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NYS must open COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all inmates

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A Bronx judge on Monday ruled that New York must offer all state prison and jail inmates the coronavirus vaccine — calling the group’s past eligibility exclusion “unfair and unjust.”

The decision by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Alison Tuitt came the same day that state officials announced all adults over 30 will be eligible to sign up for and receive the COVID-19 jab by Tuesday — and everybody 16 years and older can get the shot next week.

“This decision by the Respondents to exclude these incarcerated persons from eligibility for the vaccine was unquestionably arbitrary and capricious, especially in light of the fact that Respondents approved vaccinations for all other congregate living facilities, including juvenile detention facilities,” Tuitt wrote in her ruling.

health worker loads syringes with the vaccine on the first day of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
The ruling was part of a lawsuit brought against the state by two Rikers Island inmates.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File

“This was an unfair and unjust decision by Respondents, was not based in law or fact and was an abuse of discretion.”

The ruling was part of a lawsuit brought against the state by two Rikers Island inmates, Charles Holden, 52, and Alberto Frias, 24.

A general view of the Manhattan Detention Complex located at 125 White Street in New York, NY on June 18, 2020
The decision came the same day that state officials announced all adults over 30 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Christopher Sadowski for NY Post

Both men say in the suit, which was filed last month, that they were never offered vaccinations.

But, Tuitt noted in her ruling, Holden has since become eligible to receive a shot as the state’s age eligibility threshold has changed.

“However, as of today, Petitioner Frias and other incarcerated individuals under the age of 30 years of age are still not eligible for the vaccine, notwithstanding that they are being held in congregate settings,” Tuitt wrote.

Brooklyn Detection Complex
A Bronx judge on Monday ruled that New York must offer all state prison and jail inmates the coronavirus vaccine.
G.N.Miller/NYPost

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To curb gun violence, de Blasio goes to last year’s failed NYPD plan

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to curb the surging gun violence in NYC is to try out the failed policing strategy from last year — but this time, with 100 fewer cops.

The NYPD will reassign 200 cops to areas where the Big Apple has seen the highest rates of gun violence as part of their annual Summer All Out program, the mayor said Tuesday.

NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said the “bulk” of those cops would be moved to East New York and Brownsville, which have seen gun violence upticks of 67% and 88%, respectively.

He also noted Bronx neighborhoods, Mott Haven, Highbridge and Crotona, would get some additional patrols.

But all of those areas were also a policing focus last year during the summer when the city saw a months-long surge in gun violence and assigned 300 cops to the “Summer All Out” initiative.

Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on April 19, 2021.
Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on April 19, 2021.
Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

“We’re going to make sure that the officers are where we need them to be and we’ll make adjustments constantly,” de Blasio said when asked about the similarities to last year’s plan, which failed to combat the surge in gunplay.

De Blasio chalked up 2020’s skyrocketing shooting totals to the effect the pandemic had on the city.

“Last year again. Perfect Storm. Literal Perfect Storm. Global pandemic. Society shut down, a million jobs lost… everything went wrong simultaneously,” the mayor said, brushing off any comparison to this year.

Yet, gunplay in New York City still continues the 2020 trend — outpacing the year prior each week.

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The mayor’s office also announced gun buyback programs, “Saturday Night Lights” games, the fixing up of 15 basketball courts and anti-violence fairs to help slow the number of shootings.

The NYPD tried all those strategies last year too.

The city will double its Cure Violence workforce and Summer Youth Anti-Violence employment slots, expand gang-free zones to parks and double the tip reward to $5,000.



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Biden pushes DC statehood, which would likely give Dems two more Senate seats

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The White House is officially supporting Democrats’ long-shot effort to grant statehood for Washington, DC — a move that would all but assure the party would gain two more seats in the Senate.

“For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of Biden administration policy.

“This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.”

Congress should “provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood,” the statement continued.

The city of Washington is home to more people than Vermont and Wyoming, but has no representation in Congress, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

With Democrats in control of the House, Senate and White House, the party has faced pressure from progressives to move on a host of issues, including DC statehood.

In order to do that, however, Democrats would need to hold a vote on a constitutional amendment. Such an amendment would need two-thirds support to pass, nearly impossible given the current makeup of the body.

Still, H.R. 51 faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Democrats would need 10 Republicans to cross over and support the legislation in order to have the 60-vote margin needed to pass it.

Republicans have noted that Democrats’ real motive here is that if DC became a state, the highly Democratic area would give the party another seat in the House along with two Democratic senators.

Biden has backed the DC statehood effort for years, saying as much repeatedly during the Obama administration.

In the OMB statement released Tuesday, the administration argued, “Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just.”

The District of Columbia, it continued, “has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”

The Democrat-led House voted last June almost entirely along party lines to make DC a state. One Democrat and the only Libertarian in the body joined all Republicans in opposition.

At the time, Republicans controlled the Senate, where then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed to not bring the bill to a vote.

Senate Democrats introduced the bill in the upper chamber, currently split 50-50, in late January, once their party took the White House and the Senate.

In an Oval Office interview with The Post last May, President Donald Trump said Republicans weren’t “stupid” enough to add guaranteed Democratic seats in Congress.

“DC will never be a state,” Trump said at the time.

“You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll never happen.”



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GOP forces censure vote on Waters’ call for protestors to ‘get confrontational’

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House Republicans on Tuesday forced a vote to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for calling on protesters to “get more confrontational” if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin were to be acquitted of murder charges in the killing of George Floyd.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) introduced the privileged censure resolution, forcing the vote on the floor.

The motion to censure was ultimately defeated in a party line vote 216-210, with Democrats defending Waters’ inflammatory comments.

“This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence. Speaker Pelosi is ignoring Waters’ behavior—that’s why I am introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Waters for these dangerous comments,” McCarthy tweeted on Monday.

Waters called for protesters to “get more active” in Brooklyn Center, Minn., for a protest against police brutality on Saturday evening.

“We’re looking for a guilty verdict and we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd. If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice,” she said, according to videos posted to social media.

 Maxine Waters( speaks to the media during a protest at the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Brooklyn Centre on April 17, 2021.
Maxine Waters( speaks to the media during a protest at the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Brooklyn Centre on April 17, 2021.
Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

“We got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Her comments sparked sharp pushback from Republicans, who accused Waters —  the chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee —  of attempting to incite violence during a time of unrest amid the trial.

McCarthy told Fox News her comments warranted censure “because Maxine Waters believes there is value in violence.”

“And now what she has said has even put doubt into a jury. You had a judge announce that it was wrong. I think this takes action especially when she has a pattern of this behavior​,” he continued.

Top Democrats, however, largely came to Waters’ defense, with House Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) blasting McCarthy for targeting the California Democrat, noting similar rhetoric made by former President Trump sparked a deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Kevin McCarthy should focus on his own conference, because the Republicans in the House are a mess right now,” he told reporters of the resolution during a press conference on Tuesday. “Perhaps he should sit this one out.

“When you’ve got a situation where (Colorado Rep.) Lauren Boebert is a mess, (Florida Rep.) Matt Gaetz is a mess, (Georgia Rep.) Marjorie Taylor Greene is a mess, clean up your mess, Kevin,” Jeffries continued. “Sit this one out. You’ve got no credibility. Here, we support peaceful protests.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended Waters and accused Republicans of taking her remarks out of context, telling reporters on Monday: “No [she shouldn’t apologize], Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement.”

Waters has stood by her remarks, telling The Grio: “I am nonviolent,” during an interview on Monday.

”Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent — any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it and they send a message to all of the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that, how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats’] backs,” she told the publication.

The resolution took issue with Waters’ rhetoric and noted that the judge in the Derek Chauvin trial said that her comments could lead to the trial verdict being overturned on appeal.

Maxine Waters said protestors in Minnesota should "get more active."
Maxine Waters said protestors in Minnesota should “get more active.”
Alex Brandon/AP

Judge Peter Cahill denied a motion for mistrial but told Chauvin’s defense lawyer, “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.

“This goes back to what I’ve been saying from the beginning,” the judge fumed. “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function.”

Censure resolutions are historically rare, with just 23 lawmakers having been censured in the history of the House of Representatives.



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