NY Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 18, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Colton livid at DOE for disrespecting holidays

Assemblymember William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D-Brooklyn) is livid with the city’s Board of Education’s (BOE) decision in offending centuries-old traditions by renaming holidays or eliminating them from the 2022-2023 school year calendar.

“I am outraged that after numerous petitions from all over the city against renaming Columbus Day the NYC DOE still went along and has renamed Columbus Day to Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day on the 2022-2023 school year calendar. Columbus Day is the spirit of Italian American New Yorkers, and it’s an unspeakable insult to the Italian culture to change it,” Colton said. 

“In 2023, the Lunar New Year falls on January 22, which is a Sunday, so the NYC administration chose to remove Lunar New Year completely off the 2022-2023 school year calendar. It is outrageous that after years of divisiveness directed against Chinese children BOE doesn’t respect Chinese cultural tradition. It is easier for the city administration to eliminate the holiday instead of allowing children to keep their tradition by celebrating it with their families on Monday, January 23,” Colton added.

Colton said he is irritated that the DOE spends more energy and time on dividing and disrespecting people’s traditions while miserably failing to provide quality education and restore the cuts that are necessary for our children’s future. 

“This is an insult toward the Italian, Spanish and Chinese families and it must stop. I demand that the city administration re-evaluates their decision and update the 2022-2023 school year calendar before the school year starts and close schools on January 23, 2023, for Lunar New Year observation,” Colton added.

Gianaris calls on Hochul to sign puppy mill pipeline legislation  

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) today will join animal advocates and elected officials to call on Governor Hochul to sign his recently-passed Puppy Mill Pipeline legislation.  

The legislation (S.1130/A.4283) bans the retail sale of animals in pet stores. The bill aims to shut down the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline, cutting off one of the largest markets in the nation for animals bred for pet stores. 

It passed the State Senate in May and the State Assembly in June, where it was sponsored by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).  

The call to action is slated for 11 a.m., today, Aug. 18 at Bideawee, 152 West 24th Street, Floor 3 in Manhattan.

AG James leads coalition to support free and fair elections

Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James yesterday continued her efforts to stand up for voters’ rights, co-leading a coalition of 17 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief to block a voter-suppression law in Florida. 

The coalition’s brief, filed in League of Women Voters of Florida v. Lee, argues that Florida’s new law imposes unlawful and unconstitutional voting restrictions on the use of drop boxes to return absentee ballots. James and the coalition explain in the amicus brief that Florida’s law intentionally discriminates against minority voters and violates the Voting Rights Act and the right to vote as protected by the U.S. Constitution in the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. 

“Free and fair access to voting is foundational to our democracy,” said James. “Efforts by other states to put up roadblocks and keep citizens from the polls harm the entire nation and must be confronted. Every voter has a right to have their voice heard and respected by those in power. My office will continue to fight against voter suppression efforts and to work with my fellow attorneys general to stand up for the rights of all Americans.”

Following the high turnout Florida experienced during the 2020 election, the state passed SB 90, which, among other things, severely reduces voters’ access to drop boxes. The law was immediately challenged in court by several organizations and individual voters seeking to block it from going into effect.