By Brooklyn Reader

March 30, 2015, 8:56 am

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State Reaches Agreement on $142 Billion Budget

Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, yesterday announced they have reached an agreement on the 2015-16 Fiscal Year state budget – three days before the April 1 deadline for reaching a deal.

The $142 billion spending plan increases school aid by $1.4 billion to $23.5 billion total – one of the battle fronts between education advocates with differing views on how to improve public education. As part of the increase, the State Education Department is being charged with overhauling the teacher evaluation system.

Among the issues that were originally tied into the spending plan that were left off the final version and will continue to be debated in Albany during the legislative season are a $1.7 billion property tax rebate program, a planned minimum wage increase, a proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility, the development of a uniform sexual assault definition across college campuses, an independent monitor over alleged police brutality cases and the Dream Act—which extends college tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.

Brooklyn Lawmakers Fight To Renew 966 Fulton Lease

City Council Member Inez Barron
City Council Member Inez Barron

Central Brooklyn lawmakers including Public Advocate Letitia James and Borough President Eric Adams are demanding the city renew their lease for 966 Fulton Street – a beloved multicultural and Multigenerational Community Center serving the largely African-American community for over 40 years, Our Time Press reports.

The lawmakers and landlord of the site are saying the City is dragging its heels on renewing the lease at below market-rate value and which expires on September 15.  The site is currently home to Young Minds Day Care and After-School Services, Grace Agard Harewood Neighborhood Senior Center – both city funded – and the extremely popular Jazz 966 cultural arts program. Both the early child care and senior programs are city-funded.

“We’ve known the benefits of intergenerational capacity for years. It is a part of our culture that the elders are there to support and train the babies. This is a concept that comes from our African traditions,” said East New York City Council member Inez Barron, at a rally for the center on the steps of city hall that drew hundreds of people.

Also heavily involved at the rally and in the issue is City Council members Laurie Cumbo, Assembly members Walter Mosley and Charles Barron and Sen. Velmanette Montgomery.

 Felder Says Stop Giving Unclaimed Bodies To Science

Borough Park State Senator Simcha Felder is proposing legislation that would curb the state from giving unclaimed bodies to science labs for studies, JPubUpdates Reported.

The bill would seek to amend the  current city law wherein if bodies are not claimed within as little as 48 hours the morgues and hospitals must donate the bodies to educational institutes for scientific purposes.

“The issue is that basically unclaimed bodies are being released without any sort of consideration of the person’s possible religious or personal beliefs on whether or not they want to be used for such practices,” Queens Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, who sponsored the legislation with Felder told reporters.

Simanowitz points out that the current law does not take into consideration the deceased’s religious beliefs. For example, in Orthodox Judaism the religion is insistent upon placing the body in the ground fully intact, he said.

If passed before the end of the state legislative system in June, the bill would require that hospitals and morgues obtain permission from the next of kin before they hand over a body for academic purposes, according to the Daily News.

If a family member cannot be reached, then the assumption would be that the family would reject any dissection and autopsy, releasing the body for burial.

GreenField, Treyger Hold Fire Safety Night

In the wake of the recent horrific tragedy where seven sibling children died in a fire, Councilman David Greenfield and Councilman Mark Treyger are teaming up tonight with the Fire Department of New York for a night on fire safety, prevention and education.

“The tragic fire that resulted in the death of seven precious children has shaken our entire community. We have an obligation to have a teaching moment now where all New Yorkers take preventive action and install smoke detectors on every floor in their homes. That’s why we are hosting this pre-Pesach fire safety event,” said Greenfield.

“It is critical that we learn from this horrific incident and honor the memory of the Sassoon family by taking steps to help prevent this type of tragedy from occurring again. I urge all families to attend this important event to learn about simple but vital ways to protect your home and family from fire. My thanks to Council Member Greenfield and the FDNY for taking steps to help safeguard our community, and my thoughts and prayers remain with the Sassoon family,” said Treyger.

The event is slated for 7:30 p.m., tonight at Congregation Shaare Zion, 2030 Ocean Parkway. The first 250 people to attend will also receive a free smoke detector sponsored by Renewal.

St. Francis Forum on Policing in New York & America

St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn, today, will hold a discussion with New York Daily News Columnist Harry Siegel and St. Francis College Scholar in Residence Fred Siegel on policing in New York and America.

The deaths of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley at the hands of New York Police Offices as well as the killings of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos have brought New York to the forefront in the debate on police and public safety.

Where: St. Francis College – Callahan Center, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights

When: from 12:30-2  p.m., today, Monday, March 30

Cost: Free

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