NY Lawmakers on the Move, July 8, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Hochul announces $10M available to strengthen security at reproductive health care facilities

Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday announced that the state is seeking proposals for $10 million available to reproductive health care and abortion services providers to help improve the security of their facilities and safety of staff and patients. 

The state Division of Criminal Justice Services released a request for proposals, which will allow eligible providers to submit proposals to receive up to $50,000 in funding per facility through the Securing Reproductive Health Care Centers Program. The program is one component of Governor Hochul’s comprehensive plan to help ensure safe access to reproductive health and abortion services in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the precedent and protections set forth in Roe v. Wade. 

“I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that reproductive health care and abortion services continue to be available, accessible and safe not only for New Yorkers, but for any woman who has been denied the right to make her own healthcare decisions,” Hochul said. “My administration remains laser-focused on keeping these facilities safe, and these grants will help ensure a safe work environment for the dedicated professionals providing this care and for those who need it most.”    

Through the Securing Reproductive Health Care Centers Program, public and not-for-profit providers may apply for this funding to help improve security through enhancements to their facilities. Specifically, comprehensive family planning and reproductive health program providers and state Public Health Article 28 certified clinics that provide reproductive health care services are eligible to apply. 

Meng urges U.S. Postal Service to address mail theft in Queens

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) yesterday called on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to immediately address the theft of mail from postal Relay Boxes in Queens, which are the dark green boxes next to many of the blue collection boxes.  

Meng called for the USPS to take action in a letter she sent to the agency’s district manager who oversees postal operations in Queens and Long Island. The Congresswoman sent the correspondence after recently receiving complaints that thieves are breaking into Relay Boxes in her district and stealing mail that is stored inside by letter carriers. These Relay Boxes can hold thousands of letters for local residents and are vulnerable to break-ins.

“Issues regarding mail security has been an ongoing and persistent problem in Queens over the past few years, and mail theft from Relay Boxes is the latest issue,” said Meng. “Mail is one of the oldest and most trusted forms of communication across our nation, and that trust is eroded when constituents are not getting or are unable to safely send their mail. 

“We must do more to protect our residents from identity theft, having important documents stolen, or having money removed from bank accounts. I know the improvements needed to make these Relay Boxes secure are in the Postal Service’s abilities. Now, all that is left to do is to implement the required security.”  

Colton urges Hochul to sign bill for smaller class sizes

Assemblymember William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D – Brooklyn) on behalf of the thousands of parents who have contacted his office regarding the smaller class size in NYC public schools bill, A10498, sent a letter to Governor Hochul urging her to sign it. 

“On June 2 an extension on NYC mayoral control was passed together with bill A10498 which requires the NYC Department of Education to study and implement class size reductions in its schools. The previously passed NYS Education Budget provides a historic $2.1 billion increase for our school children, and a $600 million increase allocated toward the NYC schools. The bill A10498 was passed to limit the number of students per classroom in New York City public schools by 2027,” Colton said.

“Unfortunately, the bill was quickly opposed by Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. The new city budget included cuts of $215 million in funding for the individual NYC schools budget claiming that enrollment has dropped since 2020 during the pandemic. But the cuts were made in the school budget in a year when the state has given a historic $600 million increase in aid to NYC schools.

“I strongly believe that this bill will make real changes to our school needs and the quality of education for all our NYS public school children. As a public servant on behalf of the parents, students, educators, and constituents I am urging you for the wellbeing of all the NYC public school students to sign bill A10498,” Colton added.

Espaillat Introduces the Harvesting Knowledge Act

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) yesterday introduced the Harvesting Knowledge Act, legislation to support urban agriculture education—a critical yet often overlooked curriculum that will jumpstart students’ interest and careers in sustainable agricultural technology. 

“Nurturing student access to STEM education and urban agriculture will be critical to the health and sustainability of our future,” said Espaillat. “This bill will help train tomorrow’s biologists, nutritionists, and climate change scientists—especially in urban areas with limited access to farms. By increasing access to new technologies and skills today, our students and their families will have the resources they need to help secure a sustainable future in the face of the daily challenges of climate change.”

The Harvesting Knowledge Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to include indoor agricultural technology as an activity that supports well-rounded education and provide grant funding for related projects.

The bill will also:

*  Provide a dedicated funding stream for urban agriculture education

*  Focus on including hydroponic and aquaponic technologies in classroom education

*  Introduce hands-on activities to cultivate interest in biology, nutrition, and sustainability

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