Whats News Breaking: Wednesday, August 11, 2021
NEW OFFICE DEDICATED TO CHILD SAFETY: The accidental ingestion of cannabis edibles — the latest child safety problem to arise —will be handled at a new office created within the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). The Office of Child Safety and Injury Prevention is dedicated entirely to education, information and outreach to prevent accidents and injuries among children, ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell announced this week. The Office of Child Safety and Injury Prevention will also support ongoing child safety campaigns, including those related to unsafe sleep practices, hot car tragedies, window guards, unsafe storage of prescription medications.
“A centralized office dedicated to preventing future accidents is crucial,” said Commissioner Hansell.
‘HELP IS HERE” TOWN HALL: Senior citizens in Brooklyn will have the opportunity to learn more about how the American Rescue Act will benefit them, when Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries holds a “Help Is Here” Town Hall at Restoration Plaza (1368 Fulton St.) on Thursday, August 12 at 5 p.m. Rep. Jeffries (D-8th District), who is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and who sits on the House Judiciary and Budget Committees, will discuss the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) Program, the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) Program, property tax and rent relief, among other matters.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event will be following city, state and federal health guidance and regulations and maintaining a social distance.
COURTS PLAN TO REDUCE BACKLOG OF GUN CASES: Responding to the spike in shootings and gun arrests in New York City, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks have launched a multi-pronged initiative, starting next week, to expedite the handling of felony gun cases in criminal courts throughout the five boroughs. The new program — a collaboration of the court system, each borough’s district attorney’s office and other stakeholders, including the Citizens Crime Commission — will target all new and pending cases in both Criminal Court and Supreme Court in New York City in which the top charge is criminal possession of a weapon.
This initiative will focus both on reducing this backlog of more than 4,000 felony gun possession cases pending in the New York City courts (a result of the pandemic) and ensuring that swift action is taken on all new arrests for top-count felony gun possession cases.
CONGRESSIONAL CYBERSECURITY ACT PASSES: The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, through the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure package, was passed on Tuesday in Washington. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), a sponsor of the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, released a statement commending the passage of the legislation and calling for the inclusion of human infrastructure provisions within the reconciliation process. “This investment in enhancing the cybersecurity of our state and local governments is essential to defending our country from ransomware and other cyber attacks,” said Clarke.
But Rep. Clarke also cautioned, “Despite today’s remarkable step, let me be clear. My focus remains on the reconciliation process, where my colleagues and I are committed to fully addressing the human infrastructure needs of modern American communities.”
NEW AMBULANCE: This afternoon, Maimonides Medical Center will unveil a new ambulance that the American Buddhist Confederation (ABC) helped make possible. Earlier this year, the ABC donated $120,000 to Maimonides Medical Center to purchase the ambulance and to fund additional COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs in Chinese communities throughout Brooklyn.
Dignitaries expected to attend include representatives of Maimonides, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, frontline healthcare workers and leaders from the American Buddhist Confederation and other Chinese-American groups.
CONDEMNING NYPD SECRET SURVEILLANCE: A purchase that the NYPD made of more than $159 million in secret surveillance equipment is being condemned. The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), a New York-based privacy group, and the Legal Aid Society on Tuesday denounced the purchase that had previously been hidden from the public. The documents, which date back up to 10 years, show millions in purchases of facial recognition software, cellphone tracking tools, and predictive policing technology.
The contracts were previously hidden under the Special Expenses program, a controversial secrecy agreement that was terminated last year in response to passage of the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act.
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