In Public Service – Monday, December 2, 2019

Colton launches toy drive

Assemblymember William Colton is asking residents to donate toys to a toy drive he is organizing for the U. S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign.

Colton’s toy drive will take place from now until Dec. 15. Residents can drop off new, unwrapped toys at his office at 155 Kings Highway.

“My office has been helping to collect Toys for Tots on behalf of the U. S. Marine Corps for a number of years. The US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program is a perfect example that our servicemen and women are doing more than just serving our country,” said Colton.

Colton, a Democrat representing Gravesend and parts of Bensonhurst and Coney Island, also collects toys in conjunction with Shorefront Toys for Tots to donate to Coney Island Hospital.

For more information on the toy drive, call Colton’s office at 718-236-1598.

Rose seeks changes to bail reform law

 U.S. Rep. Max Rose has joined a bipartisan group of fellow New York members of Congress to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature to change the recently passed bail and discovery reform laws that are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The new laws will accelerate the timeline for authorities to process case materials, potentially placing a larger burden on taxpayers, according to Rose. Local district attorneys have estimated their operating budgets will increase by at least 30 or 40 percent as a result of the new law.

Rose and his colleagues have written a letter to Cuomo asking him to make changes to the law.

“We can and we must ensure our justice system is fair and maintains our public safety. But the fact is with the bail and discovery reforms Albany went too far, too fast,” said Rose, a Democrat representing Southwest Brooklyn and Staten Island. “That’s why I’m joining law enforcement and bipartisan colleagues from across the state in calling for quick action in Albany to ensure the safety of our communities, and especially the victims of these crimes, are not put in jeopardy.”

Persaud-sponsored housing bill becomes law

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill sponsored by State Sen. Roxanne Persaud to collect data from the Mitchell-Lama Housing program and require an annual report be sent to the state comptroller and the attorney general.

Limited-profit housing companies are eligible to dissolve voluntarily and withdraw from the Mitchell-Lama program upon prepayment of the mortgage 20 years after initial occupancy, or 35 years after initial occupancy, for developments aided by loans before May 1, 1959.

It could have a negative impact on tenants because the apartments usually return to the market at much higher prices, according to Persaud, a Democrat representing several neighborhoods in Central and Southern Brooklyn.

“Finding an affordable place to live in New York is difficult as is. And every year, it seems like more Mitchell-Lama housing units are being bought out and listed at market-rate prices. This new legislation will help the state keep track of these buy-outs, in hopes that the data can be used to improve the Mitchell-Lama program and help preserve the affordable housing stock across the city,” Persaud said.

Governor signs Ortiz military bill

A bill sponsored by Assemblymember Felix Ortiz to make it easier for military service members to get public service jobs has been signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Ortiz said his legislation opens the eligibility requirement for military personal seeking public service positions in New York State.

Several public service jobs have specific age requirements, but members of the armed forces who have been absent from New York State due to military duty may exceed the age requirements upon their return to civilian life, Ortiz said.

His legislation will increase by one year the number of years that can be deducted when computing the age for military applicants. 

“Our veterans deserve recognition and support for their years of military service,” said Ortiz, a Democrat representing Red Hook, Sunset Park and parts of Bay Ridge.

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