Blog

02 Jun
0

Statement From Senator Liz Krueger On The Ongoing Protests In New York City

Statement From Senator Liz Krueger
On The Ongoing Protests In New York City

 

“At this time of massive protests against the treatment of black Americans by some police officers, and the lack of accountability for those officers, I add my voice to those of my colleagues of color and the movement leaders and activists in the street, in urging all those who need to express their anger and grief to do so non-violently. While the overwhelming majority of those protesting are practicing non-violence, looting and violence by a few do not serve the cause of justice. There are even stories of white supremacists intentionally mixing with peaceful protestors to trigger violence with the police. In addition, widely-shared and televised scenes of overaggressive and dangerous actions by some police only heighten the justified outrage of those protesting.

“At the same time, while we must protect the lives and livelihoods of all New Yorkers, we must not, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, be “more devoted to order than to justice.” We must not lose sight of the root cause of both the original non-violent protests and the violence that has developed alongside those protests in the last few days. Black Americans have exhausted every democratic avenue to change a system that allows them to be murdered with impunity in broad daylight. When they and their allies took to the streets last week to protest police violence, they were met with yet more violence from the police. It is deeply hypocritical for anyone to speak out today about violence against property in our city if they remained silent yesterday in the face of violence against the lives of our black neighbors. And lest we forget, we are all still reeling from a pandemic that has highlighted the enormous medical and economic inequities in our country based on skin color.

“What we need now is threefold. In the immediate term, we need active leadership from the Mayor, the Governor, and the Police Commissioner to de-escalate the situation. They must clearly separate their response to non-violent protest from their response to vandalism and looting. And they must demonstrate that there will be accountability for the inappropriate level of force and violence used against protestors from the outset. A smarter, calmer, more rational response to those who are non-violently exercising their First Amendment rights will mean that police resources can be deployed to those areas where they are actually needed.

“In the medium term, City and State leaders must act quickly to show that we have heard the cries of those on the streets. This means, for example, passing police reforms like the repeal of the 50-a statute that limits access to disciplinary records; de-escalating police practices when responding to people with mental illness, the homeless, and youth; increasing investment in food, housing assistance, and job opportunities in our poorest neighborhoods; and passing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act to end marijuana prohibition and invest in those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the misguided ‘War on Drugs.’

“In the long term we must commit ourselves to addressing the structural, systemic racism that results in significantly diminished outcomes for black people and other people of color in education, healthcare, employment, the criminal justice system, and many other fronts.

“For years, protesters have chanted “no justice, no peace.” I hear this phrase not as a threat, but as a warning and a statement of fact. Peace is not achieved simply by a lack of violence. A truly peaceful society, one where we can all go about our own business unmolested and without fear, can only be achieved by first creating a just society. Only by working for justice and equity will we ensure that our city, our state, and our country are able to emerge from the multiple crises we are facing.”

###

Read More
31 May
0

Statement From Senator Liz Krueger On The Killing Of George Floyd

Statement From Senator Liz Krueger
On The Killing Of George Floyd

“No person of good will can observe what has unfolded across our country in the last few days without feeling a deep sense of anger and grief. Those of us who are white are continually appalled by events like the killings of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor by police officers, or the brutal hunting down of Ahmaud Arbery, or the weaponization of whiteness demonstrated by Amy Cooper in Central Park. Yet our shock at these events also reveals our privilege. Our neighbors of color do not live a single day without feeling deep in their bones the reality of structural racism that threatens their very lives.“This structural racism is not a black problem, or a people of color problem – it is all of our problem, one that we perpetuate unless we act to break the cycle. And it is not confined to police violence or the actions of a few unapologetic racists. Nor is it limited to one region of the country. It is right here in New York City. 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. And that segregation means we continue to misunderstand and fear each other; it makes us vulnerable time and time again to the vicious lie that we have more differences than commonalities.

“I don’t pretend to have all the answers, nor can I offer hollow words of hopefulness for the future. But I must speak out, as all people of good will must, or give up on any chance for that future to be more just. At the city level, the state level, and the federal level, we must continue to challenge the status quo of policies that shorten the lives and limit the possibilities of whole segments of our population. We must listen to their experience, and not be afraid to look difficult truths in the face and take the action that those truths demand.”

###

Read More
29 May
0

Housing Issues Part 1: Questions & Concerns for Renters

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, May 28th, 2020, with State Senator Liz Krueger and Ellen Davidson, staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society.

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

Click here to find a range of resources, fact sheets, and FAQ documents for tenants related to many topics discussed.

If you have any additional questions and live in my district, please contact my office at 212-490-9535 or lkrueger@nysenate.gov, and we will do our best to help.

Read More
15 May
0

Food Safety and Security

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, May 14th, with State Senator Liz Krueger and Dr. Charles Platkin, Executive Director, Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center and Editor of DietDetective.com.

Read More
08 May
0

Our Mental Health: The Impact Of COVID-19 On Our Emotional Wellbeing

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, May 7th, 2020, with State Senator Liz Krueger, Lisa Furst, LMSW and MPH, Assistant Vice President, Center for Advocacy, Policy and Education, Vibrant Emotional Health, and Cristina Harris, Director of Training, Center for Advocacy, Policy and Education, Vibrant Emotional Health.

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

A copy of Lisa’s PowerPoint presentation can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.

Lisa Furst, LMSW, MPH is Assistant Vice President at Vibrant Emotional Health, where she directs the Center for Policy, Advocacy and Education and is the Director of the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York.  She has nearly 15 years of experience providing public education, training and technical assistance focused on mental health.  In her role, she regularly provides training on psychological first aid after disasters, trauma informed practices, and self-care and stress management.  She holds a master of social work degree from the Hunter College School of Social Work and a master of public health from the CUNY School of Public Health.

Cristina Harris is the Director of Training for Vibrant Emotional Health’s Center for Policy, Advocacy, and Education.  Cristina has been a public school educator, social worker, trainer, and coach to helping professionals throughout New York City for the past 20 years.  She is a certified health coach, Mental Health First Aid instructor, and holds a Master’s in Social Work from New York University.

Read More
01 May
0

Senator Krueger Hosts Chasing COVID Part 2 – Taking Care of Your and Your Family’s Health

On April 30th, Senate Krueger hosted a virtual Town Hall with Dr. Michael S. Niederman, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine.

Read More
24 Apr
0

Sen. Krueger Hosts Chasing COVID Part 1 – Understanding The Impact Of The Virus On Community Health

On April 23rd, Senator Krueger hosted a virtual Town Hall with Dr. Denis Nash, Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, Executive Director CUNY Institute for Implementation Science and Population Health.

Dr. Nash is an Epidemiologist and the principal researcher on Chasing COVID, a study at CUNY which seeks answers to questions about COVID-19, including the impact of social distancing on disease spread and morbidity, asymptomatic transmission, and looking at antibodies to determine if individuals develop immunity to the virus, and how long immunity lasts.

Full video of the event is available by clicking here.

Read More
03 Apr
0

State Budget Update

Dear Neighbor,

While COVID-19 updates have been my primary communication with you in these difficult times, I did want to take a moment to give a report on the New York State budget, which has now passed as of yesterday afternoon. This budget is a crisis budget. It is not what we expected to be passing when we came to Albany in January, but it is what this moment calls for. The current crisis and its economic impact have resulted in a dramatic increase in the need for services while at the same time cutting state tax revenues and leaving the state with at least a $15 billion deficit to close.

Reaching an agreement on a budget between the Governor, the Assembly, and the Senate in this current reality was a huge challenge, particularly given the significant power imbalance created by our state constitution, which gives the Governor an extraordinary amount of leverage in negotiations. I am disappointed with some of the results, particularly the Governor’s attack on third parties, his dangerous cuts to Medicaid, and his refusal to ask the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share.

However, I do believe that the final budget acknowledges the massive economic issues we face while protecting our most vulnerable neighbors and essential services. And in spite of my serious concerns about certain positions the Governor has taken in the budget, I want to acknowledge how well he has managed the immediate crisis we are facing.

Coronavirus has devastated our economic outlook and cut our revenue by billions of dollars. There will be painful cuts to programs we all care about. But along with my colleagues, I fought hard to pass a responsible budget that will still give our families and communities the tools we need to beat COVID-19 and recover economically once the pandemic is over.

Some of the key provisions of the budget include:

 

COVID-19 Emergency Funds

  • $4 billion in State emergency appropriations to directly address the crisis

 

Healthcare 

I am deeply concerned that the final budget includes unjustifiable cost shifts to localities, who face the same or worse fiscal pressures as the state, and that the implementation of Medicaid redesign proposals has the potential to limit access to healthcare and shortchange providers, which is particularly concerning in the middle of a healthcare crisis.  That said, I was happy that the Governor has reversed himself and will accept additional Medicaid funding from the Federal Government. The legislature also pushed back on some of the worst proposals from the Governor, and was able to address a number of key issues, and:

  • Restored more than $300 million in Medicaid funding that was proposed to be cut.
  • Restored more than $100 million of hospital funding that was proposed to be cut.
  • Restored funding for public hospitals and indigent care.

Other key health initiatives include:

  • Expanded access to telehealthin the Medicaid program so more New Yorkers can connect with their physical and mental healthcare providers.
  • Established a Prescription Drug Pricing and Accountability Boardto make sure that New Yorkers aren’t overcharged for vital medication.
  • Tobacco and vaping control regulations, including prohibiting the retail sale of flavored vapor products, unless the product is approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration through the premarket tobacco product application process.

 

Education

  • Protected our schools from budget cuts despite a multi-billion dollar state deficit caused by COVID-19 and ensured no district will see a reduction in its Foundation Aid, and all districts will receive their full State Aid allocation.
  • Providing $10 million in new funding for student mental health support grants and $1 million for civics curriculum development.

 

Support for those Economically Impacted by the Current Crisis:

  • Increased Unemployment Insurance funding by $1.05 billion in anticipation of increased unemployment claims due to COVID-19.
  • Provided more than $22.65 million for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and other human service programs.
  • Provided $200 million in additional support for the Child Care Development Block Grant to assist families affected by the public health emergency.
  • Eliminated the current photo identification requirement for public assistance recipients and allowed these New Yorkers to access a free identification card.
  • Added $9.8 million to address an anticipated increase in workers compensation claims spurred by COVID-19.

 

Transportation

  • Addressed MTA COVID-19 revenue shortfalls by: 
    • Allowing the MTA to temporarily access emergency loans to offset revenue losses and increased costs caused by COVID-19, with measures in place to ensure the money is spent wisely and that emergency borrowing will be paid off as quickly as possible when revenues recover.
    • Empowering the MTA to temporarily borrow from the congestion pricing lockbox to offset revenue losses caused by COVID-19, with strong protections in the form of review by the MTA Board, the State Budget Division, and a requirement that the lockbox will be repaid with priority.
  • Committed $3 billion to the MTA’s 2020-24 Capital Plan.
  • Provided the State Department of Transportation with $6 billion in capital funds to help ensure vital investments are made to the state’s transportation system.

 

Environmental Protection

  • Authorized the $3 billion‘Restore Mother Nature Bond Act’ which includes:
    • $1 billion for restoration and flood risk reduction
    • $700 million for climate change mitigation
    • $550 million for open space land conservation and recreation
    • $550 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure; and
    • Specific provisions for projects benefiting environmental justice communities
  • Banned polystyrene food packaging and polystyrene packaging peanutsbeginning January 1, 2022.
  • Banned high-volume hydraulic fracturingplus imposing a moratorium on applications for gelled propane hydraulic fracturing filed with the Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Created a newOffice of Renewable Energy Siting, a NYSERDA build-ready program, and an electric power transmission plan to accelerate the development of renewable energy, while ensuring community input and benefits and environmental protections.

 

Criminal Justice Reform and Public Safety

The issues of bail and discovery reform and whether they needed to be changed were particularly contentious, but I believe the final agreement was successful in preserving the essence of the reforms we made last year while adjusting them to address specific offenses and repeat offenders. I was pleased that the changes do not allow judicial discretion for remand on misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. Among key actions included in the budget were:

  • Changes to New York’s bail lawsuch as making several high level offenses now bail eligible including certain sex crimes, high level drug offenses, domestic violence felonies, crimes resulting in a death, and offenses directly related to an individual’s flight risk; and creating a mechanism to address individuals who repeatedly commit crimes
  • Provided $40 million to support theimplementation of discovery reforms
  • Barred gun ownership for individuals who commit serious offenses in other states
  • Empowered law enforcement to seize weapons for at least 48 hours when responding to domestic violence incidents.

 

Cannabis:

I was disappointed that a program of Cannabis Regulation and Taxation that centered on addressing the wrongs done by the drug war and reinvesting in communities most impacted was not included in the final budget. That said, it was clear for some time that the Governor was not willing to move from his legalization proposal, and that proposal did not adequately address the needs of harmed communities. I will continue to push for passage of my legislation, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which I believe to be the right approach.

 

Campaign Finance Reform:

The budget also includes language codifying the recommendations of the 2019 Campaign Finance Reform Commission. I have serious concerns regarding the impact of these proposals on third parties. However, I am pleased that New York will finally implement public financing of campaigns which will reduce the influence of big money on our politics and government.

 

Through this budget we will keep New York State solvent and functioning, and meet the needs of the present emergency. In the face of challenges the likes of which our state and our nation have not faced in generations, we will protect New Yorkers’ health, and stand up for New York students, families, and small businesses.

But make no mistake – this budget is not the final word. Far from it. When the immediate crisis is over, we must take a hard look at where we stand and how we got here; we must face down the structural flaws and inequities in our society that this crisis has revealed; and we must begin to chart a path for New York in which no one is left behind or sacrificed, in which everyone pitches in their fair share, and in which we make the hard and complex decisions to ensure the future is bright for all New Yorkers.

 

Best,

Liz Krueger
State Senator

Read More
26 Mar
0

FAQs About NYS Eviction Moratorium

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about New York State’s emergency eviction moratorium, compiled by Housing Justice for All and the Right To Counsel Coalition. The FAQs are also downloadable by clicking here.

Read More
25 Mar
0

Senator Krueger Urges Governor To Halt Non-Essential Construction

New York – Today Senator Krueger joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein in urging the Governor to implement a moratorium on non-essential construction activity during the COVID-19 emergency. The elected officials delivered a letter to the Governor after hearing from constituents at 220 Easdt 26th Street, who are being forced to endure disruptive and non-essential construction while following the Governor’s orders to remain inside as much as possible. The letter can be downloaded here and is viewable below.

Read More
Sign up for LizList