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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Tuesday, January 4, 2022

January 4, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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REGULATING PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS: After reporting on Friday the veto of a portion of the Pharmacy Rescue Package, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced on Monday that she has signed Legislation S.3762/A.1396 which provides for licensure and registration of pharmacy benefit managers. The bill also sets forth duties and obligations that PBMs must follow when performing services and allows the department of financial services to enforce the law and receive complaints from consumers, pharmacies, and healthcare providers.

The legislation, which bears different State and Assembly index numbers than last week’s bills, also allows the department of financial services to receive complaints when a PBM violates the law and will ensure PBMs abide by standards established by law and regulation.


News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

ROREM ART SONG CONCERT MOVED TO MAY:  Brooklyn Art Song Society (BASS) has postponed to this spring the concert originally scheduled for Friday, Jan. 7.  Titled Beginnings, Middles, and Ends IV: Evidence of Things Not Seen, the program, now rescheduled for Monday, May 23, in the sanctuary of First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn, features Ned Rorem’s magnum opus exploring the entire breadth of life in this evening- length song cycle. Nick DiBerardino of Curtis Institute will give a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. that evening.

Those who were waitlisted have now been given a reserved spot, thanks to the increased capacity that the landmark church sanctuary, at Pierrepont St. and Monroe Place offers.


St. James Cathedral-Basilica on Jay Street marks its bicentennial in 2022-23.
Eagle File Photo by Josh Ross

CATHEDRAL BEGINS BICENTENNIAL YEAR: St. James Cathedral-Basilica. which was originally the first Roman Catholic church on Long Island, has begun its bicentennial year. The Most Reverend Robert Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn, celebrated a special Mass on New Year’s Day to mark the opening of the 200th Anniversary Year. St. James was founded in 1822 upon a request for a Catholic church to be constructed in Brooklyn, with 70 people contributing money and labor to build the Church.

The Roman Catholic Diocese was founded three decades later, in 1853; and St. James was designated as the Cathedral for the Diocese.  Pope St. John Paul II made a surprise visit to the cathedral during his 1979 U.S. Visit. In 1982, on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the parish, Saint James Cathedral was elevated to a Minor Papal Basilica.

Bishop Robert Brennan, with worshipers at St. James Cathedral-Basilica
Photo courtesy of Rev. Deacon Ron Rizzutto/St. James Cathedral-Basilica


IMPLEMENTING NEW YORK HOMEOWNER ASSISTANCE FUND: Applications are now being accepted for the New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund (NYS HAF), a program that will provide up to $539 million in aid or other direct assistance to help eligible homeowners who are at risk of default, foreclosure, or displacement due to financial hardship caused by the pandemic. Both Gov. Kathy Hochul and Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D-45th District in Brooklyn) and chair of the Assembly Housing Committee made the announcement on Monday, pointing out that NY was the first state to have its homeowner assistance plan approved by the federal government.

HCR is also working in partnership with the Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Mortgage Enforcement Unit to advocate with mortgage lenders and mortgage servicers to ensure homeowners are receiving all available relief under federal and state rules. This may include extended mortgage terms, deferment of missed payments or forbearance amounts, and lower interest rates to reduce monthly payments.


CB6 COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ZONING CHANGES: Community Board 6’s Landmarks/Land Use Committee will consider an application being made to the Board of Standards & Appeals in which variances to zoning are being sought to construct residential-use buildings. Google Maps shows that the three addresses of 375 Columbia St., 13 Luquer St. and 12 Cole St., being considered for the variation comprise a city block that is also bounded on the east by Hamilton Ave.

If approved, the M1-1 zoning, which is for light manufacturing, would be changed so that three buildings, all having four stories and ranging from 4,290 to 6,157 square feet.


MORE PARENT/CHILD TIME: One positive consequence of the pandemic is that parents shared more time with their children, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Many families spent extra time together in spring and summer 2020, when lockdowns were in place in many parts of the United States, with parents sharing more dinners and reading to their children more often, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

Most interviews for the 2020 SIPP were conducted during March-June 2020. The data show that parental interactions with children changed from prior years, they also took them on fewer outings.


IPS NEWS: PROPOSED TERM LIMITS —Gov. Kathy Hochul today announced a plan to institute term limits, including for her own position, as part of her pledge to restore trust in government. She will make term limits for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller as the first proposal of the 2022 State of the State address, introducing a constitutional amendment to set limits of two consecutive terms for statewide elected officials.

Governor Hochul will also propose legislation to impose a ban on earned outside income for the same statewide elected officials, with an exception for academic positions that must receive ethics board approval.


IPS NEWS: REGULATING MIDWIFERY CENTERS — A new law receiving Gov. Hochul’s signature this week will ensure that regulations governing the licensing, establishment and operation of midwifery birth centers are consistent with the Midwifery Practice Act or the standards of national accrediting bodies specializing in midwifery birth centers. Legislation S.1414A/A.259 which Legislation S.1414A/A.259 will provide a streamlined process for an operating certificate as an Article 28 facility for a midwifery birth center which is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization.

Article 28 is the part of state law that makes sure that public health care facilities are legitimate and properly-operated. Before a medical facility is built it has to pass the proper surveys and other regulations to make sure it meets all requirements.


IPS NEWS: ELIMINATE DEDUCTION CAP ON SALT   — New York’s governor and attorney General have joined three other states in filing for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court so they can continue their lawsuit against the federal government for its unlawful and unprecedented cap on the deduction for state and local taxes, known as SALT. Joining Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James are their counterparts in Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland, who are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to remove the cap on state and local tax deductions. The cause: the 2017 Tax Act, which reversed over a century of precedent in the federal tax code — drastically curtailing the state and local tax deduction by capping it at $10,000.

By effectively raising state property taxes, the coalition argues that the SALT cap will also reduce the value of a homeowner’s property, thereby discouraging home sales and decreasing the revenues the states are able to collect by taxing such sales.


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