Weekly Round-up: January 17th, 2014

Domestic Violence

~A settlement was reached between the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and domestic violence victim advocates. Legal Services NYC claimed that the domestic violence victims, who should have been given priority by NYCHA, were denied housing or faced long delays without an explanation given. The settlement, approved by U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman, requires NYCHA to notify applicants within 30 days if they have been approved for priority status and to provide an explanation if priority status is denied. Furthermore, it requires an appeals process for victims who believe NYCHA’s decision was incorrect. (New York Nonprofit Press)

Education

~The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have released new guidelines for states, school districts and schools in regards to school safety and discipline. The guidelines focus on school climate and creating a safe and welcoming environment for teachers and students to allow effective teaching and learning. The Press Release for the DOE can be found here. The Dear Colleague Letter explains that the guidelines were established to provide public schools with guidance on disciplining students without discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Additional information and resources can be found here.

Mayoral Appointments

~Mayor de Blasio has announced Dr. Mary Bassett as Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Rose Pierre-Louis as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. Dr. Mary Bassett previously held the position of Deputy Commissioner of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. As Deputy Commissioner Dr. Bassett helped lead the campaigns to remove smoking and trans fats in restaurants as well as the campaign to require restaurants to display calorie counts. Rose Pierre-Louis has previously held leadership positions at Network for Women’s Services, Sanctuary for Families, and Harlem Legal Services and also served as Deputy Borough President for Manhattan.

Public Health

~Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are working together to expand paid sick leave for New Yorkers. If passed the new law will require all employers with at least five employees to provide paid sick leave. Last Spring under Speaker Christine Quinn the law was expanded to include employers with at least 20 employees to provide paid sick leave. Opponents believe this will cause businesses to leave New York but de Blasio has stated that he will “continue fighting until all families have this fundamental right.” (NY Daily News)
Additionally, de Blasio has come out in support of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act which would establish a fund within the Social Security Administration to provide benefits to families who have to take time off work to care for family members.