conversation 

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) tomorrow will hold his signature “Coffee With Your Congressman” event. This weekend’s special guest will be Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and other local city and state officials.

During the discussion, Espaillat will provide updates on his ongoing efforts to strengthen infrastructure in his congressional district as well as discuss grant opportunities for local community projects. 

These informal events provide residents the opportunity to discuss their concerns and share ideas on how to make improvements throughout New York’s 13th congressional district.

The event is slated for 9:30 a.m., tomorrow, June 18 at the Bedford Cafe, 1 Bedford Park Blvd.in the Bronx. All events are public and residents are required to RSVP prior to attendance by emailing [email protected] or calling 212-497-5959.

Ra announces winner of there ought to be a law contest

Assemblyman Ed Ra

Assemblyman Ed Ra (R – Nassau County) yesterday was pleased to announce 5th-Grader Siena Livorno as the winner of the 4th Annual There Ought To Be A Law ceremony for her work regarding the extension of paid family leave. 

There Ought To Be A Law contest invites students to submit ideas for a new law, or to take an existing law off the books. This year, 11 schools participated in the program which generated 563 entries.There were 39 semi-finalists recognized with a citation at the ceremony on June 8, 2022. 

“The ‘There Ought To Be A Law’ contest is an exceptional demonstration of how important it is that young students engage in civic-minded learning. Congratulations to Siena on her tremendous work with regard to paid family leave. Siena was chosen out of 563 students as she showed impeccable penmanship, research skills, understanding of local requirements and all-encompassing writing ability. Sienna, along with many of her classmates and peers, has an incredibly bright future and I have the utmost confidence that she will one day provide great service and commitment to her local communities,” said Ra. 

Bottcher unveils plan to expand services in family shelters

Erik Bottcher (Photo source: https://www.erikbottcher.com/)
City Council Member Erik Bottcher

New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher (D-Manhattan) and WIN, the largest provider of shelter and supportive services for homeless families in New York City, yesterday unveiled legislation to expand mental health services in shelters for homeless families. 

The bill will require the city to fund mental health clinicians at every family shelter, providing the support parents and children need and deserve, directly where they live.  These services would be available for families who choose to use them.

Nearly two-third of homeless New Yorkers are families with children — and on an average night this year, over 8,400 families with more than 14,000 children slept in a homeless shelter.

“Mothers in the shelter system must balance their family’s immediate needs — like getting their kids to school and putting food on the table — with longer-term priorities like obtaining mental health care,” Bottcher said. “Mental health clinics’ long wait times and operating hours that fail to accommodate their schedules further increase roadblocks to appropriate care. Our bill will reduce barriers to care, improve outcomes for families, and support families with children experiencing homelessness in accessing services that meet them where they are.”

In 2016, New York City deployed social workers to family shelters, providing support for some families. However, large caseloads and contractual restrictions prevent them from providing clinical mental health services on site, leaving homeless parents and children to seek care from off-site clinics.

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