As your representative in the New York State Senate, I have worked to develop legislative solutions to address issues and concerns important to my constituents, our state and our nation.
In response to public health concerns and to address disparities in New York, I have spearheaded the campaign to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS among intravenous drug users through legalized needle exchange programs; and authored laws to prohibit female genital mutilation, and expand the scope of practice and licensure for nurse practitioners in New York State to address the shortage of primary care doctors.
As an advocate for criminal justice reform, I have authored laws to remove barriers by prohibiting licensing agencies from disqualifying someone from licensure as a barber or cosmetologist solely on the basis of a criminal conviction; authored a law that prohibits the shackling of a pregnant woman in prison while being transported to the hospital to deliver her baby.
I am so thankful to my constituents for their suggestions for new legislation. I am proud to sponsor laws that are a direct result of constituent input such as the “The Blair Bill,” a law that expands the protection of guide and service dogs was sponsored on behalf of Eric Blair and “The Community Board Bill” which originated from discussions with Community Board 6 members and was signed into law to allow community boards throughout the five boroughs of New York City to apply for and receive brownfield opportunity area grants.
I welcome your thoughts and ideas for new legislation. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of any further assistance.
Senator Velmanette Montgomery
25th Senate District
Deed Theft Bill Signed Into Law Read More
August 19, 2019
Governor Cuomo Signs Montgomery/Weinstein “Deed Theft Bill” Into Law
Governor Cuomo signed the "Deed Theft Bill" (S1688 – Montgomery/A5615 – Weinstein) into law. This legislation provides greater protections for owners of homes that are in default or foreclosure. It also strengthens laws regulating distressed property "consultants" who provide services to prevent property loss. It will go into effect immediately.
Fraudulent companies target seniors, homeowners struggling financially, and for whom English is not their first language. They often offer unsolicited assistance with foreclosure or modifications, sometimes claiming that the victim’s home is already up for auction. They are sophisticated operators who take advantage of loopholes in the law by associating themselves with law firms that allow them to avoid legal repercussions.
The "Deed Theft Bill" addresses these issues by:
- Prohibiting abusive and deceptive behaviors such as pretending to be law enforcement or government representatives, taking temporary ownership of a deed, or engaging in harassment of the homeowner or the homeowner's family
- Eliminating the requirement that a homeowner post a bond in order to file a lawsuit to stop a deed transfer.
- Prohibiting loan modification consultants from requiring upfront fees for services.
- Extending the amount of time a homeowner has to rescind transactions with distressed property consultants from 5 days to 14 days.
- Providing a clear legal path to restore the title of a property when there has been a criminal conviction based on fraudulent actions concerning a property transfer.
"Passing the Deed Theft Bill is a major step forward in addressing one of the most pressing issues among homeowners, especially in communities of color. Thieves target our most vulnerable homeowners and snatch generations of wealth from our families. For every one that thinks to call their elected officials or speak out, a dozen more do not know where to turn,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.I thank the Governor for signing this legislation. It will have a tremendous impact on homeowners in my district and throughout New York State."
“The bill has a simple point. A District Attorney can bring an action and find fraud, but there's not been a way to get the homeowner's home back. This allows the DA to get into court and have the illegal deed thrown out, and have the house restored to the owner. As it stands now there's no simple way to get it back,” said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein.While it's clearly good to lock somebody up, this voids the illegal transfer and allows the owner to get their home back.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James has indicated that her office receives more deed theft complaints from Brooklyn than the four other boroughs combined and deed fraud scams disproportionately impact homeowners of color. They are highly concentrated in the rapidly gentrifying areas of Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Flatbush and Brownsville. “People work hard to achieve a vital piece of the American Dream, but that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare when that home is stolen out from under them,” said Attorney General James. “Deed theft has become a common tool used by scammers to illegally obtain real estate in prominent housing markets like Brooklyn, greatly harming senior citizens and destabilizing communities. I thank Senator Montgomery, Assemblymember Weinstein, and Governor Cuomo for their support, advancement, and enactment of this important law.”
Construction Notification Bill Read More
Governor Cuomo signed the Construction Notification Bill (S4519-A/A5823-B) into law on Friday, August 24th (Chapter No. 217).
Senator Montgomery and Assemblywoman Wright thank all the constituents and advocates who fought so hard to get this important legislation passed. Special thanks to Community Board 3, Community Board 8, the Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights North Association for their support of this bill.
The new law requires the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) to provide written notification to adjoining property owners when an application for approval of construction is submitted to DOB. It would also require DOB to provide proof of such insurance and a copy of the permit to owners of adjoining property thirty days before construction, or demolition work begins except in the event that emergency work is authorized.
For brownstone homeowners and property owners of older buildings, a neighboring construction or renovation project can cause substantial and expensive property damage. They are often at a loss on what to do and who to contact to get repairs made. This law will empower them with information necessary to pursue damages and get needed repairs done.
To learn more about this issue, visit:
Creation of a personal income tax check-off box for donations to the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) Fund. Read More
Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz visit the School Based Health Center at Sunset Park High School to celebrate passage of their new law which would create a personal income tax check-off box for donations to the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) Fund. Senator Montgomery and Assemblyman Oritz are joined by Larry McReynolds, Executive Director of Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, Victoria Antonini, Principal of Sunset Park High School and members of the Sunset Park High School community.
Every year we have to fight for SBHCS in the budget. Senator Montgomery and Assemblyman Oritz are proud to have sponsor this new law which creates a new funding opportunity for our centers by allowing individuals to donate to the fund through a personal income tax check-off box. Revenue generated would fund the expansion of medical services at existing school based health sites or to establish new sites.
Our SBHCs take an enormous burden off parents who cannot miss work or afford insurance and copayments. They provide comprehensive healthcare including vision, dental and mental health services to students at their schools regardless of ability to pay, insurance or immigration status.
To learn more about Senator Montgomery's work on School-Based Health Centers, visit:
Dancewave Bill Becomes Law Read More
Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon celebrate the passage of S6023/A7770 which provides financing and construction of capital facilities assistance to Dancewave of Brooklyn.
Dancewave is a Brooklyn based non-profit dance organization that began in 1995 and has inspired students to express themselves by combining rigorous training and mentorship from dance professionals in a nurturing and noncompetitive environment. School enrollment has increased dramatically and larger space is needed.
This Capital Project will allow for the building of a new community arts and cultural center at 182 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, which will offer affordable rehearsal space, community events, performances, and professional development workshops and artists talks. The new Dancewave Center will allow expansion of the current class offerings to meet demand and reduce reliance on outside studio rentals creating a new home that will accommodate Dancewave's growth and mission; providing affordable arts programming and cultural connectedness that strengthens the health and vibrancy of the community.
To view Senator Montgomery's remarks on the passage of the bill in the Senate, visit https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/articles/velmanette-montgomery/senator...
For more information about Dancewave, please visit http://www.dancewave.org/
Ashley's Law - Family Visitation Bill Read More
Ashley's Law (the Family Visitation Bill), sponsored by NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Gabriela Rosa (D-Manhattan), requires the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to establish and maintain a public website and dedicated toll-free telephone line to provide up-to-date information regarding specific visitation rules and regulations for all individual correctional facilities throughout the state.
“While New York’s prisons allow inmates to receive visitors, the experience of being processed for visits varies greatly from one facility to another,” Senator Montgomery said.
The Family Visitation Bill was inspired by Ashley Duncan, a college student who experienced, first-hand, the inconsistencies with visiting policies and procedures when attempting to visit her father who, up until recently, was been incarcerated at various upstate correctional facilities for nearly 20 years.
Through the tireless advocacy of Ashley Duncan, the Osborne Association, the Correctional Association of New York State, the Fortune Society, and many other criminal justice advocates, Ashley’s Law now requires the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to establish and maintain a public website and dedicated toll-free telephone line to provide up-to-date information regarding specific visitation rules and regulations for all individual correctional facilities throughout the state.
To learn more about Ashley's bill, visit https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/velmanette-montgomery/legislature-approves-senator-montgomerys-bill-improve
Anti-Shackling Bill 2015 Read More
The 2015 Anti-Shackling bill strengthens the 2009 law and expands protections to women throughout all stages of pregnancy and eight weeks postpartum. The bill’s provisions would apply to all state and local correctional facilities in New York.
Current law prohibits the use of restraints on an inmate about to give birth, but does not address the use of restraints on pregnant inmates prior to or after childbirth or pregnancy outcome.
In addition to the shackling provision, the bill also prohibits the presence of any correctional staff in the delivery room unless requested by medical staff or the inmate giving birth, requires more rigorous training of all correctional staff on this policy, and institutes annual detailed reporting of all instances in which officers deem restraints necessary.
Senator Montgomery and Assemblyman Nick Perry worked closely with dozens of women’s rights, human rights and reproductive justice groups and thousands of people from around the state, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Nurse-Midwives, NYS Association of Licensed Midwives, Family Planning Advocates of NYS, NARAL Pro-Choice NY, NOW NYC, American Association of University Women NYS, the NYCLU, the Correctional Association of NY and the Coalition for Women Prisoners to pass additional protections for pregnant incarcerated women.
For more information about this legislation, visit: