Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Legislation Proposed to Extend Storage Timeline for Rape Kits at Hospitals

New legislation has been prpopsed to extend the storage timeline for forensic sexual offense evidence kits, or rape kits, at hospitals. The legislation will extend the length of time sexual offense evidence collection kits are preserved from 30 days to at least five years, or until the victim turns 19, depending on which circumstance gives a victim the longest length of time to decide whether to report the incident to police. The proposal is part of Governor Cuomo's 2018 Women's Agenda for New York: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity and the FY 2019 proposed budget. Read more about the full agenda here.

"With this action, we will address a chronic injustice, remove additional traumatic burdens on survivors, and help victims find justice," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "This common sense legislation supports this administration's continued efforts to combat sexual assault and violence against women and will help make New York a safer and stronger state for all."

Lieutenant Governor and Chair, NY Women's Suffrage Commission, Kathy Hochul said, "Whether it's preventing sexual assault on college campuses, focusing on prevention and advocacy, or eliminating barriers to justice, this administration has proven it is serious about changing the culture that enables sexism and violence against women. By extending the storage timeline for rape kit preservation, we are once again providing victims with the opportunity to find the justice they have been denied for too long. New York has resoundingly said enough is enough and we are putting our foot down when it comes to sexual assault."

Secretary to the Governor and Chair, New York State Council on Women and Girls, Melissa DeRosa said, "2017 will go down in history as the year when women spoke up and drew a line in the sand, and 2018 will be the year that society needs to respond. With this commonsense legislation, Governor Cuomo once again stands with women to advance their equality, opportunity, and safety. Today we say that no victim should suffer the added pain of lacking the proof they need to bring their case. We have your back, and we will change this law this year."

The issue of collecting and storing sexual offense evidence, such as rape kits, continues to be a serious problem. New York has the nation's shortest sexual offense evidence storage mandate, and currently requires that hospitals store kits for a minimum of only 30 days before the evidence is discarded. This limits the ability of a survivor to take time to make decisions about a case because access to evidence for prosecution may be destroyed. This can be especially challenging for younger victims who may be undecided on whether-or-not to release their kit to law enforcement.

This year, Governor Cuomo will advance new legislation to extend the length of time sexual offense evidence collection kits are preserved to at least five years, or when the victim turns 19, depending on which circumstance gives a victim the longest length of time to decide whether to report the incident to police. In addition, the legislation will mandate that a survivor be notified well before evidence is destroyed. The Governor's proposed legislation better reflects previous action taken to lift the statute of limitation on rape and the overwhelming evidence showing rape kits help identify serial rapists. This proposal will also protect the rights of sexual assault victims while maintaining their right to choose when to report the crime to law enforcement and ensures that evidence be maintained with integrity until victims choose to have the kit tested. The legislation will build on a 2016 law signed by Governor Cuomo providing for the processing of and maintenance of sexual offense evidence kits by law enforcement.

Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "We know that a majority of victims do not report their sexual assault: Some are afraid to seek medical help, while those who do undergo a forensic rape exam may be unsure about notifying the police because they are traumatized and scared about what may come next. Those concerns are completely understandable. This change will give victims additional time to make that decision and address their emotional and physical well-being, which may result in them being more willing to contact law enforcement and seek justice."

New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault Executive Director Joanne Zannoni said, "Rape is a traumatic experience, and victims often face reactions that are overwhelming in the immediate aftermath. Thirty days is not enough time for many victims to make decisions about next steps. By extending the retention of sex offense evidence, we strengthen victims' ability to pursue the options that best meet their needs.

Amid recent complaints that individuals were being improperly billed for sexual assault exams, Governor Cuomo also ordered the Department of Health and Office of Victim Services to re-issue joint guidance to state-licensed health care providers. If a victim requests that the provider bill the Office of Victim Services, that provider is prohibited by law from billing the individual for the exam, even if she or he has health insurance. Under State law, licensed health care providers must notify an individual that they can directly seek direct reimbursement from the Office of Victim Services for a forensic rape examination. This guidance also outlines additional mandatory practices for the care and treatment of victims of sexual assault, including personal privacy protections. Additional  information is available here

Last week Governor Cuomo unveiled the full 2018 Women's Agenda for New York: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity and released the Report on the Status of New York Women and Girls: 2018 Outlook.  With 30 proposals, the Agenda will work to advance equality and promote opportunity in women and girls' health, safety, workplace, and family life. Members of Governor Cuomo's administration crisscrossed the State to hear the concerns of New York women and to introduce a responsive agenda. The full Report on the Status of New York Women and Girls: 2018 Outlook reflects the feedback, voices and opinions of women statewide and is available here.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Manhattan District Attorney Says He’ll No Longer Accept Contributions from Lawyers with Cases Before Him

Cy Vance had faced criticism after declining to prosecute high-profile defendants such as Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. and Harvey Weinstein, whose lawyers had donated to his campaign.

After controversy over how he handled two prominent investigations, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said he would no longer take campaign donations from defense attorneys with cases before him.

Vance said his campaign will no longer accept contributions in any amount from such lawyers and will cap donations from their law partners. Vance was re-elected in November to a four-year term.
The district attorney also will not solicit contributions personally and will have his campaign shield him from the identities of his donors. Candidates for judgeships in New York state follow similar guidelines.

In October, ProPublica, WNYC and The New Yorker reported that Vance had overruled prosecutors who wanted to bring felony fraud charges against two of the president’s children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. The office had been investigating the two for making misleading statements as their father’s company attempted to sell apartments in a struggling condominium and hotel in downtown Manhattan called the Trump SoHo.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

Budget Reform Allows Unclaimed Funds to Be Used for Payment of Unwarranted Tax Debt

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced legislation in the FY 2019 Budget that allows the state to tap the unclaimed funds of debtors to pay off tax debts for which a warrant hasn't been filed.

"This is a common sense reform that cuts red tape and bureaucracy and holds debtors responsible to pay what they owe," Governor Cuomo said. "With this legislation, we will hold scofflaws accountable and ease burdens on hardworking taxpayers across New York."

Under current law, New York may apply a taxpayer's unclaimed funds, such as from dormant accounts or unclaimed estate proceeds, to fixed and final warranted tax debt, but unclaimed funds cannot be assessed for unwarranted debt. A tax warrant is the equivalent of a legal judgment and may be filed during the collection process. Unwarranted tax debt is considered fixed and final pending a possible tax warrant if not resolved.

The current unclaimed funds program against warranted debt has generated $40 million since it took effect in 2015. Of that, $21.5 million has come from the automated funds offset of more than 117,000 taxpayers. Additionally, The Tax Department does a manual review of unclaimed funds, which has brought in the remaining $18.5 million.

By allowing unclaimed funds to be used to offset unwarranted tax debt, the state projects first year revenue at $4.5 million combining both automated offsets and manual exceptions. The subsequent total annual revenue projection from unwarranted debt is $3 million. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The Black Community. The Police. The Solution

Seun Babalola is college student at Penn State University. He has been a large voice in the areas of social justice, civil rights, and equality at his school in numerous capacities. This past year as a sophomore, he served on the Student Government Association as a Senator and as the Director of the Diversity Committee which is the largest committee under the Student Government Association. 

To name just a few accomplishments, Babalola and his committee teamed up with some of the largest student organizations on campus to hold forums that helped students engage in healthy discussions on various issues such as the presidential election, differences in the treatment of genders, and being Latino in America just to name a few. 

This video was published on YouTube on June 9, 2017.

Source: Ted x Talks

DuPont vs. the World: Chemical Giant Covered Up Health Risks of Teflon Contamination Across Globe

Source: Democracy Now!

A Warning from the Center of the World: Pacific Nation Kiribati Is Disappearing as Sea Level Rises

Source: Democracy Now!

The Black Indians: Freedom Fighters of the Frontier


Celebrated Historian Shares Story of Their Battle Against European
Rule and the Powerful Bond They Developed with Escaped Slaves

William Loren Katz is the author of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage and 40 other books on African American history. His books have won awards and his research, writing and lectures have earned widespread praise from noted scholars such as John Hope Franklin, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., John Henrik Clarke, Howard Zinn, Alice Walker and Cornel West, to name a few. 

He is an acclaimed lecturer who has spoken at more than 50 universities and dozens of museums, and libraries.

The renowned historian joined me to discuss the original version of his book, Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, and its revised edition, both of which are available on Amazon.com.

The interview was conducted on September 23, 2016.

Information pertaining to this episode may be obtained through the following links:




Bass Reeves: From Slave to U.S. Marshal

Source: Today I Found Out

Trailblazers in Black History: Otis Boykin

Otis Boykin’s noteworthy inventions include a wire precision resistor and a control unit for the pacemaker. When he died in 1982, he had 26 patents in his name. 

Click here for additional information. 

Source: Biography.com 

City Field: Democratic Mayors Emerge as Hot Prospects for 2020

Bill de Blasio

WASHINGTON — A gay veteran. A Louisiana political scion. And the chief executives of the nation's two largest cities.

As the U.S. Conference of Mayors opens its annual conference in Washington this week, all eyes will be on the unofficial four-man class of mayors who may run for president in 2020.

That's because these mayors — Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Bill De Blasio of New York, Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana — have emerged as rising stars of the Democratic Party at a time when Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress, the governorships of 33 states and about 1,000 more state legislative seats than Democrats across the country.

Dysfunction in Washington, punctuated by the federal government shutdown, highlights why voters may look outside the usual places for future leadership, said Andy Ginther, the mayor of Columbus, Ohio.

"If you had a mayor in the White House, you wouldn’t be staring at a government shutdown," Ginther said Friday morning, just hours before President Donald Trump and congressional leaders failed to pass a stopgap spending bill. "They want a leader who can get things done, who isn't as worried about ideological purity. ... There's not a Democratic or Republican way to plow the streets or pick up the trash or to form public-private partnerships." 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

In This Year's 'Pink Wave,' Women Help Women Run for Office

TSA Order is Aimed at Stopping Terrorists from Detonating Bombs in Plane Cargo Holds

This report was broadcast on January 22. 

Source: CBS News

Missing Man Prompts Water Emergency in California

Source: CBS News

Rex Tillerson Addresses Syria Crisis in Paris

Source: CBS News

AG Jeff Sessions Interviewed in Russia Probe

Source: CBS News

In Memoriam: Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Former Chief of Staff to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Statement from Rev. Al Sharpton

Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network (NAN), today released the following statement on the passing of Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, famed national civil rights leader and the former chief of staff to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“The passing of Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker marks the transition of one of one of the greatest social justice and theological minds of our time. Walker was the first Chairman of the National Action Network and a man that mentored me as a civil rights and social justice leader, and while I am saddened by his passing, I am committed to carrying on his legacy. It is both a personal and global loss to me. May he rest in peace.”

In a book on NAN’s history written by Jamal Watson, Dr. Walker is quoted as saying the following about NAN: “When I got involved, NAN was still just an idea,” Walker recalled. “I helped to give the organization some infrastructure. I helped to fund the organization out of my own pocket.”

Rev. Sharpton credits Dr. Walker with helping bring structure to NAN, bringing him to meet Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and travelling with him to other places around the world. He also brought in preachers from around the country to work with NAN and serve on its board.

Sources: Mercury and TheHistoryMakers

From The G-Man salutes Dr. Walker's monumental contributions to the fight for civil rights with the following video. May he forever rest in peace. 

21st Century Fascism -- Republican/Trump Style, Part 3: What Can be Done, An Introduction

This column is the third in this series. The first two were fairly easy to write. They first defined traditional, 20th century fascism. They then show how 21st century fascism, in the United States, can be best defined as "functional fascism." That is because it is designed to achieve many of the goals of traditional fascism without employing certain of the traditional forms. Finally, they discuss some of the specific features of Trumpite/Republican functional fascism in the U.S. This part of the set is not so easy, because there are many paths that can be taken in carrying out what we generally call "The Resistance" (e.g., see The Nation, Jan. 29/Feb. 5, 2018). And in fact, in the writing, it became two parts, this one on some general thoughts on the topic, and the final one, Part 4, next week on some specifics.

The term "The Resistance" in fact has multiple meanings. They range from that of Refuse Fascism, which focuses on street rallies and mass organizing with the goal of overthrowing "The Trump/Pence Regime," to the strongly anti-Trump, but electoral-politics-focused approach of Alan Grayson's "The Resistance." Some of them may seem complementary, some of them may seem to be opposed to each other. 

One major problem for the planners of the (generic) Resistance is how to mobilize its various components so that they can be mutually supportive and work together towards eventually removing the Trumpite/Republicans from power. Already, one can find a good deal of in-fighting among the anti-Trumpists of various stripes. This accomplishes nothing but weakening the movement. Unfortunately, just saying that will not do much to diminish it. But if Trumpite/Repub./fascism is eventually to be defeated, that infighting will have to go. (And oh yes, I'm sure that I will be attacked just for saying that.)

A second major problem is to be faced is just what should replace the Trumpite/-Republican/fascists. If previous experience is to be a guide, especially given what happened in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), the second problem will be even harder to solve than the first one. BUT, in my view if the Resistance forces cannot agree to resolve those issues sometime down the road rather than right up front, we are never going to get down the road to the dispossession of the Trumpite/Republican/fascists. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: OpEdNews

Dems Fold on This Shutdown, But the Next One Could Be Worse

Chuck Schumer accepted Mitch McConnell’s promise to vote on Dreamers in exchange for reopening the government. If the majority leader breaks his promise, all hell will break loose.

By Sam Stein, Gideon Resnick, and Andrew Desiderio

Two truths emerged from a deal that the Senate cut on Monday to re-open the federal government after a weekend-long shutdown. The first is that Democrats caved. The second is that they find themselves somewhat better positioned for what is likely to be another, far more bitter, shutdown battle in the coming weeks.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced on Monday that he would accept a deal that would fund the government through Feb. 8 in exchange for a relatively vague promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) to bring up legislation that would address the so-called Dreamers—undocumented youth brought to the U.S. illegally.

The deal was, on its surface, devoid of a major win for either party—but especially for Democrats. Republicans kicked the can down the road on government funding, but they also gave no concrete policy concessions in exchange for votes. A majority of Senate Democrats sided with them anyway.

“Are you looking for a spine?” one top Senate Democratic aide told The Daily Beast after the Senate vote concluded. “Because, I don’t have one to sell you.”

But the loss obscured what others saw as a longer term gain for Democrats. As Congress now goes about considering immigration reform, there are new political variables at play.

Republicans no longer have children’s health care as a political cudgel against Democrats, since the bill that passed on Monday includes a six-year authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). And McConnell is on the spot to follow through on his pledge to resolve the standoff over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

In caucus meetings, Senate Democrats made the case that they need to show Republicans that they are willing to go to extreme lengths—even forcing another shutdown next month—in order to salvage DACA protections. Liberal activists are expected to mobilize a campaign to pressure Democrats to keep their word. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast 

Was This Russian General Murdered Over the Steele Dossier?

The notorious dossier on Trump that Republicans want to discredit may well have been credible enough in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes to get at least one person killed.

By Amy Knight 

The dossier on Donald Trump compiled by former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele—which made headlines for its salacious, unconfirmed passage about Trump and hookers performing for him in a Moscow hotel room—has been denounced by the president’s people as fake news, of course.

But the document was a mixed collection of information and allegations far more precise than the rumors about compromising sexual activities, and some of what's in it may have unnerved not only Trump, but the Kremlin, where hunting down leaks can take a fatal turn.

During his recently released August 2017 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Glenn Simpson was asked about sources for the sensational dossier, which Simpson’s firm, Fusion GPS, commissioned. Responding for him, Simpson’s lawyer, Joshua Levy, blurted out a surprising warning: “Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier.”

In his subsequent November testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, which was made available last Thursday, Simpson denied knowing specific cases of people being killed because of the dossier, but he then noted cryptically that “people literally risked their lives to tell us some of this stuff.”

In fact, there is evidence that at least one Russian was murdered because of Steele’s revelations: Gen. Oleg Erovinkin of Russia’s State Security Service (FSB). On the morning of Dec. 26, 2016, Erovinkin, age 61, was found dead in his car in central Moscow. Life News, known to be a Kremlin mouthpiece, first claimed on its website that Erovinkin had been “killed,” but then quickly changed its story, saying simply that Erovinkin had “died.” FSB investigators were called immediately to the death scene, and news outlets soon reported that Erovinkin had succumbed to a heart attack. There was no more official Russian mention of him. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

Portugal Says Brexit Has Boosted Its Economy

Source: euronews.

Stark Choice for Britain: Invest in Army or Face Russian Attack

Source: euronews.

Crimean Kids Learn How to Defuse Landmines

Source: euronews.

President Erdogan Defends Turkey's Offensive in Syria

Source: euronews.

Davos Kicks Off with Good and Bad News

Source: euronews.

Mayor de Blasio Makes an Announcement About the Opioid Epidemic

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

NYCHA General Manager Announces Resignation Amid Lead Paint Scandal

By Greg B. Smith

NYCHA’s second-in-command — who was heavily involved in the agency’s effort to hide its lead paint inspection failures from tenants and the public — announced his resignation on Monday.

Michael Kelly, the general manager of the Housing Authority, was instrumental in NYCHA’s response after the agency realized that for years it had violated local law and federal regulations requiring annual lead paint inspections.

Despite that knowledge, top authority managers continued to falsely claim NYCHA was in compliance and did not disclose this failure for more than a year.

Kelly, whose salary is $216,429, is the third top NYCHA official to step down in the wake of the lead paint scandal. Following the DOI report detailing these failures in November, two others — Brian Clark and Jay Krantz — resigned. A third, Louis Ponce, was demoted.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Daily News (via Empire Report New York) 

The Elusive Promise of Police Body Cams

By Errol Louis 

The public support and exuberance with which the NYPD has joined other big-city departments in equipping patrol officers with body-worn video cameras — a rollout still very much in progress — may soon give way to buyer’s remorse. We currently run the risk of seeing a potentially useful strategy to enhance police-community relations fail to resolve controversial cases.

Earlier this month, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest officers’ union, sued the de Blasio administration for releasing body-camera footage of an encounter between officers and a Bronx man named Miguel Richards last September that ended with him being shot to death by cops.

The PBA argues that the footage amounts to part of the cops’ personnel record, which by law, it says, must be kept private. The NYPD says the department’s leaders have the power to release videos that have been edited to protect the privacy of officers, defendants, victims, witnesses and bystanders.

The fact that such a fundamental question as who controls the release of body-worn camera footage is still up in the air underscores how little we really know about how best to use the technology to enhance policing and public accountability.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Daily News (via Empire Report New York) 

Oneida Police: Unarmed Man Dies in Custody After Being Tasered Twice

ONEIDA, N.Y. -- An unarmed man died Monday after being struck twice by officers' Tasers in the city of Oneida, Oneida City Police Chief Paul Thompson said.

John C. Havener Jr., 41, of Vernon Center, died at a local hospital after he was subdued, Thompson said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

The New York Attorney General's Office is investigating the death, he said. The office investigates deaths of unarmed people in police custody, under an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Oneida police arrived around 4:15 a.m. Monday on Route 5 in Oneida in response to a call about a man, later identified as Havener, standing in the street, shouting at drivers, Thompson said.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: syracuse.com (via Empire Report New York) 

N.Y. Democrats Unveil Ad Campaign to ‘Replace and Repeal’ Federal Tax Law

By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY — The state Democratic Party — controlled by Gov. Cuomo — unveiled a “replace and repeal” ad campaign tied to the federal tax act.

The announcement came Monday, the same day a federal corruption trial involving former Cuomo confidante and longtime aide Joseph Percoco began.

“New York is going to lead the charge to replace and repeal the GOP tax plan and send a clear message — any Republican who doesn't take action now will be held accountable come November,” state Democratic Party Executive Director Geoff Berman said.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The New York Daily News (via Empire Report New York) 

How They Voted: NY Delegation Split on Spending Bill to End Shutdown


The three-day federal government shutdown is over. 

Congress on Monday passed a three-week spending bill, bringing an end to the temporary stalemate that stemmed from the debate over protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. 

The House passed the continuing resolution by a 266-150 vote. The Senate approved it by an 81-18 margin. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York's senior senator, reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reopen the government and continue discussions about a permanent solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. President Donald Trump rescinded the policy, which was established under the Obama administration, last year. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: auburnpub.com (via Empire Report New York) 

Shock Jock Don Imus Will Retire from His Radio Show in March


One of the most controversial voices in radio is shutting off his mic.

Shock jock Don Imus announced this morning that he is retiring from his eponymous Imus in the Morning radio show. The “I-Man” will broadcast for the final time on March 29.

While Imus’ contract originally went through the end of 2018, the 77-year-old said on air that the bankruptcy of Cumulus Media, which syndicates Imus in the Morning, had required a change of plans.

The move will also affect the show’s six-member staff, who the host paid out of his own multi-million dollar contract. Imus said he was announcing his retirement early to give them a chance to find work.

He added that Cumulus initially offered to pay show staff through March 31, and then offered him $1 million to be part of a new WABC morning show until December. Imus declined the extension.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Observer (via Empire Report New York) 

Cuomo Ensures Medicaid Coverage for DACA Recipients Regardless of Federal Action

Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy will remain eligible for state-funded Medicaid, regardless of any federal changes to or termination of the program. There are approximately 42,000 DACA recipients in New York, many of whom are at risk of losing their employment-based health insurance if the federal government changes or terminates the program. Under New York law, DACA recipients are considered PRUCOL (Permanently Residing Under Color of Law) and eligible for state-funded Medicaid or CHIP.

"The federal government's failure to take action to protect DACA recipients is appalling, un-American, unjust and puts hundreds of thousands of children at risk. Here in New York we will do everything in our power to protect DACA recipients and ensure they receive health care," Governor Cuomo said. "As Washington holds DACA recipients hostage for funding for a wall, we will not allow vitriol and dysfunction to put lives at risk. We will continue to stand up for the rights of immigrants, and will continue to defend the principles of opportunity and equality that this state and this nation were founded upon."

DACA allows for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to be eligible for work permits and receive renewable periods of deferred action from deportation. After the Trump Administration announced plans to terminate the DACA program, New York State filed a complaint to protect New York Dreamers.

Information on applying for or renewing Medicaid coverage for DACA recipients is available here. The state funds all of the costs associated with this coverage.

The New York State Office for New Americans

Governor Cuomo established the Office for New Americans to assist newcomers to New York State who are eager to contribute to our economy and become part of the family of New York State. The New York State Office for New Americans helps New Americans fully participate in New York State civic and economic life.

The Office is committed to strengthening New York State's welcoming environment for New Americans and facilitating their success by: creating a network of neighborhood-based "Opportunity" Centers; increasing access to English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (ESOL) training; preparing New Americans for the naturalization process; connecting New Americans to business resources to harness their entrepreneurial spirit; developing and leveraging the professional skills of New Americans; strengthening the connections between New Americans and their communities through civic engagement and other opportunities; reduce exploitation of New Americans by scammers and con artists; and marshal state resources to better serve New Americans.

The New York State Liberty Defense Project

The Liberty Defense Project is the first-in-the-nation, state-led public-private project to assist immigrants, regardless of status, in obtaining access to legal services and process. In 2017, Governor Cuomo announced a historic $11.4 million investment in this project.

The Liberty Defense Project is administered by the state's Office for New Americans and is run in partnership with law firms, legal associations, advocacy organizations, major colleges and universities, and bar associations.

The Liberty Defense Project provides:

Free legal consultations and screenings for immigrants throughout New York State; direct representation to immigrants in deportation proceedings as well as other cases; help with filing immigration applications for naturalization, employment authorization, permanent residency, etc.; and Know Your Rights trainings for immigrants and community at large.

More information on New York State's resources for immigrants is available here.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Monday, January 22, 2018

Free Naloxone Training Sessions in Greene County, NY

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services today announced that it will conduct a series of free Naloxone training sessions to be held in Greene County. The trainings are supported by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. During the sessions, participants will learn how to recognize, respond to, and reverse an opioid overdose using Naloxone.

“Naloxone is an important tool in the fight against addiction, and has been instrumental in saving lives across New York State by reversing the effects of an overdose,” OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said. “I urge anyone who is able to take advantage of these trainings to do so and learn how to administer this lifesaving medication. By ensuring more people know how to use Naloxone, we help to further protect the health of all New Yorkers and build stronger communities.”

The dates, times, and locations of each training session are listed below:
January 23, 6:00pm: DM Hamilton Steamer Company #2:119 Mansion Street, Coxsackie NY 12051 (Contact Jen Warren at (518) 380-4585 to register) 
February 5, 6:00pm: Ashland Town Hall: 12094 Route 23, Ashland NY 12407 (Contact Heather Younes at (518) 734-3636 to register) 
February 7, 3:30pm & 6:00pm: Mountain Top Library: 6093 Main Street, Tannersville NY 12485 (Contact Maureen Garcia at (518) 589-5707 to register)
 All training sessions are free and open to the public, but reservations for each event are strongly encouraged. Participants must be at least 16 years of age.

OASAS is also seeking partners for similar training events in Greene County. Communities and organizations looking to arrange additional trainings can email OpioidSTR.General@oasas.ny.gov or call (518) 485-0757.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the NYS OASAS website.

Visit CombatAddiction.ny.gov to learn more about the warning signs of addiction, review information on how to get help, and access resources on how to facilitate conversations with loved ones and communities about addiction. 

For tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing alcohol or drug use, visit the State's Talk2Prevent website.

Source: The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

Senate Advances Measure to End Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON — The three-day government shutdown is on the verge of ending after enough Senate Democrats joined Republicans to advance a three-week extension of funding in exchange for GOP assurances that Congress would take up a larger immigration bill in that time.

The stopgap funding measure, which needed 60 votes to clear a key procedural hurdle, was approved 81 to 18.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

SA President Applauds Chancellor’s State of the University System Address

The following statement was issued today by SUNY Student Assembly president Marc J. Cohen. 

“SUNY students applaud the vision outlined for our system by Chancellor Kristina Johnson in her first State of the University System address. In just her first few months in office, Chancellor Johnson has consistently and passionately engaged students in issues affecting the SUNY community. We appreciate how that engagement has influenced the Chancellor’s vision for SUNY.

"The Student Assembly supports Chancellor Johnson’s call for doubling the amount of research done on SUNY campuses. As the Chancellor noted, investing properly in research now will allow SUNY to be a national leader in technological development in the decades to come.

"SUNY students need their campus and system administrations to recognize the unique struggles and obstacles many face on the path to degree completion. The commitment to individualized education articulated by the Chancellor presents new opportunities for SUNY to ease these obstacles for students.

"The Student Assembly strongly supports the Chancellor’s commitment to making SUNY a national and global leader in environmental sustainability. Setting more ambitious targets for reducing SUNY’s carbon footprint, as the Chancellor did in her address, is a necessary response to the immediacy of the challenges posed by climate change.

"Developing strong public-private partnerships is a key policy priority for the Chancellor, and the Student Assembly recognizes the potential for such partnerships to yield vital academic and employment opportunities for students. It is important for students to know that the time and money invested in their degrees will lead to well-paying, stable employment after graduation. We applaud the Chancellor’s engagement with the private sector to create visible pathways to employment for students.”

Source: SUNY SA

'Harlem Hellfighters' Exhibit at the Empire State Plaza

Members of the 369th Infantry Regiment wearing the Croix de Guere (Cross of War) in 1919. The Croix de Guere is a French military decoration first awarded during World War I to French and allied foreign soldiers. Image Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

New York State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn M. Destito today announced a new exhibition, Their Glory Can Never Fade: The Legacy of The Harlem Hellfighters, will be on view in the Vietnam Memorial Gallery located in the Robert Abrams Justice Building at the Empire State Plaza, February 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

“This special exhibition will honor the achievements and sacrifices the soldiers of the African American 369th Infantry Regiment made in defense of our nation as well as their contributions to the great American art form, jazz,” Commissioner Destito said. “For too long their valor went unrecognized, and we at OGS are proud to continue what Governor Cuomo, following the 2015 posthumous awarding of the Medal of Honor to Harlem Hellfighter and Albany resident Sgt. Henry Johnson, described as efforts to right this historic wrong. I encourage everyone to see this exhibition and be inspired by these brave New Yorkers’ courage and accomplishments.”

This exhibition explores the history and legacy of an all-African American regiment from New York that was dispatched to fight for France in World War I. Authorized in 1913, and based in Harlem, the 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th Infantry of the New York National Guard, was the first African American regiment of the New York National Guard. Prior to the War, the 369th also assembled talented African American and Puerto Rican musicians to form an impressive regimental band that influenced the development of jazz music.

The 369th served longer than any American regiment of World War I, and was nicknamed “Hellfighters” by the German army due to its actions on the battlefield. Through dedication and a sense of purpose to prove their worth, the 369th transformed into a decorated unit, despite the discrimination they faced during that time. In addition to their story of valor on the battlefield, members of the 369th regimental band left an indelible mark on music and cultures worldwide. 2018 marks the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance.

This legacy has had a lasting impact on African Americans’ participation in impending conflicts post-World War I, especially notable in the Vietnam War, which saw the largest proportion of African Americans serving in any American war. The Vietnam War officially marked the first time that African Americans served in fully integrated combat units.

NYS Division of Veterans Affairs Executive Deputy Director Joel Evans said, “New Yorkers who served during World War I faced a conflict that the world had never previously seen. They faced these battles with bravery and for their service and actions we are eternally grateful. With the centennial of World War I, it is important to remember those veterans who served like the soldiers of the 369th Regiment, which included heroes such as Henry Johnson. This exhibition ensures that the sacrifices and struggles of the dual identity of soldier and as African Americans of those who served in the 369th Regiment are recognized and given homage.”

369th Veterans Association Inc. Albany Chapter President Deryl McCray said, “As a member and president of the 369th Veterans Association Inc. This exhibition is a pride-building platform for our community, and will brighten the light upon a group of men who fought with conviction to prove their worth to our great country with hopes of equality as their reward. It gives me great pleasure to be the representative of 369th Veterans Association and our members who are committed to keeping and protecting the legacy of these great warriors who have played a significant role in shaping American and world history.”

The exhibition will feature historical objects and images, including a presentation of images that will be accompanied by the spoken words of Noble Sissle Jr., son of 369th veteran and musician Noble Sissle; Bronx Music Heritage Center Folklorist, City Lore and Co-Artistic Director Elena Martinez; 369th Experience Program Executive Producer Stephany Neal; and 369th Veterans Association Inc. Albany Chapter President Deryl McCray.

There will be an opening reception that is free and open to the public on Wednesday, February 7, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Vietnam Memorial Gallery. The event will feature special remarks by representatives of the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs and the 369th Veterans Association Inc.

For additional information about the exhibition and the New York State Vietnam Memorial & Gallery, click here; follow @NYSCapitol; visit on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; or call the Empire State Plaza Visitor Center and Gift Shop at (518) 474-2418.

Source: The New York State Office of General Services