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MAHN Lawmakers On The Move May 2, 2019

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Speaker Johnson Marks Asian Heritage Month

Corey Johnson delivers his State of the City Address (Credit: Jeff Reed)

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) marked the start of Asian Heritage month yesterday,

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), now officially proclaimed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, takes place in May. It celebrates the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

“Today marks the start of Asian Heritage Month. This is a month when we honor the contributions of Asian Americans to our City and our country,” said Johnson.

“The first Asian Americans made their way to New York City in the early 19th Century, and since then they have played an incredibly important role in helping make us the greatest city in the world. I am proud of my own Asian heritage and look forward to learning more about it,” added Johnson.

Nadler Applauds House Judiciary Committee Passage Of Equality Act

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-), House Judiciary Chairman, yesterday applauded the committee’s approval of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against the LGBTQ community:

On Wednesday, the federal bill was approved by a 22-10 vote margin with all Republican committee members voting against it. The measure is an historic civil rights legislation that would explicitly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community and strengthen non-discrimination protections for women and others

The Equality Act would specifically add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act. The bill has 240 co-sponsors in the House from both sides of the aisle. U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has introduced the Equality Act in the U.S. Senate.

“Today, the Judiciary Committee considers H.R. 5, the ‘Equality Act.’  This is long-overdue legislation that will explicitly prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming Americans and strengthen non-discrimination protections for women and others,” said Nadler.

“We have endeavored, as a nation, to ensure that everyone is able to participate fully in the American way of life.  Discrimination goes against the very structure of our democracy, and our basic sense of fairness, by deeming some of those among us as less deserving of respect, less equal and, frankly, less human.  It is time that we make clear that we support equal worth and equal rights of all people—including every LGBTQ person in this country,” added Nadler.

Johnson, Powers Applaud Implementation of Free Phone Calls For People In Custody

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Keith Powers
Council Member Keith Powers

City Council members Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) and Keith Powers (D-Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, Central Park South, Midtown East, Times Square, Koreatown, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, Turtle Bay, Murray Hill, Sutton Place) yesterday applauded Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement that the City will now provide free phone call for people in custody after fully implementing Intro. 741-A two days before the bill takes full effect.

The implementation of the measure makes New York City the first major city to grant free phone calls for people in custody and follows a recent set of reforms that aims to make jails safer and more humane.

Prior to the passage of Intro. 741-A, people in custody were charged 50 cents for the first minute and five cents for additional minutes for telephone calls. Now, the Department of Correction DOC) will cover the costs made to friends and loved ones, allowing people to stay connected without having to utilize funding in their commissary account. More than 25,000 calls are made daily from City jails.

People in general population will be able to make calls totaling 21 minutes every three hours to anywhere in the United States, including U.S. territories. The limit on single calls is 15 minutes. An internal digital clock in the phones tracks the duration of calls. Individuals in punitive segregation will be allowed a single, daily call for up to 15 minutes.

“It’s a fact that incarcerated individuals have a greater chance of rehabilitation when they are in touch with their community. But for too long, our jails charged people for making simple phone calls, which created serious problems for those in our system with limited means. I am proud the City Council passed my legislation last year to require free phone calls in our city’s jails.,” said City Council Speaker Johnson.

“Last month, my bill to eliminate fees associated with paying bail passed the Council. With reforms like these, we ensure incarceration does not hinge on poverty and is not driven by profit, and today is an example of that. I thank Speaker Johnson for this legislation and the Mayor for his ongoing support of criminal justice reform,” said Powers, Chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice.

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