MAHN Lawmakers On The Move June 5, 2019

Manhattan Lawmakers on the Move bannner

Hoylman, Gottfried Bill Requiring Plant-Based Food Options In Hospitals Passes State Legislature

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman
Richard N. Gottfried
Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

State Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, UWS, Midtown/East Midtown, Columbus Circle, Times Square, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, the East Village, LES) and Assembly Health Committee Chair, Assembly member Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) yesterday announced passage of their bill to require plant-based food options in hospitals.

On Tuesday, the measure  (S.1471A/A. 4072) passed through both houses of the State legislature. The bill, introduced in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, would require hospitals to offer a plant-based food option as an alternative to every meal or snack offered to a patient, at no additional cost

“As Hippocrates once said, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ Studies repeatedly show that transitioning to a more plant-based diet alleviates the side effects associated with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. The passage of this legislation will give more New Yorkers access to the tools they need to live healthier and eat according to their diets,” said Hoylman.

“The more that New Yorkers embrace healthier eating choices by consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, the healthier we’ll be. When we’re in a health care facility and have less control over what we eat, it is even more important that nutritious, plant-based foods are among our options, especially as the connection between diet and chronic health conditions becomes clearer,” said Gottfried.

Fed Lawmakers Move One Step Closer To Split Tolling on Verrazzano, House Committee Passage

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Congress members Jerrold Nadler (D-Western Brooklyn, Western Manhattan) and Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, LES, Queens) yesterday announced that the House Committee on Appropriations passed legislation that would bring two-way tolling back to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

The legislation would split the toll in half to be paid in both directions which studies have shown would decrease congestion and increase revenue without raising costs on commuters. On Tuesday, the House Committee on Appropriations passed the Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development funding bill which included language to remove the one-way tolling federal requirement for the Verrazzano.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leadership supports the proposal and is committed to investments in public transportation on Staten Island and in South Brooklyn in the upcoming 2020-2024 Capital Plan. The capital plan will be released in October of this year will be reviewed by the Capital Plan Review Board and voted on by the MTA Board.

Currently, the Verrazzano-Narrows-Bridge is the only bridge in the country with federally mandated one-way tolling, first instituted in the 1980s to cut down on traffic backups from toll gantries. According to the lawmakers, by cutting out the loophole that drivers use to avoid paying or minimize the costs of tolls, enacting two-way tolling would cut down on congestion and pollution on Staten Island and could lead to $10 to $15 million in additional annual MTA revenue. The crossing for the iconic bridge shot up to staggering $19 from $17 for non-E-ZPass holders in late March, making it the highest toll in the United States.

“The restoration of toll collection in both directions will greatly reduce traffic and congestion that has plagued Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, and Staten Island for too long. I applaud Congressman Rose and Congresswoman Velázquez for their work on this effort, and I look forward to seeing this legislation moved through Congress and, ultimately, signed into law,” said Nadler.

“For far too long, one-way tolling on the Verrazzano bridge has meant more commercial traffic making its way across Staten Island and then through Brooklyn communities and Chinatown as trucks try to dodge tolls. The legislative language approved in Committee today will mean less congestion, safer streets and better air quality across New York. It will reduce wear and tear on local infrastructure like the BQE, Gowanus Expressway, the Manhattan Bridge and Canal Street,” said Velazquez.

Rosenthal Announces Passage of Legislation To Ban Cat Declawing

Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal
Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal

Assembly member Linda Rosenthal (D-Central Park, Lincoln Square) alongside Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) yesterday announced that both the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation (S.5532B/A.1303A) to ban cat declawing in New York.

The legislation bans cat declawing unless performed to address a legitimate medical condition. Any person found to be in violation of the law would be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000. The measure once signed, will make New York the first state  in the nation to enact such a proposal.

Cat declawing, also known as onychectomy, is the permanent, surgical removal of most of the last bone, and the tendons, nerves and ligaments on the paws of a cat. Declawing often results in intense and chronic lifetime pain for the cat, and also causes unwanted behavioral issues, such as aggression, refusal to use the litter box, depression, biting and/or spraying.

Nine cities across the country, including Denver, CO, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank and Culver City, CA have enacted anti-declawing. Legislatures in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and West Virginia are considering similar measures.   

“After years of advocacy, New York State is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban the cruel and unnecessary practice of cat declawing. Cat declawing is a horrific, yet often-practiced surgery that leads to a lifetime of pain and discomfort for thousands of cats. Today though, every cat and kitten in New York State lands on its feet as we prepare to make New York the best state for cats to live in the United States,” said Rosenthal.

PA Williams, Advocates Arrested In Albany During Tenants’ Rights Protest

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and sixty other activists were arrested yesterday during a protest at the New York State Capitol demanding the passage of comprehensive reforms to the state’s rent regulations before they expire on June 15th.

The group was detained for civil disobedience for obstructing the entrances to the Governor’s Office, as well as actions within the State Assembly and State Senate wings. The majority of the demonstrators arrested were charged with disorderly conduct.

Those arrested were part of a crowd of several hundred activists who had traveled to Albany from around New York State to demand passage of the Universal Rent Control legislative package, which consists of nine bills, including that could end vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus, close the major capital improvements (MCI) and individual apartment improvements (IAI) loopholes, close the preferential rent loophole, and prohibit eviction without “good cause.”

As protesters were being released following detention at the Capitol, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced in a statement that the State Senate had secured enough votes to pass all nine bills being supported by the advocacy groups.

“Across the state, tenants have been calling for reform and relief, which is why I joined them in Albany today to make some noise– and our voices were heard loud and clear. I want to thank Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and all of the legislators who are committed to fighting for housing justice for all, and I want to continue to uplift the dedicated advocates who have spent months and years pushing for the kinds of changes we need. Now, we just need to get it done and put it on the Governor’s desk,” said Williams after his release.

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