New Yorkers are currently experiencing a near-record cold snap. Nightly temperatures have been in the low single-digits, and people are being encouraged to stay indoors to avoid the frigid conditions. In the 17th District, Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) is helping residents stay warm by offering assistance with heating costs, which may be higher this year because of the extreme winter.
“Sadly, so many New Yorkers have trouble paying the high heating costs during the winter months,” said Senator Felder. “Each year, there are tragic stories of home fires and deaths as a result of people using candles or stoves as a substitute for heat. These tragedies can be avoided thanks to programs like HeartShare, and I encourage anyone who needs help to call my office.”
Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) has taken the lead as the prime Senate sponsor of a bill which streamlines the process of special education placements and requires a more expeditious placement and tuition reimbursement process for private schools. The bill will be introduced this week in the Senate and is being sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn).
As his after 4 P.M. school bus program enters its second year, Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) took time last week at a workshop for non-public schools to reflect on the continued success of the transportation law he sponsored, and to discuss how the State’s education budget impacts the non-public school community.
Some 70 schools from across the five boroughs attended the meeting, which was held at Ateres Chaya Hall in Borough Park on Thursday, May 15. The group also heard remarks from Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn), who co-sponsored the legislation in the Assembly, and from Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn).
"During our many years in the City Council, Mayor Bill de Blasio and I worked together tirelessly to restore voucher funding every year. I am pleased that today's executive budget reflects a partial restoration and a commitment by the Mayor to this important program. I am confident that Council members David Greenfield and Stephen Levin under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will work together with the Mayor to ensure that families continue to receive uninterrupted child care vouchers."
Legislation introduced by Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) which amends the election law to accommodate Orthodox Jewish voters has passed the State Legislature. With the unanimous passage of this bill, the first day to sign a designating petition for state and local primary elections in 2014 is now Thursday, May 29. Bill number S7097/A9407 has been sent to Governor Cuomo for his signature.
"The New York Police Department has proven once more why it’s called New York’s Finest," said Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn). “When news of this anti-Semitic incident first broke at the conclusion of shabbos, the NYPD, in conjunction with the Boro Park Shomrim, went to work immediately to identify and catch the person responsible for these vile acts, and to restore a sense of peace and security in Boro Park.
“I hope that the alleged murderers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and are condemned to a life behind bars. I am confident that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office will mount a formidable case and bring justice to the Stark family. As always, my thoughts and prayers remain with the Stark family during this excruciatingly painful time.”
Doctors may not make house calls anymore, but Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) has reinstituted the concept with the launch of his Senator On Site or “SOS” initiative intended to tackle outdoor safety and quality-of-life issues in the 17th Senate District. Senator Felder initially introduced the program late last month in his newsletter. Since then, nearly 100 people have contacted his office for assistance with problems pertaining to potholes, street lights, tree stumps, or broken sidewalks outside their homes or in their neighborhood which require repair.
In response to numerous reports of abuse by so-called shaimos truck vendors who take money to bury religious books and articles but fail to do so, Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) will introduce legislation in the Senate imposing a civil penalty on shaimos truck operators who fail to properly bury the religious items. The bill will require those wishing to operate a shaimos truck to obtain a permit from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, and to provide advanced proof of access to a proper burial ground. Civil penalties range from a minimum of $1,000 up to $5,000.
In keeping with his commitment to increase funding and access to music and arts programs in New York City’s schools, Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) welcomed the Edward R. Murrow High School Concert Band during their performance this week in Albany. The Edward R. Murrow High School is located in Senator Felder’s district, and is ranked as one of the top high schools in New York City.
“I was disheartened to learn that this absurd plastic bag tax legislation requiring consumers to pay 10 cents for paper and plastic bags at retail and grocery stores has once again reared its ugly head in the City Council.
A group of approximately 200 students from the Bobover Yeshiva Bnei Zion had an opportunity to see their government in action yesterday during a tour of the State Capitol hosted by Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn).
A State Capitol tour guide accompanied the 8th and 9th grade boys and their chaperones through the Capitol’s museum, the Senate Chamber, the Executive Chamber (also known as the Red Room), the Hall of Governors, and the Flag Room, which displays over 1,000 different flags from various wars. The students also had a chance to pose for pictures with Senator Felder on the Million Dollar Staircase, which is made up of 444 steps.
In the wake of recently published reports that the de Blasio administration does not intend to restore millions of dollars for certain after-school programs, Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the New York State Children and Families Committee, is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to reinstate funding to the Priority 5, 6 and 7 voucher programs, noting that cuts initiated under the Bloomberg administration disproportionately impacted the Orthodox Jewish community. Joining Senator Felder in his efforts to restore funding is Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), who has taken a proactive stance in the City Council to reverse the earlier funding cuts.
On Tuesday, February 25, Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) hosted a “Claim Your Unclaimed Funds” event at his district office in conjunction with the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Personnel from Comptroller DiNapoli’s office were available to assist constituents in searching the Unclaimed Funds database and to help them file claims. A record crowd of over 200 people attended, prompting the Senator to plan a future unclaimed funds event in order to accommodate everyone.
Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the New York City Education Subcommittee, and Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) have sponsored legislation which will create an education investment tax credit in New York State.
Bill number S4099-A will generate increased funding for education by enhancing existing tax benefits for charitable donations. The goal of the bill is to help public schools, non-profit organizations supporting public schools, and Pre-K programs. The bill also provides a tax credit to public and non-public school teachers for out-of-pocket school supply expenses, and assists many low- and middle-income families whose children attend private or religious schools and require scholarships.
Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) is pleased to announce that over $11,000 in HeartShare grants have been allocated to date in the 17th Senate District through the Senator’s office to help low-income families and individuals with their high heating bills. HeartShare Human Services of New Yorkadministers the Neighborhood Heating Fund founded by National Grid. During a typical heating season, National Grid and HeartShare assist more than 1,200 families.
“It has been such a privilege to partner with National Grid and HeartShare to bring real financial relief to those who are struggling to pay their heating bills,” said Senator Felder. “People are just overjoyed when we notify them that they have been approved for financial assistance.”
Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) introduced a Legislative Resolution in Albany yesterday -- which was passed unanimously -- honoring the memory of Rabbi Michoel Ber Weissmandl, who is credited with saving countless European Jews, especially Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz, during the Holocaust. The ceremony took place in the Senate Chamber in Albany and was attended by members of Rabbi Weissmandl’s family and the Jewish community.
According to some accounts, Rabbi Weissmandl is credited with rescuing approximately two-thirds of the Holocaust survivors living in Brooklyn today. Senator Felder spoke about Rabbi Weissmandl’s valiant efforts saying,
"וכל המקיים נפש אחת, מעלין עליו כאילו קיים עולם מלא
“It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that I learned of the Medical Examiner’s findings confirming that the remains discovered in Queens were those belonging to 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo,” said Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn). “While no words can adequately comfort Avonte’s family at this time, I am hopeful today’s DNA confirmation brings some modicum of closure to his parents and siblings as they begin the journey toward healing. I join with all New Yorkers in expressing my deepest sympathy to the Oquendo family.”
“I am encouraged by today’s New York Daily News report that the NYPD has found the van used in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Menachem Stark.
The NYPD and other law enforcement personnel are to be commended for their tireless efforts in this case. The police and federal authorities have made solving this murder a top priority from the beginning. While Mr. Stark’s murderer(s) remain at large, the recent developments seem very promising. I am cautiously optimistic that the discovery of the van will prove to be a turning point in the case, and will ultimately lead police to the perpetrator(s) responsible for this vile and heinous act.
"It is nothing short of miraculous that this 10-year-old child was rescued virtually unharmed from a manhole on the corner of 49th Street and 13th Avenue,” said Senator Simcha Felder. “It is my understanding that this young man suffered minor lacerations on his right leg, was treated at Lutheran Hospital, and was released.
As a community, we all owe a great debt of gratitude to the brave heroes who risk life and limb each day to save others. I am immensely thankful to the NYPD, the FDNY, and Boro Park Hatzoloh for their swift and lifesaving responses today and every day. I also want to commend Verizon for providing the ladder which allowed this young man to be safely retrieved from the manhole.