Senate Legislation Creates Community Police Liaisons for Westchester’s Immigrants
September 27, 2017 “No one should live in fear that calling for help will turn their own lives upside down”, New York State Senator George Latimer says.
Latimer (D-Rye) has introduced legislation creating the “POLICe” program for Westchester County. If passed, the legislation would provide five grants to law enforcement agencies within Westchester to create police organization liaisons in immigrant communities. The legislation is presented as a an application process, therefore communities with larger immigrant populations most likely will express the greatest interest, but every municipality with a police force would be eligible to apply.
The liaison positions would allow civilian employees of the participating police departments to work with members of the community who are immigrants within that jurisdiction, regardless of federal immigration status, and the local law enforcement agency to ensure the needs of the immigrant community are being properly met by law enforcement without stigma, fear or reprisal.
This proposed legislation follows the failure of the Westchester County Legislature's “Immigrant Protection Act” which passed by a wide, bi-partisan margin on August 7, but was subsequently vetoed by the County Executive Rob Astorino. A vote to override the veto fell just short on September 25.
“People living in our communities should be able to call the police in an emergency without fear of putting themselves or their loved ones in jeopardy because their legal papers might not be in order. This legislation is aimed at making sure people are safe, and that stigma and fear does not contribute to increased criminal victimization of our neighbors, family and friends,” Latimer says.
By creating the positions as civilian employees of the police departments, Latimer intends to shield those employees from the reporting and joint participation mandates that may apply in federal immigration documentation matters.
“I have always believed that law enforcement is here to help, and in Westchester, they do a tremendous job. The POLICe program will insure that ‘protect and serve’ extends to everyone who lives in our communities,” Latimer added.
Latimer Calls for Referendum Before Any Airport Expansion Occurs
Will introduce legislation to require a vote in any community that will be affected August 3, 2017 Recognizing the widespread opposition to privatizing the Westchester County Airport, State Senator George Latimer (D-Rye) announced today that he will be introducing legislation in the State Senate to require a referendum in any community that will be affected by a proposed airport expansion. Despite the opposition in the communities surrounding the facility, 3 bids for such plans have already been received by the Westchester County Government.
The bulk of the opposition stems from concerns that privatizing at the airport will increase air traffic, incorporate expansion of the existing terminal and facilities, and have a detrimental effect on the surrounding environment.
Latimer said, “I do not believe these communities support airport privatization, especially if it will lead to expansion of the airport’s use. It would be wholly improper for the current county administration to contract away the people’s control of this facility without allowing these communities a say in any future plans directly affecting them.”
The private contractor bids were due on Friday, July 29th. Three bids were received, and following a secret review by the county’s consultant firm, the bids will likely be opened this week.
“Too much is happening behind closed doors. When the county admits that the purpose behind this privatization plan is to create short-term ‘profit’ from allowing a for-profit corporation to take over and run the airport, it is incumbent upon the county to ensure that the voice of the people is heard throughout every step of the process,” Latimer added.
Senator Latimer Announces College Scholarships Available
March 20, 2017 Senator George Latimer (D-Westchester) announced today that the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is now accepting applications for four (4) $3000 scholarships that will be awarded at the Annual Legislative Conference Day on June 5, 2017.
The scholarships, 2 for academics and 2 for athletics, are available for current or future college students from New York State. Eligibility is based upon the student’s grade point average (GPA), interest in pursuing a higher education, involvement in the local community and financial need. For the athletic scholarships, the applicant should indicate the sport and schools that have indicated interest or player commitment.
“With the cost of higher education still growing faster than the rate of inflation, it is crucial for students and their families to look for opportunities to help defray the costs. I’m very pleased that the Italian-American State Legislators Conference is again making scholarships available, and look forward to the possibility of a scholarship going to one of my constituent families,” Senator Latimer said. Students from Port Chester and Mamaroneck have secured these scholarships in the past.
Area students may request an application by contacting Andy Genna in Senator Latimer’s District Office at 914-934-5250. Applications are due in Senator Latimer’s Albany Office, 615 LOB, Albany, NY 12247 on Monday, April 17, 2017.
Senator Latimer Calls for Complete Environmental Review of Proposed Hudson River Anchorage September 14, 2016 Pointing out that placing additional anchorages over a 100 mile stretch of the Hudson River is very likely to have substantial environmental impact, State Senator George Latimer (D-Westchester) today asked the United States' Coast Guard to complete a full environmental assessment as part of the planning process. One of the proposed anchorage sites is at Yonkers, part of which is in the 37th Senate District.
In a letter provided as part of the public comment period regarding the planned “Anchorage Grounds” in the Hudson River, Senator Latimer expressed that “My greatest concern at this time is the environmental impact of the proposed anchorages…Those areas appear to come in contact or potentially affect breeding grounds for birds and fish, municipal water sources, aviary flyways, and recreational areas. In addition, endangered fish species occupy the targeted area of the Hudson River.”
Citing the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA” 42 U.S.C. 4231), which is applicable to the Coast Guard, Latimer believes that it is imperative that a full environmental assessment be conducted prior to approval of the plan to create these anchorages. NEPA requires that the effects of USCG actions on the environment be considered equally with economic, technical, and other factors associated with the proposed action.
“The information provided to the public as part of the announcement of the proposed regulation fails to include any reference to environmental impact, and I am concerned that the plan may not be environmentally compliant,” Senator Latimer said.
“I believe that such a substantial undertaking will likely have substantial environmental impact. Therefore, there should be no categorical exclusion for his project, and either an Environmental Assessment or a full Environmental Impact Statement is warranted. Should the USCG view this matter differently, I would ask that the public be provided with a full accounting of the decision-making process under NEPA,” Senator Latimer concluded.
FREE copies of Declaration and Constitution
March 25, 2016 New York State Senator George Latimer (D-Westchester) has made available free copies of a booklet that includes The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States for any interested residents.
"Every American should have a copy of these two documents which are the foundation of our American freedoms" Senator Latimer said.
Residents can call the Senator's office at 914-934-5250 to request a copy of the booklet, which will be mailed out. Copies are also available in person at the District Office, located in Port Chester Village Hall, 222 Grace Church St, Port Chester, Room 300. Multiple copies are available for groups such as scout troops, veterans, school groups and others, on request.