Blake Morris's Platform
PASSING THE NEW YORK HEALTH ACT
When elected, I will take the lead the ensuring passage of the New York Health Act, which would create a universal, single-payer system to guarantee equal access to fairly funded care -- something every New Yorker deserves.
The New York Health Act would cover all New Yorkers, including preventative care, specialist and primary care; mental health care; dental care; reproductive health care; medical supply costs and prescription drugs, as well as hold the line on rapidly rising costs for individuals, employers, and taxpayers.
Under a single-payer system, the New York Health Act would ensure your health care decisions are made in consultation with doctors and nurses, not by insurance companies.
KEEPING HOUSING AFFORDABLE AND BUILDING MORE ‘REAL’ AFFORDABLE HOUSING
As we approach the beginning of the next term in Albany, voters must consider that I am the only candidate in this race who will seek greater tenant protections when the city’s rent laws come up for renewal in 2019. I will fight to eliminate the vacancy bonus and repeal vacancy decontrol of all rent stabilized units occupied prior to 1995. In New York City, we have a million rent stabilized apartments that house more than two million New Yorkers. We must preserve and protect this valuable source of affordable housing in our city. In addition, I will seek the following policy changes to expand housing subsidies and require responsible development. As your state Senator, I will:
- Expand rent subsidies for veterans, the elderly, and disabled;
- Prevent out-of-context luxury developments that will cause displacement in our communities. Currently, the state, including local housing authorities, have the right to exercise an option to exempt themselves from local law and land use restrictions for new housing construction. Unfortunately, we are the first in the nation for abusing the power of eminent domain.
- Require all Mitchell-Lama apartment buildings that leave the affordable housing program enter the rent stabilization program in NYC and Article 11 agreements with the City of New York;
- Pass legislation to protect Rent-Controlled tenants from exorbitant increases and cap those increases based on tenant’s income;
- Improve documentation of vacant housing and require municipalities to use vacant housing to create affordable housing for the community;
- Create an electronic database that will be accessible to the public of all rent stabilized units;
- Provide tenants with more information and better on the ground support by organizers, as well as greater protections, when they are mistreated or displaced by unscrupulous landlords;
- Review the process by which co-op and condo sponsors sell apartments that become vacant in converted buildings rather than rent them at unregulated rates;
- Encourage the prudent use of public pension funds to build affordable housing while protecting the interests of retirees.
Fighting Corruption in Albany
Corruption has run rampant in Albany due to flawed campaign finance law. We must remedy these flaws and pass legislation in order to finally make Albany work for us, and not for special interests.
- Close the corporate subsidiary and LLC loopholes.
- Establish a public financing program.
- Prohibit the use of campaign funds for personal or legal expenses.
- Mandate full transparency of all tax dollars spent for all branches of government.
Speed Safety Cameras
We need to ensure that reckless drivers are held accountable to prevent senseless deaths.
My opponent is the sole reason that New York City no longer has active speed safety cameras, as of July 25, 2018, or a speed safety camera bill.
For one year, we had a pilot program to help protect our children. Speed cameras were installed in areas with schools, and only operated during school hours. They recorded cars that were going more than 10 miles over the speed limit, so someone going 30 or even 35 miles per hour would not be ticketed and fined. The fines were $50, and do not add points to your license.
Most importantly, the camera pilot program showed that over 80 percent of drivers caught speeding never received another ticket, proving the effectiveness of the cameras. Despite all of this, my opponent refused, repeatedly, to let the speed camera bill out of the Cities Committee, of which he is the chairman. The bill had bipartisan support because it is so obviously a nonpartisan issue. But this school year, we will no longer have the speed cameras.
Our public transportation system is failing. We need to modernize our subway, bus, and rail systems.
- Meet the funding requests that the President of the MTA, Andrew Byford, recommends in order to modernize our train system.
- Expand our rail lines, including building the TriboroRX Line subway to connect every train line in Brooklyn and Queens.
The subways are the backbone of this amazing city. At their best, they provide a cheap, reliable way to get to work, home, and around the city for everyone, from working class families, to students, to the wealthy, to tourists, and others. But we can do better. We must meet the funding requests that MTA President Andrew Byford is saying he needs to get our trains up to date and up to speed. We can and should continue to expand our rail lines, including the installation of a subway line that serves as a connector of nearly every train line in Brooklyn and Queens, and would run from 65th Street Rail Yard at the Brooklyn Army Terminal to Bensonhurst, Parkville, Midwood, Flatbush, and on Glendale’s Fresh Pond Yards. This would cost less per mile than the expensive Second Avenue Q line subway extension because the rail line already exists and is in use for freight cargo (see below).
We can pay for all of this by regulating and taxing marijuana, in the same way we do for cigarettes and alcohol. In addition to providing our state with hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue, we would remove the onerous burden that our current drug sentencing laws place on our society, especially African-American and Hispanic communities.
Historically, New York has been a safe haven for those who are oppressed. We need to make sure it stays that way.
- Pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).
- Set a positive example in our government in order to eliminate the air of harassment in Albany.
In the midst of the important #MeToo movement, and near daily revelations about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, it’s unacceptable that the first State Senate GOP-IDC response was developed in private, and places new emphasis on punishment for false accusers. The simple fact is that no person in any job should be a victim of harassment at their workplace, and our government must set a positive example.
Our state has some of the worst voting laws in the country. In a democratic bastion such as New York, we should be making it easier to vote, not harder. The right to vote must be paramount in New York.
- Pass the Right to Vote Act, establishing early voting and no-excuse absentee voting in New York State.
- Consolidate the state and federal primaries to June.
- Create a truly independent redistricting commission with the goal of ending partisan gerrymandering.
We need to ensure that New York is a leader in the fight against climate change.
- Encourage alternative transportation by investing in protected bike lanes.
- Expand environmentally friendly technology, like wind turbines, geothermal energy, and solar panels.
- Pass legislation preserving open spaces and wetlands.
New York should be a leader in fighting against climate change. We can do this by dramatically expanding investment in our infrastructure, including rapid transit in the form of buses, subways, and regional rail networks, as well as our roads, bridges, and tunnels to ease congestion. We should encourage alternative transportation by investing in protected bike lanes and greenways. The vitality of New York City depends on having a reliable subway system that is equipped to handle current use and anticipated usage beyond the next decade; we must devote resources to funding system-wide improvements and that will be a top priority for me in Albany.
We will expand the use of technology that is environmentally friendly including high speed rail, wind turbines, geothermal energy, and solar panels. We must protect our environment for ourselves and future generations by passing legislation preserving open spaces and wetlands, including the Climate and Community Preservation Act.
Common Sense Gun Control
We need to enact common sense gun control in order to keep New Yorkers safe from senseless gun violence.
- Expand background checks and close loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of those that wish to do harm to themselves or to others.
- Ban assault weapons in New York State.
- Mandate gun safety devices and microstamping.
The New York SAFE Act was a step in the right direction. But we can and must do more. We need to expand background checks and close purchasing loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, those on the terror watch list, and the mentally ill. We must ban assault weapons in New York state, and mandate gun safety devices and microstamping.