Blog

28 Jul
0

Navigating the Healthcare System in the Time of COVID-19

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, July 23rd, 2020, with Senator Liz Krueger, and Dr. Peter Steel, Director of Clinical Services for the Department of Emergency Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell.
Full video can be viewed by clicking here.

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22 Jul
0

Senate Passes First-In-The-Nation Bill To Tackle Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Albany – Today, the State Senate passed a bill to tackle counterproductive state fossil fuel subsidies, shining a light on and potentially halting tax breaks, credits, and refunds for the use of dirty fossil fuels. The legislation, S.2649, requires the Governor to submit an annual analysis of all fossil fuel related tax expenditures, including recommendations regarding continuation, modification, or repeal of some of the worst offenses. It also implements a 5-year sunset provision for the expiration of all current and future fossil fuel related tax expenditures. The state-level measure is the first in the country to specifically target fossil fuel tax subsidies and create a regular public review process. The bill is carried in the Assembly by Assemblymember Kevin Cahill.

“In the past few years, New York State has taken unprecedented action to mitigate the effects of climate change, but there are still areas where we are on the wrong track,” said Senator Krueger. “We spend $1.6 billion every year on tax subsidies that support the use of dirty fossil fuels, with barely any information about the effects of this spending. We need a process in place to regularly analyze and review these subsidies, so that we can strengthen those that actually benefit hard-working New Yorkers, and get rid of those that waste taxpayer dollars and make our climate crisis worse. I thank my Senate colleagues for moving this important bill, and I am hopeful the Assembly will take it up as soon as possible.”

“This bill is an important part of understanding the climate crisis. It will add transparency, oversight and meaningful information to the conversations and decisions regarding fossil fuel-related spending in the State,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “We have a duty to inform taxpayers and policymakers of the true extent of these hefty expenditures in order to decide whether fiscal changes need to be made to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents and to protect the environment. As we stand on the precipice of fiscal uncertainty, we need to better understand our revenues, expenses and expenditures. I am proud to stand with Senator Liz Krueger in continuing to move this legislation forward.”

New York State spends over $1.6 billion every year on fossil fuel related tax expenditures, distorting the market and subsidizing the use of greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. Some of these tax expenditures may serve a compelling public interest. However, a significant proportion of the spending serves to prop-up outdated industries or reward energy inefficiencies leading to a double cost to taxpayers – once for the direct tax expenditure and again for the environmental damage resulting from the continued burning of fossil fuels.

New York State has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. Continuing to subsidize the use of fossil fuels delays the adoption of cleaner alternatives, creates barriers to achieving the State’s climate goals, and wastes precious taxpayer money.

S.2649 would require the State’s annual Tax Expenditure Report to include an enumeration and evaluation of all fossil fuel related tax expenditures, as well as a recommendation by the Governor regarding the continuation, modification or repeal of such expenditures. The Report would be made in consultation with the State’s Energy Planning Board, whose members include representatives of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Public Service Commission, Empire State Development, the Departments of Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets, Health, Labor, and Transportation as well as Legislative appointees and others.

The bill also implements a 5-year sunset provision for all current and future fossil fuel related tax expenditures, providing such expenditures would not otherwise expire at an earlier date. The Legislature may, of course, choose to renew any tax expenditure that benefits the public interest. This will create an evaluation process through which outdated fossil fuel subsidies can be allowed to expire, while those that provide a real benefit to New Yorkers can be retained or improved.

Conor Bambrick, Director of Climate Policy at Environmental Advocates NY, said, “New York’s climate law set the most aggressive emissions reduction goals of any state. Reaching these goals requires a transition off fossil fuels across the board. Understanding how we currently subsidize the use of fossil fuels through tax expenditures is an important step in assessing how the State can cut ties with the very industries responsible for the climate crisis. EANY appreciates Senator Krueger’s continued leadership in fighting climate change and for bringing this issue to the forefront.”

“Despite the monumental climate laws New York State has established over the past few years, fossil fuel interests still have a leg up over renewable energy in the form of existing subsidies, indirect incentives, and preferential rules,” said Roger Downs, Conservation Director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “Wiping the slate clean of entitlements that prop up those that continue to despoil the planet is a more than reasonable first step towards climate justice.  We thank Senator Liz Krueger for her unwavering leadership in advancing New York’s climate commitments and crushing the barriers to achieving those goals.”

Rich Schrader, New York Policy Director at NRDC, said“Cutting fiscal ties with powerful polluters is one of the best down payments we can make on New York’s future. In the midst of a climate crisis, the last thing we need to do is continue subsidizing the multibillion-dollar fossil fuel industry. Meeting New York’s nation-leading climate goals requires that we go big on clean energy solutions that create healthier neighborhoods, drive job creation, and drastically reduce air pollution. There’s no doubt about it: this bill is a necessary and sensible next step forward in New York’s fight against the climate crisis.”

Liz Moran, environmental policy director for NYPIRG, said, “The polluters responsible for the climate crisis, who are often the same industries that have harmed water quality, must be on the hook to pay for the costs associated with their recklessness – which is exactly what this important legislation would accomplish. The fossil fuel industry has known since the 1970s of the pollution associated with fossil fuel burning, but to this day have undermined climate science and deceived the public to halt climate action. With New York’s nation-leading climate goals on the books, it is common sense to end tax giveaways to the fossil fuel industry and make polluters pay. NYPIRG urges the bill’s passage in the Assembly and for it to be signed into law.”

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20 Jul
0

Reopening and Reimagining Public Places

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, July 16th, 2020, with Senator Liz Krueger, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Christian Klossner, Executive Director, Office of Special Enforcement, NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

View full video of the event by clicking here.

To file a complaint with the State Liquor Authority visit https://sla.ny.gov/file-complaint or call 518-474-3114 and Press “2” to speak with an enforcement officer.

Resources

SBS guidance for businesses reopening – https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sbs/index.page

State Reopening Guidelines – https://forward.ny.gov/

Business Guideline tool – https://www.businessexpress.ny.gov/app/nyforward

DOT Open Restaurant map – nycopenrestaurants.info

 

Complaints

Outdoor Dining Complaint – https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-03321

Business Reopening Complaint – https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-03310

Social Distancing and Face Covering Complaint – https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-03325

Noise from a Store or Business – https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-01090

Noise from Bar, Club, or Restaurant – https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-01085

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01 Jul
0

New York City Reopens, Part 3: Vaccine Confidence/Vaccine Hesitancy

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020, with State Senator Liz Krueger and Dr. Heidi Larson, Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project (VCP), a World Health Organization (WHO) Centre of Excellence on addressing Vaccine Hesitancy.

Full video of the event can be viewed by clicking here.

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19 Jun
0

Reforming The Criminal Justice Agenda

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, June 18th, 2020, with State Senators Liz Krueger, Jamaal Bailey, and Zellnor Myrie, Insha Rahman of the Vera Institute of Justice, and Anthonine Pierre of the Brooklyn Movement Center.

Full video of the event can be viewed by clicking here.

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18 Jun
0

New York City Reopens, Part 2: Test, Trace and Take Care (T3) – Tracking Down the Virus

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Wednesday, June 17th, 2020, with State Senator Liz Krueger, Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Disease Control, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Ted Long, MD, MHS, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care, and Executive Director Test and Trace Corps.

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12 Jun
0

Senators Urge Delay Of NYC Housing Court Reopening To Protect Public Health

Albany – Today State Senator Liz Krueger and 15 other Senators released a letter to New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, requesting that the Office of Court Administration delay the reopening of Housing Court for in-person proceedings until a comprehensive safety plan can be developed with input from key stakeholders. The letter from the Senators can be viewed here and is reprinted below.

“Our Housing Courts are overcrowded at the best of times. But with tens of thousands of additional cases expected as a result of the pandemic, it is vital that we plan very carefully before returning to anything like business as usual,” said Senator Krueger. “Before reopening, we must make sure that not only do we have plans to maintain proper COVID-19 protocols, but that we can address the unique circumstances and challenges faced by tenants as a result of the pandemic.”

In the letter, the Senators argue that reopening New York City Housing Court prematurely could pose a significant public health risk to litigants, attorneys, and court personnel, and a particular risk for many of those already disproportionately impacted by Covid-19—low-income tenants of color living in communities hardest hit by the pandemic and older adults.  They urge the Office of Court Administration to pause its current timeline for reopening Housing Court, and to work with legal services providers, public health experts, and City agencies to ensure the proper systems and safeguards are in place to protect public health and prevent mass evictions.

Housing advocates estimate that as many as 50,000 new eviction cases may be filed in Housing Court soon after the Governor’s initial eviction moratorium expires on June 20th.  Given the demographics of tenants facing the greatest housing hardships and the zip codes with the highest number of past eviction filings, it is extremely likely a disproportionate number of new non-payment cases filed after June 20th will be against low-income tenants living in zip codes hardest hit by the pandemic as well as older adults.

The Senators voiced their support for the recent request by the leaders of almost two dozen legal services organizations for the Office of Court Administration to halt the reopening of Housing Court until a safety plan is developed with input from key stakeholders.

The letter from the Senators further points out that despite the fact that New York City began the first stage of gradually reopening its economy this week, tens of thousands of New Yorkers are sick or recovering, hundreds of additional residents are still testing positive for Covid-19 each day, and the city’s contact tracing initiative only started last week. In addition, the New York City Health Department continues to urge residents to stay home as much as possible and to follow social distancing protocols when going outside; many New Yorkers, particularly those who are older adults and/or have pre-existing conditions, remain in self-isolation; and all New York City schools, day care facilities, public institutions are closed, and most city residents who are still employed continue to work from home.

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12 Jun
0

New York City Reopens, Part 1: The Spectrum of Risk – How to Have a Life During a Pandemic

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, June 12th, 2020, with State Senator Liz Krueger and Dr. Julia Marcus, infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.

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09 Jun
0

Senator Krueger Speaks On Police Reform Bill

State Senator Liz Krueger spoke today on the Senate floor regarding the following legislation addressing police violence. For video of the remarks, click here.

  • Senate Bill 8496: This legislation will repeal section 50-a of the Civil Rights Law that provides additional protections to the personnel records of police officers, firefighters, and correction officers. This protection has been interpreted to include disciplinary records of law enforcement officers. This repeal would subject these records to FOIL, as are all other records kept by public agencies, while protecting the sensitive personal contact and health information of these officers.
  • Senate Bill 2574B: This legislation will create an Office of Special Investigation within the Department of Law, under the Attorney General, which will investigate, and, if warranted, prosecute any incident of a person whose death was caused by a police officer or peace officer.
  • Senate Bill 3253B: This legislation will clarify that a person not under arrest or in police custody has the right to record police activity and to maintain custody and control of that recording, and of any property or instruments used to record police activities.
  • Senate Bill 6670B: This legislation, the “Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act,” will prohibit the use of chokeholds by law enforcement and establish the crime of aggravated strangulation as a Class-C felony.
  • Senate Bill 3595B: This legislation will establish the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office within the Department of Law to review, study, audit and make recommendations regarding operations, policies, programs and practices of local law enforcement agencies. The goal of this legislation is to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement, increase public safety, protect civil liberties and civil rights, ensure compliance with constitutional protections and local, state and federal laws, and increase the public’s confidence in law enforcement.
  • Senate Bill 1830C: This legislation, the Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act, will require courts to compile and publish racial and other demographic data of all low- level offenses, including misdemeanors and violations. The bill also requires police departments to submit annual reports on arrest-related deaths to the Department of Criminal Justice Services and to the Governor and the Legislature.
  • Senate Bill 8492: This legislation establishes a private right of action for a member of a protected class when another person summons a police or peace officer on them without reason to suspect a crime or an imminent threat to person or property existed.
  • Senate Bill 6601A: This legislation will amend the Civil Rights Law by adding a new section that affirms New Yorkers’ right to medical and mental health attention while in custody.
  • Senate Bill 8493: This legislation, the New York State Police Body-Worn Cameras Program, will direct the Division of State Police to provide all State police officers with body-worn cameras that are to be used any time an officer conducts a patrol and prescribes mandated situations when the camera is to be turned on and recording.
  • Senate Bill 2575B: This legislation will require state and local law enforcement officers, as well as peace officers, to report, within six hours, when they discharge their weapon where a person could have been struck, whether they were on or off duty.

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09 Jun
0

Update on Police Reform Legislation

A MESSAGE FROM SENATOR LIZ KRUEGER:

 

Dear Neighbors,

This week I am back up in Albany (although most of my colleagues are, quite rightly, participating remotely) to help pass a package of bills to address the issues that have brought thousands of New Yorkers into the streets over the last weeks. Today and tomorrow the legislature will move significant policing reforms, including the repeal of 50-a and other important bills to help implement real improvements in the relationship between law enforcement in New York and the people they are sworn to serve and protect.

Over the last week, my office has received more than 4,000 emails from constituents in support of these bills – a level of engagement that I have never seen before in eighteen years as a legislator. This incredible response makes me more proud than ever to represent a community that knows these reforms are long past due, and is demanding justice.

Though these bills represent progress, they go only a very small way toward righting the wrongs our current systems inflict on black people and other people of color on a daily basis. Our housing policies, our public health policies, our education policies, our environmental policies, all create the conditions that perpetuate widespread segregation in our country, our state, and our city. That segregation has a direct human cost for individuals and communities of color – we see it clear as day in the disparity of deaths caused by COVID-19 in those communities. Going forward we must continually recommit ourselves to addressing the structural, systemic racism that results in significantly diminished outcomes for people of color in education, healthcare, employment, the criminal justice system, and many other fronts.

Let me be very clear – these pieces of legislation are not an attack on police officers or any police department. Police officers, like elected officials, are public servants. Elected officials, because we have been given the power to make laws and to allocate public funds, should be held to a higher standard than other citizens. After all, nobody forced us to take this job. Similarly, police officers, because they are given the power to make arrests and use deadly force when necessary, must also be held to a very high standard of conduct and oversight. That is the goal of these bills. The vast majority of police officers and those who support them should welcome efforts to root out the so-called “bad apples” before they spoil the whole barrel.

 

The bills that will be advanced by the Legislature this week include:

  • Senate Bill 8496: This legislation will repeal section 50-a of the Civil Rights Law that provides additional protections to the personnel records of police officers, firefighters, and correction officers. This protection has been interpreted to include disciplinary records of law enforcement officers. This repeal would subject these records to FOIL, as are all other records kept by public agencies, while protecting the sensitive personal contact and health information of these officers.
  • Senate Bill 2574B: This legislation will create an Office of Special Investigation within the Department of Law, under the Attorney General, which will investigate, and, if warranted, prosecute any incident of a person whose death was caused by a police officer or peace officer.
  • Senate Bill 3253B: This legislation will clarify that a person not under arrest or in police custody has the right to record police activity and to maintain custody and control of that recording, and of any property or instruments used to record police activities.
  • Senate Bill 6670B: This legislation, the “Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act,” will prohibit the use of chokeholds by law enforcement and establish the crime of aggravated strangulation as a Class-C felony.
  • Senate Bill 3595B: This legislation will establish the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office within the Department of Law to review, study, audit and make recommendations regarding operations, policies, programs and practices of local law enforcement agencies. The goal of this legislation is to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement, increase public safety, protect civil liberties and civil rights, ensure compliance with constitutional protections and local, state and federal laws, and increase the public’s confidence in law enforcement.
  • Senate Bill 1830C: This legislation, the Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act, will require courts to compile and publish racial and other demographic data of all low- level offenses, including misdemeanors and violations. The bill also requires police departments to submit annual reports on arrest-related deaths to the Department of Criminal Justice Services and to the Governor and the Legislature.
  • Senate Bill 8492: This legislation establishes a private right of action for a member of a protected class when another person summons a police or peace officer on them without reason to suspect a crime or an imminent threat to person or property existed.
  • Senate Bill 6601A: This legislation will amend the Civil Rights Law by adding a new section that affirms New Yorkers’ right to medical and mental health attention while in custody.
  • Senate Bill 8493: This legislation, the New York State Police Body-Worn Cameras Program, will direct the Division of State Police to provide all State police officers with body-worn cameras that are to be used any time an officer conducts a patrol and prescribes mandated situations when the camera is to be turned on and recording.
  • Senate Bill 2575B: This legislation will require state and local law enforcement officers, as well as peace officers, to report, within six hours, when they discharge their weapon where a person could have been struck, whether they were on or off duty.

Best,

Liz Krueger
State Senator

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