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Assemblymember Deborah Glick Assemblymember
66th District
New York City


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Call (212) 674-5153
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Monday through Friday,
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.





Deborah Glick's Neighborhood Update

Dear Neighbor,

As we face the current severe fiscal crisis on a federal, state and city level the tax cutting mania of the last boom cycle has left every level of government without the resources to provide the essential services everyone has come to depend upon. The current crisis cannot be solved simply by cutting services. We will need to raise taxes and the debate should be about what are the most broad-based progressive taxes to increase, not the least, such as the Governorís proposal to reinstate sales tax on clothing purchases under $110.00.

The alternative is to return to the mid 1970ís, when education was slashed and a generation of school children had their potential seriously undermined. I believe that we can learn from past mistakes and make better choices this time around. New Yorkers have endured economic hardships before and I believe that together we will overcome todayís challenges.

Best Wishes -
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Under the threat of owner buy-out, West Village Houses tenant leader Katy Bordonaro, Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, and Congressman Jerrold Nadler participated in a rally on Feb. 2, 2003 to support rent and eviction protections for Mitchell-Lama tenants.



The Assembly Acts Early On Affordable Housing

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n light of the displacement of many families after September 11th and the current economic downturn, New Yorkers shouldnít have to fear losing their homes, as rent regulations are due to sunset this June 30. I will be fighting once again this year to renew and strengthen the laws that uphold these important housing protections and allow low- and middle-income New Yorkers to remain an integral part of our communities.

I am pleased to report that in early February, I joined with the Assembly majority in passing legislation that will help protect the supply of quality, affordable housing in New York City by extending and strengthening existing rent regulation laws through 2008, expanding the Loft Law, and limiting rent surcharges for capital improvements.

The rent regulation bill (A2716-A) guarantees that rents for working families will be kept at affordable levels by setting limits on how quickly and how high they can be raised, and providing for these protections through 2008. This legislation will protect working families from skyrocketing rents, giving them peace of mind in these economically difficult times. Notice that the addition of 84,000 units to the unregulated market had no substantial effect on lowering rents, although the recession has, perhaps, slowed the escalation of rents.

This bill also ends high rent vacancy decontrol, a provision in the current legislation that allows landlords to decontrol a unit when the rent reaches $2000 and the unit is vacated. Landlords regularly deregulate vacant units by applying the statutory vacancy bonus to a vacant apartment and then calculating the amount that must be spent on renovations to get the legal rent up to $2000. Under this provision alone, over 84,000 apartments were decontrolled over the past decade and without repeal, it will only be a matter of time before there are no regulated units left.

Additionally, this bill extends rent and eviction protections to Mitchell-Lama developments occupied on or after January 1, 1974. With the impending buyouts of two Mitchell-Lama developments in the district, West Village Houses and Independence Plaza, the importance of protections for Mitchell-Lama residents is a critical concern for me during the current legislative session.

Finally, in an effort to combat system abuses and preserve the affordable housing stock, the bill also includes provisions restricting landlordsí ability to take possession of units for their own primary residence and reducing the allowable vacancy rent increase from 20 percent to 10 percent.

The Loft Law (A2717) will expand the protections of the original Loft Law to an estimated 10,000 people who were living in converted non-residential buildings from 2000 to 2002. This will mean that thousands of people who have invested money in improving their homes wonít be locked out. The original Loft Law was largely responsible for the transformation of SoHo in the 1970s and 1980s from an industrial wasteland to a thriving neighborhood. This success should be spread to other areas.

Another bill passed by the Assembly this year, A2718, strikes a balance between maintaining affordable housing and ensuring adequate incentives for landlords to make improvements to their buildings. Currently, landlords recoup the costs of major improvements to their properties in seven years through higher rents, but are able to keep charging the higher rents after the seven years are up. Under this bill, once the costs have been recovered, the extra charges have to be eliminated.

These bills provide strong and extensive protections to low- and middle-income New Yorkers who need secure affordable housing, especially in these tough economic times. With the early passage of these bills, the Assembly majority has taken the lead on this critical concern. It is now incumbent on the Governor and the State Senate to join with us in addressing the ongoing housing crisis in New York City.


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Legislation To Look For During Session 2003

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ollowing September 11, 2001 the Governor finally recognized the need for a more inclusive definition of crime victim. He issued an Executive Order for victims of the World Trade Center attacks that would recognize the opposite or same sex domestic or live-in partners of people killed in the disaster for the purposes of disaster relief. This change in thinking gives me hope that my bill, A.1033, carried with Senator Eric Schneiderman, which expands eligibility of family members for crime victimsí compensation, will have a good chance of passage.

I am gratified that after 30 years the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) was signed into law this past December 2002 and now includes the words "sexual orientation" to New York Stateís human rights law. Although passage of this bill is a long overdue victory, it leaves New Yorkers without explicit protection against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in housing, employment and public accommodations. I am proud to announce that this year the Assembly will introduce the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). I look forward to participating in a grassroots effort to educate policymakers and the general public about transgender issues and the need for protections against gender-based discrimination.

I am also reintroducing my bill that establishes Domestic Partnership on a statewide basis. Currently, many localities and employers including the State of New York and City of New York already recognize domestic partnerships and provide health insurance benefits. After the passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) last December 2002, the next step should be the recognition of full and inclusive benefits for domestic partners. I am modeling this legislation on a comprehensive bill passed in California that outlines a registration procedure and anti-discrimination policy and benefits in the areas of accommodations, insurance, employment, disability and adoption. Senator Schneiderman will co-sponsor this bill in the Senate as well.

I am excited about the prospects for passage of my legislation, A.1080, which would prohibit evictions of senior citizens who own or keep pets. The positive health benefits of companion animals for our senior citizens have been carefully documented. Many seniors live far away from family members. Pets provide companionship, making seniors feel less isolated and thereby maintaining their well-being. All Public Housing tenants, senior or not, have the right to companion pets. Itís time that multiple dwelling landlords recognize the legitimate need of seniors to share their dwellings with companion animals. The City Council is on record in support of this type of legislation as is the Humane Society and The ASPCA.

Banks and other businesses that send monthly invoices have started a worrisome trend. In order to provide incentives for consumers to pay on-line, they have started charging a monthly fee for invoices that are mailed. Some of the fees reported have been as high as $8 per month. Since approximately 50% of households lack either a computer or Internet access, it is impossible for all consumers to avoid this charge. I have recently introduced a new bill, A.1367, which would prohibit businesses from charging consumers a fee for those paper invoices. The amount of money that the companies save by processing on-line is only a portion of the total fee charged. There is some indication that companies are using this fee to offset declining revenues and serve as a profit center for the company. Consumers already pay for the cost of processing invoices in the price for services. People should not be penalized for being unable or unwilling to use electronic payment.




BUDGET BRIEFING 2003

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n spite of the dismal economy, we have a responsibility to continue to provide important services for New Yorkers in this state. However, the Governorís recently released budget proposal demonstrates that he is not making difficult decisions, but rather the wrong decisions. His budget proposal would harm public schools, make it more difficult to attain a college degree, threaten quality healthcare, and create hidden fees and taxes directed at working families.

Education
Particularly damaging will be the Governorís proposed $1.24 billion cut in public education, the largest such cut in state history. The plan would eliminate the Assemblyís successful LADDER program. Without this crucial program, 60,000 children will be forced out of Pre-K, 50,000 children will no longer benefit from class size reduction, and 80,000 children will no be able to depend on Extended Day After School Programs. The Governorís budget also proposes to cut Teacher Support Aid by two thirds undermining efforts to recruit and retain teachers to enable them to provide effective instruction to students. In addition, the Governorís budget would negatively affect some 400,000 severely disabled children and would cut the Early Intervention Program by 20 percent and impose parental fees to access this program. The Governorís cuts to education will lower academic standards and encourage higher property taxes. If we are to prepare for the future and rebuild New Yorkís economy, we must invest in our childrenís education.

Higher Education
The Governorís budget would make getting a college degree much more difficult for thousands of students. The proposal includes a $1,200 tuition increase for SUNY and CUNY students, a 33% percent cut in the funding for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and a $345 per student reduction in community college aid. By increasing financial barriers we are preventing many New Yorkers from the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for economic advancement. It makes unequivocal fiscal sense that we should make it easier to attain a college degree, not harder.

Healthcare
The Governorís budget plan would also have a disastrous effect on healthcare in the state. The Governor is calling for the reduction in Medicaid spending of $1.6 billion and a 10% fee increase for seniors in the EPIC program (74% of EPIC recipients are older women). He would also reinstate a 0.7% tax on hospitals and a 0.6% tax on many other healthcare providers like home care agencies. These costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher fees and fewer doctors, thus seriously jeopardizing quality healthcare. To make matters worse, the price of prescription drugs is skyrocketing, forcing people to choose between essential medications and necessities - like food and heat. Fundamentally, the Governorís budget asks us to pay more for healthcare and places an even larger financial burden on seniors and low-income families who will receive poorer care.

It is unclear how we will close the budget gap without deep and damaging program cuts. The Governor has stated he wonít entertain delaying tax cuts that are scheduled to take effect, yet he is imposing "hidden hikes" - taxes, fees and surcharges that include freezing the School Tax Relief (STAR) program, discontinuing the tax exemption on clothing and shoes (costing consumers an average of $363 a year), and increasing transportation fares through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (costing commuters $1.4 billion). His budget should not be balanced on the backs of working families and our most vulnerable citizens.

During the upcoming budget negotiations, I will work in the Assembly to make the right choices for New York by protecting the vital services upon which we depend. I believe that revenue enhancements such as a temporary income tax surcharge and closing corporate tax loopholes can provide the means necessary for continued funding of vital programs in education, higher education and healthcare.




Having Trouble Getting Contraceptives Paid For?

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s a result of the recent passage of the Womenís Health and Wellness Act, employers are required to include coverage for contraceptive pills and devices if they offer prescription drug coverage to employees. For those not already covered, this coverage will be effective at the time of renewal of the companyís policy. Companies or organizations that are self-insured for health care coverage are NOT required to offer this coverage. But there is hope for women and their families who are covered by self-insured plans. There have been several rulings that have declared the lack of coverage for contraceptives to be sex discrimination. This is based on the fact that all prescriptive contraceptives are directed to women. The website, www.covermypills.org offers information and strategy for getting contraceptives covered by your employer. Many times all it takes is to ask your employer to include that benefit in your basic coverage. If you donít ask, how will they know that you want this coverage? The website also offers advice and contact information.




March Movie Madness Includes Villager Nominee

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ower Manhattan has provided the wonderful backdrop to innumerable movies and television shows. While we revel in our celebrity locale, on occasion residents feel overwhelmed, but this year all of us have a film to celebrate. Watching the Academy Awards will be all the more exciting for downtown viewers. The Collector of Bedford Street, a nominee in the short documentary category, is the story of Larry Selman. Larry is a developmentally disabled adult, who has been an active member of the Bedford Barrow Commerce Block Association for over 25 years.

Through his volunteer efforts to sell raffles and act as Santa at the annual holiday party and as one of the leading fundraisers for the annual Jerry Lewis telethon, Larry has given much to his community. In return, his neighbors have given Larry a support system that enables him to live independently. The film was shot and directed by Alice Elliot, a Bedford Street resident and long time BBCer, who has followed Larry through his daily life for several years.

During my tenure as chair of the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, I was pleased to host Larry on a visit to Albany. Larry received a commendation for his work during our annual Legislative Disability Awareness Day. Having achieved an Academy Award nomination is remarkable enough, but weíll all be hoping for another feather in Larryís cap, not to mention Aliceís. But win or lose, Larryís life and the commitment of the community to him makes us all proud.




Emergency Contraception Pills

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e continue to address womenís health issues in Albany. There are two bills focusing on the accessibility of Emergency Contraception Pills (ECPs). ECPs are high-dose birth control pills that are a safe and effective FDA-approved method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex. These pills are not the same as RU486; instead, ECPs avoid pregnancy by preventing implantation of a possibly fertilized egg. When taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, ECPs can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75-89%.

One bill would require hospital emergency rooms to offer emergency contraception to rape survivors. The second bill would allow women to have access to ECPs directly from pharmacists and registered nurses without first having to obtain a prescription. Because ECPs must be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, women may not be able to see a doctor in time. This is particularly true of long holiday weekends. There are very few, if any, side effects and therefore it is deemed a safe and common sense approach to avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

The two bills, which have been introduced in the Assembly, address these two separate matters of accessibility to necessary reproductive health services. Be assured that I will advocate strongly to preserve the right to reproductive freedom and access to the full range of reproductive health services for all women.




Social Service Committee Report

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t gives me great pleasure to announce that I am again serving as Chair of the Assembly Social Services Committee. Over the past two years, the Committee has been successful in securing passage of a number of measures that assist low-income individuals and families to achieve greater economic security, thereby reducing the welfare rolls and the financial obligation of the State and local governments. I look forward to the opportunity to work diligently again this year to protect and improve vital services for those in need in our State in a cost-effective and progressive manner.

During the current Session, the Committee will strive to enact legislation that will improve access to basic education programs for public assistance recipients. Recent studies show that a significant portion of the current welfare population lack basic education skills such as literacy, English proficiency, or a high school equivalency education, which make obtaining and maintaining employment in this slow economy increasingly difficult. Despite these reports, current welfare rules emphasize and require almost all recipients to participate in work programs and strictly limit the time individuals can devote to education. During the 2002 session, both houses overwhelmingly passed legislation that provided a balanced approach to addressing the educational needs of many public assistance while maintaining local districtsí ability to meet federal and state work requirements. The Basic Education bill expanded access to various basic education programs for welfare recipients and also required local social services districts to count a specified amount of time spent in these programs toward a recipientís overall work requirement. Despite the legislationís strong support in both the Assembly and the Senate, the Governor vetoed the bill on December 20, 2002.

During the next several months, Congress will continue to debate the reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform law, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). Congress must reauthorize spending in the legislation in order to continue funding through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant. On several occasions since October 1, 2002, Congress has extended the legislation for short intervals of time as debate on numerous provisions of the legislation continues. The federal welfare reform law made dramatic changes to the nationís welfare system by eliminating the entitlement to cash assistance and imposing time limits, sanctions and work requirements. The legislation drastically changed how New York delivers vital assistance and services to our neediest citizens. As Chair of the Assembly Social Services Committee and Chair of the National Conference of State Legislatureís Human Services and Welfare Committee, I will actively monitor the Congressional debate as key issues develop, and advocate for greater access to education and training.

The Committee will continue to incorporate proposals into the SFY 2003-2004 State budget that focus on assisting indigent families and individuals making the transition from public assistance to economic self-sufficiency. At the same time, the Social Services Committee will work to ensure that the State budget preserves the critical responsibility of society to provide for and care for those in need.




Title IX Revisited

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itle IX is a federal law that prohibits high schools and colleges that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of gender. Title IX is invoked to ensure equal opportunities for girls and women in high school and collegiate sports.

The current Title IX standard of equal opportunity is consistent with standards used by all civil rights laws. There will never be enough participation opportunities or athletic scholarships at the high school or college level to meet the extraordinary interest and ability of male or female athletes. The fairest way to parcel out limited resources and participation opportunities is to have athletic opportunities match up to general student enrollment, which is the current Title IX equal opportunity standard.

The Commission on Opportunity in Athletics, appointed by Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige, was stacked with opponents of Title IX and not surprsingly has offered recommendations that if advanced, would result in the weakening of current Title IX standards.

Recommendations changing the current equality standard vary but each significantly reduces the number of participation slots available to females in high school and college, thereby reducing the athletic scholarships available and inaccurately represents the actual female enrollment and athletic participants. One methodology would allow the use of interest surveys to limit female athletic opportunities despite the fact that the courts have consistently rejected such methodology and research experts maintain that such use is invalid because measures of interest are athletic assessments that reflect cultural stereotypes, limitations of experiences, and the impact of peer, parent, and media messages.

Finally, the Commission has been cited for acting in its own self-interest, against the advice of legal and research experts, conducting hearings in a biased manner, and ignoring evidence that shows continued discrimination against female athletes and continued growth opportunities for male athletes.

You can support Title IX and help discourage the Department of Education from changing the law to disadvantage female students by writing to your US Senators (Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer) and Representative Jerrold Nadler to ask that they contact President Bush and the Secretary of Education to urge no changes in Title IX.

For a full report on this issue and additional information as it applies to athletics contact www.womensSportsFoundation.org.

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Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick and Councilmember Christine Quinn celebrate the opening of the McBurney YMCA on January 15, 2003 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which included Olympic gold medallist Summer Sanders, Chris Miller, Exec. Director of the McBurney YMCA, Annette Osnos, Vice Chairperson of the McBurney Board of Managers, Jane Connorton, President of Saint Vincents Medical Center, and lots of adorable Y users!



Earned Income Tax Credit

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id you know that you may be eligible for up to $5,000 in a refundable tax credit if you are a qualifying low-income worker? Tens of thousands of New Yorkers miss out on this important opportunity every year. This federal and state program is called the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and can mean the equivalent of a nearly $2.00/hour raise for low-income, working New Yorkers. Families with children may qualify if they earned less than $34,178 in 2002; single individuals may qualify if they earned less than $11,060. This includes part-time work, or work that was only for part of the year.

Community Food Resource Center is a non-profit agency that is committed to helping low-income working New Yorkers access this money. They are offering FREE tax preparation and filing, including help with the EITC and other tax credits, to families with children who have earned under $35,000 and individuals with no children who have earned less than $15,000 in 2002.

For more information, call toll-free 1-866-WAGE-PLUS (1-866-DOLARES in Spanish, 1-888-666-6650 in Chinese), or visit their Manhattan Money Central location at the West Harlem Community Kitchen, 252 W. 116th Street between Frederick Douglass Blvd. and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. (subway: 116th Street stop on the 2, 3, B, C), Monday through Thursday 3-8pm and Saturday 10-5pm through April 15th.


Community Tax Aid, Inc. (CTA) will help prepare income tax forms - free of charge - for those taxpayers who meet 2002 eligibility requirements of under $25,000 for families and under $18,000 for individuals. For more information contact the Mayorís Volunteer Action Committee at (212) 788-7550 from 9 AM to 5 PM.



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