MAHN Lawmakers On The Move June 4, 2019

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Brewer Lauds Announcement More People Out Of Poverty

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) yesterday lauded the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity for releasing its annual New York City Government Poverty Measure report, which shows that both the poverty rate and the near-poverty rate (the percentage living below 150 percent of New York City’s poverty threshold) have significantly decreased since Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014.

The report shows a drop in the near-poverty rate to 43.1 percent in 2017 from 2013’s rate of 45.9 percent, a 2.8 percentage point decline. The report also demonstrated that the percent of New Yorkers in actual poverty has declined from 20.7 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2017, a 1.7 percentage point decline.

The decrease in the poverty rate has been accompanied by rising wages, especially for workers at the bottom of the income distribution. From 2013 to 2017, median wage income in the city grew 14.7 percent.  For those in the bottom quartile of the income distribution, wages grew 9.4 percent in 2017 alone, the report found.

“No New Yorker deserves to live in poverty,” said Brewer. “Though there is still much work to be done, I’m happy to see that the local poverty measure shows that the poverty rate has declined. I look forward to continue working towards reaching the goal of moving 800,000 people out of poverty by 2025.”

Quart Sees His Gravity Knives Bill Get Cuomo Signature

Assemblyman Dan Quart

Assemblymember Dan Quart (D-Upper East Side, Midtown East, Turtle Bay and Sutton Place) last week saw Gov. Andrew Cuomo sign his bill legalizing so-called gravity knives, after twice vetoing similar bills in the past, the Daily News Reported.

The law amends the state penal code to decriminalize knives where the blade folds and locks into the handle, and can be opened with the use of one hand. Supporters say the knives are commonly carried by chefs, carpenters and other laborers, and that those arrested under the antiquated law are predominantly minorities.

The Legal Aid Society noted earlier this year that a study of clients arrested proved the knives are rarely used as a weapon and that the majority of those arrested were black and Latino.

Of the 885 gravity knife arrests handled by Legal Aid attorneys in the first six months of 2018, 85% percent of them black or Latino, according to the study.

“After seven years, we have finally managed to overhaul New York’s outdated and discriminatory pocket knife ban,” Quart told reporters. “No stage hand, no plumber and no carpenter should have to risk their freedom to carry a tool they need for work. They will no longer have to.”

Hoylman Lauds New Civic & Arts Funding

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, UWS, Midtown/East Midtown, Columbus Circle, Times Square, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, the East Village, LES) yesterday lauded the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships launch of a new public-private partnership to support opportunities for hundreds of young New Yorkers to connect with local arts productions and projects that help elevate civic culture and engagement.

The Civics and Arts Fund will work with partners across New York City’s iconic art and performance institutions—from Broadway to Museum Mile to borough- and community-based groups—to connect young people to performances and creative programs that promote civic learning, engagement, and discourse.

The first production to be spotlighted by the public-private partnership will be the Tony Award-nominated play and Pulitzer Prize finalist What the Constitution Means to Me.

“Powerful art spurs political change,” said Hoylman. “With so many generation-defining challenges facing young people today, from climate change to the fight against white nationalism, it is essential that our city give our kids the tools they need to make a difference—and exposure to the arts is an essential one. I applaud the Mayor for launching this initiative, and look forward to seeing the work that comes out of the experience in the years to come.”

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