MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Mar. 6, 2020

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De Blasio Releases Statement on New Coronavirus Case

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: William Alatriste)
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Last Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) released a statement in response to the slew of new coronavirus diagnoses in New York.

Earlier this week, a 50-year-old Westchester County resident became one of the first people in New York State to test positive for the coronavirus. Shortly afterward, the virus spread to three of his family members. One of them, the resident’s son, is a Yeshiva University student; the school has started cancelling classes in response to the diagnosis.

“Yeshiva University is working closely with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to take every necessary precaution to ensure the safety of students and the community,” said de Blasio. “City disease detectives are on campus to identify close contacts of the student and connect those individuals to testing immediately. As of this morning, two contacts have transferred to Bellevue hospital for testing. We will continue working closely with our State partners to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep New Yorkers safe.”

Maloney Writes Op-Ed Explaining Her Never Again Education Act

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) wrote an op-ed for Forward explaining the reasoning behind the Never Again Education Act, a bill she’s sponsoring in Congress.

The bill would significantly expand the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s education programming; it would also authorize several Holocaust education program activities to engage aspiring and current teachers.

As Maloney points out, a troubling percentage of Americans are ignorant about the details of the Holocaust. A survey showed that 49 percent of millennials cannot name a single concentration camp, while 31 percent believe that fewer than two million Jews died in the Holocaust.

“I believe that this lack of knowledge is a danger to combatting anti-Semitism and in fact may be a contributing factor to the alarming rise in anti-Semitism that we are seeing here in the United States,” said Maloney. “[My bill] will expand the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s already impressive education programming, and require the Museum to develop and disseminate accurate, relevant, and accessible resources to teachers across the country, to promote understanding about how and why the Holocaust happened.

“Children are not born with hate in their hearts; it is up to us to make sure they never learn it.”

Velázquez Hails Passage of Coronavirus Funding

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Last Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement applauding the passage of additional coronavirus funding.

Earlier this week, the House passed bipartisan legislation to provide additional federal funds for combating the outbreak. It includes emergency loans to small businesses that have suffered economic damage from the pandemic.

“Aside from the public health impact, this outbreak also threatens grave economic damage,” said Velázquez. “Already, economists have lowered global forecasts with the dimmest outlooks predicting a fall from nearly 3 percent to just 1 percent growth due to the uncertainty and disruptions inflicted by the virus. 

“Small firms, in particular, can expect hardship from this public health crisis. From the local barber shop or neighborhood café to the innovative technology startup, a pandemic can mean fewer customers, supply chain disruption, and workforce reductions.”

“As the coronavirus spreads, so, too does misinformation and alarm. Because of stigma and xenophobia, many Chinatown restaurants and stores in my city of New York were already feeling economic pain before even one person in the city tested positive for the virus.  Merchants in Chinatown have reported sales drops as large as 80%.  “Provisions in this bill would mean all small businesses harmed by the virus could apply for emergency loans, with low interest rates, to help them meet financial obligations.”