Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn/Staten Island) joined Assembly and Senate colleagues yesterday at the joint budget hearing on elementary and secondary education. The hearing allowed members of the legislature to discuss budget priorities, as well as issues facing elementary and secondary schools with education stakeholders from across the state. As a follow up to last year’s budget hearing in which Malliotakis brought up her concern that cursive writing was no longer being taught in New York City’s elementary schools, the Assemblywoman was relieved to receive a commitment from New York City Chancellor Carmen Fariña that cursive writing is once again being included in the third grade curriculum in city schools. Many schools already began implementing the curriculum this year.
“I thank New York City Chancellor Fariña for hearing my concerns about the discontinuation of cursive instruction, and am pleased that over the past year she has worked with superintendents across the city to ensure third graders will once again learn cursive writing.” said Malliotakis. “It is important that young people, who will soon be entering the real world, know how to write a signature of their own to identify themselves, and have the ability to sign a legal document, check, or voter registration form. Without knowing how to read script, students can’t even read historic documents like the Declaration of Independence. It is very unfortunate that there is a generation of students who did not learn to write and read cursive, but today we have been assured that this wrong has been corrected.”
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn,Staten Island), Assemblyman Ron Castorina Jr. (R,C,I,Ref-South Shore), Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua), Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R,C,I-South Huntington) and members of the Assembly Republican Conference held a press conference yesterday to introduce the Affordable College For All Initiative. The plan is a comprehensive bill package that will provide broad-based relief for the cost of college tuition for New York’s students. The proposal modernizes the state’s existing Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), expands the number of eligible students, increases the amount of funding available and assists recent graduates currently paying student loans. The plan has been offered as an alternative to the governor’s taxpayer-funded “free-tuition” proposal that was included in his 2017-2018 Executive Budget, and the “DREAM Act,” a tuition assistance plan for illegal immigrants repeatedly pushed by Assembly Democrats.
“Increasing tuition assistance and expanding current programs to benefit more of our middle-class citizens has been a priority of mine for years, which is why I’ve introduced legislation to accomplish those goals during the past few sessions. While I was pleased to learn that the governor now shares my intent, his plan simply misses the mark. Our Conference’s proposal offers much more equitable and effective means to finally bring tuition relief to students,” said Malliotakis. “By expanding the income eligibility threshold, which hasn’t increased since 2000, and restoring tuition assistance for graduate students, we can help alleviate student debt for our struggling middle-class citizens.”
“I was proud to stand beside my colleagues today as we unveiled our plan to expand higher education to current and aspiring college students in New York State,” said Castorina. “Earlier this year, Gov. Cuomo presented us with his ‘free college’ plan that categorically ignores sound fiscal policy, while misleading the public in its intended results. We simply cannot afford to increase taxes and spending as we continue to be one of the most taxed states in the country. Our program expands eligibility while increasing the size of grants available under the Tuition Assistance Program. I am confident our program will broaden higher education to a greater number of students while keeping our state fiscally solvent.”
The Assembly Republicans’ proposal would:
- Increase the Household Income Cap Threshold: This proposal would raise the threshold for TAP eligibility from $80,000 to $125,000 (phased in over three years). It would also assist college students who attend both public and private schools and help families with children attending any college in the state – not just a select few. The threshold has not been increased since 2000.
- Provide an Additional $500 to Every TAP Recipient & Increase the Maximum TAP Award to $6,470: This would benefit low-income and middle-income students, as well as higher education institutions. When the state passed rational tuition in 2011, part of the agreement required institutions to cover the “TAP Gap,” which is the difference between the maximum TAP award and the full tuition rate. Increasing the maximum TAP award would take this burden off of institutions and continue to alleviate the cost of tuition for students. TAP for graduate students was eliminated in 2010 due to fiscal issues but was never restored.
- Make Graduate Programs Eligible for TAP: According to a 2014 report in US News & World Report, the average graduate school student from the class of 2012 took on $57,600 in combined graduate and undergraduate debt. This fiscal pressure serves as a disincentive to attend graduate school.
- Reduced Taxable Income for Student Loans: This would provide a tax break on both the interest and principal of student loans. Single filers can receive up to $4,000, head of household filers can receive up to $6,000 and married filers can receive up to $8,000. Income eligibility thresholds for the tax break would be $80,000 for single filers, $120,000 for head of household and $160,000 for married couples.
Additionally, the proposals would reduce the cost of tuition for the nearly 300,000 students who currently receive TAP, increase eligibility for approximately 36,000 students to receive tuition assistance as a result of increasing the income threshold, and provide more than 7,000 graduate students with TAP benefits. The plan will also help students attending private institutions, and offer a broad tax deduction to all New Yorkers paying student loans.
There are a number of issues with the governor’s proposal, according to Malliotakis. The “free” tuition program offered by the governor:
- Does not help those already attending private colleges and universities;
- Does not help those currently struggling to pay back student loans;
- Prioritizes illegal immigrants over graduate students;
- The governor’s Excelsior Scholarship requires students to take 15 credits per semester and permanently disqualifies students who fall below that threshold. The TAP program more reasonably requires 12-credits per semester for eligibility; and
- Punishes the student instead of the institution by stripping students of their TAP award if the college or university increases its tuition by $500.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn/Staten Island) has been named New York State Director of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL). The NFWL aims to empower and inspire elected women to become thought leaders who shape America’s future by providing strategic resources to elected women for leadership development, an exchange of diverse legislative ideas, and effective governance through conferences, state outreach, educational materials, professional and personal relationships and networking. As a State Director, Malliotakis will serve as a point of contact for elected women in New York, and work to bring more elected women the opportunities and resources that NFWL has to offer.
“I want to thank NFWL for selecting me to coordinate their efforts in the State of New York. I am honored to serve my colleagues as State Director and will do my best to grow this remarkable organization that has empowered many women to step in to elected positions across the country. I look forward to helping one our nation’s oldest non-partisan organization and identifying and addressing the needs of elected women at all levels of government,” said Malliotakis.
“We are so proud Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has accepted a leadership position in our Foundation,” stated Minnesota State Senator Carrie Ruud, NFWL’s 2017 Chair. “NFWL’s theme for 2017 is leadership, and Nicole exemplifies this theme. She will play a key role in aiding women legislators in New York, as we continue to grow as an organization.”
Malliotakis begins serving in her new position immediately, and will hold this office through the end of 2017.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn, Staten Island) is calling on the City of New York to comply with President Donald Trump’s recently announced Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.
According to the NYPD’s Summary of Statistics on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detainers from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, the Department received 80 civil immigration detainers for undocumented individuals considered a threat to public safety. Only 2 detainers were honored and 78 were denied. From October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015, the Department received 504 civil immigration detainers. Only 30 detainers were honored and 474 were denied.
Section 9 (a) of President Trump’s executive order states: “In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary. The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.”
Subsection (b) continues: “To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”
In 2014 the New York City Council enacted two resolutions, Local Law No. 58 and Local Law No. 59, to significantly impede cooperation between the New York City Department of Correction (DOC), NYPD, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), by prohibiting DOC and NYPD from honoring immigration detainers unless accompanied by a federal warrant and the person:
(1) Has either been convicted of a violent or serious crime, or
(2) Is identified as a possible match on in the terrorist screening database. (N.Y.C. Admin. Code §§ 9-131, 14-154).
Crimes not considered “violent or serious” include Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Aggravated Identity Theft, Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions in the First Degree, Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, and Aggravated Patronizing a Minor for Prostitution in the First Degree, among others.
During the Administration of President Barack Obama, ICE agents were advised to issue a detainer only where the individual was suspected of posing a danger to national security, affiliated with an organized criminal gang, convicted of a felony unrelated to immigration status, convicted of an aggravated felony, convicted of three or more misdemeanors unrelated to immigration status or minor traffic offenses, or convicted of a misdemeanor related to a sex offense, burglary, firearms, drugs, driving under the influence, or any offense requiring 90 days or more in police custody.
“Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Homeland Security already limited the issuance of civil detainers to situations where the individual is considered dangerous or has already been convicted of breaking the law. Despite these restrictive criteria, from October 2014 to October 2015 the City of New York honored only 6% of civil detainer requests from federal authorities. Over the subsequent year, that rate has fallen to just 2.5%,” said Assemblywoman Malliotakis. “It’s truly frightening that our City refuses to treat criminals in accordance with federal law, and would jeopardize federal funding by harboring individuals who have committed crimes from deportation. It is time to restore New York City to a law-and-order city.”
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref – East Shore), Assemblyman Ron Castorina (R,C,I,Ref – South Shore), Assemblyman Mike Cusick (D,WFP,I – Mid-Island), State Senator Andrew Lanza (R,C,I,Ref – Mid-Island/South Shore), State Senator Diane Savino (D,WFP,I – North Shore), and Assemblyman Matt Titone (D,WFP,I – North Shore) sent the attached letter to Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) today, requesting that the agency allow Wilbur the Pig to remain with his family.
Wilbur has resided in the Matteo Family’s Great Kills home for the past five years, and has been designated by the National Service Animal Registry as an “emotional support animal” for Thomas Matteo, currently engaged in a bout with cancer.
DOHMH has ordered the Matteo Family that it will seize Wilbur if they fail to find him a new home before the end of the month. The agency has not stated what will happen to the animal once in its possession.