Jeffries Scores Huge Prison Reform Bill Win
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-South Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Brooklyn) this week saw his sweeping prison reform bill overwhelmingly pass the House with bipartisan support.
The Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed, Safely Transitioning Every Person Act (FIRST STEP), H.R. 5682, that will propel formerly-incarcerated individuals toward success when they return home, while enacting targeted reforms that would improve public safety and reduce recidivism, easily passed the House 360-59.
The measure which Jeffries sponsored with Republican Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) authorizes $50 million per year for five years to develop new programs, including education, vocational training and mental health counseling. As a result, newly-released individuals will be positioned to successfully re-enter society.
“Passage of the FIRST STEP Act is a victory for all Americans who believe in justice and the power of redemption. This bill will transform lives by providing access to the mental health counseling, education, vocational services and substance abuse treatment needed to help incarcerated individuals get back on their feet and become productive members of society,” said Jeffries.
“The FIRST STEP Act is not the end. It’s not even the beginning of the end. It’s simply the end of the beginning on a journey undertaken to eradicate our mass incarceration epidemic in America. Rep. Collins should be commended for his tremendous leadership in this critical effort,” he added.
Addabbo Bill Encouraging Greater Recycling & Waste Reduction Passes Senate
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) this week saw the senate pass the legislation he co-sponsored (S.3052) to increase recycling opportunities in the city’s parks, historic sites, playgrounds and other recreational areas while reducing the amount of trash ultimately and unnecessarily buried in landfills.
“People come out to our parks, playgrounds and other attractions to get some fresh air, enjoy the great outdoors, and learn about our rich history in New York City,” said Addabbo, a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “Unfortunately, the trash that is sometimes left behind at these sites is unsightly, dangerous to wildlife, discourages attendance, and otherwise presents a serious – but preventable – problem in our recreational areas. Making it easier for people to recycle glass, metal, plastic, paper and other materials in these areas would help to effectively address the issue and provide benefits for all of us.”
Under the bill, the city would be required to install bins for the collection of recyclable materials in parks, playgrounds, historic sites and other recreational facilities, while urging visitors to carry out their trash and deposit it in the proper receptacles. The city’s Department of Sanitation would regularly collect the recycled materials and ensure their proper disposal, and signage would be posted to encourage visitors to deposit their trash in the appropriate containers. To help cover the costs of the program, the city would be able to apply for grants from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
“By some estimates, about 56 percent of New York City’s recyclables end up in landfills instead of recycling facilities,” said Addabbo. “We need to significantly step up our efforts to encourage active recycling, which is a boon to our environment, our economy, and every single one of us who enjoys the City’s beautiful green spaces and historic sites. An added benefit to this legislation is that taxpayers will save money on clean-up costs when recyclables are properly handled and ultimately reused.”
The measure now moves to the assembly for consideration.
Miller’s Bill Helping Family Members of Deceased Transportation Workers Passes City Council
City Council Member City I. Daneek Miller (D- Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Laurelton, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans) yesterday saw the city council pass his bill extending health insurance coverage for surviving family members of Department of Transportation (DOT) workers who have died in the line of duty.
Under the measure, Intro. 895, health insurance would extend for surviving family members of DOT Bridges electrician, George Staab, who was killed along the Hutchinson River Parkway on April 4. The administrative code already authorizes health insurance to be provided to family members of uniformed employees of the police, fire, correction and sanitation department who have died in the line of duty. This bill only applies to Mr. Staab’s family.
“On behalf of the residents of the 27th Council District, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the family of George Staab at the Department of Transportation’s Division of Bridges. His tragic death this past April was a loss not only to those who knew and loved him, but also our City, which is served daily by a civil workforce of nearly 400,000 dedicated women and men. I’m honored to have sponsored this bill in support of the Mayor’s effort to ensure that the health care needs of Mr. Staab’s family will be met for the foreseeable future, and sincerely hope they will be able to take a small measure of comfort from this symbol of our City’s gratitude,” said Miller.
Gillibrand Lauds Bipartisan Senate Deal Combating Sexual Harassment In Congress
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday lauded the Senate leadership after it reached a bipartisan deal to address the problem of sexual harassment and discrimination in Congress:
“Today’s announcement of a bipartisan deal in the Senate that would finally end a system designed to protect harassers in the halls of Congress is an important step forward. By passing this reform, we can finally make sure that when a member of Congress sexually harasses or discriminates against someone on their staff, the taxpayers are not left holding the bag, and it finally removes the barriers that were preventing many victims of harassment and discrimination from reporting what had happened to them, like the absurd “cooling off period” before a formal complaint could even be filed,” said Gillibrand.
“I am grateful to my colleagues, including the Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Murray, and Senator Blunt, for their leadership and their efforts to move this bill forward. But we must remain focused on finishing this fight by passing this bill in the Senate and the House, to hold members of Congress accountable once and for all and to make sure taxpayers are never again left footing the bill for a politician’s sexual harassment scandal.”