News Round-up April 27th, 2015

Reintroduction of the Pets and Women Safety Act:

  • Congress is joining states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in protecting the pets of domestic violence victims. The bill, commonly known as The Pets and Women Protection Act (“PAWS”), was reintroduced in March by Congresswoman Katherine Clark. According to the bill’s sponsors, victims of domestic violence often stay in abusive environments out of fear that the abuser will hurt their pet or return to a relationship upon threats of harm to the pet. It can be difficult to take the pets with them when they leave because many shelters do not accept pets.
  • PAWS would expand current federal Personal Protection Laws to include the pets of domestic violence victims. It established grants for institutions that can help victims of domestic violence and their pets with specified housing assistance, support services, and training. Finally, PAWS includes a provision providing for all losses incurred for veterinary costs as a result of injuries to the pet by the abuser.
  • PAWS currently has 50 sponsors, but no date has been scheduled yet for a vote.
  • For the original New Round-up on this bill click here.

 

Families Push Legislators for More Charter Schools:

  • About 30 families are calling on Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to create more charter schools. This was originally part of the state’s budget; however, it was dropped. The current law provides for 25 more charter schools and the cap was set at 460. Families are asking for officials to “Raise the Cap.”
  • Proponents of raising the cap say that there should never be any caps on educational opportunities and that seats in charter schools currently in operation are hard to come by. Critics say that there are already plenty of privately run and publicly funded school options available and that many charter schools have vacant seats, so there is no need for more charter schools. Critics also say that charter schools are held less accountable than public schools and may draw resources away from current public schools.

New Campaign Launched For SNAP Benefits:

  • On April 21, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Human Resources Administration (HRA) Commissioner, announced the creation of foodhelp.nyc
  • The website was launched along with a campaign to spread awareness about SNAP benefits to those who may be eligible for the city’s food assistance program but are not enrolled.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was formerly known as food stamps.
  • The campaign aims to boost the enrollment of seniors and immigrants.  These two groups are often eligible for benefits but they are sometimes unaware and not enrolled.
  • The campaign also aims to boost the economy.  For every one dollar ($1) of SNAP benefits spent, it is estimated that about one dollar and eighty cents ($1.80) is generated.
  • The campaign will be advertised around the city on buses and subways, and also in hair and nail salons, bodegas, barber shops, and laundromats.
  • Materials for SNAP benefits will be made available in Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Haitian Creole.
  • The main source of information regarding SNAP benefits will be on the new state of the art website, foodhelp.nyc, which will include videos of real SNAP clients detailing their stories and how SNAP has helped them.  The website will also contain a link that will direct potential SNAP clients to a SNAP application.  The website will also contain a map, that will direct people to food pantries, community kitchens, and SNAP application centers.
  • For more information, please click here.

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