NY Lawmakers on the Move Aug. 12, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Powers introduces Fair Chance for Housing Act

Council Member Keith Powers
City Council Member Keith Powers

City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers (D-Manhattan) yesterday introduced the Fair Chance for Housing Ac, which aims to remove barriers to housing by prohibiting landlords from discriminating against potential tenants on the basis of criminal record. 

“For too long, formerly incarcerated individuals have faced enormous difficulties trying to find housing in our city,” Powers said. “New Yorkers who have paid their debts still experience severe discrimination, no matter how minor the offense or how long ago. The Fair Chance for Housing Act will finally give these folks a place to sleep a night—and the opportunity to rebuild their lives.”

Under current law, landlords, brokers, and other housing providers have the right to deny housing to an individual on the basis of a criminal background, leaving thousands of New Yorkers subject to severe housing discrimination. Given that formerly incarcerated individuals are 10 times more likely to become homeless than the general public, this barrier to housing forces thousands of New Yorkers into the city’s shelter system or out on the street. 

As of 2019, there were nearly 750,000 New York City residents with a conviction history—nearly 11% of the city’s adult population. And per the Fortune Society, 53 percent of landlords won’t even allow applicants with a conviction record to view a property, let alone rent one. Just last week, City Limits reported that over 50,000 people slept in the city’s shelter system—and that’s excluding unsheltered homeless people sleeping on the street, in the subway, or in other public spaces. 

The Fair Chance for Housing Act will help solve this crisis by making it illegal for landlords to factor in an individual’s criminal record when considering tenants, except in cases where they are listed on the sex offender registry. Previously introduced in 2019, this bill has overwhelming support in the Council with 34 co-sponsors, including the Comptroller, four Borough Presidents, and the Public Advocate. 

Maloney makes recommendations for countering threats to election integrity

Congressional primary
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn), chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, yesterday released a staff report entitled “Exhausting and Dangerous”:  The Dire Problem of Election Misinformation and Disinformation.”  

The new findings come ahead of the Committee’s roundtable yesterday with a bipartisan panel of state and local officials and election experts to examine the effects of the unprecedented rise in election lies following the 2020 presidential election.

“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy.  My Committee’s investigation shows that bad actors are undermining faith in our democracy by spreading lies about elections for their own partisan and financial gain.  Today’s report reveals the disturbing and even violent impact of election lies on real people—including the workers we rely on to administer our elections safely and fairly,” said Maloney.

“The Committee’s report leaves no doubt that a whole-of-government approach is needed to support state and local officials as they work to provide accurate information to the public.  As Chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, I am committed to finding robust solutions to this existential threat to our democracy.”

Espaillat secures $123 Million fed funding for local transportation and infrastructure projects

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) this week announced federal grant funding totaling more than $123 Million for transportation and infrastructure projects in New York’s 13th congressional district. 

Espaillat secured $116 Million from the U.S. Department of Transportation Lo-No Emission bus grant to help support the MTA and bring the agency closer to achieving its goal of transitioning its entire 5,800 bus fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2040.

Additionally, Espaillat secured $7.25 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the expansion of the NYC Greenway. After decades of neglect, the NY-13 community looks forward to the New York City Department of Transportation developing the Harlem River Greenway to bring new open space, waterfront access, and a renewed seawall to the communities of Upper Manhattan—from East Harlem to Inwood.

“I’m delighted to help bring this significant level of federal funding and support through the Department of Transportation to bring these major transportation and infrastructure projects in my district closer to achieving their goals,” said Espaillat. 

“Modernizing the MTA’s bus fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2040 will have tremendous benefits to our community as well as help New York City achieve our climate goals. Additionally, the expanding the New York City Greenway project is a critical investment in our community and will have a tremendous benefit on the quality of life of New York City residents, families, and visitors for years to come.”

Sanders announces Soca sensation Destra to headline Queens Carnival

Senator James Sanders Jr.

Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Queens) announced yesterday that Destra Garcia – the Queen of Bacchanal – will be headlining the Queens Carnival 2022.

Destra is a Trinidadian musician, singer and songwriter of soca music and one of the most popular female soca artists in the world, best known for her hit song, “Lucy.”

“We are so proud to have a superstar of the magnitude of Destra as the crown jewel of our Queens Carnival,” said Sanders. “We are expecting Destra to give one of her usual, energy-filled, dance-inducing performances.”

Sanders is sponsoring the carnival along with co-sponsors Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson and City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers.

The Queens Carnival is slated to start at 11 a.m., August 27 at 11 a.m., starting at Mott Avenue and Beach 21st Street and ending on the boardwalk at Beach 17th Street. For general information, to join the committee or to participate in Carnival, click the link https://linktr.ee/queenscarnival2022 or contact Senator Sanders’ office at 718-523-3069 or email LisaGeorgeCarnival@gmail.com.