Issues: Civil Rights

Redistricting Plan Gets Scornful Reception

The Queens Gazette reported on a redistricting hearing in Queens, where elected officials and community leaders were given the opportunity to voice their disapproval of the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal. Senator Gianaris spoke at the hearing and gave several examples of how the new district lines are being used to break apart minority communities in order to control district representation.

February 15, 2012
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Republican Restricting Plan Angers Queens Neighborhoods

Greek News posted an article about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and the harsh criticism it has received from minority groups for being partisan and for ignoring the needs of minority communities.

This time the Republicans have really done it! Their redistricting plan for redistricting has angered all ethnic groups living in New York City and suburbs and received tons of criticism as partisan and racist. On Tuesday more than 100 people gathered in a disproportionately small room at the Queens Borough Hall, for a town hall meeting to discuss LATFOR’s (Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment) proposed redistricting lines.

 

February 14, 2012
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Gianaris: Pairing lines with amendment is ‘surrender’

Capital Confidential wrote an editorial about a potential deal by Senate Republicans that would delay redistricting reform until the next census in 2022 in exchange for allowing the Republicans to carry out their current redistricting proposal and help them gain an extra state Senate seat. Senator Gianaris criticizes the deal for not providing a solution to the current redistricting problems.

In something of a preemptive strike, Sen. Mike Gianaris blasted the idea of redistricting reform based mostly on a constitutional amendment that, while improving on the set of draft maps released last week, would leave redistricting in the hands of legislators until 2022.

[...]

February 13, 2012
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New lines, same game

This New York Post editorial reports on the Senate Republicans' redistricting plans, calling them out for blatantly promoting the Republicans' agenda by giving them control over appointment of state Senate seats.

Every state goes through reapportionment following each federal Census, when changes in political district lines must be made to reflect population shifts.

It’s never a pretty process, but rarely does it get more ugly than in New York — suffering a decades-long decline in population and burdened, as it is, with a particularly odious political class.

Each time, legislative bosses draw lines that essentially protect their incumbent members as well as their respective majorities in each house.

February 13, 2012
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Albany Redistricting Plan Faulted as Unfair to Minorities

The New York Times wrote an editorial about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and some of the critics of the proposal who say the maps are overly partisan and that they undermine the needs of minority communities.

A proposed redrawing of New York State’s political districts came under intense criticism on Monday, as civil rights leaders said the maps did not fairly represent blacks and Hispanics in an increasingly diverse state, and Democrats said they would file a lawsuit asking a judge to intervene.

February 13, 2012
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Legislators Seek Independent Watchdog Over The NYPD

For Immediate Release: February 9, 2012 

(Albany, NY) Senator Kevin Parker and Assemblyman Karim Camara have introduced legislation that establishes an independent inspector general for the New York City Police Department. In recent years we have witnessed serious abuses by the NYPD, whether for racially and religious discriminatory policies such as stop and frisk, the wholesale surveillance of the Muslim community in New York City and other jurisdictions, and the mistreatment of the Occupy Wall St. protesters. In some of these situations the public was given misinformation and even deliberately misled.

February 10, 2012
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Senate Passes Resolution Proclaiming February 7, 2012 as Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The New York State Senate passed a Legislative Resolution proclaiming February 7, 2012 as  Black HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day in New York. Senator Velmanette Montgomery is a sponsor of the the Resolution that reads as follows:

February 8, 2012
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Proposition 8 Is Ruled Unconstitutional, Via the 'Narrow Route'

By Azi Paybarah

Capital New York

A federal panel voted 2-1 today to overturn a voter-approved referendum in California banning same-sex marriage in that state. The ruling was hailed by advocates and lots of New York officials.

Manhattan Borough President and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer said he was "elated" a court found "this ballot measure was an unconstitutional violations of Americans' right to marry whom they choose."

State Senator Liz Krueger said that the court found that the proposition "unconstitutionally singled out gay and lesbian Americans and denied them their civil rights."

February 7, 2012
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Elderly Passengers Upset About TSA’s Strip Search Denials

CBS posted a video with Senator Gianaris' comments on the TSA's response admitting some wrongdoing. 

Watch the video here.

January 20, 2012
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TSA regrets 'discomfort,' but says elderly fliers weren't strip-searched

CNN reports that although the TSA has altered their responses to the allegations that they wrongfully strip searched two elderly women travelling through John F. Kennedy Airport, they are standing by their statements that neither of the women were asked to remove any clothing. Senator Gianaris believes the TSA has failed in admitting to their misconduct and in making sure their procedures are welcoming to the flying public.  

January 20, 2012
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TSA apology? Two elderly women were screened improperly

The Los Angeles Times investigates the matter involving two elderly women who claim to have been strip searched while travelling through Kennedy Airport and the subsequent denial by the TSA that such strip searching actually occured. Senator Gianaris says that the letter he received from the TSA acknowledges standard procedures were violated but that it didn't go far enough in admitting the strip searches were done and in apologizing to the victims.

The Transportation Security Administration has offered a mea culpa, of sorts, for the screening of two elderly women who said they were partially strip-searched at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in November.

January 20, 2012
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TSA admits wrongdoing in cases of two elderly woman who claim they were strip-searched

The New York Daily News reports that the Deptartment of Homeland Security admitted that TSA screeners violated standard practice in the cases of two elderly women who alleged they were victims of humiliating strip searches at Kennedy Airport.

In an about-face, the feds have admitted wrongdoing in the cases of two elderly women who say they were strip-searched at Kennedy Airport by overzealous screeners.

Federal officials had initially insisted that all “screening procedures were followed” after Ruth Sherman, 89, and Lenore Zimmerman, 85, went public with separate accounts of humiliating strip searches.

[...]

Gianaris, who wrote to the TSA requesting a full investigation, said the feds’ account is still full of holes.

January 20, 2012
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Senator Perkins' resolution mourning the death of civil rights pioneer and federal judge Robert L. Carter.

On January 18, 2012 the NYS Senate unanimously adopted resolution No. 3025, sponsored by Senators Perkins, Hassell-Thompson, and  Duane, which mourns the death of acclaimed civil rights pioneer and federal judge Robert L. Carter.

January 19, 2012
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STATEMENT FROM SENATOR MICHAEL GIANARIS ON LEGACY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

"Today, we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and are reminded of the power of perseverance and the importance of helping others. As a representative of one of the most diverse communities in the world, I am humbled by the ability of different peoples to live side-by-side and create a respectful, loving environment in which our children can grow up understanding the inherent nature of dignity for all. None of this would be possible without the sacrifices made by Martin Luther King, Jr. We are forever indebted to him."

January 16, 2012
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Schumer, Gianaris Calling For TSA Passenger Advocates

The Queens Gazette wrote an article about the announcement made by Senator Gianaris and Senator Schumer, which called on the TSA to designate on-duty passenger advocates at airports in order to resolve disputes between passengers and agents over screening issues. 

“While the safety and security of our flights must be a top priority, we need to make sure that flying does not become a fear-inducing, degrading, and potentially humiliating experience,” Schumer said. “Right now, passengers who feel that their rights are about to be violated have nowhere to turn, but by training passenger advocates at each of our airports, the TSA can finally give passengers a voice.”

January 13, 2012
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Senator Parker Hosts 8th Annual "A Shared Dream" A Free Tribute in Word & Song to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In conjuction with A Shared Dream Foundation and New Hope Christian Fellowship

Featuring Gospel Recording Artist Byron Cage

When:  January 16th, 2012

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Where: Brooklyn College, Walt Whitman Theater

Free and open the community, doors open at 5:30 p.m.

January 16, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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Senator Parker Welcomes Tenth Circuit Decision on Oklahoma Measure Targeting Shariah Law

I commend the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s decision today in Awad v. Ziriax to affirm the preliminary injunction against the Oklahoma “Save our State” Constitutional Amendment banning courts from applying Islamic and international law. Today there is a movement that seeks to ostracize and discriminate fellow Americans on the basis of their religion, Islam. As we mark Rev. Martin Luther King birthday next week, we must continue his mission of seeking equality for all, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed.

January 10, 2012
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OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL UNVEILS YEAR-END REVIEW

Review Cites Progress For New York On Taxpayer Protection, Public Safety, Economic Justice, Public Integrity, Civil Rights & Environmental Protection

The Office of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued an end-of-the-year review detailing many of its accomplishments in areas including public safety, economic justice, taxpayer protection, public integrity, civil rights and environmental protection.

December 29, 2011
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lgbtSr Interview: New York State Senator Liz Krueger

By Mark McNease

I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with New York State Senator Liz Krueger. Senator Krueger has been in the New York Senate since being elected in a Special Election in 2002. She is currently the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee and is a member of five other committees.

December 15, 2011
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