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MANH Lawmakers on the Move, July 3, 2019

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Levine Outlines Plan to Resolve Medallion Crisis

Council Member Mark D. Levine
Council Member Mark D. Levine

City Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) wrote an op-ed for the Gotham Gazette about how to compensate the city’s taxi drivers who were left broke and indebted when the medallion bubble burst.

The article, which was co-written with New York Taxi Workers Alliance Founder Bhairavi Desai, details a plan that involves securing loan forgiveness for debtors, creating a retirement fund for taxi drivers, and providing additional legal support to drivers going through foreclosure proceedings.

“We cannot undo the damage done to thousands of lives — some of which have already been lost — by this scandal,” reads the article. “But we as a city can at least do everything in our power to ensure that, for once, regular people are not abandoned while the wealthy and powerful skate away unscathed.”

The article can be read here.


Johnson, Krueger Applaud Citywide Foam Ban

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) and State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Lenox Hill) were two of the many New York lawmakers who commended the City for banning single-use foam items.

On July 1, the New York Department of Sanitation announced that they would begin enforcing the new law that prohibits businesses from selling disposable foam containers. The law was officially passed earlier this year, on the grounds that the material is neither recyclable nor biodegradable.

“Reducing our waste is vital to the health of our planet and our city,” said Corey Johnson. Single-use foam has littered our streets, sidewalks and parks or ended up in our landfills for too long. I am thrilled that we are taking steps to remove materials that cannot be recycled from our waste stream.”

Liz Krueger was just as enthusiastic. “When it comes to the environmental challenges facing our state and our world, we’ve learned that if we all make small changes in our behavior, together we can have a big impact,” she said. “New York City’s ban on polystyrene packaging is the kind of forward-thinking policy that will ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a livable planet. Congratulations to the City Council and Mayor de Blasio for making our city cleaner and greener.”


Nadler, Velázquez, Maloney Urge Mayor to Limit Helicopter Flights

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-Chelsea, Midtown), Nydia Velázquez (D-Lower East Side) and Carolyn Maloney (D-Upper East Side) sent a letter to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NY) imploring him to end non-essential helicopter flights around New York City.

The letter came on the heels of the fatal crash of an Agusta A109E helicopter on June 10, which resulted in a multiple-alarm fire and the death of pilot Tim McCormack.

“Since 1980, there have been at least 30 helicopter crashes in New York City, many of which have been fatal,” reads the letter. “Unfortunately, despite these incidents, the FAA has failed to sufficiently act. Thankfully, New York City doesn’t need to wait for the FAA to take action.  As New York City is the owner of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and 34th Street Heliport, it is within your authority to end concession contracts at these heliports for non-essential flights.  This action would significantly reduce non-essential flights over New York City airspace.”


Maloney Calls for Government to Start Printing 2020 Census Forms

Carolyn Maloney
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Credit: Online Guide to House Members and Senators)

Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-Upper East Side) sent out a letter to the Secretary of Commerce yesterday calling on the federal government to start printing 2020 Census forms without the citizenship question.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the addition of a citizenship question to the census, in the case Department of Commerce v. New York. In response, President Donald Trump (R) sent out a series of tweets threatening to delay the printing of the census.

“The census is America’s largest peacetime undertaking consisting of numerous interconnected operations,” reads the letter. “The next nine months are the most critical to decennial preparation in the entire decade-long cycle. During this time, the Census Bureau must finish hiring staff, execute a comprehensive communications campaign, finalize partnerships with local outreach groups and develop IT contingency plans. These critical operations and more depend on having a finalized questionnaire, and that process must begin in a matter of days.”

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