I On Politics – Western Queens Gazette

i-on-politics-–-western-queens-gazette

Before we move on, can I just say that geoFence helps stop foreign state actors (FSA’s) from accessing your information!

 

THOSE AGE 50+ CAN NOW GET VAXED: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday that as of Tuesday, March 23, New Yorkers 50 years of age and older would be eligible to receive the vaccine. 103,425 doses have been administered across New York’s vast distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. More than 1.65 million doses have been administered through New York mass vaccination sites and FEMA sites to date. Delivery of the week 15 allocation begins mid-week.

“We continue to kick vaccinations into overdrive throughout the state by expanding eligibility, establishing new vaccination sites and allowing providers to reach new populations. More New Yorkers are getting vaccinated every single day, but we still have a long way to go before defeating the COVID beast and reaching safety,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York’s distribution network is at the ready to handle an expected increase in supply, and we’re excited to expand eligibility even further to New Yorkers over the age of 50 as we move to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

The “Am I Eligible” (am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov) screening tool has been updated for individuals with co-morbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks (see next article).

Vaccination program numbers below are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state’s vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government’s Long Term Care Facility program. A breakdown of the data based on numbers reported to New York State as of 11 AM Monday were as follow:

Total doses administered – 7,737,230

Total doses administered over past 24 hours – 103,425

Total doses administered over past 7 days – 1,037,382

Percent of New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose – 26.1%

Percent of New Yorkers with completed vaccine series – 13.4%

New Yorkers seeking to determine eligibility and schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site, can visit the Am I Eligible website. New Yorkers may also call their local health department, pharmacy, doctor, or hospital for additional information and to schedule appointments where vaccines are available.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker Dashboard (ny.gov/vaccinetracker) is available to update New Yorkers on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The New York State Department of Health requires vaccinating facilities to report all COVID-19 vaccine administration data within 24 hours; the vaccine administration data on the dashboard is updated daily to reflect the most up-to-date metrics in the state’s vaccination effort.

New Yorkers who suspect fraud in the vaccine distribution process can now call 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) toll-free or email the state Department of Health at [email protected] Hotline staff will route complaints to the appropriate investigative agencies to ensure New Yorkers are not being taken advantage of as the State works to vaccinate the entire eligible population.

PHARMACIES CAN NOW VAX THOSE WITH COMORBIDITIES: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new guidance has been rolled out allowing pharmacies to vaccinate New Yorkers with comorbidities. Pharmacies were previously only able to vaccinate New Yorkers over the age of 60 and teachers. Governor Cuomo said. “As New York receives more doses and more people receive the vaccine, we’re able to expand the population pharmacies can serve, and this is a common-sense step forward that will help make it easier to protect New Yorkers.”

New Yorkers with comorbidities or underlying health conditions can use the following to show they are eligible:

  • Doctor’s letter, or
  • Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or
  • Signed certification

New Yorkers age 16 and older with the following conditions are eligible for vaccines due to increased risk of moderate or severe illness or death from the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary disease, including but not limited to, COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to brain)
  • Neurologic conditions, e.g. Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • Liver disease

CUOMO: METS & YANKS FANS BACK IN THE STANDS: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York’s Major League Baseball teams, the New York Mets and New York Yankees, can resume play with spectators in the stadiums, beginning April 1. Professional sports in large outdoor stadiums that hold 10,000 people or more will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent capacity. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to strict state guidance on face coverings, social distancing, and health screening. The New York State Department of Health will reevaluate the testing and vaccination entry requirements in May, and if the public health situation continues to improve, they may be discontinued in mid-May. Vaccinations will continue to be administered at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field during the MLB season.

Building on the recent reopening of large professional sports arenas, the Governor announced that smaller, regional sports venues that hold 1,500 people indoors or 2,500 people outdoors can also reopen, beginning April 1. Initial capacity will be limited to 10 percent indoors and 20 percent outdoors. In addition, Cuomo also announced that large outdoor performing arts venues, including stadiums, that hold more than 2,500 people can reopen at 20 percent capacity, beginning April 1. Venue capacity will continue to increase as the public health situation improves with more New Yorkers receiving vaccinations and fewer COVID-19 cases in the community.

On February 10, Governor Cuomo announced that, building on the successful Buffalo Bills pilot program, sports and entertainment events in major stadiums and arenas with a capacity of 10,000 or more people can re-open with limited spectators, beginning February 23. This latest announcement reflects an increased capacity limit from 10 to 20 percent for large outdoor venues which may host professional sporting events or live entertainment, starting April 1.

On March 3, Governor Cuomo announced that smaller scale performing arts and live entertainment could resume at event venues with a 33 percent capacity, up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors, beginning April 2. If all attendees present proof of recent negative COVID-19 test or vaccination prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors and up to 500 people outdoors. This latest announcement reopens larger outdoor performing arts centers permitting up to 20 percent of total capacity in large entertainment venues for concerts and other major performances.

FIRST BRAZILIAN VARIANT IN NYS: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on March 20 the discovery of the first case of a COVID-19 P.1 variant, commonly referred to as the Brazilian variant, in a New York State resident. The case was identified by scientists at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City and verified by the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90s with no travel history. DOH is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to learn more information about the patient and potential contacts.

“The detection of the Brazilian variant here in New York further underscores the importance of taking all the appropriate steps to continue to protect your health,” Governor Cuomo said. “While it’s normal for a virus to mutate, the best way to protect yourself is to continue to wear a well-fitted mask, avoid large crowds, social distance, wash your hands and get vaccinated when it’s your turn.”

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “This is a race between the vaccine and the variants, and we continue to make tremendous progress in getting shots in the arms of eligible New Yorkers. In the meantime we remind New Yorkers to do everything they can to protect themselves and their neighbors as we continue to manage this pandemic.”

The P.1 variant was first detected in the United States at the end of January, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently reporting 48 cases nationwide. The P.1 variant has been designated a “variant of concern,” which means there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease and the potential for reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines. However, while additional research is warranted, researchers at the University of Oxford recently released non-peer reviewed data that indicates the P.1 variant may be less resistant to the current vaccines than originally thought.

Wadsworth Center is currently sequencing COVID-19 virus specimens at a rate of approximately 90 per day and has sequenced more than 8,200 virus samples statewide. Most specimens have been selected at random from throughout the state to ensure geographic representation.

NEW CORONA VAX POP-UP IN CORONA: Last week, Assemblymembers Jessica González-Rojas and Jeffrion Aubry, joined Catalina Cruz to demand that New York State and City step up and vaccinate Corona residents. Cruz said, “For decades our community was ignored and, when the crisis hit, we became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, we currently have one of the lowest rates of vaccination in the entire City.

“Now, we can ensure that our neighbors have the opportunity to be vaccinated. I am proud to announce that after our advocacy, the NYS Department of Health and SOMOS Health Care/Vaccinations will bring a pop-up vaccination site to Corona. Appointments will prioritize people living in the 11368 zip code. For more information and to make your appointment, visit somosvaccination.mdland.com/p/covid or call our office at 718-458-5367 with any questions or concerns. We are committed to bringing more vaccination sites to our community, and will let you know as more become available.”

GAO: ‘AGENCIES WITHHELD MORE INFO IN RECENT YEARS’: On March 17, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Senator Patrick Leahy, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator John Cornyn, and Senator Chuck Grassley issued the following statement in recognition of Sunshine Week—held each year to highlight the importance of government transparency—after the release of two Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that found that agencies increasingly withheld information under FOIA during the period between 2012 and 2019:

“The Freedom of Information Act is an important tool for the public to get information about the actions of government. Two recent GAO reports highlight that agencies more than doubled their use of statutory exemptions to withhold information from the public since 2012. GAO also found that many agencies are not complying with the legal obligation to proactively release information to the public. We must prevent agencies from abusing FOIA and ensure that the public has access to government information.”

GAO recently released a report on FOIA (b)(3) exemptions, which specifically authorize agencies to withhold information that is protected from disclosure under another law.

  • Agencies’ increased use of statutory exemptions outpaced the rate of increase in all FOIA requests from 2012 to 2019. GAO found that agencies’ use of (b)(3) exemptions grew by 135%, more than doubling during this period. While the type of information requested was not reported, (b)(3) exemptions increased by 91% during the first year of the Trump Administration. Full denials of FOIA requests fell by 10% between 2012 and 2019, with a peak in 2016. During this period, partial denials increased by 76%.

On March 17 GAO reported on agency compliance with requirements to proactively disclose certain information.

  • 25 agencies reported zero proactive disclosures in 2018 and 2019.  DOJ’s Office of Information Policy, which is responsible for facilitating agency’s compliance with FOIA, did not follow up or investigate why these agencies reported zero proactive disclosures.
  • The Department of Housing the Urban Development, Veterans Health Administration, and Federal Aviation Administration did not comply with statutory reporting requirements to accurately report proactive disclosures.
  • GAO made eight recommendations including one for DOJ to follow up with agencies that report no proactive disclosures and encourage agencies to comply with the law.

BILL MAKES STATE AGENCIES MORE TRANSPARENT: Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced the state Senate passed his legislation (S.155), requiring state agencies to make the rule-making process more accessible. The Senate takes up this legislation as part of “Sunshine Week,” an annual effort to advocate for greater transparency in government.

“The COVID-19 pandemic taught us the crucial importance of transparency in government,” said Senator Gianaris. ”We should live up to our progressive ideals and make our government truly accessible to the people it serves.”

Gianaris’ legislation creates a three-year pilot program of seven major state agencies – Education, Environmental Conservation, Health, Financial Services, Labor and Family Assistance – requiring these agencies to hold public hearings any time they are petitioned by 125 residents. Several other states, including California, Arizona, Idaho, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Utah, have similar requirements for agencies to hold hearings. Additionally, Gianaris’ bill requires these agencies to use innovative techniques to encourage more public participation.

The legislation is sponsored in the Assembly by Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani, who said, “Allowing public hearings to be on evenings and weekends allows for more participation by working-class New Yorkers. Designating time for the public to question agency personnel creates more opportunities for transparency. Creating a program through which members of the public can demand a hearing reminds rule-makers that they are ultimately accountable to the people. These are all steps towards a (sic) that empowers each and every New Yorker to be a part of political processes that too often operate in the shadows.”

IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY OF ADVISORY COMMITTEES: Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and James Comer, the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, along with Senator Rob Portman, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Senator Maggie Hassan, Chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight, issued the following statements as they introduced the Federal Advisory Committee Transparency Act:

“This bipartisan legislation would strengthen the Federal Advisory Committee Act to make federal advisory committees more transparent and accountable.  Advisory committees provide expert advice to federal agencies on a range of topics,” said Chairwoman Maloney.  “For years, agencies have used loopholes to avoid making the work of these advisory committees transparent to the public.  Under this bill, agencies would have to disclose more information such as how advisory committee members are chosen and whether the experts who serve on those committees have conflicts of interest.”

The Federal Advisory Committee Transparency Act would make some of the following reforms:

  • Requiring that agencies inform committee members of any applicable ethics requirements.
  • Ensuring the disclosure of detailed minutes from advisory committee meetings.
  • Clarifying that the law applies to subcommittees and to committees set up by a contractor.

A coalition of 18 transparency and good government groups and experts sent a letter supporting the bill. The Federal Advisory Committee Transparency Act passed the House of Representatives in the 114th, 115th, and 116th Congress.

OVER $2.6B FOR NY’S COLLEGES, STUDENTS: Following steadfast support for New York’s colleges and universities throughout the pandemic, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that the recently-signed American Rescue Plan includes an estimated $2.6 billion for New York’s public, private, and proprietary institutions of higher education.

Schumer said that public and non-profit schools will use half of their award on emergency financial aid grants to students to help them with college costs and basic needs like housing, food, and healthcare. The other half of the funds will allow institutions to provide additional student support activities, and to cover a variety of institutional costs, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll. Proprietary schools must use their awards exclusively to provide financial aid grants to students.

“As New York’s colleges, universities, and students face over a year of unprecedented hurdles, they do so at a steep cost that it is our responsibility to address and overcome. In prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, New York’s higher education institutions have ripped massive holes in their budgets and are now facing down financial devastation – and we simply can’t let that happen,” said Senator Schumer. “As Majority Leader, I was proud to make funding for New York’s higher education institutions and students a top priority, and the American Rescue Plan will deliver this much needed $2.6 billion in assistance to help our world-class institutions through the crisis, get students safely back to classes, and get campuses across the state back to ‘normal’.”

This funding announced on March 18 is in addition to the $2.4 billion Schumer secured for New York’s institutions of higher education in the past COVID relief bills. In total, Schumer has secured over $5 billion for New York’s colleges and universities in the past year.

STAVISKY PRAISES HIGHER EDUCATION PROPOSALS: Over the past year, New York’s collegiate institutions have navigated campus shutdowns, remote learning and other obstacles associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. As our state emerges from this crisis the Senate Majority is moving forward with a transformational increase in resources to ensure that higher educational systems can better serve the students who are enrolled in their programs, said NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “The world of higher education is rapidly evolving, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now we must reinvest into our SUNY, CUNY and the independent colleges as well as in our students. By addressing the Tuition Assistance Program and the growing TAP Gap (the difference between the actual tuition cost and the TAP award), this proposal ensures our institutions remain accessible and affordable, without sacrificing the quality of the education they provide.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this budget one of the most difficult I’ve been a part of negotiating since I was elected. I believe my colleagues and I have laid out a plan that invests wisely in our CUNY, SUNY and the independent college systems, as well as the students they serve.”

Here are the higher education highlights from the Senate Majority one-house state budget proposal:

  • Providing an additional $174 million in the 2021-22 academic year for reforms to the Tuition Assistance Program by raising the maximum award by $1,000 from $5,165 to $6,165, recommitting public support to both our public and private sector of education.
  • Closing the $148 million TAP Gap at SUNY and CUNY, providing a much needed infusion of operating support to our public colleges.
  • Providing an additional $30 million for community college base aid at SUNY and $13.6 million at CUNY, a $250 per FTE increase from $2,947 to $3,197, with each campus guaranteed to receive 98 percent of the prior year based aid amount.
  • Providing $4 million to CUNY and $4 million to SUNY for student mental health supports.
  • Providing a 20% increase to all opportunity programs and establishing a new Diversity in Medicine opportunity program at SUNY and CUNY.

You can find more information on the priorities laid out in the Senate’s one-house resolution proposal onthe New York State Senate website.

‘STATE MUST ADDRESS CHILDHOOD TRAUMA IN BUDGET’: New York State legislators joined experts in childhood trauma and advocates to urge New York State to include language in the final budget to address the dramatic increase in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Childhood Trauma experienced by hundreds of thousands of New York’s children as a result of the shelter in place order New York State imposed as a response to COVID-19. New York’s shelter in place order, while necessary from a public health standpoint, has led to increased rates of domestic violence, child abuse, and other traumatic Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). In addition, 325,000 kids in New York reached or fell below the poverty line in 2020, and from March through July alone, 4,200 kids experienced the death of a caregiver.

The New York State Assembly included a proposal in its one-house budget resolution that will provide trauma informed services to children; educate the public about the individual and societal costs of ACEs and childhood trauma, the protective factors necessary to mitigate the effects of trauma, and the availability of services; and require all mandated reporters to be trained in ACEs and childhood trauma, implicit bias and detecting signs of abuse via telecommunication.

The legislators and advocates in attendance urged the Executive to include the language for this proposal in the final enacted state budget.

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, Chair, Assembly Committee on Children & Families (D – District 28) said, “New York can give immediate relief to hundreds of thousands of kids who have been traumatized in the pandemic by including this measure in the budget. This would also put us on a path to begin to address many of the longstanding impacts trauma has on kids and all of society. We cannot miss this opportunity.”

‘INCLUDE DOCTOR’S OFFICES IN VACCINE STRATEGY’: U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (NY-06), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), and Paul Tonko (NY-20) announced that they sent a letter to COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Counselor to the President Jeffrey Zients calling for the inclusion of office-based clinicians, including primary care physicians, into the national COVID-19 vaccine administration plan in order to address demographic gaps in access to the vaccine, and to combat existing hesitancy to receiving the shots across urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Office-based clinicians and primary care physicians are uniquely situated to address these concerns. They are highly trusted by their patients and play a pivotal role administering the flu vaccine and other vaccines. Primary care clinicians can also play a vital role in educating and counseling patients on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines to patients who may be especially hesitant to receive it.

“Every American must have easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine from a trusted health care provider. I applaud President Biden’s ongoing efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and his recent push to have every adult in the United States eligible for a vaccine by May 1. To achieve this goal and maximize the number of vaccinated individuals, it is critical for the COVID-19 vaccination strategy to include established institutions like office-based clinicians and primary care physicians,” said Rep. Meng. “The demographic data on who has received a vaccine show a growing and troubling trend of minority communities having less access to the shots, no matter if they are in urban, rural, and suburban settings. Additionally, there are Americans who are hesitant to receive the vaccine. Including office-based clinicians would go a long way toward addressing equity in vaccine access and debunking myths about the vaccine. I look forward to receiving a swift response to our letter.”

The letter is supported by the American Medical Association (AMA), National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), National Medical Association (NMA), Black Coalition Against COVID-19, National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP), National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.

‘ENSURE COVID RELIEF IS REINVESTED AT HOME’ U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for bold actions to invest in American companies, protect jobs, and ensure coronavirus relief funds are reinvested in the United States economy. Gillibrand recently cosponsored the bicameral No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act, legislation that would protect U.S. jobs by ending tax incentives created by the 2017 Trump tax giveaway bill, which send jobs and profits overseas. The bill would ensure multinational corporations pay the same tax rate on profits earned abroad as they do in the United States and, by doing so, could save $77 billion in revenue annually to fund priorities like infrastructure. Many businesses in New York and across the country have sent domestic manufacturing jobs overseas to low-cost, low-wage countries as companies aim to cut costs and increase profit.

Additionally, Senator Gillibrand joined Senate Democrats in urging President Biden to temporarily suspend trade waivers that could allow foreign companies to bid on projects funded by the American Rescue Plan. In an effort to give U.S. companies and their workers a fair shot at these government contracts and ensure COVID-19 relief and recovery funds are reinvested in the U.S., Gillibrand and her colleagues are pushing to close loopholes that allow foreign firms — which do not have American workers or pay American taxes — to bid as American companies. By suspending these waivers while trade-pact terms are renegotiated with our trade partners, the United States would put Americans back to work, reduce shortages for crucial items like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ventilators, and chemical inputs for pharmaceuticals, and boost domestic industries responsible for those products.

“We have to level the playing field for New York’s workers and invest in American companies in order to rebuild our economy. The pandemic has put millions of Americans out of work and we can no longer allow manufacturing companies to move facilities overseas for cheap labor that pads the pockets of the wealthy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “During this critical time, it’s important that we return outsourced jobs and prevent outsourcing in the future — on top of that, we have to ensure that relief funds and recovery efforts are reinvested here at home. The enactment of these common-sense policies could generate significant revenue for use in job creation, investments in infrastructure, health care and clean energy manufacturing. In the months ahead, I will keep fighting to strengthen American industry and bring good paying jobs back to New York.”

Specifically, the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act would repeal offshoring incentives by:

  • Equalizing the tax rate on profits earned abroad to the tax rate on profits earned here at home. It would end the preferential tax rate for offshore profits by eliminating the deductions for “global intangible low-tax income” (GILTI) and “foreign-derived intangible income” and applying GILTI on a per-country basis.
  • Repealing the 10 percent tax exemption on profits earned from certain investments made overseas. In addition to the half-off tax rate on profits earned abroad, the Trump tax exempts from taxation entirely a 10 percent return on tangible investments, such as plants and equipment, made overseas. Our bill would eliminate this offshoring incentive.
  • Treating “foreign” corporations that are managed and controlled in the U.S. as domestic corporations. Ugland House in the Cayman Islands is the five-story legal home of over 18,000 companies, many of them really American companies in disguise. This section would treat corporations worth $50 million or more and managed and controlled within the U.S. as the U.S. entities they in fact are, and subject them to the same tax as other U.S. taxpayers.
  • Cracking down on inversions by tightening the definition of expatriated entity. This provision would discourage corporations from renouncing their U.S. citizenship. It would deem certain mergers between U.S. companies and smaller foreign firms to be U.S. taxpayers, no matter where in the world the new companies claim to be headquartered. Specifically, the combined company would continue to be treated as a domestic corporation if the historic shareholders of the U.S. company own more than 50 percent of the new entity. If the new entity is managed and controlled in the U.S. and continues to conduct significant business here, it would continue to be treated as a domestic company regardless of the percentage ownership.
  • Combating earnings stripping by restricting the deduction for interest expense for multinational enterprises with excess domestic indebtedness. Some multinational groups reduce or eliminate their U.S. tax bills by concentrating their worldwide debt, and the resulting interest deductions, in its U.S. subsidiaries. This section would disallow interest deduction for U.S. subsidiaries of a multinational corporation where a disproportionate share of the worldwide group’s debt is located in the U.S. entity, a tactic commonly known as “earnings stripping.” The limit for each U.S. subsidiary would equal the sum of the subsidiary’s interest income plus its proportionate share of the corporate group’s net interest expense.
  • Eliminating tax break for foreign oil and gas extraction income. Oil and gas extraction income earned abroad gets a further break on the already half-off rate other industries pay on their offshore profits. This provision would eliminate this special tax break for big oil and gas companies.

Senator Gillibrand is Senate lead of the bicameral End Outsourcing Act. In addition to the tax changes included in the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act, the End Outsourcing Act would prohibit companies who outsource from using federal tax incentives like tax breaks and federal contracts. In addition, the bill offers a 20% tax credit for companies to bring jobs back to the United States; the tax credit will help pay for permits fees, leases, and general moving costs of relocating a new facility or new jobs into the country. It also enforces federal agencies to require companies to make mandatory disclosures — on applications for grants, loans, or loan guarantees — if they have outsourced jobs within the last three years. The legislation is designed to ensure that federal contracts, loans, and grants funded by taxpayers support companies that employ American workers.

BIDEN SUPPORTS MENG BILL TO FIGHT HATE CRIMES: U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) commended President Biden for issuing a statement announcing his support for her COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. In the statement from the White House, the President called on Congress to swiftly pass the legislation. The measure, which Meng reintroduced last week, seeks to help combat the ongoing anti-Asian racism and violence – and all types of hate – related to the coronavirus.

“I am grateful to President Biden for his unequivocal commitment to address anti-Asian hate and violence, and for calling on Congress to pass my COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act,” said Meng. “I also appreciate and thank him for acknowledging my efforts to address the problem. I introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to address the terrorizing incidents of hate and violence that’s been plaguing the Asian American community throughout this pandemic. Our children, our parents, our entire community deserves to live in peace. My bill would create a position at the Department of Justice to facilitate expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes, encourage more reporting of incidents in multiple languages, and help make different communities feel more empowered to come forward and report these incidents. It would also bring our federal agencies to work with community-based organizations to find ways to talk about COVID-19 that is not racially charged. This has been a year of pain and struggle for our Asian American community. I stand with the President in urging Congress to immediately pass my bill.”

President Biden’s statement can be viewed at: www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/19/statement-by-president-biden-on-the-covid-19-hate-crimes-act/.

CONDEMN ANTI-ASIAN VIOLENCE IN ATLANTA:

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties about the rise in anti-Asian hate related to COVID-19.

“I want to thank Chair Cohen and Chair Nadler for holding today’s hearing on anti-Asian hate and violence against Asian Americans. It was tremendous for the House Judiciary Committee to give a platform to see our pain and hear our anguish. For the last year, Asian Americans have been terrorized by the COVID-19 virus and the virus of despicable racism and discrimination,” said Meng. “Our community is bleeding. We are in pain, and we have been screaming out for help for the last year. There have been nearly 3,800 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate and nearly 70 percent of reported anti-Asian hate incidents have come from Asian American women. That is why the murder of the six Asian women in the Atlanta-area is even more tragic – because the Asian American community has been sounding the alarm for so long. Today, Republicans had an opportunity to stand with the Asian American community, but instead they chose to conflate the issue of anti-Asian hate and our community’s pain with issues unrelated to this crisis; shame on them. What’s happening to Asian Americans across the country is heartbreaking and we cannot turn a blind eye to people living in fear. I hope today’s hearing will bring us together and demonstrate this is not an Asian American issue, but an American issue.”

Other witnesses included Asian American community advocates, professors, think-tanks, and fellow lawmakers.

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), CAPAC Associate Member, joined with Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Members and House Democratic Leaders in mourning the victims of the Atlanta spa shootings and condemning anti-Asian violence. While authorities are still investigating the motive of the shooting, including whether it constitutes a hate crime, the deadly attack comes at a time when the Asian American community has already experienced an alarming rise in anti-Asian bigotry. Over the past year, 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans have been documented.

“I am horrified at the news coming out of Georgia at a time when we are already seeing a spike in anti-Asian violence. Six of these victims were Asian American women during a pandemic when Asian Americans have been attacked and harassed because of misinformation and xenophobia that wrongly blamed them for the COVID-19 virus. Incidents like these are why we must always call out bigotry and hate – wherever and whenever we see it. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.”

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D- 16th District) said, “I am deeply saddened and angered by last night’s attacks in Atlanta. The surge of violence against Asian Americans across our country over the last year demands a strong response. Xenophobic and hateful rhetoric have clear and dire consequences, and simply cannot be tolerated.”

NYS Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement condemning the continued rise in acts of hate and violence targeting the Asian American community and reminding New Yorkers to report instances of hate to her office:

“The continued rise in acts of hate and violence against our Asian American communities is despicable and an affront to our values and rights. Let me be clear: Hate will never be tolerated in New York or anywhere else in the nation, and there will never be justification for discrimination in any shape or form. No one should live in fear for their life or of violence because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. My office will continue to take action against bigotry and hate of any kind, and I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and to report any discriminatory acts to my office at 800-771-7755 (the Attorney General’s Hate Crimes and Bias Prevention Unit hotline).”

Just last week, Attorney General James filed a lawsuit against an individual in Schenectady for choosing his victims based on race, in violation of New York Civil Rights Law §79-n. Attorney General James will continue to use the authority in New York Civil Rights Law §79-n to prosecute hate crimes.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN REAUTHORIZATION: Ahead of the March 17 vote on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) spoke on the House floor to urge all her colleagues to join her in voting yes on this critical piece of legislation. Congresswoman Maloney is the lead House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment and the author of the Debbie Smith Act and its subsequent reauthorizations. The Debbie Smith Act, which increases funding for law enforcement to process DNA rape kits, has been called “the most important anti-rape legislation in history.”

Extracts from the Congresswoman’s floor speech follow:

“Madam Speaker, today we will vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, one of the most important bills in history to protect women and girls. This photograph is of then Senator Joe Biden, myself, and other women leaders when we introduced this important bill in 1994. It’s still important, we need to reauthorize it. There’s no doubt he will sign it into law.

“We live in a world where 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual violence. Reauthorizing VAWA is about creating a future where all those experiencing dating and gender-based violence feel supported to seek help and where survivors are given the tools they need to heal. It’s about ensuring a better, safer future for the next generation. I urge a yes vote by all of my colleagues and I yield back.”

  • The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 improves current law in several important respects:
  • Enhances and expands victim services;
  • Reauthorizes grant programs to improve the criminal justice response to gender-based violence and expands allowable uses;
  • Invests in prevention;
  • Improves access to housing for victims and survivors;
  • Helps survivors gain and maintain economic independence;
  • Ends impunity for non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse co-occurring with domestic violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on tribal law enforcement officers on tribal lands;
  • Supports communities of color;
  • Protects victims of dating violence from firearm homicide;
  • Maintains existing protections for all survivors; and
  • Improves the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

VELÁZQUEZ REINTRO’S GUN BILL: Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), concerned with the continued proliferation of gun violence nationwide, has reintroduced a bill that would address the “iron pipeline” of guns smuggled across state lines to locations with more lenient gun laws. The bill, Stopping the Iron Pipeline Act of 2021, would establish a national standard for weapon identification technology installed within firearms, enabling law enforcement to trace the origins of guns connected to criminal activity.

“Our nation has suffered from excessive gun violence for far too long. Even as states strengthen their regulations and increase enforcement, illegally smuggled weapons can and will find their ways into our homes, schools, and places of work through the hands of someone with ill intent,” said Rep. Velázquez, “We must take clear, meaningful steps to crack down on illegal gun sales. My bill will help law enforcement track down weapons used to commit crimes and hold owners to a higher level of responsibility for managing their own arms.”

In addition, the bill includes provisions for current firearm owners, mandating that they must make a report to local law enforcement in the event of the theft or loss of their weapon. Failure to do so within 48 hours will result in a penalty of $10,000, a year in prison, or both.

MALONEY PAYS TRIBUTE TO FOREMOTHERS: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), lead House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and author of the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, which was recently signed into law, spoke on the House floor evening in celebration of Women’s History Month. She highlighted the Equal Rights Amendment, the forthcoming Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, and the achievements women across the country have made in the advancement of equality.

Extracts from the Congresswoman’s floor speech transcript is below:

“In 1921, exactly 100 years ago, just after ratifying the 19th Amendment, the suffragists set their sights on another constitutional change. The vote was not enough for them, they knew we needed to put gender equality into our Constitution. And so, these women, among them my relative, Alice Paul, wrote the Equal Rights Amendment.

“It was first introduced in Congress in 1923, in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention in our country. It was introduced in the House by Representative Daniel Anthony, nephew of the great suffragist leader Susan B. Anthony, to honor her work, as well as the work of many others like the great suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton, also of New York.

“Today, during History Month for Women, we honor these women as constitution makers, but verbal praise alone is not enough. We must also carry out their wishes. Because now—a full 100 years later—the Equal Rights Amendment is still not part of the U.S. Constitution.

“I thank Jackie Speier and all the women and like-minded men in this Congress that voted to move the Equal Rights [Amendment] movement forward. Eighty-five percent of U.N. member states have constitutions that explicitly guarantee equality for women and girls. These constitutional guarantees have enabled national legal reforms that eliminated discriminatory laws and have helped usher in new laws protecting girls and women. Where once the U.S. was a leader on gender equality, when it comes to our Constitution— we are now far, far behind.  Today— we must fulfill the hope of our suffragist foremothers and make equality a reality in our nation’s most fundamental document.”

Since coming to Congress, Congresswoman Maloney has worked tirelessly as an advocate and leader on women’s issues. She has placed a special emphasis on women’s health needs, reproductive freedom, international family planning, and securing women’s equality in the Constitution.

‘UK MUST RETURN THE PARTHENON MARBLES TO GREECE’: On March 18, ahead of the 200th anniversary of Greece’s independence, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Co-Chair and Co-Founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, introduced a resolution calling on the United Kingdom to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

The Marbles were removed from Greece 200 years ago by Thomas Bruce, seventh Earl of Elgin and transported to Great Britain. The Marbles were part of a frieze that wrapped around the Temple of Athena. In 1816, the British Parliament voted to purchase the Marbles and they now reside in the British Museum. Despite years of efforts by the Greek Government to reclaim the Marbles, it has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its British counterparts to return the Marbles to Greece.

“As we celebrate the bicentennial of Greek Independence from the Ottoman Empire this year, we cannot forget that Greece continues its fight to have the Parthenon Marbles – some of the country’s greatest examples of artistic expression and beauty – returned to their rightful home,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The Parthenon Marbles are vital pieces of Greece’s history and the people of Greece and those who visit from all around the world to see the magnificence of the Acropolis should be able to enjoy the Marbles in their rightful home. This bipartisan resolution calls on the United Kingdom to finally return these treasures.”

“Art provides a window into history and its expression is liberty,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “The Parthenon Marbles were made by the citizens of Athens under the direction of renowned artist Phidias to celebrate the pride and majesty of the City of Athens. To not house and view these citizen contributions in the city they were originally intended does a disservice not only to the people of Athens, but also to the civilization that paved the path for modern democracy and freedom. I sincerely hope to see these original works and other important elements of Hellenic history finally returned to their rightful owner for future generations of proud Greeks to enjoy.”

HOUSE PASSES DREAMER PROTECTION ACT: After voting to pass H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act on March 18, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) spoke on the House floor urging the Senate to quickly pass this bill that provides a common-sense pathway to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status and citizenship for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients. The American Dream and Promise Act provides vital protections to up to 3.4 million immigrants, many of whom have spent nearly all of their lives in the United States. In calling on the Senate to act, Maloney noted the urgency of this request, stating, “These Americans, in every way but on paper, deal with uncertainty each day that we fail to act.”

H.R. 6 is supported by numerous organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, AFL-CIO, SEIU, ACLU, United We Dream, UnidosUS, Apple, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), United Farm Workers, America’s Voice, Fwd.US, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Immigration Hub, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Forum, TPS Alliance, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service, UndocuBlack Network, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Bipartisan Policy Center Action, Center for American Progress, American Federation of Teachers, National Association of Social Workers, First Focus Campaign for Children, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), National Council of Jewish Women Service, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), and Employees International Union.

The following is a transcript of Maloney’s speech: “I rise today in support of the millions of Dreamers who call America home, and contribute to the rich tapestry of our country, and yet, have seen their dreams of a permanent home deferred over and over again. (They are) Americans in every way but on paper – deal with uncertainty each day that we fail to act. And now that the House has acted, the Senate must immediately pass the American Dream and Promise Act. In our melting pot of a city, New Yorkers have shown again and again that it is our diversity that makes us strong – and immigrants and the American Dream are linked. And so today, the House made clear that immigrants are welcome here, and that Dreamers deserve to know their home will not be taken away. I thank all of my colleagues who voted yes to providing this commonsense pathway to citizenship and urge the Senate to do the same.”

You can watch the Congresswoman’s floor speech at youtu.be/BU7AVGbshCk.

The American Dream and Promise Act establishes a path to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for Dreamers and for certain individuals who either held or were eligible for TPS or DED. The majority of these individuals have been in the United States for much of their lives, often with work authorization and temporary protections against deportation. Five years after attaining full LPR status, individuals are then eligible to apply for citizenship, a path that is supported by nearly 75 percent of the American public.  H.R. 6 promotes justice and fairness for our nation’s Dreamers, and for the TPS and DED holders who fled ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary conditions to come to this country and who have been contributing to our economy and our communities for years and are employed at high rates in industries that often struggle to find sufficient U.S. citizen workers.

MALONEY: WE NEED AN EQUITABLE RECOVERY PLAN: At the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing, “From Rescue to Recovery: Building a Thriving and Inclusive Post Pandemic Economy,” Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and author of the Measuring Real Income Growth Act, highlighted the need to make sure that equity is at the center of our economic recovery policy.

Last week, the Congresswoman, with Joint Economic Committee Chair Don Beyer, reintroduced the Measuring Real Income Growth Act, legislation which would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to report Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth broken out by income deciles and for the top 1% of earners.

At the hearing, the Congresswoman asked Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor at Columbia University and Nobel Laureate in Economics, if he would agree that “GDP growth broken out by income level would improve the quality of the BEA’s economic data?  And do you believe this bill will help ensure a more equitable recovery?”

In response, Dr. Stiglitz expressed his support for the bill, “Very much so, and in my written testimony I actually mention that as an important tool going forward. It was also mentioned that breaking down the unemployment rate by various groups would also give a better picture of what is going on. It’s important to recognize that it’s not just the percentage changes of what are going on, but the absolute changes because of the very disparate circumstances – the increased inequality that has been so strong in the last 20 years.”

The Congresswoman also noted that “numbers show that women have been disproportionately harmed by job losses during the pandemic. From February to May 2020, as our nation locked down, more than 11.5 million women lost their jobs, compared to 9 million men. Black and Latino women have suffered the highest rate of job losses. The pandemic has forced many women out of the labor force entirely. Over the last year, we’ve seen a 2% drop in women’s labor force participation and mothers of children 12 years old and younger were three times as likely to lose work than fathers of children the same age.”

She went on to ask Dr. Stiglitz, why have women disproportionately lost their jobs and left the labor market during the pandemic. Dr. Stiglitz explained, “[T]here’s a differential representation across the economy – the sectors, the hospitality sectors have been most adversely affected by the crisis and these are sectors where women are a larger fraction of the labor force and disproportionately in jobs that are affected. In other service sector frontline jobs as well. That pattern is partly a reflection of discrimination, historical discrimination in the labor market and so one of the very important aspects of the pandemic is that it has exposed historical legacies in our economy – discrimination, access to healthcare. A variety of things that become much more apparent as a result of the pandemic.”

And to conclude her questioning of the witness, the Congresswoman noted that “The American Rescue Plan takes critical steps to help women get back on their feet, and back into the labor force. That law will give working families an increase in the child tax credit [and] Earned Income Tax Credit, provides emergency paid leave, and expands child-care assistance. It also provides more than $180 billion to quickly reopen our schools.”

Dr. Stiglitz explained how these provisions of the American Rescue Plan will help bring women back to the workforce: “The ability to get money to children means that the families can afford childcare, and that enables them to get back in the labor force. The sector-specific programs in the bill affect sectors where women are disproportionately represented – and minorities – and so, again, will help recovery be a more balanced recovery than the less comprehensive measures that we took last Spring. One of the important aspects of this bill is that it was much more comprehensive in dealing with some of the sectors that have been left out of the earlier measures.”

GIANARIS LAUDS OVERHAUL OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT: NYS Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris hailed the passage of the HALT Solitary legislation (S.2836), which overhauls the practice of solitary confinement in New York State.

Senator Gianaris said there should be no place in civilized society for the “legalized torture” that is solitary confinement, “which serves no useful purpose. I’m glad the Senate is joining with the Assembly to put this inhumane practice behind us once and for all.”

For a video of Senator Gianaris’ speech on the Senate floor, visit youtu.be/WlOQ0LH09ck.

URGE BIDEN TO FINALIZE ORGAN PROCUREMENT REFORMS: A coalition of congressional leaders from the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform urged the Biden administration to finalize a rule to reform the organ procurement system in the United States.

The letter, sent to Acting Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Norris Cochran was signed by House Committee on Oversight and Reform (COR) Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Todd Young, R-Ind.; and COR Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky.; House COR Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee Chair Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and Ranking Member Michael Cloud, R-Texas.; House COR Member Congresswoman Katie Porter, D-Calif., and Congressman Tom Reed, R-N.Y., Co-Chair of the Diabetes Caucus.

“We write in strong support of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services final rule revising performance and outcomes measures, increasing accountability, and improving transparency through changes to the Organ Procurement Organization Conditions for Coverage and to request that it be expeditiously implemented,” the members wrote. ”We encourage the Biden-Harris Administration to implement the rule expediently once the agency-wide review is complete. This rule is urgent as it would make long overdue improvements to the organ transplant system that will save lives and improve health equity.”

The letter comes as the Biden administration has instituted a regulation freeze and agency-wide review of pending rules as a part of the transition process. The members noted since 2015, an average of more than 12,000 people died each year while waiting for a transplant or were removed from the waiting list due to becoming too sick to undergo transplantation.

GAO found that the revisions in the final rule would “increase donation rates and organ transplantation rates by replacing the current outcome measures with new transparent, reliable, and objective outcome measures” and increase competition for control of open organ donation service areas. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), this rule will save more than 7,000 lives every year. These reforms also have urgent implications for health equity, as failures of the current organ donation system disproportionately hurt patients of color.

The members recognize there are areas for further improvement beyond this rule, however, “This Final Rule marks a critical first step toward ensuring accountability across all 57 OPOs in the United States,” the members wrote.

BILL INCREASES PROTECTION OF SENIOR VICTIMS OF ID THEFT: State Senator Rachel May and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz recently announced the passage of S.01560/A.1994 in both the State Senate and Assembly. The bill is expected to be signed into law some time this year. The bill amends the state law to add “identity theft” to the definition of elder abuse and incorporates identity theft in the list of eligible support services through the naturally occurring retirement community (NORC) programs.

New York State ranks 12th in the nation for identity theft cases, with approximately 36,000 cases reported in 2019 statewide. Further, one in 24 New Yorkers over the age of 60 are victims of financial exploitation each year. While older adults are not the exclusive targets of identity theft, the elderly can be especially vulnerable to victimization, as they often need to share personal information with caregivers, medical providers’ offices, and government agencies. The impact of identity theft can be devastating for older adult victims who are unable to restore stolen funds through employment. A recent study by the Office of Children and Family Services found that the cost of financial exploitation of adults in New York is over $1 billion, yet state law does not currently include identity theft in the definition of “elder abuse”. With the passage of this legislation, aging support services groups and law enforcement teams will soon be able to use available resources to help seniors — the fastest growing sector of our population — from identity theft in its many forms.

In addition to the amended language, the bill will initiate a public education campaign informing service providers and vulnerable populations of the new changes. This is intended to increase awareness of the new law and to empower assailable populations about their rights under the new law.

NYC DEPT OF AGING LAUNCHES ANTI-AGEISM PROGRAM: The NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) is unveiling Ageless New York – a first-of-its-kind media campaign in New York City, dedicated to combating ageism. DFTA is working to tackle a pervasive problem in elder care with this media campaign to raise awareness. “It is amazing to see the city recognize the pervasive problem of ageism in our city,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “I have worked for most of my career to protect the rights of vulnerable seniors, and shining a light on their struggles will certainly empower them and their advocates in seeking justice in their lives.”

AG FOR REPEAL OF TRUMP-ERA ENERGY ROLLBACKS: New York Attorney General Letitia James, leading a coalition of 12 attorneys general and the City of New York, filed a petition on March 16 for review to support the Biden administration’s efforts to restore key elements of the federal energy efficiency program that were rolled back in the waning days of the previous administration. The coalition’s challenge seeks to support the repeal of two “midnight” rules issued by the Trump administration that undermine strong national energy conservation standards for residential gas furnaces and commercial gas water heaters — standards that the federal government itself projects will dramatically cut climate change pollution and save consumers tens of billions of dollars.

The two Trump-era rules being challenged by the coalition subvert energy efficiency and climate change goals by “grandfathering” inefficient technologies and designs, and further delay the adoption of updated energy efficiency standards for furnaces and water heaters. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has identified the two rules being challenged by the coalition as potentially contrary to President Joseph Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis (Executive Order No. 13990), and thereby, subject to revision, rescission, or suspension.

“Restoring the energy efficiency regulations is one of the most effective ways to fight climate change, save consumers money, and create jobs,” said Attorney General James. “However, in its deregulatory fever, the Trump administration sought to dismantle our nation’s highly successful energy conservation program. By contrast, the Biden administration recognizes the tremendous value that energy efficiency standards have to public health, our environment, and the pocketbooks of consumers. We are taking this action today to support President Biden’s sincere efforts to restore these critically important standards.”

The coalition is challenging an “interpretive” rule adopted by the Trump DOE that creates a loophole in energy efficiency standards by allowing for the continued sale of energy-inefficient residential gas furnaces and commercial gas water heaters that rely on outdated technologies. A state coalition, led by Attorney General James, submitted three sets of comments in 2019 and 2020 opposing the proposed DOE loophole for appliances with older, less efficient technologies and designs. The coalition is also challenging a rule that withdraws — based on the newly-created loophole — proposed furnace and water heater energy-efficiency standards issued by the Obama administration. Both rules had immediate effective dates. The DOE’s efficiency standards have been highly effective in reducing consumer and industrial energy consumption and costs, as well as environmental impacts associated with operating common household and commercial equipment. The DOE’s long-standing energy efficiency program has resulted in substantial economic and environmental benefits, with more than $2 trillion in projected consumer savings and 2.6 billion tons of avoided climate change pollution emissions.

If the energy efficiency regulations are restored, the DOE projects up to $30 billion in consumer savings and $13 billion in cost savings related to the decreased carbon dioxide and other air pollution emissions over 30 years. The DOE also estimates that the standards abandoned by the Trump administration on commercial water heaters would save commercial consumers up to $6.8 billion and reduce climate change pollution emissions by 98 million metric tons over 30 years of sales.

VELÁZQUEZ REINTRO’S GREEN ROOFTOPS BILL: As spring draws near, more public schools could soon become hands-on, green workshops on the environment and sustainability through Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez’s (D-NY) bill. The legislation, titled the Public School Green Rooftop Program would allocate federal resources towards implementing green roofs at public elementary and secondary schools. These roofs offer a sustainable, energy-efficient way of bringing green space to urban areas and have myriad educational benefits for students and the community at large.

“Often, the best learning opportunities come from hands-on experience, and environmental education is no exception,” said Velázquez. “My bill would allow students to gain firsthand knowledge of sustainable practices and witness the impact green initiatives can have on their community. By giving children experience with environmental and agricultural concepts early on, we open the door for a new generation of mindful, ecologically conscientious adults.”

Through this program, the Department of Energy would implement a grant program for the installation and maintenance of green roofing systems. Green roofs are a sustainable, durable means of lessening a building’s carbon footprint, and function as an opportunity for teachers to introduce relevant environmental and agricultural concerns to students who may not have such an opportunity often in an urban community. The roofs, according to the EPA, provide a notable advantage to urban communities, where greenery is often hard to come by.

This bill follows a legacy of success in other states. According to estimates from the Missouri educational system, green roofs can save a single school up to $41,587 a year in electricity costs alone. These roofs will cut district energy and maintenance costs substantially. A regularly maintained green roof has a longevity of 40 years, as opposed to a standard roof’s 10 to 15 years. Additionally, the bill grants maintenance funding for up to four years after the installation of every roof.

These green roofs have already been installed in numerous NYC public schools to great success. One such example is PS 41’s Green Roof Environmental Literacy Laboratory, a program implemented by the Greenwich village school. This 9,000 square foot green roof serves as fertile ground for environmental education, and reduced the school’s greenhouse gas emissions by a full 32.7 percent.

These roofs may also prove beneficial to students as they return to school following the coronavirus pandemic. For over a year, children have learned from within the confines of their homes. As the city slowly recovers from the pandemic these green roofs confer the additional benefit of a safe outdoor learning space, and provide additional enrichment and mental health benefits for those stuck inside for prolonged periods of time.

‘MAKE ALL COMMUTING EXPENSES TAX DEDUCTIBLE’: Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway) announced she will soon be introducing a bill in the New York State Assembly that would make all commuting expenses tax deductible.

“Here in Rockaway, many of us travel out of the borough every day to earn a livelihood, essentially paying to go to work every day,” Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato said. “Commuting to and from work is a significant expense, and many New Yorkers travel across multiple counties and boroughs on their daily commute. It’s only right that these fees for working are tax deductible, from paying a bridge toll to a monthly MetroCard.”

Commuting expenses include, but are not limited to, costs associated with the purchase and maintenance of MetroCards, commuter railroad passes, monthly bus passes, and EZ-passes. The average commute in New York State is 33 minutes, meaning that most residents either drive or take public transportation to their place of work.

MALONEY, CONNOLLY, SARBANES REINTRO PLUM ACT: Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Gerry Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Senior Committee Member John Sarbanes introduced the Periodically Listing Updates to Management Act (The PLUM Act) to increase the transparency of the most senior leaders of the Executive Branch by modernizing the Plum Book. They issued this joint statement:

“The PLUM Act will provide the American people with timely and transparent information about senior government officials. This important effort will help improve public trust and confidence in our government at a fragile time for our democracy.”

Currently, a comprehensive list of positions appointed by the President is available only once every four years in a publication referred to as the Plum Book. The PLUM Act would modernize the Plum Book by requiring the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to establish and maintain a current, publicly available directory of senior government leaders online.

A bipartisan group of 24 civil society organizations and experts wrote a letter to Chairwoman Maloney and Ranking Member James Comer expressing their support for the PLUM Act. The bill also has been endorsed by the Partnership for Public Service.

Senator Tom Carper plans to introduce the companion bill in the Senate.

INTRO FEDERAL EMPLOYEE ACCESS TO INFO ACT: Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Senator Patrick Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, issued the following statement after introducing the Federal Employee Access to Information Act during Sunshine Week:

“This bill would protect federal employees from retaliation for exercising their right to request information from the government under the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act. Federal employees must be able to request and obtain government information in the same way as any member of the public. Federal employees do not lose this right just because they are working as public servants.”

The legislation would protect federal employees from retaliation for filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Privacy Act requests.

It would also prohibit a government employer from taking or failing to take, or threatening to take or fail to take, any personnel action against any employee or applicant for employment in retaliation for requesting information under FOIA or the Privacy Act, or for pursuing any administrative or judicial action related to such a request.

The Oversight Committee approved the bill with a voice vote in September 2020.

To read the Federal Employee Access to Information Act, visit oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/Federal%20Employee%20Access%20to%20Information%20Act_0.pdf.

NO-COST INTERNET ACCESS FOR 50,000 STUDENTS: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Reimagine New York Commission announced the launch of ConnectED NY, an emergency fund to provide approximately 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts with free internet access through June 2022. Funding will be provided by Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation and the program will be managed by Digital Promise, a non-profit which is dedicated to closing the digital learning gap.

“Internet access is an essential utility in the 21st century — a new reality that has only been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic — and we have a responsibility to ensure our students have the access they need to continue learning during this public health crisis,” Governor Cuomo said. “We cannot build back better if we do not foster proper development and a promising future for our children….”

The ConnectED NY fund will help close the connectivity gap by providing free mobile hotspots and monthly data plans to approximately 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts from May 2021 through June 2022. In unique circumstances where students cannot access reliable internet service through a mobile hotspot, fixed internet options will be made available.

The program will serve students in the most economically-disadvantaged school districts, defined as school districts where the percent of students that are economically disadvantaged exceeds the state average.

School districts will work with Digital Promise, AT&T, and other internet service providers as needed to identify eligible students who either do not have at-home internet access or do not have access to sufficient broadband speeds to participate in remote learning. Hotspots and data plans will be purchased directly by the ConnectED NY fund from AT&T, so there is no financial obligation for students and their families. In circumstances where fixed internet is required, the Program will work with districts and fixed internet service providers to ensure there is no cost to students and their families.

The Reimagine New York Commission, which was created by Governor Cuomo in May 2020 to leverage technology to build back a better New York, recommended the ConnectED NY fund as a step to help bridge this gap and promote equity. ConnectED NY builds on the State’s commitment to ensure all New Yorkers have access to affordable, high-quality internet, including its first-in-the nation $15/month broadband affordability legislative proposal.

ConnectED NY is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

An informational webinar will take place on Monday, March 22, from 2 to 3 p.m. School districts can find more information about applying at connectedny.digitalpromise.org or by contacting Digital Promise at [email protected]

SCHUMER: ‘KEEP JETBLUE HQ IN QUEENS’: Amid a report saying New York’s “hometown airline,” JetBlue, is weighing a move from its New York City (LIC) headquarters to another location outside the state, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer called JetBlue airline CEO Robin Hayes and strongly urged him to keep JetBlue’s headquarters in the city and the airline’s more than 7,000 jobs right here in New York State.

“JetBlue has always said it best: since their start up in 1998, to their first flight from JFK in 2000, their home, heart and soul have always remained in New York,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who worked with the airline to launch in its earliest days.

Schumer made the case to Hayes to keep the 1,300-person NYC headquarters jobs, and the roughly 7,000 JetBlue employees who report to New York locations every day right where they are. Schumer’s call to Hayes comes as the New York Post reported on details from a March 11th memo that laid out a consideration for the airline to leave New York for “more abundant office space.”

“The purpose of my call to Mr. Hayes was simply to remind him that JetBlue’s roots and its future are here in New York. With the critical pandemic relief dollars we just delivered on to help save airlines like JetBlue, and the thousands and thousands of New Yorkers they already employ, the airline should actually clear the runway to grow here, not recede. Bottom line, I am confident JetBlue will remain New York’s hometown airline for a long time to come,” Schumer added.

According to the Post, the March 11th memo from JetBlue said, “We are exploring a number of paths, including staying in Long Island City, moving to another space in New York City, and/or shifting a to-be-determined number of [headquarter] roles to existing support centers….” The memo added, “We now have more leasing options as greater vacancy rates have changed the economics; the role of the office and our space requirements will evolve in a hybrid work environment; and our own financial condition has been impacted by COVID-19.”

The just-passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Schumer helped lead through the Senate included critically-needed help for pandemic-hit airlines and their countless workers. The bill delivered $14 billion in direct aid to the airline industry for payroll extension programs that help prevent mass layoffs, providing some reprieve as the economy and that industry fully recovers from COVID.

‘SELF-REPORT ANY ADVERSE EFFECTS OF VAX’: With the COVID-19 vaccine becoming available to more and more New Yorkers, with increased eligibility standards and available appointments at local sites, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. advised those who get the vaccination to self-report any adverse effects they may have as a result of the pandemic shot.

New York City and State keep detailed records of reported COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccinated individuals, but there is no official city or state government process to report if an individual has an adverse effect from any of the three COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to the CDC, common side effects of the vaccine include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site;
  • Tiredness;
  • Headache;
  • Muscle pain;
  • Chills;
  • Fever; and
  • Nausea.

The CDC directs individuals who believe they have had an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine to self-report their case to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

According to the VAERS website, “VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning it relies on individuals to send in reports of their experiences. Anyone can submit a report to VAERS, including parents and patients.”

“Now that all three COVID-19 vaccines are available, and more and more New Yorkers are getting their shots each day, it is important to continue to track how they feel after receiving their vaccination,” Senator Addabbo said. “By reporting any adverse reactions we can keep a better track on how the vaccine affects different people. I encourage everyone who has been vaccinated — with either one shot or two — to self-report any side effects they are experiencing. Together we can beat this virus and limit the adverse reactions to the vaccine.”

Those who want to report an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine can visit vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html, or call 800-822-7967, or email [email protected] They are also encouraged to report any reactions to their primary doctor, who can then make the report to VAERS.

RALLY RESPONDS TO BOWNE PLAYGROUND HATE INCIDENT: NYC Council candidates Sandra Ung, Richard Lee and Linda Lee hosted a “Stand With Our Youth” rally in response to a Bowne Playground hate incident.

On Tuesday, a 13-year-old boy was attacked in Bowne Playground. His tormentors shoved him to the ground, took turns throwing a basketball at his head and said “Stupid f_ing Chinese. Go back to your country.” before running off.

In response to this and a string of hate crimes occurring both in the Flushing community and around the country, Council candidates Richard Lee (District 19), Sandra Ung (District 20), and Linda Lee (District 23) co-hosted the Stand with Our Youth rally at Bowne Playground on Union Street and Barclay Avenue. Together with nearly 100 members from the community, the three Council candidates called for unity and solidarity with the victims of hate crimes.

Richard Lee said, “This week we witnessed not only the tragedy in Atlanta, but right here in our community, a 13-year-old boy was attacked simply because he is Asian American. Right now, I’m feeling grief, anger, fear, and frustration, but most importantly, I’m heartbroken because our children are being subjected to the same attacks we were when we were young. We must stand together as a community to stop this hate and come together as one community.”

Sandra Ung said, “My heart goes out to the victim and his family, and to all those who have been the victims of hate crimes. Nobody, but least of all our children, should be subjected to abuse like this. Nobody should have to fear leaving their house, walking on the street or playing basketball in a local playground. Asian Americans have a rich history both in the United States and here in Flushing. When discussing these events with Richard and Linda, we decided that it was important to stand together as a community and declare that there is no place for hate here, that we and the entire AAPI community belong here.”

Linda Lee said, “The past week has been a horrifying ordeal for the AAPI community. On top of a year of historic violence and hate directed against our community, Asian women were killed in Atlanta simply because of their race and gender. We cannot accept racism in our country, and we cannot be afraid to come report harassment when we see it. I’m calling on all New Yorkers not to be bystanders but active participants in eliminating racism from our city.”

After the three candidates spoke, local youths Edison Chang and Annie Yi took to the podium. Edison denounced racism against Asians and discussed his own feelings of frustration when seeing the news.

Annie Yi, a student from Townsend Harris, began speaking by listing the names of the victims of the Georgia shootings and asked listeners to keep their names in their memory. Annie discussed the role of misogyny in the media’s portrayals of the Georgia shooting and noted that many media outlets ascribed the shooter’s motivations to “sexual addiction” without recognizing that misogyny and racism dehumanize Asian women.

When the speakers finished, Linda, Richard and Sandra joined with their fellow community members to use chalk and write messages alongside the playground wishing the victim well. Many messages also expressed solidarity with the AAPI community, and the local community’s hopes for a brighter future.

LGDCQ DENOUNCES ANTI-ASIAN VIOLENCE: The Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens released the following statement on the anti-Asian mass shooting in Atlanta and rise in hate violence in Queens:

“As our nation mourns the senseless loss of eight lives during a mass shooting in the Atlanta metropolitan area, LGDCQ sends our membership’s deep condolences to the families and friends impacted by this abominable act.

“Here in Queens, home of one of the world’s most diverse populations, we’ve witnessed the rise of hate crimes against the AAPI community; and it is as a community that we share our collective grief, pain, and fear. We stand resolute in our commitment to reject the racism, discrimination, and xenophobia our community is confronting and stand united in elevating and empowering the voices of our AAPI friends, family, and neighbors. In solidarity, LGDCQ stands together to stop AAPI hate.”

COUNCIL CANDIDATES CONDEMN HATE CRIMES AGAINST ASIAN AMERICANS:

Tiffany Cabán released the following statement: “The rise of violent attacks against our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander community has been horrifying, and the murders of eight women working at massage parlors last night is devastating. For too long anti-Asian hostility has spurred deliberate acts of hate. Oftentimes it is the most vulnerable workers, including massage parlor workers and members of the sex work community, who have been targets and bear the brunt of violence, by misogynists, white supremacists and the police.

“We must continue to condemn these hateful acts. Increased policing is not the solution. We must stand with, and invest resources into, our AAPI communities. We must fight for a more fair and equitable future. I stand in solidarity with our AAPI communities here in Queens, and send my love and support to those facing increased violence and discrimination across the country. The hate must stop.”

Debra Markell described her plan to form a Unity Council round table to focus on spike in Anti-Asian violence: “New York has been a point of entry for peoples of all backgrounds to reach safe haven and to live the American Dream. It is because of our diverse population that New York City can be the vibrant city that we know it to be. Following the shocking rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and last night’s grotesque shooting of Asian women in Atlanta, where eight people were brutally shot and killed, I am announcing formation of Council District 23 Unity Council if I am elected to bring together leaders from our diverse community to help combat hate and focus on making our city stronger in these tough times. I look forward to listening to my fellow community members so together we can foster a community built on compassion and understanding.

“The growing number of anti-Asian hate incidents is alarming and I will not stand for it. Research released through Stop AAPI Hate on Tuesday revealed that nearly 3,800 incidents were reported over the course of roughly a year during the pandemic. Even more concerning, a disproportionate number of these attacks were directed at women. This violence is completely unacceptable and I believe propagated by hateful rhetoric and xenophobia that has crept into our society. It is time to stop the anger and hatred towards each other. We must work towards collaboration, love, and respect for our neighbor’s cultures.”

QCA: ‘ASIAN LIVES MATTER’: “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” —Mahatma Ghandi.

Asian Lives Matter, A Message from Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, Queens Council on the Arts Executive Director: “We stand in solidarity with Asian people everywhere, in shock and sadness over the latest horrific acts of violence that have taken the lives of 8 members of our human family in Atlanta. For far too long, Asian Americans have been the model minority, a colonial bequest intended to dictate their worth, diminish their visibility, deny their dignity until hateful acts have thrust them into a white-hot spotlight backlit by a long and shameful history of racism rooted in white supremacy and xenophobia. We call upon our nation’s leaders to dismantle the embedded racism against Asian Americans. We call upon our artists to re-envision a better and more just world, to wield your creativity to take down injustice and to transcend it. We call upon all Americans to protect each other, to comfort those who have lost loved ones to hatred and to reassure those who live in fear of senseless violence. We will continue the work of eradicating inequality and elevating our common humanity. To our fellow Asian Americans, we send you care and compassion, today and always.”

QUEENS CENTRAL DEM CLUB ENDORSES BENJAMIN: The Queens Central Democratic Club (QCDC) announced their endorsement of Senator Brian Benjamin’s candidacy for New York City Comptroller. The club, which works to encourage voter turnout and political engagement in the community, has historically organized members for phone banking and GOTV efforts, most recently in support of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and for the highly-competitive Georgia Senate races in 2020.

After hosting a virtual forum with the various candidates, the club used a ranked choice voting system, resulting in Benjamin receiving 60% of the vote. The endorsement of this club shows the momentum that Benjamin’s campaign has gained in Queens, adding to the growing support he has received from across the city.

“The Queens Central Democratic Club (QCDC) is a Democratic political club that provides an inclusive opportunity for Central Queens community members to enter into the political fold,” said Prameet Kumar, President of QCDC. “Following a candidate forum and ranked choice endorsement vote, QCDC is proud to endorse State Senator Brian Benjamin in the primary for New York City Comptroller. QCDC members were impressed with Senator Benjamin’s previous investment management experience, as well as his focus on police accountability and a comprehensive audit of the New York City Police Department budget. We are excited to support his campaign for Comptroller.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of this influential Queens-based club,” said Senator Brian Benjamin. “I will use all the powers of the Office of the Comptroller to address the issues that matter most to the borough, ensuring that our city’s policing efforts are transformed and modernized until it is fully accountable and appropriately scaled to our communities.”

Brian Benjamin describes his platform as “charting a new course for New York’s financial future in these difficult times, one that protects New Yorkers’ retirements while upholding the values of decency and justice for all.”

Benjamin gained crucial insight into financial management by working as an investment advisor at Morgan Stanley before deciding to apply his skillset for the greater public good. Working at a minority-owned business to build affordable housing, Benjamin helped create over 1,000 affordable and environmentally sustainable units, all while helping young people develop work skills and secure good construction jobs through community youth programs.

As a member of the New York State Senate, Benjamin has been a leader on criminal justice reform, introducing legislation to close Rikers Island and divest the state pension fund from private prisons in his first year. Throughout his time in the Senate, he has worked to reform our criminal justice system to ensure that it is an effective, just, and equitable system for all New Yorkers.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Benjamin fought to pass the Rainy Day Fund law, which will ensure that New York City can meet its financial obligations when the next crisis hits. If elected Comptroller, Benjamin would work to ensure that New Yorkers’ retirements are protected, that agencies like NYCHA, DOE, MTA, and the NYPD face sufficient oversight, and that investments in the pension fund reflect New York City values.

Brian Benjamin was born in Harlem raised by Caribbean immigrants who came to this country seeking opportunity. He holds a degree in Public Policy from Brown and a Master’s in Business from Harvard. After earning his MBA, he returned to Harlem to start his career as an affordable-housing developer. In 2017 he was elected to serve as State Senator to New York’s 30th Senate District.

CABÁN RECEIVES ENDORSEMENT FROM CONSTANTINIDES: Tiffany Cabán, a 33-year-old organizer, activist, former public defender, queer Latina, and candidate for New York City Council District 22 just received the endorsement of the current Council Member for District 22, Costa Constantinides.

The pair were joined at a press conference by VOCAL-NY, Sunrise Movement NYC, and TreeAge, where Constantinides cited Cabán’s dedication to climate justice and bold solutions for Council District 22. Cabán also unveiled her Green New Deal for New York City & District 22 – the full plan can be viewed at www.cabanforqueens.us17.list-manage.com/track/click?u=cccf5e333a279b39944cd3a72&id=fd0d6d9d77&e=9c3153d12b.

“I’m proud to endorse Tiffany Cabán as my first choice on the ballot for District 22. She will fight to further the goals of a Green New Deal for New York City,” said Council Member Constantinides. “Her experience as a public defender inspired her to fight for systemic change that will ensure that equity and environmental justice are within the grasp of all New Yorkers. Tiffany will be a fierce advocate for all our communities in western Queens.”

“As a member of the New York City Council, Costa Constantinides has fought tirelessly to combat the dangers of the climate crisis and create good-paying jobs for District 22,” said Tiffany Cabán. “He has championed some of the most comprehensive environmental legislation in the nation, including the recently passed Renewable Rikers Act. During his time in the Council, and throughout his entire career, Costa has shown a true dedication to the District we both call home, and I am honored to receive his endorsement today as I unveil our plans for a Green New Deal for New York City and District 22.”

Constantinides’ support adds to Tiffany’s growing coalition of local elected officials, activists, labor groups, and progressive, grassroots community organizations. The full list of endorsements can be viewed here.

CONSTANTINIDES ENDORSES UNG FOR CITY COUNCIL: Councilman Costa Constantinides from District 22 endorsed Sandra Ung for City Council. A champion of environmental causes in the City Council, Councilman Constantinides cited Ung’s history of advocacy for immigrant communities, seniors and passionate advocacy for New York’s green spaces as reasons for the endorsement.

This endorsement shows a growing consolidation of support behind Ung in the race to replace term-limited Councilmember Koo. According to her campaign she has endorsements from “virtually every labor union and every elected official who has weighed in on the race so far, including those running for Council Speaker…Sandra Ung is now positioned as the only candidate able to build a coalition to pass critical legislation to put New York on the path towards a just recovery.”

Councilman Constantinides said, “In a time where the most vulnerable New Yorkers have faced hardship and intolerance, having someone like Sandra Ung be their champion on the City Council is critical. Her advocacy for immigrants, survivors of domestic violence, and seniors demonstrate that she can be counted on to fight for them every day. She also understands the threat we face from the climate crisis and will work to make our city greener and more resilient. I’m proud to endorse her for the 20th District.”

Sandra Ung said, “I am humbled by the Councilman’s endorsement of our campaign and look forward to working with him to advocate on issues related to the environment and combating climate change. My district has a large population of immigrant seniors who are especially vulnerable to climate events because they lack air conditioning or access to cooling centers; air pollution continues to affect my district more than other areas in New York City and large parts of my district are in projected flood zones. I will make it a priority of mine to continue the Councilman’s work in advancing legislation for a five borough resiliency plan that protects our communities from future climate events and puts us on the path towards good, green jobs for immigrant communities.”

Ung further added her “fervent desire” to protect New York’s green spaces, and to continue Councilman Koo’s legacy of bringing more funding to the parks of Flushing and Fresh Meadows. She announced her support for the Eastern Queens Greenway, which would provide funding to improve and maintain connections between the parks in Eastern Queens, including Cunningham Park, Kissena Park, Kissena Corridor Park and Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Ung promises to prioritize making this a community-focused project, and said she is seeking to increase accessibility for seniors and families by placing more seating along paths, repairing paths with potholes to improve walkability and bikeability and increasing garbage pickups in local parks.

Costa’s endorsement comes after Sandra already received the endorsements of Congresswoman Grace Meng, State Senator Toby Stavisky, State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. She also had an impressive campaign finance filing, with a higher funding balance than any campaign in her district.

CRUZ ENDORSES CABAN: Tiffany Cabán, candidate for New York City Council District 22 received the endorsement of Assembly Member Catalina Cruz (AD-39), who cited Cabán’s commitment to immigrant justice and working people, and her fight to transform the way we approach public health and public safety.

“Now more than ever our City Council requires progressive and community-driven solutions to meet the complex needs of our neighborhoods,” said Assembly Member Cruz. “No one defines this greater than Tiffany Cabán. She is a committed activist and advocate, and understands firsthand the issues facing her community. I am proud to endorse Tiffany Cabán for City Council, and welcome her principled and people-focused approach to government.”

“Assembly Member Catalina Cruz is a fierce fighter for immigrant justice, tenant protections, workers rights, and incredible ally to the LGBTQ community, and I am honored to receive her endorsement,” said Tiffany Cabán. “Catalina, the first DREAMer to be elected to the New York State Assembly, has worked tirelessly to advance progressive policies in Albany and I look forward to working with her to fight for our people here in Queens.”

Assembly Member Cruz’s support adds to Tiffany’s growing list of endorsements from elected officials, activists, labor groups, and progressive, grassroots organizations. The full list can be viewed at cabanforqueens.us.

—With contributions by Annette Hanze Alberts

This column was originated by John A. Toscano

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