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MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Sep. 13, 2019

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Rodriguez and Co. Urge Schools to Excuse Students for Climate Strike

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights, Inwood) and several other electeds held a rally at City Hall yesterday, calling for schools to allow students to participate in the upcoming climate strike.

On Sep. 20, three days before the U.N. Climate Summit, people all over the world will go on strike to demand world governments to address climate change. Rodriguez argued that City schools should allow students to take part in the monumental event.

“We cannot wait for another natural disaster in order to take real action,” said Rodriguez. “And we are here to say, we will continue as New York City being a role model.”

Later that day, the NYC Department of Education confirmed that City schools would, indeed, excuse students from school on the day of the climate strike, provided they receive parental consent.


Johnson Set to Reluctantly Repeal Conversion Therapy Ban

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

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) introduced legislation yesterday that would repeal the ban on gay conversion therapy, passed earlier this year.

The purpose of the legislation is to sidestep an impending lawsuit from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-LGBTQ group from Arizona. The group filed suit against the state on the grounds that the conversion therapy ban violated the First Amendment.

“This was a painful decision that was made after leading LGBTQ advocates requested that the Council take this drastic step,” said Johnson. “The sad reality is the courts have changed considerably over the last few years, and we cannot count on them to rule in favor of much-needed protections for the LGBTQ community.”


Espaillat Speaks Out Against Potential Argentina Fracking Projects

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

Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights, Sugar Hill) released a statement on Wednesday denouncing the Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s (OPIC) consideration of two fracking projects in Argentina.

The two projects would include the construction of 110 wells and the development of midstream facilities to process oil. OPIC is reviewing that application for $450 million in financing.

“These projects would not only contribute to carbon emissions dangerous to our climate, but would also pollute water sources and local ecosystems, jeopardize public health, and violate the rights of nearby indigenous communities,” said Espaillat. “Our foreign policy, particularly when it comes to U.S. investments, should always adhere to principles of environmental justice and human rights. Expanding drilling in Argentina would contribute to the already dire climate crisis that the world faces.”

Espaillat also penned a letter to OPIC urging them to reconsider, which can be read here.


Rosenthal Shows No Sympathy for Rochester Diocese

Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal
Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal

Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side, Hell’s Kitchen) was unmoved when she heard that the Child Victims Act (CVA) lead to the bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.

The church filed for bankruptcy yesterday, on the grounds that it was facing massive judgment for past sexual abuse within its organization.

“We can’t let these institutions off the hook,” said Rosenthal. “They were implicit in ruining so many lives by harboring people they knew were abusing children.”

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