2017-12-27 / Political Page

I On Politics

CROWLEY CO-SPONSORS BILL TO REVERSE FCC REPEAL OF NET NEUTRALITY: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement after co-sponsoring legislation that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules:

“A free and open internet is vital to American ingenuity. The partisan decision by President Trump’s FCC chair and the commission’s Republicans to undo net neutrality rules will hurt American consumers, small businesses, and our country’s ability to innovate and advance new technologies. I’m proud to support Congress Member Doyle’s effort to stop President Trump’s FCC and ensure net neutrality and fairness is what governs our internet.”

PERALTA’S LEAD BILL NOW LAW: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the New York City Transit Authority will have to conduct lead paint studies when renovating or repainting elevated subway stations, tracks or trestles across the city after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation proposed by NYS Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowtiz (D-Bronx). Bill S.5754- A/A.7562-A was approved by both houses of the legislature in June.

“New Yorkers will feel safer knowing that dangerous lead paint levels in the subway system will be dealt with from now on. For too long, lead paint chips have been falling onto the streets, but now the MTA will have to remove this hazardous situation when it does renovations or repaints elevated parts of the subway system. This is a good first step in protecting our communities, neighbors, visitors and shoppers,” said Senator Peralta. “As the MTA is about to repaint the elevated tracks of the 7 train, a line that cuts across my district, this will be a good opportunity for the agency to tackle poisonous lead paint presence in the transit system.”

Assembly Member Dinowitz said: “Our communities should not have to put themselves at risk because of an aging subway system. Our children walk home under the el, we have people selling food, and we have storm water that washes all that grime straight into our rivers. New Yorkers have a right to know what the environmental risks are and I thank Governor Cuomo for helping make sure that we will find out by signing our bill.”

Under the proposal, the MTA will have to submit a report formulating recommendations to eliminate any possible presence of lead paint in the elevated subway system.

Published reports indicated that some samples of paint chips falling onto the streets beneath the 7 train analyzed by the District 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades contained 224,000 parts per million of lead paint, more than 40 times the 5,000 parts per million legal threshold. As a result of these findings, Peralta and Dinowitz introduced their bill to address the situation.

“This is about protecting New Yorkers. It is our responsibility as elected officials. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing the bill into law as we work together to protect commuters and neighbors from lead paint exposure in the subway system,” said Peralta.

GIANARIS URGES CUOMO TO FUND MTA; LHOTA IS CRITICAL: NYS Senator Michael Gianaris responded to comments by MTA Chair Joe Lhota:

“It should tell New Yorkers all they need to know about Joe Lhota’s stewardship of the MTA that he chooses to attack a letter that simply calls for the MTA to be fully funded. Isn’t his job to make sure that actually happens? One would think he should just say ‘thank you’ and work on achieving that goal instead of lobbing nonsensical attacks in furtherance of a political agenda.”

KILLER OF P.O. MOORE SENTENCED TO LIFE, NO PAROLE: Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown released a statement on the sentencing of Demetrius Blackwell: “The sentence imposed on December 20 on Demetrius Blackwell for the deliberate murder of New York City Police Officer Brian Moore and the attempted murder of Officer Erik Jansen while they were on patrol is more than appropriate under the facts of this case. The evidence of the defendant’s guilt presented at trial was truly overwhelming. It is also fitting that the defendant will serve the maximum sentence allowed under the law – life in prison without the possibility of parole – as a message that we, as a society, will never forget his heinous and cowardly act.

“While today’s sentencing cannot heal the prolonged pain endured by Officer Brian Moore’s family, friends and colleagues for their needless loss, or erase the emotional wounds suffered by Officer Erik Jansen and his family, I hope, however, that it will bring some degree of closure and comfort to those individuals whose lives were forever changed on that horrific day.

“It goes without question that the defendant’s actions were a direct attack on our society and the law, and soberly reminds us of the unseen dangers that our police officers face each day – and the ultimate sacrifice they may be called upon to make – as they carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities. Justly, the person responsible for causing so much pain and suffering must be punished for his criminal actions for the greater good and protection of society. Today, I am confident that the ends of justice have been served.”

TRUMP’S NATIONAL SECURITY PLAN ‘ANTAGONISTIC’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on President Trump’s national security plan for America:

“This national security plan regurgitates on President Trump’s most antagonistic campaign rhetoric – rhetoric that has alienated our closest allies during his first 11 months in office, weakened the United States’ position as a global leader and diminished our security, both here at home and abroad.

“The unfortunate reality is the president lacks a true national security vision for this country. There are numerous missed opportunities in this document – most glaringly the failure to publicly acknowledge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. If President Trump is unwilling to stand tough against our adversaries in practice, then this national security plan will do nothing to make us safer or stronger.”

GOP HAS ‘ABANDONED PRETENSE OF FIGHTING FOR MIDDLE CLASS’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement after House Republicans voted to advance a tax bill that will significantly harm the American middle class:

“With this vote, Republicans have abandoned all pretense that they are fighting for the middle class. The GOP tax plan is a sham that will add trillions to our deficit and will leave behind the very people the GOP claims to help – average Americans.

“Ultimately, this measure will create a two-tier economy. Those living paycheck-to-paycheck – veterans, teachers, first responders, and millions of others – will see their taxes go up. Corporate special interests and wealthy Americans, including the Trump family, will see their taxes go down.

“Working and middle-class Americans built this country. They are the backbone of our economy. And today, Republicans are leaving them behind.”

GOP TAX BILL ‘A CRUEL SCAM’: After voting “no” on H.R. 1, the Republican tax reform bill, Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement:

“I voted ‘no’ on the Republicans’ tax bill because this bill is not reform, it is a scam that is particularly cruel to New York. Under this GOP tax scam, New Yorkers will end up being double-taxed because the bill guts the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction that so many of us rely on. Across the country, 86 million middle-class Americans will see their taxes go up and another 13 million will lose their health insurance, thanks to this scam. If that weren’t enough, this GOP bill will increase the national debt by at least a trillion dollars over the next decade. All of this is being done to pay for a partisan proposal to provide tax breaks to big business and the fortunate few. Our country and our families deserve a better deal that gives relief to middle class families and small businesses, without burdening future generations with a mountain of new debt.”

GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILL ‘POLITICS BEFORE MORALITY’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the government funding bill:

“I made a promise to 800,000 DREAMers to fight for their security in the United States after they were put at risk by President Trump. I refuse to support a government funding bill that does not accomplish that goal.

“Republicans are putting party before country and politics before morality with this funding bill. It does not adequately address the 9 million children whose health care is in jeopardy. It fails to fulfill our obligation to secure pensions for thousands of hardworking men and women. And it fails to provide the necessary support to the range of programs that lift up the middle class and working Americans.

“Republicans lack a strong and effective vision for this country. They spent months maneuvering a tax bill through Congress that benefits corporate special interests and the wealthiest Americans, while abandoning those who do the most to grow our economy – Americans who work paycheck-to-paycheck. The GOP’s singular focus on providing a political win to its base has left DREAMers, retirees, children, and other hardworking men and women without the support they need in the new year. This is not how responsible leaders govern.”

CUOMO UNVEILS PLAN TO END ‘SEXTORTION’ – 15 YEARS IN PRISON: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled on December 21 the 11th proposal of the 2018 State of the State: a comprehensive plan to outlaw “sextortion” and non-consensual pornography, often known as “revenge porn.” Under these new measures, a conviction for any of these serious offenses will require registration as a sex offender and sentences will range from a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, or three years of probation, or up to a class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“The dangerous proliferation of sextortion and revenge crimes disproportionately targets young women and girls and causes harm and embarrassment that can follow victims their entire lives,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new legislation outlaws this horrific, exploitive practice once and for all in New York and will help provide New Yorkers with peace of mind both on- and offline.”

Under this proposal, which builds upon prior efforts advanced by the New York State Legislature, statutory changes will make so-called “sextortion” and “non-consensual pornography” illegal under the law, including threats and blackmail to compel sexual conduct or publicizing sexually explicit images or videos without the person’s consent. Updates to the penal law will also make it a crime to compel another person to expose him or herself or engage in sexual conduct by threatening his or her health, safety, business, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.

Moreover, it will be a crime to disclose, or threaten to disclose, without consent, images or videos of another person’s intimate body parts or the person engaged in a sexual act when the person had a reasonable expectation that such recording would not be disclosed.

BRAUNSTEIN: CUOMO’S REVENGE PORN PROPOSAL ‘GOOD NEWS’: “It is great news that Governor Cuomo has announced his support for legislation which would criminalize revenge porn in New York State,” said Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside). “I have been working closely with victims’ rights and women’s rights advocates to pass similar legislation for the last several years (A.1641). Disseminating sexually explicit images that were taken or shared with an expectation of privacy causes lasting damage to victims and should be a crime. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to make it clear that New York will not allow this type of harassment to continue.”

DROMM, RAPP CAMPAIGN HAIL PASSAGE OF CARE ACT: NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm and the Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP Campaign hailed the Council’s passage of Intro 1616, the Compassion and Assistance for Reentering Elders or CARE Act.

The CARE Act, passed on December 19, establishes an interagency task force to examine the needs of older adults returning from incarceration. The task force will consist of 12 members as follows:

• Eight members will be appointed by the mayor and will be chosen from among individuals representing relevant city agencies, provider organizations, advocacy groups and impacted communities. At least three members must be formerly incarcerated individuals.

• Four members will be appointed by the NYC Council Speaker and will be chosen from among individuals representing provider organizations, advocacy groups, impacted communities, and academics with expertise in post-incarceration reentry for older adults.

• The legislation will also permit the city to invite the state to designate a representative to be a member of the task force.

The task force will study and report on the root causes of incarceration for older adults and will issue proposals on increasing social services for those reentering society.  The task force will also issue a proposal on how the city and state can reduce the rates of incarceration and recidivism for older adults in New York.

“The CARE Act means justice for older adults reentering society post-incarceration,” said Council Member Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). “An increasing number of older adults are facing a destitute future. These individuals, many of whom have spent significant periods away from the rest of society, must deal with a myriad of issues associated with aging simultaneously with the challenges of reentry. Throughout the city, families and communities must also deal with the increasing number of older adults who are coming from prisons and jails. We have a moral obligation to provide re-entering elders with the services they need to rejoin society. The panel of experts and leaders, including formerly incarcerated people, will see that the city does just that. I thank the RAPP Campaign for its tireless advocacy, both of this bill and the community they serve so well.”

With an unprecedented number of currently incarcerated older people in New York State prisons (more than 10,000 people aged 50 and older) and state and federal prisons across the country, strong community pressure from the Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP Campaign and others is resulting in changes to the New York State Parole Board and an increase in the number of elders released from prison in New York. However, both the city and state currently do little to support older people once they are released. Older people returning home face particular barriers in seeking employment, community resources, health care, reconnecting with family, and especially housing. In 2016, 58 percent of older people (1,699 people) were homeless upon release from a New York State prison and nearly 1,200 went directly to a homeless shelter. Such unstable housing placements offer little to no age-appropriate, safe, and secure support and care for recently released older people with unique difficulties and needs. Therefore, for many elders leaving prison, the human right to sufficient, sustainable and appropriate housing and community resources remains unmet, Dromm explained.

The legislation will become law once signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and will take effect immediately.

FARINA’S ‘EQUITY, EXCELLENCE, NOT JUST POLITICAL BUZZWORDS’: NYS Assembly Member Catherine Nolan released a statement about Chancellor Fariña’s retirement: “Working with Chancellor Carmen Fariña has been one of the joys of my own career in government. Honestly putting the children first, building change with true and lasting foundations, leading by example and dedication, is her true legacy and an inspiration for everyone that has had the privilege of working with her. She has worked to bring ‘equity and excellence,’ not as political buzzwords, but as a true goal. I look forward to continuing to work with her and her team for the support of the children and families of New York.”

AVELLA GRANT FOR LGBT CENTER MAKING A DIFFERENCE: During this year’s New York State budget process, NYS Senator Tony Avella fought to get $100,000 in funding for The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. By the end of the year, the funding has already had an impact far greater than the Queens senator could have imagined, Avella said.

Senator Avella’s funding has allowed “The Center” to hold over 75 career, coaching sessions, three cycles of the Immigration Leadership and Empowerment group, reaching over 325 LGBT immigrants, and four legal immigration workshops that reached 40 community members.

Glennda Testone, Executive Director of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center said, “The expansion includes adding more career-coaching sessions, cultural and social programming, and enhancing our Immigration Leadership and Empowerment group, which provides an affirming space for community members to network, share resources and find support.”

“The work that the staff at The Center does for our state’s most vulnerable is unparalleled and I am honored to have helped them in any way. I look forward to working with The Center in the future and cannot wait to see the way their work impacts our city, state, and nation,” said Senator Avella.

More information about The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center can be found at gaycenter.org.

“Since 1983 The Center has been supporting, fostering and celebrating the LGBT community of New York City. It offers the LGBT communities of NYC health and wellness programs; arts, entertainment and cultural events; recovery, wellness, parenthood and family support services.

SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING FOR DISASTER AREAS: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) commented on the Trump administration’s supplemental funding package for disaster areas:

“I cannot in good conscience vote for a disaster relief bill that doesn’t treat all Americans equally. This bill cripples Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as they are trying to rebuild their economy, infrastructure, and communities.

“Having watched my friends, neighbors, and constituents struggle after Superstorm Sandy, I know firsthand how important it is that communities receive adequate support from the federal government in the aftermath of a disaster. Yet, this Republican bill falls short on far too many fronts.”

DECISION TO SANCTION MILITARY OFFICIAL IN BURMA: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the decision to sanction a military official in Burma:

“I welcome the decision to add Maung Maung Soe to the Global Magnitsky list. He should clearly be sanctioned for his role in committing atrocities against the Rohingya. However, with 6,000 dead and thousands more raped, beaten, and displaced, it is clear Maung Maung Soe has not acted alone. The other military officials involved in the ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya must be sanctioned for their roles in this genocide. The United States has a moral obligation to act.

“Additionally, I am deeply concerned about the arrest of two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were detained while attempting to report on abuses in Rakhine State. They should be released without delay.”

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