Councilmembers propose expansion of Right to Counsel

Councilmember Carlina Rivera spoke in support of bills that will expand Right to Counsel at a rally outside City Hall on Monday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Councilmembers Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson lead a rally on Monday to support their new legislation that would strengthen and expand the Right to Counsel law that passed in 2017.

The Committee on the Justice System and the Committee on Housing and Buildings held a joint hearing on the two new bills following the rally outside City Hall.

New York was the first jurisdiction in the country to guarantee legal representation to low-income tenants facing eviction when the current law passed in 2017. The law mandated the Office of Civil Justice to provide tenants with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty line, or $50,200 annually for a family of four, with free legal representation when facing eviction. A report from the Community Service Society of New York releases this week found that the law helped reduce evictions but showed that there were still gaps.

Councilmember Carlina Rivera, a co-sponsor of both pieces of legislation, said that the current Right to Counsel law has already helped her district.

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 27

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Editor’s note: We recently received an unsigned letter in the mail from a Stuyvesant Town resident about quality of life issues. Unfortunately, we do not publish completely anonymous letters but wanted to give readers a reminder that a letter writer’s name can be withheld upon request, but the letter should still be signed.

Funding needed for Electric Vehicle charging

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, asking the mayor to make charging stations for Electric Vehicles (EV) more accessible for all New Yorkers because the stations are difficult to find throughout New York City, and adding infrastructure for EVs would encourage more New Yorkers to choose energy-efficient EVs over gasoline cars.

Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio,

I am writing to ask that you include funding for publicly-available charging stations to make Electric Vehicles (EV) more accessible for all New Yorkers. Cars are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States today and the vast majority of those emissions come from cars.

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