In Public Service – November 14, 2019

November 15, 2019 Paula Katinas
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Jeffries calls impeachment hearing ‘a solemn day’

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairperson of the House Democratic Caucus, spoke out on Wednesday, the day the House Intelligence Committee began impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.

“Today is a very serious day. It’s a solemn day. It’s a sober day. We didn’t come to Congress to impeach this president or any president. We came to Congress to get things done on behalf of everyday Americans,” Jeffries said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

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“We didn’t come to Congress to impeach this president or any president, but duty requires that we pursue this inquiry because no one is above the law. The House is a separate and coequal branch of government. We don’t work for Donald Trump,” said Jeffries, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, Canarsie, Mill Basin and Coney Island.

Myrie holds forum on maternal mortality

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie held a meeting at SUNY Downstate Hospital to discuss the crisis in maternal mortality with an eye toward addressing the issue.

The meeting was attended by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, clinicians, community based organizations, physicians, doulas, midwives and nurses. 

The rate of maternal mortality is on the rise in the U.S. and is highest among black women, who are 3.5 times as likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth as white women, according to Myrie. 

“There is no excuse for allowing women to die due to lack of care, lack of resources and preventable complications. I am proud that the legislature has taken action to address this crisis, but there is much more work to do,” said Myrie, a Democrat representing Crown Heights and parts of Park Slope and Sunset Park.

This year, the state budget included $8 million to provide better care for mothers. The budget also included $2 million for the Department of Health’s Maternal Infant Community Health program. 

Lentol to hold criminal justice reform hearing

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, chairperson of the powerful Codes Committee, will hold a hearing in Albany on Nov. 14 to look at criminal justice issues like the state’s Alternative to Incarceration program.

The Alternative to Incarceration program allows people to receive mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, education and employment services as an alternative to jail.

The hearing will also examine what pretrial services currently exist within New York State in the wake of a series of criminal justice reform measures passed by the state legislature this year, including new limits on cash bail.

Lentol, a Democrat representing North Brooklyn, said the hearing is being held to examine such programs and how the state can do a better job of supporting sentencing alternatives.

Committee passes Maloney’s Women’s History Museum bill

The Committee on House Administration unanimously passed a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney to build a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.

The bill will head to the floor for a vote by the full House.

“It is long past time that women’s contributions to our nation were recognized, and I’m so glad to see that this is an issue that has broad, bipartisan support,” said Maloney, a Democrat whose district includes parts of North Brooklyn.

 Her bill also has 293 co-sponsors.

“How can you empower women, if you don’t even recognize them? Too often, women’s accomplishments and impacts are like quicksand. They just disappear,” said Maloney, addressing the need for a museum.

Although there are museums around the country focusing on various aspects of women’s history, there is no single comprehensive museum dedicated to the contributions women have made in American society, according to Maloney.

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