MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Nov. 1, 2019

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Velázquez: “No One Is Above the Law, Not Even the President”

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement yesterday commending the House’s decision to continue to the next phase of impeachment inquiries.

Yesterday, the House voted 232-196 to approve the rules for open hearings as the next phase of the impeachment inquiry. In response, Velázquez said the following:

“Today, the House took another step in our constitutionally mandated requirement to hold this President accountable. The evidence against the President continues to mount almost daily. It is now clear that Donald Trump endangered our national security by delaying military aid to Ukraine in order to further his domestic political aims. He has undermined our democracy by inviting a foreign power to interfere in our elections.

No one is above the law, not even the President. That is why the House must continue this process.”

Speaker Sends Letter to Mayor Regarding Rule Changes for Solitary Confinement

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

Yesterday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) calling on him to begin rulemaking on the issue of solitary confinement.

Johnson wrote the letter following a statement from the Board of Corrections indicating that de Blasio’s staff delayed the rulemaking process to abolish solitary confinement. Johnson’s letter urges him to end the practice as soon as possible, calling it an inhuman, damaging form of punishment.

“We cannot wait one more day before we start to end this practice,” reads the letter. “Tragedies in solitary confinement in the recent past have shown us the need for immediate action to address this issue. I visited a solitary confinement unit on Rikers Island earlier this month and was appalled at the conditions there. The need to begin public discussion cannot be overstated. I urge you to allow the rulemaking process to begin so that these crucial issues can be addressed by the BOC.”

Hoylman, Rivera Call on NYC Parks Department to Save Community Gardens at Risk

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

13 electeds, lead by State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and Council Member Carlina Rivera (D-East Village, Gramercy Park), sent letters to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation calling on them to resolve issues with the latest GreenThumb licensing agreements.

The new 2019 Community Garden License Agreement and GreenThumb Gardeners’ Handbook propose stringent new guidelines that could force dozens of New York’s community gardens to close.

Council Member Carlina Rivera
Council Member Carlina Rivera

“Community gardens are my favorite places in New York City,” said Hoylman. “They provide fresh air, local food and a respite from our hectic urban landscape. City Hall’s attempt to change GreenThumb licensing agreements, while I’m sure done with the best of intentions, threatens the ongoing operation of our community gardens. Commissioner Silver and the Parks Department must revise this licensing agreement so we can preserve these vital community spaces for years to come. That’s why Councilwoman Rivera and I stand united with my elected colleagues, community groups, gardeners and neighbors to call on the Parks Department to protect our gardens and carefully consider changes to these licensing agreements.”

Espaillat Applauds Passage of College Affordability Act

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights, Sugar Hill) released a statement yesterday following the passage of the College Affordability Act, H.R. 4674.

The act serves to overhaul the higher education system and reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The latter includes Espaillat’s Jumpstart on College Act, H.R. 4108, which  invests in dual enrollment and college in high school programs that enroll low-income students.

“For over two years, House Democrats have put forward constructive legislation that would meet the challenges faced by students across the nation who deserve every opportunity to access and succeed in higher education,” said Espaillat. “Today, under the leadership of Chairman Robert C. ‘Bobby’ Scott, the Committee on Education & Labor has passed legislation that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act. I congratulate Chairman Scott and my esteemed colleagues for their tireless work and unceasing commitment to a fair and equitable future for our nation’s students.”