MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Feb. 27, 2020

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Hoylman Blasts NYPD for Rogue DNA Index

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) released a statement on Tuesday after a hearing on the NYPD’s secret DNA database.

Currently, the NYPD is storing the DNA info of 82,000 New Yorkers, much of it collected in the process of criminal investigations. Since the City has allowed this database to exist without any oversight, the NYPD can retain your DNA data even if you have no criminal record.

Hoylman is sponsoring a bill that would establish the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DJCS) as the only institution that can lawfully maintain a DNA identification index.

“There are 82,000 New Yorkers whose most private genetic information is stored inside New York City’s rogue DNA index,” said Hoylman. “Many have never committed a crime, and have had their DNA taken through a process known as ‘genetic stop-and-frisk.’ This brazen and unlawful violation of New Yorkers’ privacy must end.

“There’s only one DNA index that’s authorized by state law: the New York State DNA Databank. This databank was carefully created by the State Legislature with rules in place to keep us safe and protect our privacy. Any other DNA index in New York State is unlawful and unauthorized. No amount of self-regulation from NYPD can change the simple fact that their DNA index is not legally authorized to exist.”

Nadler Criticizes Trump’s Inadequate Coronavirus Response

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Last Tuesday, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) released a statement criticizing President Donald Trump (R) for his lackluster response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Faced with the threat of a growing global pandemic, Americans deserve better than a White House totally unprepared and demonstrating no urgency to address coronavirus,” said Nadler. “Over 80,000 people in 37 countries have been infected with coronavirus and more than 2,500 have already died. Today, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned of the potential for a domestic outbreak that could significantly impact Americans’ daily lives. It is imperative that our government respond swiftly and effectively. Unfortunately, all evidence indicates that the Trump Administration’s preparation is dangerously inadequate.

“From long-empty vacancies in key pandemic-related positions at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security to the President’s recent proposal to drastically cut the CDC’s budget, it is clear that the White House lacks the capability to handle a public health crisis of this magnitude. The President’s recent funding request—which would divert funds appropriated to combat ebola—would not come close to ensuring readiness, leaving us shortchanged at the worst possible moment. The Trump Administration’s destruction of our research capabilities has severely limited our ability to react, placing the health and safety of millions of Americans at risk.”

Kallos, Holden Propose Bill to Create New Office of Technology

Council Member Ben Kallos
Council Member Ben Kallos

Council Members Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) and Robert Holden (D-Queens) have authored a bill to create an Office of Technology and Digital Services in New York.

The office would compete for city technology projects and help support advances in agency technology, among other duties. The City would nominate a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to preside over the office.

“We need to bring city government into the 21st century with tech officers embedded in every agency who can solve old problems by building new technology quickly,” said Kallos. “New York City’s new Chief Technology Officer can use a platoon of Tech Officers to modernize the government from the inside out to better serve our city.”

Johnson Condemns Court of Appeals for Second Circuit Ruling

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) released a statement yesterday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the Justice Department can withhold grants from cities with sanctuary policies on immigration.

“The Trump Administration is engaging in purely political retaliation against New York because we have policies that protect our immigrant New Yorkers,” said Johnson. “Trump and his administration are putting our city at risk, withholding money from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, a program which, among other things, pays salaries for emergency responders. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit allowing the administration to withhold this funding will not make our city any safer. While the Trump administration continues to attack our city and its policies, we will continue to stand with our immigrant communities and all New Yorkers.”

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