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MAHN Lawmakers On The Move May 24, 2019

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Serrano Child Safety Legislation Passes Senate

State Senator Jose Serrano

State Senator Jose Serrano’s (D-Mott Haven, Melrose, Highbridge, Morris Heights, Spanish Harlem, Yorkville, Roosevelt Island and part of the Upper West Side) bill aimed at protecting children while at childcare facilities passed the Senate this week.

The measure, bill S. 3563A, requires child day care centers to anchor all furniture and electronics that are located in the facility. Essentially this bill will protect children at childcare centers from tipping of unsecured furniture.

The bill passed as part of a larger package of bills aimed at supporting New York families and protecting children. The package included measures that promote flexible working arrangements, take steps towards meeting childcare needs in underserved communities, and protect children from a wide array of safety hazards that have caused preventable harm and deaths.

Additionally, thee bills will support children’s mental health and physical well-being by allowing licensed professionals to be hired at children’s summer camps and establishing the New York State Reuniting Families Act.

“On average, a child dies every ten days after suffering an accident with a falling television or piece of furniture, devastatingly changing families forever. These preventable tragedies can be avoided by taking simple, low-cost precautions to ensure our children’s safety. Today’s actions will give parents peace of mind by requiring all childcare facilities in the state to anchor down furniture and electronics, protecting our youngest New Yorkers,” said Serrano.

Velázquez Seeks To Remove Dangerous Pesticide from Wildlife Refuges

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) introduced legislation this week to prevent the use of a class of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges.

While the Obama Administration had instituted a 2014 ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, commonly called neonics, in Refuges the Trump Administration’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revoked the ban in August of last year. Neonicotinoids are a group of toxic pesticides attributed to the deterioration of bees, migratory birds, and various species protected under the Endangered Species Act. The pesticides resemble nicotine and act upon animals’ and insects’ nervous systems.

Although farming does not occur on all National Wildlife Refuges, farmers and ranchers can apply to raise cattle or cultivate crops in a refuge, as long as doing so comports with the refuge’s mission. While many of these farmers engage in sustainable agriculture, some farm in a less environmentally friendly manner. A previous report found that over half a million pounds of highly toxic pesticides, including neonicotinoids, were sprayed on wildlife refuges in 2014 alone.

The legislation has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee, of which Velázquez is a member.  Introduced Monday, her bill was timed to coincide with the first World Bee Day, which aims to raise awareness about bees’ contributions to sustainable agriculture and biodiversity.

“These pollutants upset the delicate ecosystems of our Wildlife Refuges and they have no place in our public lands,” said Velázquez (D-NY).  “It is important we reinstate the Obama-era ban on employing these chemicals in Wildlife Refuges.”

Speaker Johnson Applauds Hudson Sq BID’s Selection Of Consultants For New Pedestrian Space

Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) yesterday applauded the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Hudson Square Business Improvement District’s (BID) major announcement in the selection of consultants for the new pedestrian space and amenities in Hudson Square.

On Thursday, the City announced that Prima Paving Corporation, Sam Schwartz Engineering, D.P.C. and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects have been selected as the a joint consultancy team that will advance a major public-private, design-build investment between Canal Street and West Houston.

The project’s streetscape improvements will strengthen Hudson Square by enhancing pedestrian, bicycle, vehicular traffic safety, transforming the corridor into a grand boulevard that will increase connectivity. The project will extend sidewalks along Hudson Street up to five feet and add new street amenities along the seven-block corridor.

The project scope includes:

  • 8041 square feet of planting areas filled with various trees, shrubs, and perennials
  • Application of the Hudson Square Standard for urban forestry, using continuous tree pits and permeable pavers to maximize stormwater capture and support healthier trees
  • New benches providing the capacity for approximately 168 seats
  • 2,255 square feet of allowable space for future sidewalk cafes
  • Sidewalk realignments and new pedestrian ramps
  • A dedicated and parking-protected bike lane on Hudson Street from Houston to Canal Street
  • Over 40 additional bicycle racks

“This dynamic plan will greatly improve the quality of life for the Hudson Square community and will go a long way towards improving the safety and vibrancy of this street space and neighborhood,” said Johnson.

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