In Public Service – September 10, 2019

Felder applauds de Blasio tree announcement

State Sen. Simcha Felder said was pleased when Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new policy on Tuesday that lifted the responsibility from New York City homeowners in cases of sidewalk damage caused by street trees.

Under the old regulations, homeowners had to pay for sidewalk repairs when tree roots grew large, pushed up against the sidewalk, and caused cracks and dislodged sidewalk flags. In some cases, homeowners who failed to make the necessary sidewalk repairs were fined and liens were placed on their homes.

But on Tuesday, de Blasio announced that the city would take responsibility for sidewalk problems caused by city-owned trees. The New York Daily News was the first to report the new policy.

Felder, a Democrat representing Borough Park and Midwood, commended de Blasio.

“I am happy to commend the mayor for taking the leadership to correct a longstanding wrong that infuriated New Yorkers. Those of us who have fought these violations and fines for many years predating this administration are glad to see this arbitrary and unfair policy go,” Felder said.

Gounardes introduces Social Security inheritance bill

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes has introduced a bill that would allow children conceived after the unexpected death of a parent to inherit their parent’s estate and receive federal Social Security survivors’ benefits.

Gounardes, a Democrat representing Bay Ridge and Southwest Brooklyn, said his legislation would benefit families like that of NYPD Det. Wenjian Liu, who was fatally gunned down in his police car on Dec. 20, 2014 while on duty with his partner Det. Rafael Ramos. The hospital set aside Liu’s genetic material, and in July 2017, his widow, Pei Xia Chen, gave birth to a baby girl named Angelina. Angelina has been denied Social Security benefits.

“Families like a Det. Liu’s who suffer a terrible unexpected loss should not be prevented from receiving what is theirs because of antiquated laws. Assisted reproductive technology after one partner dies is now a true option for families that deal with tragedy, including first responders in the line of duty. By ensuring Det. Liu’s family and other families in the same situation are cared for, we honor the memory of Det. Liu and the tremendous sacrifice he made,” Gounardes said.

Pei Xia Chen has endorsed the bill.

Clarke bill seeks to give TPS status to Bahamian nationals

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke has introduced the TPS for Victims of Hurricane Dorian Act to grant temporary protected status (TPS) to Bahamian nationals seeking refuge in the U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. 

“My legislation, the TPS for Victims of Hurricane Dorian Act, will help provide some respite in America for people whose lives have been drastically impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. When life throws a massive curveball, Americans stand up to help those who have fallen on bad luck,” said Clarke, a Democrat representing Central Brooklyn.

Clarke is a second-generation Caribbean-American and is the chairperson of the Immigration Task Force for the Congressional Black Caucus. 

“As a Caribbean-American myself, my heart hurts for those whose lives have changed as they know it back home in the Caribbean. My legislation will assist in easing these folks’ new reality as a result of the devastation they’ve experienced from Hurricane Dorian,” she said.

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