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MAHN Lawmakers May 22, 2019

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Speaker Johnson Announces 2018-2019 Participatory Budget Winners

Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) this week announced the voting results and winning proposals of the 2018-2019 Participatory Budgeting cycle.

During the voting period of March 30th through April 7th, with approximately 3,748 District 3 residents voted to allocate over $1 million in capital funding for locally-developed capital projects across the district.

The winning projects for District 3 are:

  • Street Protection Package: 1,953 votes; $200,000 will go towards providing a tree guard, watering tree-gator and informative care tag for street trees planted since 2017
  • Upgraded Water Fountains for Public Schools: 1,993 votes; $300,000 will install 35 new water bottle refilling fountains in public schools throughout District 3
  • Improved Lighting for NYCHA Playground and Park Areas: 2,017 votes; $600,000 will fund improved lighting in the park areas at both the NYCHA Elliot-Chelsea Houses and Fulton Houses

Residents were also able to vote online as well as submit traditional paper ballots. Available in 16 languages, residents of District 3 cast 2,123 digital ballots and 1,625 paper ballots were cast for this Participatory Budgeting cycle. Voting in Participatory Budgeting is open to all residents of participating districts 11 years of age and older. The sole identification requirement is proof of residency in the district, removing traditional obstacles to full civic participation such as youth, income status, English-language proficiency and citizenship status.

“I’m thrilled that we’ve had yet another successful year of participatory budgeting. This is what democracy is all about, getting involved in your community and being the agent for change right where you live. Thank you to all the residents of my district who participated in Participatory Budgeting Vote Week. You are all the real winners here. Congratulations!” said Johnson

Quart Calls On Governor To Enact Gravity Knife Reform

Assemblyman Dan Quart

Assembly member Dan Quart (D-Upper East Side and Midtown East) alongside criminal justice advocates will rally together this week for passage of a bill aimed at decriminalizing gravity knives.

The group is pushing for passage of Quart’s bill, A.05944, that would remove references of gravity knives as a dangerous weapon from certain provisions of the penal law relating to firearms and other dangerous weapons.

A broad coalition of groups, including advocacy organizations, unions, and elected officials will highlight the importance of reforming New York’s discriminatory and outdated knife laws, and urge the Governor to sign the bill into law, which is expected to land on his desk on Thursday.

According to data released by the Legal Aid Society, there were approximately 3,500 gravity knife-related arrests in the city last year, with a vast majority being Black or Latino.

The event is slated for 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 23, in front of Gov. Cuomo’s New York City Office, 633 3rd Avenue in Murray Hill.

Velázquez Fights For Prominent NY Immigrant Activist Ravi Ragbir

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-LES, Queens, Brooklyn) this week has taken legislative action to grant legal status to prominent local immigrant rights advocate, Ravi Ragbir.

Velázquez’s bill would grant Ragbir legal permanent status and, should he be deported, provide him a legal right to return to the United States.  While the 2nd Circuit ruled in Ravi’s favor, he remains in jeopardy should courts rule against him in the future. The legislation to assist Ragbir has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

Last year, after being taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ragbir was ordered released by the Courts, following an outcry from elected officials, advocacy groups and others. Most recently, the 2nd Circuit Court ruled that Ragbir cannot be deported for now because it is possible ICE tried to silence his advocacy by deporting him.

Separately, Velázquez has been a leader on immigration issues, authoring the American Promise Act, legislation that would prevent deportation of beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). That measure has been paired with other Democratic efforts to assist DREAMers and is expected to be considered in the House in the next several weeks.

“Ravi Ragbir has been a pillar in our community and ICE’s efforts to deport him are cruel and immoral. Not only am I concerned for Ravi from a humanitarian perspective, but ICE’s repeated targeting of him raises serious 1st Amendment concerns and fit a broader pattern of the agency unfairly pursuing those who speak out against the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies,” said Velazquez.

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