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Melissa Mark-Viverito

Melissa Mark-Viverito

  • School Meals in the Budget: Applause for Breakfast, Groans for Lunch

    Lunch 4 Learning

    Lunch 4 Learning at City Hall (photo: Zehra Rehman)


    Supporters of expanding free school meals in New York City are expressing mixed reactions to the city budget agreement announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Monday night.

    The fiscal year 2016 budget, at $78.5 billion of spending soon to be officially approved,

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  • Mayor & Council Announce $78.5B Fiscal 2016 Budget Deal

    MMV BdB budget deal

    Mayor & Speaker announce budget (photo: William Alatriste)


    A little after 10 p.m. Monday night and more than a week before deadline, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that they had reached a deal on a balanced fiscal year 2016 city budget. The $78.5 billion budget is for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and includes additional spending from the mayor's Executive Budget, released in May, for several Council priorities - including the hiring of 1,297 new NYPD officers.

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  • 7 Points of Contention as City Budget Deal Finalized

    BdB MMV RI

    Mayor de Blasio & Speaker Mark-Viverito talk (photo: William Alatriste)


    “This year we're fighting for much-needed funds that will get #NYC 6-day library service citywide, more police, better parks & much more,” tweeted City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer on Monday morning.

    Van Bramer, who chairs the Council’s cultural affairs committee, where the debate over library funding has largely been heard, reminded

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 22

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    ALBANY, ALBANY: Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie agreed on a short, retroactive extension of rent regulations through Tuesday. As negotiations continue on the rent regulations and other top of the agenda priority issues like mayoral control of city schools, legislators are due back in Albany on Tuesday. By

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  • City Council Ready to Act on Bail Reform, Alone if Necessary

    Lancman MMV bail hearing

    CM Lancman & Speaker Mark-Viverito at Wednesday's hearing (photo: William Alatriste) 


    Wednesday’s oversight hearing made it clear— the question is not if the City Council will move to reform the city’s bail system, but how much reform will they be able to accomplish with their somewhat limited power.

    Though the Council appears

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  • How We Got Here: City Creates New Office of Civil Justice

    BdB Levine Gibson

    At Tuesday's bill signing (photo: @NYCHRA)


    "The Gideon versus Wainwright case paved the way for the right to legal counsel in criminal cases but, sadly, the right to counsel was not available in civil cases when the stakes were also very, very high for those involved. Civil cases affect some of the most important parts of a person's life, the ability to have and keep a home, to keep a family together, to escape from domestic violence, in fact, to be able to stay in this country. So on these areas there is a deep

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  • Through Committee, Bill to Create Office of Civil Justice Heads Toward Law

    MMV Levine and co

    Mark-Viverito, front, & Levine, behind her, are the lead sponsors (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City is one step closer to having a new Office of Civil Justice. On Tuesday, the City Council's Committee on Courts and Legal Services unanimously passed a bill that would create the office, to be tasked with assessing, coordinating, and helping reform the civil legal services available to low-income New Yorkers. Among the most pressing concerns are ensuring legal representation for immigrants facing deportation

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  • Next Steps for Two Soon-To-Be-Vacant City Council Seats

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    CMs Weprin, left, & Ignizio, right, are both leaving the Council (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council member Mark Weprin, a Democrat who represents part of Queens, announced on Monday that he will step down from his seat to join Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration as Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs, making him ...

  • Progressive Caucus Responds to De Blasio's Executive Budget

    rosenthal and co 

    CM Helen Rosenthal is a vice chair of the Progressive Caucus (@TenantPowerNY)


    In response to his recently unveiled fiscal year 2016 Executive Budget, the City Council’s 18-member progressive caucus sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday outlining an eleven-point “advancement framework.” In the letter, which alternately praises the mayor and requests additional funding for specific priorities, the council members outline “legislative, fiscal and advocacy goals” for a “more equal and more just New

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 11

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to look for this week in New York politics:

    SKELOS WATCH: The fallout from Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' arrest on federal corruption charges continues, with Skelos facing increased pressure to step down from his leadership post. The Legislature is back in session in Albany on Monday, it seems that it is only a matter of time before Skelos takes the path indicted Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took after his arrest:

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  • City Includes $1 Billion for Overtime in 2016 Budget

    bdb budget 

    Mayor de Blasio presenting his preliminary budget (photo: @NYCMayorsOffice)


    Some of the most prominent city agencies will again spend considerable portions of their budgets on employee overtime in fiscal year 2016, set to begin July 1, 2015. The allocation of $1 billion toward personnel overtime raises questions around optimal staffing levels and balancing cold fiscal calculation with whether understaffing might impact performance and well-being of employees.

    City officials argue that staffing levels are mostly

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 27

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    • Ongoing legislative session in Albany - legislators will be in Albany Monday through Wednesday this week for session
      • major issues at play include mayoral control of schools, rent regulations, the charter school cap, the minimum wage,
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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 20

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins, Governor Andrew Cuomo is heading to Cuba on a trade mission, leaving Monday and returning Tuesday evening - "the first Governor-led state trade mission to Cuba since President Obama began the process to normalize diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba," the governor is quick to point out. "In addition to the Governor and members of his administration, the delegation includes

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  • City Council Unveils 'Council 2.0' Digital Engagement Plan

    council tech plan alatriste

    Council members unveil Council 2.0 (photo: William Alatriste)


    NEW YORK - City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and several council colleagues released today a civic technology plan aimed at making the legislative body more transparent while facilitating direct engagement with constituents.

    The "public technology plan," dubbed Council 2.0, is being touted as a new "roadmap to digital inclusion and open

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Hillary Clinton is running for President. You probably heard. The former New York Senator has her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn and will be looking for a strong boost from her New York base of supporters, including her 2000 senate campaign manager New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio was on Meet the Press Sunday morning and said that he is eagerly waiting to see a progressive vision from Clinton. Since

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  • Mark-Viverito's 'Justice for New York City' Means Changes to Criminal and Civil Systems

    MMV April 10

    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: Ben Max)


    NEW YORK - Lamenting a "simply unsustainable" status quo, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito outlined changes she's pursuing to the city's criminal and civil justice systems in a speech Friday morning at New York Law School.

    Attended by about 125 lawyers, law students, community activists, and civic leaders, the breakfast event provided Mark-Viverito an opportunity to reiterate some of the key proposals she and many of her council colleagues believe will create "justice for New York City," as her talk was

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    It appears to be a fairly quiet week, as it can be this time of year with schools on vacation and the City Council following suit, and the state Legislature adjourned until April 21 in its post-budget, pre-legislative session hibernation. It's promising to be a very busy legislative session as so many key policy issues ...

  • With New Budget, Key Issues Championed by City Officials Left for Later

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    Governor Cuomo (photo: @NYGovCuomo)


    As state budget negotiations delivered a new deal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was willing to drop many priorities from his spending plan, several of which are of great importance to New York City officials, including his sometime friend Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    With adoption of the state's fiscal year 2016 budget, a host of progressive issues de Blasio and his allies touted were abandoned. Both Cuomo and the Democratic Assembly Majority headed by new Speaker Carl Heastie

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 30

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    March madness in Albany has been quite a ride, and word Sunday night is that a fiscal year 2016 budget agreement is in place. At about 9:30 p.m., the governor's office announced that Cuomo is now five for five in on-time budgets as governor - not a small

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  • The City Council Definition of Women's Issues

    Cumbo

    Council Member Cumbo at a Women's History Month celebration (photo: Ben Max)


    On Monday, March 30, the New York City Council will host a Women's History Month celebration at City Hall. Council members will likely celebrate women heroes of city government, past and present, and acknowledge the history-making leadership of both Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina to hold the position, and Public Advocate Letitia James, a former council member who is the first woman

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  • New York's Unique Campaign Finance Ecosystem

    mmv speech

    Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: Joyce Choi Li)


    New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has been the subject of much speculation of late. She is the most powerful member of the Council and influential in politics beyond the city. As a woman of Puerto Rican descent she represents a voting bloc that is woefully underrepresented in New York elected offices. She also maintains a busy travel schedule and ties to a wide swath of

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 16

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will again be dominated by budget negotiations - especially in Albany, where a budget is due by the end of the month, which is rapidly approaching. In New York City, City Council hearings will continue on Mayor Bill de Blasio's preliminary fiscal year 2016 budget - once those hearings wrap up at the end of the month, the Council will craft its response to de Blasio, negotiations will continue, and the mayor

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  • Conflicts of Interest Board Reiterates Request for Independent Budgeting

    ferreras budget hearing

    CM Ferreras and Speaker Mark-Viverito at a 2014 budget hearing (photo: William Alatriste)


    At a hearing of the City Council Standards and Ethics Committee held at City Hall Thursday, representatives of the city's Conflicts of Interest Board reiterated a long-standing request for an independent budget.

    In his testimony, Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) Deputy Executive Director Wayne Hawley said, "For almost two decades the board has sought an independent budget." The fact that the Board is charged

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  • City Officials Sharpening Teeth of Human Rights Commission

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito & council colleagues march (photo: William Alatriste)


    For years New York City has led the country with one of the most robust human rights laws on record. New Yorkers are protected against discrimination in employment, housing, and public services based on race, creed, age, citizenship status, gender, marital status, and sexual orientation, among other qualities.

    As with any law, enforcement is the key though. For the city's Human Rights Law, that task falls on the Human Rights

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