(Albany, NY) The Senate passed legislation that will address the racial disparities that are present in New York’s antiquated marijuana drug laws. New York’s existing marijuana laws disproportionately affect the African American and Latinx communities. This monumental legislation will decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and establish procedures for record expungements for both past and future convictions.
“Communities of color have borne the brunt of New York State’s marijuana drug laws. Our justice system directly reflects who we are as a society and that is why the Senate Majority is taking action to fix this broken system,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “This legislation is marking a momentous first step in addressing the racial disparities caused by the war on drugs. The Senate Majority continues to move forward on full legalization and I thank Senator Jamaal Bailey for his leadership on this issue.”
Bill Sponsor, Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “In New York State, people of color are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession. The misdemeanor charge for public view of marijuana possession gives those people convicted a criminal record that will follow them throughout their lives, potentially limiting their access to housing, access to education, affecting their ability to obtain employment, all leading to a potential inability to provide for their families. While this legislation falls short of the goal of legalization of adult-use cannabis, the ability to create a mechanism for expungement, both retroactively and forward-looking, is a step in the right direction in finally ending the heavy-handed war on drugs that has decimated communities of color.”
African-American and Latinx individuals are arrested at higher rates for misdemeanor marijuana possessions. In New York City, African-Americans are eight times more likely to be arrested on low-level marijuana charges and Latinx people are arrested at five times more. The racial disparities for arrests are wider for cities in Upstate, NY. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), African Americans living in Schenectady County are 74 times more likely to be arrested on a marijuana charge.
Decriminalization of Marijuana, S.6579A, will:
- Decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a violation punishable by a fine.
- Establish procedures for automatic record expungement both retroactively and for future convictions.
- Remove criminal penalties (since a violation is not a crime) for possession of any amount of marijuana under two ounce.
- Reduce the penalty to a $50 fine regardless of criminal history for possession under one ounce, and a $200 fine regardless of criminal history for possession between one and two ounces.
- Add marijuana to the definition of “smoking” under the Public Health Law so that smoking marijuana will be prohibited in any circumstances where smoking tobacco is prohibited by law
Governor Andrew Cuomo Proposed an MTA Fare Increase, that will cause the moderate and low income families and individuals in New York City to through further financial strains. Our housing cost is rising and now our transportation cost will rise, yet again. Enough is Enough. We will not just stand by as billion dollar corporations and their sidekick elected officials continue to hurt the people of our Great City.
Under Coumo's Fare Increase, Single Fares will go from $2.75 to $3.50 and monthly metrocards will go from $121.00 to $154.00.
We Do Not Need A Fare Increase!
We Need Affordable to No Cost Fares, Adequate Repairs, Reliable Service, Accessible Train Stations, Clean Train Stations.
As the Voice of the People, when I become your new City Council Member, I will be working alongside transportation advocates and community leaders to introduce my Transportation Justice For All Bill, that will provide fare rollbacks for everyone. This will bring single ride fares down to $1.75 and monthly metrocards will be reduced to $100.
In that same bill, I will put action behind words and create more accessible subway stations for the elderly and disabled. There will be an independent investigative body that will review the finances of the MTA and find out where the money has been going that should have been used for the necessary repairs and hold all individuals who are responsible for the neglect of our subway riders to be held fully accountable.
This is my promise for my first 30 days in Office. It is time for New Yorkers to start being able to Live and not just Surviving.Read more
On Monday Anthony Beckford along with Let NY Vote, Make The Road New York, Brooklyn's Voters Alliance, 32BJSEIU, CWA and TWU went up to Albany to make sure that the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly passed the Voting Reform Bills that they have been advocating for. An historic moment was made with the passing of various bills on Monday. The are listed below:
Closing The LLC Loophole
An act to amend the election law, in relation to political contributions
Under current election law as interpreted by the State Board of Elections, individuals and corporations can make unlimited contributions to the same candidate, political party or campaign committee by creating multiple limited liability companies (LLCs). Each LLC is treated as an individual donor, even if multiple LLCs are owned by the same person or entity, which makes it harder to determine the real contributor and allows them to evade campaign contribution limits. The Assembly's measure would extend the $5,000 aggregate contribution limit, already applicable to corporations, to include LLCs, and require LLCs to disclose the names of individuals with members hip interests, attributing LLC contributions to them in proportion to such membership interest.
An act to amend the election law, in relation to early voting
Legislation that would establish early voting in New York State, which would take place during a nine-day period before any general, primary, run-off primary or special election. During the early voting period, polling locations would be required to be open for eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends and holidays, and to offer evening hours on at least two days. County boards of elections would have the option of providing additional early voting hours and would be required to publicize to voters the location, dates and hours of all early voting polling places within each county.
Combining the state and federal primaries
Legislation to consolidate the state's election calendar by combining the state and federal primary election dates to the fourth Tuesday in June. This would save taxpayers an estimated $25 million; reduce the burden on county boards of elections and keep New York State compliant with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
No Excuse Absentee Voting
Authorizing ballot by mail by removing cause for absentee ballot voting
To increase access to mail-in ballots at home, the legislative package includes a bill that would amend the New York State Constitution to allow any citizen to receive an absentee ballot upon request - no questions asked. Under current law, residents can only receive absentee ballots if they expect to be absent from the county on the day of the election, or if they have an illness or physical disability. The amendment must be passed by both the Assembly and Senate in consecutive legislative terms before it goes before voters as a ballot referendum.
Voter Registration Transfers
Instructing the boards of elections to automatically transfer voter enrollment for New Yorkers who move from one county to another.
To encourage young people to vote and become civically engaged, the legislative package includes a measure that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote.
A Word From Anthony Beckford:
Although many good Voting Reform biils have been passed by both the Democratic Controlled Senate and Assembly, there are two legislative pieces that must be passed:
1) We must have draft a bill that focuses on allowing incarcerated and formerly incarcerated residents to have the Right to Vote. It is time that we abolish the Jim Crow Era policies and stop the disenfranchisement of Black and Brown people.
2) We must make sure that we get Senator Mertzger's Bill that will fully close the LLC Loophole by banning all corporate funding for campaigns put of the Election Committee and passed by the Senate.
Donate $20 to Anthony Beckford for NYC Today:
Just got word that the bill that the New York Senate is trying to pass to supposedly "Close the LLC Loophole" will in fact not actually close the loophole, but will in fact limit the activities of individuals who try to use LLCs to donate large amounts to a candidate, on top of personally donating to a candidate. This is a good measure that is good, but there is another bill that I definitely support which will Ban Corporate donations altogether.
Senator Jen Metzger has a bill that would actually ban corporate donations and fully close the door on the control that real estate, hedge fund, charter schools and fossil fuel interests had over elected officials.
I fully support Senator Jen Metzger's S1013 bill that will fully close the LLC loophole.
S1013 Via: New York State Senate https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/S1013
The purpose of this legislation is to ban corporations, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, and partnerships from making contributions to political campaigns.
The bill is currently in the State Election Committee, in which Senator Zellnor Myrie is the Chair of. Myself and many organizations will be keeping an eye on this bill. There is not excuse for it to not pass the Election Committee and there is no reason for it to not Pass the Senate and the State Assembly.
- Anthony Beckford is a Community Advocate in the East Flatbush community, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and Activist. Anthony is the member of many progressive organizations and political associations. He has been on the frontlines taking on the many issues in our communities and pushing for sound legislation to be passed.
Senate Bill S1047 has been introduced into Senate. Many ofnua have advocated for GENDA and now it is moving forward.
Prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression; defines "gender identity or expression" as having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self image, appearance, behavior or expression whether or not that gender identity, self image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth; further includes offenses regarding gender identity or expression within the list of offenses subject to treatment as hate crimes.
Today there was a cowardly act of hate committed in Pennsylvania at the Tree of Life Synagogue. This was an act of Anti-Semitism. This follows a week of pipe bombs being sent to various well known Democrats by a Trump Supporter and a Black Man and Black Woman being murdered by a White Supremacist who supported Trump. This is a sad day added to an already sad week. I send my prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of today's attacks. I condemn these attacks and stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and with my fellow members of JFREJ (Jews For Racial and Economic Justice).
Recently we have had street renamings of Haitian Revolution Heroes such as Toussaint and Dessalines in East Flatbush. I am proposing to do a street renaming of Farragut Road and Nostrand Avenue as Boukman Road after the Jamaican Native and Early Leader of the Haitian Revolution who is known as the catalyst of the revolution, Dutty Boukman. The renaming would be very significant, not in just the honoring of a hero, but also in showing the Unity that two Islands in the Caribbean had in abolishing the occupations od colonizers who committed racist brutal acts against the people of the Caribbean. This high honor would bring further unity within the very large Caribbean Community of East Flatbush and Flatbush. It would bring further solidarity between the two cultures of Haiti and Jamaica.
Before 1804: (The True Solidarity between Jamaica and Haiti - The Start of the Haitian Revolution)
Dutty Boukman (Also known as "Boukman Dutty") (died 7 November 1791) was an early leader of the Haitian Revolution, born and enslaved in Jamaica and later in Haiti. He was both a leader of maroons and vodou hougan.
Boukman was a key leader of the slave revolt in the Le Cap‑Français region in the north of the colony. He was killed by the French planters and colonial troops in 7 November 1791, just a few months after the beginning of the uprising. The French then publicly displayed Boukman's head in an attempt to dispel the aura of invincibility that Boukman had cultivated.The fact that French authorities had to do this illutsrates the impact Boukman made on the views of Haitian people during this time.
Boukman was a key leader of the slave revolt in the Le Cap‑Français region in the north of the colony. He was killed by the French planters and colonial troops in 7 November 1791, just a few months after the beginning of the uprising. The French then publicly displayed Boukman's head in an attempt to dispel the aura of invincibility that Boukman had cultivated.The fact that French authorities had to do this illustrates the impact Boukman made on the views of Haitian people during this time. Boukman was known as the catalyst of the Haitian Revolution.
Statement from New York State Assembly Candidate ANTHONY BECKFORD regarding the article below:
"The Mayor's defense of these unethical and predatory practices are part of the reason why I am running for New York State Assembly. A Corrupt Mayor and my opponent who supports his actions are the ingredients of further illegal activities against our communities. It is time that we drive out those who do not care for us and put in those who have and will continue to go above and beyond for our communities. I demand a full criminal investigation into the matter and all parties involved be held accountable. Tenants and Homeowners are to be protected and I am definitely the one who will provide the protection the need. My Housing Justice Bill that I will introduce after I win the November 6th General Election, will provide that protection."
De Blasio Defends City Taking African American Properties -Read more
Raise the Age New York Campaign Statement on the First Day of State-Wide Implementation
October 1, 2018 -Today, as Raise the Age legislation goes into effect across New York State, the Raise the Age coalition recognizes the years of ground-breaking work of hundreds of diverse individuals and organizations, including formerly incarcerated youth and their families, child advocates, service providers, faith leaders, legal services groups, and unions, who worked to make this day a reality. We celebrate our shared victory to raise the age of juvenile accountability in New York State, to require parents be notified of their adolescent’s arrest, to process youth in courts intended to meet their developmental needs, to house youth in settings that keep them safe, and to permit more young people to move forward without the burden of adult criminal records. We are proud that our work together has transformed the juvenile justice system for thousands of youth and families throughout New York State.
We aren’t done yet. In the year ahead, the Raise the Age-New York Campaign will advocate for RTA to be implemented with fidelity to its principles while we continue to forge the path for comprehensive juvenile justice reform. Our priorities include:
*Starting as many cases of 16- and 17-year-olds in Family Court as possible.
*Ensuring that when 16 and 17 year olds must be detained or otherwise incarcerated, they are held in juvenile facilities without adult corrections involvement or oversight.
*Limiting the collateral consequences of court involvement by expanding access to youthful offender (YO) status and raising the YO eligibility to youth under 21.
*Increasing support for prevention and diversion services that keep youth in their communities rather than incarceration.
*Demanding State support for Close to Home.
*Raising the lower age of juvenile delinquency from age 7 to age 12.
These reforms are necessary to help meet the promise of Raise the Age: recognizing that adolescents are children, and prosecuting and placing them in the adult criminal justice system doesn’t work for them and doesn’t make communities safer. It is critical for New York to ensure that youth involved in the criminal justice system have access to court processes, as well as services and placement options that are developmentally appropriate. For more information about the Raise the Age-NY Campaign, visit: RaisetheAgeNY.com.
Actor Malik Yoba and New York State Assembly candidate Anthony Beckford were in the community on Church Avenue and Ocean Avenue, demanding that the youth put Down the guns and embrace life.
"Let us rebuild the foundation of being a community and #JusticeForJustin and all others we have lost to senseless gun violence."