NY Lawmakers on the Move, Sept. 8, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

CM Ossé launches initiative to connect NYCHA residents with free Wi-Fi

Chi Ossé
City Council Member Chi Ossé

City Council Member Chi Ossé (D-Brooklyn) today is launching an initiative to connect NYCHA residents with free Wi-Fi through the $14 billion federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

The ACP investment to ensure that all Americans are connected to broadband service and to close the digital divide in the country. Despite the federal support, enrollment in the program has been low. Because of this, Ossé wants to ensure that NYCHA residents have the information and support to sign up for ACP. 

Under ACP, NYCHA residents can qualify for free Wi-Fi service with any major broadband company, including Verizon, Spectrum, and Optimum. To receive the ACP benefits, residents must first fill out an application to enroll in the program and once given a confirmation, they can reach out to the broadband provider of their choice for service. 

“In this day and age, internet service is not a luxury – it is a necessity,” said Ossé. “We rely on the internet for job searches, housing applications, telehealth, schoolwork, and other day to day tasks. Yet, there is a huge digital divide in our City. As we saw during COVID, many New Yorkers, especially low-income, working class New Yorkers, did not have reliable Wi-Fi or broadband to access the many online services and resources needed during the pandemic. Launching the Wi-Fi for NYCHA Initiative, especially in the 36th District where we have many NYCHA constituents, is a huge step for closing the digital divide in our City.” 

Gillibrand leads in push to permit individuals living with HIV and HBV to serve in military

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, and Chris Coons (D-DE) yesterday led their Senate colleagues in a push to permit individuals living with well-managed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) to enlist and serve in the military. 

Given the advancements in medicine for both HIV and HBV, the risk of battlefield transmission is near zero and people living with HIV and HBV can manage their condition with as little as one pill a day and are able to lead very long and healthy lives. Just recently, multiple district court cases affirmed this notion by stating that the categorical bars to the deployment and commissioning of service members with HIV violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. 

“We are pleased to learn that DOJ will no longer defend the constitutionality of regulations barring the deployment and commissioning of service members with HIV who are currently serving in the U.S. military. We now ask that the Biden administration follows this conclusion and allows individuals living with HIV to enlist, to seek appointment, and to otherwise join the U.S. military,” said the senators. 

“For far too long, people living with HIV and HBV have faced harmful and discriminatory policies in our armed forces that create unnecessary barriers to serve. The current policy banning these individuals from enlisting or joining a commissioning program is outdated and without merit, and does not reflect the military’s commitment to equality, diversity, and the inclusion of all races, ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations in service. Anyone who is qualified and has a desire to serve their country should be allowed to do so, and we remain optimistic the administration will heed this important call,” they added.  

Lander files shareholder proposal to Apple on worker rights

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander

City Comptroller Brad Lander, on behalf of the five New York City Retirement Systems, announced today that the New York City Pension Funds, yesterday filed a shareholder proposal calling on the Apple Inc. (AAPL) Board of Directors to commission an independent, third-party assessment of Apple’s adherence to its stated commitment to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. 

The announcement comes ahead of Apple’s annual flagship September event, which convenes industry professionals and media for a first look of the newest Apple products, including iPhone and Apple Watch models. This event is one of the most closely watched events in the technology industry.

This year’s annual Apple event comes on the heels of several unsettling reports of unfair labor practices filed on behalf of workers with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). As of August 25, 2022, the NLRB was investigating 14 charges of unfair labor practices involving Apple.

Apple employees have commenced efforts to unionize in stores across the nation. However, there have been numerous reports of Apple attempting to interfere with those efforts. The proposal also requests that Apple’s board lay out clear steps to remedy any practices inconsistent with Apple’s stated commitments.

“Shareholders are increasingly concerned that Apple’s actions with respect to its workers’ rights do not match up with the company’s stated commitment to respect freedom of association. The reports of Apple’s consistent interference with the ability of workers to exercise their fundamental rights to unionize are deeply troubling,” said Lander.

“As investors with more than $3 billion invested in Apple, the NYC pension funds expect management to ensure that the company adheres to its commitments to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. I urge Apple’s board to take swift action and address the issues we have laid out in our proposal,” he added.

Persaud holds senior resource day

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud

Senator Senator Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Brooklyn) today will hold her Senior Resource Day 2022.

The event will feature healthcare resources, mental health and wellness resources, city and state agencies, community-based organizations, music, raffles and much more. Free refreshments will be provided and all CDC and NY State COVID-19 guidelines will be followed.

The event is slated for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., today, Sept. 8 at 1222 East 96th Street between Flatlands Avenue and Avenue J in Flatlands, Brooklyn. For more information, please call 718-649-7653.