New York, NY— Earlier this year, New York State Assembly Member Deborah Glick introduced legislation (A4327) to establish a demonstration program to enforce maximum speed limits by means of speed limit photo devices, or “speed cameras,” in New York City. It has been reported that New York State Senator Andrew Lanza will be introducing companion legislation in the Senate. Speed cameras have been credited with reducing speeding and crash rates in cities throughout the nation, including a 40% reduction in collisions in Paradise Valley, AZ. Police in Washington D.C. reported a 56% reduction in traffic fatalities after speed cameras were installed.
On March 15, 2013, I addressed the Manhattan Developmental Disabilities Council’s annual legislative breakfast (MDDC). Of particular concern to the organization is Governor Cuomo’s proposed 6% ($120 million) cut to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in the Fiscal Year 2013-14 New York State Budget. This would result in a massive $240 million reduction in funding for community-based supports and services to people with developmental disabilities because New York would lose $120 million in federal matching funds as well.
Recently, I heard from a number of constituents who were very disturbed to read in a Reuters article that the New York State Education Department (NYSED) plans to share confidential student information with the non-profit corporation inBloom Inc., with which the agency contracted to provide a K-12 student database. The article noted that for-profit tech companies and other commercial vendors could have access to this data, and that the company “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored.” I immediately reached out to New York State’s Education Commissioner to clarify these plans and to urge that our State not proceed with any initiatives that could compromise the privacy of our public school students and their families.
On March 6, 2013, Senator Hoylman expressed his opposition to S2040, which prohibits the throwing, tossing, expectorating or expelling of saliva or other bodily secretion or excretion at or on an employee of a correctional facility.
ALBANY—Today, the New York State Senate passed its one-house budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2013-2014. New York State Senator Brad Hoylman joined 15 of his colleagues in voting ‘nay’ on the resolution, which was written behind closed doors by the Republican and Independent Democratic Conferences and rushed onto the Senate floor. On behalf of the Democratic Conference, Senator Hoylman specifically addressed the budget resolution’s $240 million in devastating cuts to New York City public schools.
On March 10, I was honored to participate in a "Thank You Reception," hosted by the Westbeth Community of Artists, for all who came to the aid of the hard-hit Westbeth Artists' Housing after Hurricane Sandy. Last November, I joined local elected officials, community members, volunteer art restorers and others who arrived en masse to do whatever was needed to make life more comfortable for the hundreds of residents left without heat, water and electricity, and whose boilers, elevators, laundry room, sculpture studio and art storage space were badly damaged.
On March 8, I joined State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Jose M. Serrano, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, other local elected officials, and PS 87 Parent-Teacher Association co-president Ann Binstock at a press conference to express our outrage at the New York City Department of Education’s (DOE) woefully inadequate handling of a PCB leak discovered in a PS 87 light fixture last December 7 and not revealed to parents and the school’s administrators until March 4. It's distressing that nearly five years after dangerous levels of PCB contamination were first discovered in a half-dozen New York City public schools, the DOE continues to shirk transparency and accountability.
Albany, March 6, 2013—Today, the New York State Senate passed legislation (S2755) to legalize Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in New York State. Senator Brad Hoylman (D, WFP - Manhattan) joined 14 of his colleagues in voting against the bill. MMA, which is also known as cage fighting, ultimate fighting, or no-holds barred fighting, has been dubbed by U.S. Senator John McCain as “the human equivalent of cockfighting.” MMA, along with boxing, stands apart from every other sanctioned sport because its aim is to cause physical harm and injury to an opponent until they are unable to continue, the primary goal being to knock the opponent unconscious, which has been shown in numerous medical studies to result in acute brain damage.
I urge you to join my office and New York Voices Against Gun Violence in a massive rally against gun violence starting at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 at the Harlem State Office Building, 163 West 125th Street (just east of Seventh Avenue). As I reported earlier this year, I am proud to have voted for the NY SAFE Act of 2013, which enacts the toughest assault weapons ban in the nation. Its passage broke the gun lobby’s decades-long grip on the legislature and, not surprisingly, the gun lobby has come out swinging, organizing opposition and mounting challenges to the law. Too many families and communities have been devastated by gun violence.
CHELSEA — A state plan to shut down the city's only medium-security women's prison has come under fire from locals and elected officials, who say the West Chelsea facility provides important rehabilitation services to New York's inmates and their families.
Bayview Correctional Facility at 550 W. 20th St. is surrounded by posh art galleries, soaring condos, and the Chelsea Piers recreational complex. Some locals, on edge about encroaching gentrification in the neighborhood, also fear the historic building could become yet another high-priced residential high-rise.
Ending Albany’s “pay-to-play” culture through comprehensive campaign finance reform was a core theme of my candidacy. Two months into my tenure in the State Senate, the imperative to implement a system that includes public financing, matched contributions and lower contribution limits for candidates for state offices is clearer to me than ever. Please click here to see my op-ed on the topic, “Reform Albany’s Campaign Finance System,” which appeared in last week's The Villager newspaper.
I heard a lot about Albany’s “pay-to-play” culture before I took office as a state Senator last month. Still, it was a culture shock to see it in action. For example, there is a practice that allows lobbyists to call senators off the Senate floor during session for face-to-face meetings about bills. Talk about being at the beck and call of special interests.
On February 27, I joined Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and other members of the Senate Democratic Conference at a press conference calling for immediate action to raise the New York State minimum wage and index future increases to the rate of inflation.
On February 26, I joined “Build Up NYC,” an alliance of public officials, labor unions and advocates, at a rally advocating for safe and responsible development that provides good wages and benefits. Developers who receive public support – whether in the form of public funds, tax abatements or zoning changes – have an obligation to provide safe, good-paying jobs with affordable health insurance and retirement benefits for their employees. The rally, which took place in my district on 54th Street and Eighth Avenue, specifically targeted real estate developer Starwood Capital, which has used non-union labor at a nearby, problem-plagued development site as well as at its other development sites across the city.
On February 20, I joined Manhattan Community Board 3, Borough President Scott Stringer, New York City Councilmember Margaret Chin and other local elected officials in sending a letter to Mayor Bloomberg and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman John Rhea calling for greater transparency and community engagement in the City’s proposed infill development plan. As you may know, the City has proposed leasing NYCHA-owned land on eight public housing developments to private developers so that they may build private residential housing with modest affordable housing components.