What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, June 1, 2023
BILL AIMS TO EXPAND SNAP BENEFITS TO INCLUDE HOT FOODS
STATEWIDE — SNAP recipients would be able to use their benefits for hot foods like rotisserie chickens, if a bill that Rep. Dan Goldman is sponsoring gets passed.
Reps. Dan Goldman (D-10) and Grace Meng (D-Queens) on Thursday, June 1 introduced the Hot Foods Act, to expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) so that it allows participants to purchase hot foods such as prepared rotisserie chickens, hot sandwiches, and soups. In the current law, SNAP limits eligible purchases to foods for take-home preparation and consumption or cold prepared foods.
“Hot food options give families more immediate control over providing the most nutritious meal possible,” said Rep. Goldman. “Having greater flexibility in SNAP benefits also allows individuals with disabilities and the elderly the option to buy food that is already prepared, removing a significant burden on these vulnerable populations.”
Interestingly, there are exceptions to the current hot meal benefit exclusion: The USDA frequently grants emergency waivers to these restrictions during natural disasters. The Hot Food Act would permanently expand food choices and access for the more than 42 million SNAP participants, including children, the elderly, or those with disabilities, who comprise 70% of SNAP participants.
SEN. GOUNARDES LEADS PUSH TO PASS
‘NEW YORK FOR ALL’ ACT
ALBANY — Immigrant rights advocates & elected officials rallied on Thursday, June 1 in Albany to keep New York families together, and to pass the New York For All Act. The legislation prohibits local law enforcement and state agencies from colluding with federal immigration authorities and to prevent New Yorkers’ tax dollars from being used for cruel federal immigration enforcement. The bill also seeks to ensure that immigrants living their daily work and personal lives are not ripped from their families due to a patchwork of local policies that often differ on infractions of the law.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-26/western Brooklyn) is the primary sponsor of The New York for All Act, which has 32 co-sponsors in the State Senate and 57 co-sponsors in the Assembly.
“We have let state and city authorities collude with ICE and CBP for far too long,” said Sen. Gounardes. “We’ve seen the harm it causes: parents too afraid to go to parent-teacher conferences; workers too afraid to file necessary labor violations; families being split apart. We know it doesn’t work – and that we need New York For All now more than ever.”
BROOKLYN DIOCESE WILL ORDAIN FOUR PRIESTS
WITH WIDE RANGE OF VOCATIONS
MILL BASIN AND PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Four men who were born in different parts of the world but discerned a path to Brooklyn will be ordained on Saturday, June 3, at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights. The Most Reverend Robert Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn, will ordain them as priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn during a Mass of Ordination.
The ordinands, who bring to their ministries backgrounds in sign language interpretation, mechanical engineering, culinary arts and entrepreneurship, are Samuel Mwiwawi a native of Kenya who is currently serving his transitional diaconate year at St. Bernard parish in Mill Basin; Rev. Mr. Nnamdi Eusebius Eze, a native of Nigeria and mechanical engineer who has been serving at Our Lady of Grace parish in Queens; Ernesto Alonso, a chef with an associate’s degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts; and Thimote Cherelus born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and a business entrepreneur serving his diaconate year in Jackson Heights.
Fr. Samuel Mwiwawi, who is a hearing person fluent in American Sign Language, has used this skill to teach the Gospel to the hearing-impaired among his community. Upon his arrival to the United States, he joined the Dominican Missionaries for the Apostolates of the Deaf and Disabled, who in turn recommended him to Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens to help interpret sign language for those whom the agency serves.
The 11 a.m. ordination Mass will air live on NET-TV, the cable channel of the Diocese of Brooklyn (Spectrum channel 97; Optimum channel 30; and on FiOS Channel 548). The Mass will also be live-streamed at netny.tv/watch-now.
SPONSORS AGAIN PUSH FOR PASSAGE OF
BILL PROTECTING FREELANCERS
BROOKLYN AND ALBANY — New York’s lawmakers, the Freelancers Union and the National Writers Union, rallied in Albany with labor leaders and independent workers on Thursday, June 1, to push for passage of the Freelance Isn’t Free Bill, which was vetoed at the end of last term.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-22) is co-sponsoring this term’s Freelance Isn’t Free bill along with Assemblymember Bronson. The statewide legislation, reintroduced this session, would require mandatory contracts, timely payment and protections from retaliation, and establishes penalties for violations of these rights to hold bad actors accountable, including statutory damages, double damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees and costs if a freelancer’s case goes to small claims court and wins.
Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “Whether they’re graphic designers or construction workers, freelancers need labor protections — it’s as simple as that. The number of freelancers across New York is only growing year by year, and so is the need to make our Freelance Isn’t Free bill law.”
New York in 2016 became the first state to create a Freelance Isn’t Free Bill, which was built upon a NYC law that then-Councilmember Brad Lander (now City Comptroller), representing the 39th District in Brooklyn, had introduced. The most recent version of this bill passed both houses of the New York State legislature in 2022, only to have Governor Kathy Hochul veto it. Other states, including Illinois, whose governor is about to sign its own version into law, have surged ahead in protecting its freelancers and contractor-status workers.
ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON CONTINUES FIGHT AGAINST
PROPOSED KINGS HIGHWAY SHELTER
GRAVESEND — Assemblymember William Colton (D-47), in his ongoing fight against the proposed homeless shelter at 137 Kings Highway, is convening a press conference on Sunday afternoon in front of the site in Gravesend, one of the neighborhoods he represents.
Joining Assemblymember Colton will be community leaders and organizations to demand that the city administration “stop wasting money on developers through a web of third parties, LLCs, and companies that ultimately pass the cost on to taxpayers, and demand also that, instead of temporary housing, NYC build meaningful permanent affordable housing.
Colton, who has fought this shelter since 2021 according to his office’s quarterly newsletters, emphasized that he does not oppose homeless persons, only the process of assigning real estate bids, particularly the lack of transparency provided to the public.
STUDY ON HORMONAL IMBALANCES COULD OPEN UP
NEW MEDICAL TREATMENTS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Another NYU Tandon School of Engineering professor has done a study on hormonal balances and their relation to appetite satiety and obesity. Dr. Rose T. Faghih, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at NYU Tandon, and her research team of scientists from the University of Houston, the Louis Bolk Institute, and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences studied the neuroendocrine hormones, leptin and cortisol (a stress hormone), which act in concert to maintain the body’s homeostasis, a stable equilibrium between interdependent physiological functions. The researchers discovered that increases in cortisol are inversely related, with reduced leptin levels resulting in a decreased level of knowing when one is satiated, which in turn leads to obesity.
The team’s findings could prove crucial to formulating the next generation of agile closed-loop medical systems related to obesity that would identify deviations from homeostasis and recommend necessary medical intervention options.
While the findings went on Centers for Disease Control obesity statistics for 2017-2018, the CDC’s own website showed that for 2021, the most recent year available, national rates were at 33%, whereas New York is slightly below that average, at 29%.
NYU TANDON TEAM DEVELOPS ELECTRIC PILL
TO REGULATE APPETITE
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — An electric pill named FLASH may be able to regulate one’s appetite without drugs or surgery, in a breakthrough study that Khalil Ramadi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at NYU Tandon, has led.
Dr. Ramadi, who is also Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Neuroengineering and Translational Medicine at NYU Abu Dhabi, focuses his research on “developing non-invasive technologies for neuromodulation, towards more effective therapies for neurological, endocrine, and immune disorders,” according to his biography. Dr. Ramadi and his team of researchers at both NYU and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed FLASH, which once swallowed, delivers electrical impulses to the stomach lining, in a targeted stimulation that triggers the brain to modulate gut hormones related to hunger.
FLASH is considered a promising breakthrough in treating medical conditions — including eating disorders, where the regulation of a patient’s appetite and food intake is essential. The pill stimulates nerves along the brain-gut axis, the complex physiological web of connections between mind and stomach, and modulates the hormones that determine when one is satiated.
The team’s study, published in Science Robotics, points out that FLASH could also be used to stimulate abnormally low appetites.
“FLASH is the first ingestible electronic device shown to engage with the gut to modulate hormones that regulate brain activity on the gut-brain axis,” Ramadi said. “By using the nervous system to alter the release of certain gut hormones, FLASH can potentially treat a host of disorders related to metabolism and eating without pharmaceuticals or surgery. This is a big step forward in how we approach these diseases.”
HERO MTA WORKER AWARDED FOR SAVING MAN FROM TRACKS
SUNSET PARK — MTA Senior VP of Subways Demetrius Crichlow on Wednesday presented hero cleaner Angel Oquendo with a Certificate of Commendation for rescuing a customer in distress at the 25th Street R station. On Tuesday, May 30, Oquendo was cleaning glass along the southbound platform just before 8:30 a.m. when he heard a loud noise, turned around, and saw a man fallen on the tracks. He immediately ran over and reached down to pull the man up onto the platform, seconds before a train pulled into the station. Oquendo then asked a nearby individual to push an alert button to notify the station booth agent and the NYPD. The victim had fallen after being punched hard enough to knock him onto the tracks. The perpetrator boarded a southbound train to flee; a suspect, identified as Charles Williams, 27, was later arrested by police at the 36th Street R station. Williams, reported to be an emotionally disturbed homeless man, was transported to a local hospital for psychiatric evaluation, and has now been charged with reckless endangerment and assault, according to CBS News.
This is not the first time Oquendo has been recognized for his heroism at the MTA. The 16-year NYC Transit veteran was honored last year by Governor Hochul and MTA head Janno Lieber for assisting customers to safety during the terrifying April 2022 subway shooting in Sunset Park that left ten people wounded. Oquendo was on the scene at the 36th Street and 25th Street stations as the shooting unfolded; he alerted booth agents and was among the first MTA employees to respond to the incident.
“I thought this would be a normal day, but I saw someone who needed help so I did it,” Oquendo said. “I would do it again if I had to.”
ATTORNEYS SENTENCED FOR IMMIGRATION FRAUD SCHEME
BRIGHTON BEACH — A husband-and-wife team of immigration lawyers, Ilona Dzhamgarova, 46, and Arthur Arcadian, 44, were sentenced on Wednesday in federal court for their roles in an immigration fraud scheme, Dzhamgarova getting two years in prison and Arcadian getting six months. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office of the Southern District of New York, Dzhamgarova between November 2018 and December 2021 ran a Brighton Beach immigration services firm, catering to clients from Russia and other ex-Soviet countries seeking legal status in the U.S. The firm advised clients on qualifying for asylum, even if those clients were not legitimately eligible; the attorneys were prepared to break the law to deliver results, training clients on how to lie to interviewers and knowingly submitting faked applications. Affidavits generated by the firm’s writers — statements that are supposed to contain an applicant’s personal history and the basis for their asylum claims — were filled with falsehoods, including events and incidents of alleged persecution that were wholly fabricated.
Dzhamgarova personally advised her clients to claim persecution based on membership in the LGBTQ community, knowing that they were not members of that community and suffered no such persecution. Additionally, she and Arcadian prepared and submitted fraudulent asylum documents to immigration officials, fully understanding that these documents at times contained material falsehoods; and coached certain clients on how to lie in asylum interviews, representing these clients as they lied under oath.
The pair had previously pleaded guilty on Jan. 25 to immigration fraud conspiracy. Dzhamgarova was sentenced to two years of supervised release, ordered to forfeit $540,000, and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine, and Arcadian was sentenced to two years of supervised release, ordered to forfeit $1,500, and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. A co-defendant, Igor Reznik, 41, a writer employed by the firm who assisted in the coaching and document fabrication, also previously pleaded guilty to immigration fraud conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7.
GOLDMAN RELEASES STATEMENT ON BUDGET ACT
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman on Wednesday issued a statement criticizing the agreement reached by Democratic leadership with Congressional Republicans in ongoing negotiations over the debt limit. Termed the Bipartisan Budget Act, the agreement passed the House on Wednesday, reports the New York Times, and contains several cuts to spending that progressives have condemned — most notably the expansion of work requirements for food stamps — while conservatives complained the slashes did not go deep enough. The president and his supporters have said that the compromises were necessary to avoid a default, which would have ruinous consequences for the country. The agreement will suspend the debt limit until 2025.
Along with colleagues on both the deep blue and deep red ends of the spectrum, Goldman voted against the bill, citing concerns about provisions that would weaken efforts against climate change, put spending caps on programs for families and vulnerable groups such as NYCHA residents and 9/11 first responders, and “favor wealthy tax cheats.”
He also harshly condemned the GOP, while offering measured praise to his own party: “I applaud President Biden and Democratic leadership for putting the American people over cynical politics… This hostage-taking by House Republicans sets a dangerous precedent for our country. House Republicans were willing to tank the American economy on the backs of the most vulnerable among us. President Biden and the Democratic Party are solely responsible for ensuring that we do not default on our debts, which would have led to much greater suffering than this bill will inflict. I urge the President to pursue alternative measures to address the debt ceiling in the future so that the American people are not subject to such an extortion again.”
The tactic of threatening to allow the U.S. to default on its debts in exchange for legislative concessions has been used by Republicans in Congress multiple times in recent years, most notably in 2011 and 2013; on both occasions, disaster was avoided and compromises were reached, but damage was done to the markets.
BROOKLYN ATTORNEY COMPETES ON EMMY- WINNING JEOPARDY!
BROOKLYN AND NATIONWIDE — Brooklynites get excited when one of their own gets a stint on top-rated quiz show JEOPARDY! Eva Thomas, an attorney from Brooklyn, gets her chance to become a JEOPARDY! champion on Thursday, June 1. Viewers in New York City can watch JEOPARDY! at 7 p.m. on WABC-TV, Channel 7.
A production of Sony Pictures Television JEOPARDY! is enjoying its 39th year in syndication and has won a total of 43 Emmy® Awards. Moreover the quiz show holds the Guinness World Records® title for the most Emmy® Awards won by a TV game show and has received a Peabody Award for “celebrating and rewarding knowledge.” From 1984 until his death in November 2020, Alex Trebek was the longtime and widely-respected host.
THREE BROOKLYN JEWISH LEADERS HONORED WITH CONGRESSIONAL COMMENDATIONS
BOROUGH PARK — Congressman Dan Goldman (D-10/western Brooklyn) on Tuesday, May 30, hosted an event at the Amico Senior Center in Borough Park to commemorate Jewish American Heritage Month. Congressman Goldman presented Commendations in the Congressional Record to Lt. Ira Jablonsky, Dolly Rabinowitz, and Yidel Perlstein for their service to New York’s Jewish Community.
Dolly Rabinowitz is a Holocaust survivor and educator in New York City. Lt. Ira Jablonksy is a Lieutenant on Special Assignment with the New York Police Department who has worked to catch several high-profile antisemitic vandals who threatened the safety and security of Jewish Brooklynites. Yidel Perlstein, as Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 12, has organized voter outreach and community forums and represented Borough Park’s interests to elected officials across the country. He also runs food drives for needy people across Borough Park.
Since taking office, Congressman Goldman, whose grandmother fled Russia in 1921, has prioritized fighting against bigotry and protecting Jewish communities from hate and violence.
A member of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, Rep. Goldman has also cosponsored the Holocaust Education and Antisemitism Lessons (HEAL) Act to counteract a decreasing knowledge of the Holocaust, and to improve and expand Holocaust education for future generations.
GOV. VISITS DUMBO, INVESTS $500M IN CHILD CARE WORKFORCE
DUMBO — New York State has made a $500 million investment in the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget to bolster New York’s child care workforce through the Workforce Retention Grant Program, Governor Kathy Hochul announced during a visit in Brooklyn to Vivvi, a child care provider with a location in DUMBO, on Wednesday, May 31. Funding from the program, for which applications open July 13, will support 150,000 child care workers and can be used to provide bonus payments ranging from $2,300 to $3,000 to staff in caregiving roles, as well as recruit new staff, offer sign-on and referral bonuses. The Governor also highlighted additional investments in the Budget to make child care more affordable and expand access for families across New York.
As part of a historic investment in families and child care, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget also includes a $4.8 million investment in a new Employer-Sponsored Child Care Pilot Program, whereby participating employers, the state, and employees will split the cost of child care. The pilot will operate in three separate regions throughout the state.
MAN SURVIVES PUSH TO SUNSET PARK SUBWAY TRACKS, SUSPECT CAUGHT
SUNSET PARK — Straphangers were left unnerved on Tuesday after a man was pushed onto the subway tracks at Sunset Park’s 25th Street R station that morning, reports amNY. A 25-year-old suspect allegedly confronted the 54-year-old victim on the station platform before punching him in the head and shoving him onto the train tracks, then fled the scene. The victim fortunately avoided coming into contact with the third rail, and an MTA employee was able to help him climb back out before he could be struck by an oncoming train; he was treated at the scene and did not suffer serious injuries, according to ABC News.
Police tracked the suspect to 36th Street, one station away, and were able to take him into custody. Sources told ABC that he is homeless, and appeared to be emotionally disturbed. He was brought to Lutheran Hospital for a psychological evaluation, and was set to be charged afterwards.
Subway riders at the station who spoke to ABC appeared unnerved; one woman said she tries to avoid straying from the center of the platform and feels uncomfortable on its narrower sections. This incident comes just days after subway rider Emine Ozsoy suffered serious injuries in Manhattan when a homeless man allegedly shoved her face-first against a moving train.
MISSING SENIOR IN SHEEPSHEAD BAY
SHEEPSHEAD BAY — Police are searching for missing senior Soi Bo, age 77, who was last seen on the morning of Monday, May 29 leaving his East 13th Street residence. Bo is described as an older man, 5’6″ tall and 135 pounds, with a bald head and brown eyes; it is not known what clothing he might be wearing.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter @NYPDTips.
POLICE IN SEARCH OF SUBWAY FACE SLASHER
CROWN HEIGHTS — Police are searching for a man who in the early hours of Sunday, May 28, approached a 46-year-old man on a 5 train near the President Street subway station and engaged him in a dispute, before slashing the victim in the face with an unknown object, then fleeing onto a southbound 5 train. The victim was brought to a local hospital in stable condition.
The suspect is described as male, with a dark complexion and a medium build, approximately 18 to 21 years old and around 5’6” tall. He was last seen wearing a black bubble vest with a white hooded sweatshirt underneath, tan pants and white sneakers.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.
NEW THIRD DEFENDANT CHARGED IN JAM MASTER JAY MURDER
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A third suspect was revealed in the long-unsolved 2002 murder case of Run DMC hip hop star Jason Mizell, known as Jam Master Jay, after a superseding indictment was filed on Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court charging Jay Bryant, 49, formerly of Queens. Bryant is currently being held on federal drug charges pending in an unrelated case and will be arraigned on the murder charge at a later date, according to EDNY Public Information Officer John Marzulli. The New York Times reports that the indictment says Bryant “was seen entering the building immediately before the shooting, and clothing with his DNA was found at the scene;” he also reportedly bragged of his involvement to others.
Proceedings against two other suspects in the murder case, Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, have been ongoing since 2020, after authorities announced that the Queens recording studio slaying of Mizell had been the result of a drug deal gone bad. Washington is alleged to have threatened a witness with a handgun, while Jordan is alleged to have pulled the trigger. The trial has been delayed several times over procedural issues and pandemic slowdowns, and was originally set to begin in February of this year; it has since been pushed back to January 2024. Prosecutors have attempted to move the trial up, pushing for an expedited process after the death of a witness raised concerns of witness intimidation, but have not been successful.
Papers filed by prosecutors in 2022 opposing bail for Jordan say that he once released a music video of himself performing a rap boasting of criminal involvement in front of a Jam Master Jay memorial mural. A lawyer for Bryant told the Times his client would plead not guilty, saying, “Securing an indictment in a secret grand jury, applying an extremely low burden of proof, is one thing. Proving it at trial is another matter.”
BOOKMOBILE WILL PREVIEW BLACK STUDIES CURRICULUM DEBUTING THIS FALL
CITYWIDE — Five thousand free books related to Black history will be distributed to students as part of the Education Equity Action Plan Coalition’s launch of its Black Studies: An Education for Me + You bookmobile. The bookmobile visits will also offer opportunities to increase awareness and excitement about the Black Studies curriculum slated to be introduced to NYC students this fall.
Guests visiting the bookmobile will be able to interact with a series of vignettes related to the Black experience and engage in interactive activities on an actual school bus. Visitors will receive books from the onsite Black Studies library pop-up to take home for their enjoyment. The free books, available for grades Pre-K-8, will include books from Scholastic’s Culturally Responsive Collection, aiming to foster identity, highlight the Black experience, and encourage kids to read and learn.
The Bookmobile, which will visit each borough between June 17-25, will be in Brooklyn on the closing day, Sunday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Tompkins Ave between Hancock and Halsey Streets in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The Education Equity Action Plan Coalition is responding to a study that the Coalition for Educational Justice did of 16 curricula and more than 1,000 books commonly used from Pre-K to 8th grade. Results showed that 83% were written by white authors — nearly five times more books than all authors of color combined.
ASKING CITY FOR $70M TO FUND ASYLUM SEEKERS’ LEGAL SERVICES
CITY HALL —Several Brooklyn lawmakers are set to rally in front of City Hall on Thursday morning, June 1 calling for at least $70 million in additional City funds to provide asylum seekers legal services. These efforts would include direct outreach, case management, pro-se legal clinics, and legal representation. City Comptroller Brad Lander, and Councilmember Shahana Hanif will lead the rally, which Borough President Antonio Reynoso is expected to attend. Joining them will be advocates from Make the Road NY, New York Immigration Coalition, WIN.
The rally call follows a letter that Lander and Hanif sent a letter to the Administration on May 9 calling for these additional dollars, stating “it is critical – not only for those seeking asylum, but also for the City’s long-term fiscal stability – to significantly ramp up outreach and legal immigration services to help asylum seekers navigate the paperwork that will enable them to live, work, and contribute to our city.”
The Comptroller’s Office estimates that over 99% of money spent has been allocated to emergency shelter-related services and less than 1% for other services, including legal assistance.
NEW GIFT CARD LAW, EFFECTIVE JUNE 20, REQUIRES PUBLIC AWARENESS SIGNS BE POSTED
STATEWIDE — A new law protects consumers from potential gift card scams, and NYS Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez is reminding businesses that they must post a public-awareness warning notice near gift-card displays. The law, which Governor Kathy Hochul signed last December, takes effect June 20 and stipulates that merchants selling gift cards must display the notice to caution consumers about gift card fraud, which can take the form of phony bar code labels and scams requiring payment by this method.
Requesting gift cards as payment has become increasingly popular with scammers as funds are nearly impossible to trace. According to the Federal Trade Commission reports that, in 2022, nearly 65,000 consumers filed a complaint related to gift card scams, equating to a total loss of $228.3 million.
BILL TO REQUIRE RECYCLING IN RECREATIONAL FACILITIES PASSES STATE ASSEMBLY
STATEWIDE — A bill amending the General Cities Law to require the establishment of recycling programs in all city parks, historic sites and recreational facilities has passed the New York State Assembly. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblymember William Colton (D-47), pointed out this requirement, which aims to reduce the costs of waste management, would apply to cities within the State of New York with a population of more than one million. If it becomes law, this recycling program would also require parkgoers to carry out the waste they generate. Moreover, the bill would allow these cities to apply for grants from the Environmental Protection Fund to support their recycling programs, explained Colton, who represents Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend.
The NYC Department of Sanitation’s Recycling Team collects more than two thousand tons of recyclables daily, according to its website. Assemblyman Colton’s bill would ensure that these recycling programs continue, regardless of changes in policy or management.
GOLDMAN INTRODUCES BILL FOR FEDERAL PAID SICK DAYS
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman on Tuesday joined Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington in introducing the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a federal paid sick days policy. The Act would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days per year, set a method for calculating accrued sick time, and permit employers to use existing paid sick leave policies that meet standards. Goldman claims that the act isn’t just beneficial to workers, but to the economy as well: studies show that mandating paid sick leave could save $1.1 billion a year by reducing the spread of illnesses and cutting emergency room use, as workers who remain home would not spread their illnesses to others.
Currently, the US does not mandate any paid sick leave; according to Goldman’s office, many workers are not guaranteed unpaid sick days either, and may feel forced to come to work while sick out of fear for their jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost one in four workers have no paid sick leave provided by their employers. This affects low wage workers the most, as workers in the lowest 10% of earners are half as likely to have paid sick time, while part-time workers are much less likely to have access to paid sick days than full-time workers. Only 14 states and Washington D.C. have implemented state-level paid leave protections, including New York, which in 2020 passed a state law guaranteeing up to 40 hours of paid sick leave for workers at all but the smallest businesses, and unpaid leave for all workers.
Another study cited by Goldman’s office in a press release showed that an emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 reduced COVID-19 by 15,000 cases per day. NYC residents have enjoyed a similar sick leave policy to the state’s since 2014, but would stand to gain additional days from Goldman’s bill.
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