This past week, our nation lost a champion of women's and equal rights, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I found out about her loss in the midst of Rosh Hashanah dinner with my family, and we cried in mourning. Justice Ginsburg was a brilliant legal strategist who strategically brought major cases before the Supreme Court, on which she would later serve, based upon the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution's 14th Amendment: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; ...nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Based upon the Equal Protection clause, she worked to overturn discriminatory laws against women (and men). These decisions subsequently provided a framework for overturning discriminatory laws against the LGBTQ+ community. In her own words, Justice Ginsburg said she wished to be remembered as "Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has." May her memory be a blessing.
FAMILIES NEED FREE BROADBAND AND BETTER CHILD CARE RESOURCES TO MAKE REMOTE SCHOOLING WORK
On Tuesday, September 23rd, the Albany Times Union published an OpEd I co-wrote with my Senate colleagues Jen Metzger and Roxanne Persaud about ensuring that families have the necessary broadband and child care resources to make schooling work during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
"Today, broadband is as essential as books and paper used to be, and we need to recognize it as such by guaranteeing free universal access. In a state Education Department survey of schools (with 48 percent responding) more than 500,000 students have been identified as lacking internet access or computers. And although there is some help for people who cannot afford it, New York should go further. We should insist that telecommunications companies step up and voluntarily provide free access to every student and school district in the state for the duration of this pandemic, effective immediately. Free internet access is a fundamental educational need that we must address, at least for the duration of the pandemic.
In addition, we need Congress to immediately provide funds to allow local child care resource and referral agencies to coordinate with local school districts to create one-stop child care services. These services must be flexibly and affordably aligned to the needs of parents and their children."
Click here to read the full OpEd. New Yorkers worked hard to beat back COVID-19. Let's ensure students and families have the tools they need—including free broadband and affordable, quality child care for parents balancing work & hybrid or distance learning. To that end, I will be introducing legislation to require free, expanded and quality broadband access for students and schools during the duration of the pandemic.
NEW YORK FORWARD:
- Click here for an updated list of states on the travel advisory requiring individuals who travel to New York from those states to quarantine for 14 days.
- The Special Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers has been extended through December 31, 2020. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov.
- The moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions has been extended another 30 days until October 20th. There is already a moratorium in place for COVID-related residential evictions until the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
SUPPORTING PRE-SCHOOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
On Monday, September 21st, I was deeply humbled to be honored by ACDS at its preschool in my district. It was wonderful to work with Executive Director Michael Smith and the entire ACDS team as they moved from concept to opening a school in Westchester to serve preschool students with developmental disabilities. Thank you also for the beautiful poster the students showed through the window! I will continue to fight for resources and opportunities for children with developmental disabilities and the nonprofit providers that educate and serve them.
HOUSING STABILIZATION PROGRAMS FOR WESTCHESTER RESIDENTS IN THE MIDST OF COVID-19
Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced a Community Build Back Program to assist Westchester residents who are struggling to pay housing costs due to the financial impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The four pronged Program includes Eviction Prevention for Landlords, Eviction Prevention in Consortium Communities, Foreclosure Prevention, and Medium-Term Rental Assistance. The Program is funded through HUD and funding from the federal CARES Act. Click here to learn more about each effort and how to apply. Applications are available in English & Spanish.
DMV EXPANDS ONLINE SERVICES
The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is expanding the number of services it offers online, making it easier for New Yorkers to do business with the DMV right from home. This past week, the DMV announced that it will launch a pilot program to offer the written learner permit tests online for passenger cars (Class D) and motorcycles (Class M). Additionally, for the first time ever, New Yorkers who live in counties with state-run DMV offices—this includes Westchester—can now register their vehicles online on the DMV website. There are more than 60 online transactions available on the DMV website. Customers can renew or replace their registration, renew their driver license, obtain a driving record, or change their address. Click here to read more about all of the services available through the DMV's website.
NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY: Tuesday, September 22nd
The General Election on Tuesday, November 3rd is less than six weeks away, and the deadline to register to vote is fast approaching. For those who still need to register to vote, the deadline to postmark your voter registration form is October 9th. Voter registration forms can be printed from here and mailed to the Westchester County Board of Elections (25 Quarropas St., White Plains, NY 10601). Click here to check whether your voter registration status is up-to-date. This year, you have three options to choose from to vote:
- Vote on Election Day Tuesday, November 3rd, from 6AM - 9PM. Click here to check your voter registration status and polling place.
- Vote Early between Saturday, October 24th and Sunday, November 1st. Click here for the schedule of Early Voting times and locations.
- Vote by Mail through an Absentee Ballot, now available to all voters. You can request your Absentee Ballot online at absentee ballot.elections.ny.gov.
FALL IN NEW YORK
Tuesday, September 22nd marked the first day of fall. When it comes to experiencing the beauty of peak foliage or other fall activities, it's hard to compete with what we have available in the Hudson Valley and throughout the state. I Love NY, a branch of the NYS Department of Economic Development, has compiled a list of activities to experience the magic of New York in the fall. Click here for its guide to apple & pumpkin picking, apple cider donuts, ziplining, fall foliage hikes, and more.
As always, feel free to contact my office at (914) 934-5250 or firstname.lastname@example.org if there is an issue with which we can offer assistance.
Shelley B. Mayer