In 9th State of the State Address, Governor Advances Agenda to Ensure the Promise of Full, True Justice for All
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
In 9th State of the State Address, Governor Advances Agenda to Ensure the Promise of Full, True Justice for All
Attorney General James And Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Announce $11 Million Settlement With Sterling Jewelers (D/b/a Kay Jewelers And Jared)
Attorney General Letitia James and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today announced an $11 million settlement with Sterling Jewelers Inc. (“Sterling”) (doing business as Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, and several other brands). The settlement resolves an investigation that revealed that Sterling signed consumers up for store credit cards without the consumers’ knowledge or consent. Sterling also enrolled consumers in a credit insurance product without consumers’ knowledge or consent and misrepresented the terms of the store cards. Pursuant to the settlement, Sterling will pay $11 million in penalties.
“By tricking consumers into enrolling in store credits cards, Sterling Jewelers betrayed customers’ trust and violated the law,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “This settlement holds the company accountable for its misconduct and ensures that no more consumers are deceived.”
Sterling is based in Ohio and operates approximately 1,500 jewelry stores, including around 130 stores in New York.
Sterling offers a store-branded credit card that can be used only at Sterling stores. Sterling imposed store card enrollment quotas on employees and based employee performance reviews and compensation on the quotas, creating intense pressure on employees to enroll consumers in store cards.
Sterling employees used a variety of tactics to deceive consumers into enrolling in store credit cards. In some cases, employees induced consumers to provide personal information by purporting to enroll consumers in a “rewards program” or discount program. In reality, sales representatives used the personal information to complete and submit credit card applications. Consumers often did not find out that they had applied for a card until they noticed an unexplained inquiry on their credit report or received the card in the mail.
In addition, when consumers knew they were applying for credit, Sterling employees misrepresented the terms of the store credit cards. Sterling employees told consumers that they were being enrolled in a “no interest” promotional financing plan, when in reality they were signed up for a plan that included monthly financing fees.
Finally, Sterling enrolled consumers in credit insurance offered in connection with the store credit cards without consumers’ knowledge or consent. In many cases, consumers did not find out that they were enrolled in credit insurance until they noticed fees for the product on billing statements.
On Tuesday Councilman Andy King and Macy's held a coat giveaway for the residents of Councilman Kings District. Councilman King said that the people of his district are in need of many things, and one of them was a warm coat in the cold weather. Councilman King and his staff got together with Macy's to give out to people of Councilman Kings district coats that were donated by Macy's. Everyone who came to Councilman Kings future office on Gun Hill Road next to the new Cherry Valley Supermarket received a new coat.
Above - Councilman Andy King talks to the large crowd in his future office about the upcoming Martin Luther King holiday, and what Dr. Martin Luther King (who had the same last name as the Councilman) meant to the councilman. He also mentioned the similarities in that both he and Dr. King came from the same area in the south, had a relative with the same name, and both are seeking the same thing, equality for all. Councilman King spoke about the United States constitution, and the various changes to the 3/5th amendment.
Below - The huge crowd that came out for Councilman King and Macy's free coat giveaway.
Councilman Andy King being interviewed about his coat giveaway. He said it is only part of his job, and his aim to help the people who elected him to represent them.
As you know there is a historic election for Public Advocate that will be happening on February 26, 2019.
At Bronx Progressives, we value political education and empowerment so that communities can elect representatives who will put the community first. To that end, we want your input to determine if you would like Bronx Progressives to host a forum with the declared candidates that are vying to be our next Public Advocate.
Click on this link to complete a short form so that we can record your responses:
Please fill out the form by Saturday, January 18th to let us know if we should host a forum!
“New York has taken a tremendous step forward to make voting easier for all New Yorkers. Early voting, pre-registering 16- and 17-year-olds and the consolidation of state and federal primaries will help break barriers for New Yorkers every Election Day. I thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the rest of the legislature for passing these key reforms. The legislature should also be proud for passing same-day voter registration and voting by mail. We must continue to push for these reforms so that the next legislature includes them on the ballot in 2021.”
ON ITS FOURTH BIRTHDAY, MAYOR DE BLASIO AND FIRST LADY MCCRAY ANNOUNCE IDNYC ADDS THIRD GENDER DESIGNATION
IDNYC, which will continue to be free in 2019, is also adding new benefit partners, including Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and People’s United Bank
Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announced that transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers can now affirmatively select a gender identity that more closely reflects to how they identify or express their gender on their IDNYC. Since its launch in 2015, the IDNYC program has always let cardholders to self-designate their gender or choose not declare a gender. Current cardholders who want to change the gender designation on their IDNYC can do so at no cost.
IDNYC is also announcing today a number of new benefit partners, including the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, and a new financial institution partner, People’s United Bank. In addition, building upon previous work with NYC Health + Hospitals, cardholders can now link their IDNYC cards with their hospital/clinic registration records at all NYC Health + Hospitals facilities. Now in its fifth year, IDNYC is the largest and most successful municipal ID program in the country with over 1.25 million cardholders.
“In the fairest big city in America, we have a mandate to further our commitment to justice and access for all transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers,” said Mayor de Blasio. “With an IDNYC, more of our neighbors will be able to get the services they need, and take advantage of exclusive benefits and discounts to some of our City’s most iconic landmarks and institutions. We are sending a clear message that all New Yorkers, of all gender identities and expressions, belong and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
“Giving people the opportunity to indicate their gender expression is inclusive, affirming and the right thing to do.” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "All New Yorkers should be valued and respected in their interactions with government. Dignity is central to the efforts of IDNYC.”
"It is great to see that the IDNYC card program in its fourth year will expand its benefits and will be more inclusive by adding the third gender category so every New Yorker can reflect their true selves," said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “In today’s climate, this program is more important than ever and the Council is committed to its success.”
“Transgender, gender non-conforming and gender non-binary New Yorkers are our neighbors and our coworkers and they should feel safe and validated in their interactions with local government,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Phillip Thompson. “IDNYC is the key to the City, the one card that shows everyone that you are a New Yorker and one of the key programs of the de Blasio Administration to making sure every single community that calls our city home has equal access to benefits and services. I look forward to continue to work with this program to expand access to opportunities for vulnerable communities across the city.”
The third gender option builds upon both IDNYC’s proud legacy of inclusion and the City’s reaffirmation of the rights of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers. Under the leadership of the Mayor and the City Council, New York City has joined progressive cities and states across the country—including California, Oregon, Washington State, and Washington, D.C.—in including a third gender option for official government documents. As of January 1, transgender and non-binary New Yorkers can amend their birth certificates to request and alternative option. From the start, IDNYC applicants and cardholders could choose to self-designate their gender as male or female, or to opt not to designate any gender, recognizing some New Yorker’s wish to not indicate their gender on their ID, their right not to identify with binary gender options. Following NYC law, applicants are not required to submit proof of gender identity when selecting, changing, or removing a gender designation. Now, IDNYC applicants and cardholders can affirmatively choose a third gender option, denoted as “X,” for their official municipal identification card.
Beginning in 2015, IDNYC partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals to serve as a registration card, helping improve patients’ experience with our public hospital system. Patients could link their IDNYC card number to their Health + Hospitals registration record to speed new patient registration and expedite the check-in process for medical visits; nearly 5,000 cardholders have taken advantage of this benefit already. Initially rolled out at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, as of the end of 2018 IDNYC numbers can be incorporated within the patient’s record at over 70 NYC Health + Hospitals locations—including hospitals, community health centers, and long-term care facilities—making it easy to access those records using the IDNYC number. This integration is just one example of how IDNYC helps New Yorkers access services and realize better outcomes.
IDNYC comes into 2019 with many new benefit partners. Cardholders can receive a 1-year free membership at 40 excellent cultural institutions across the five boroughs – including at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, IDNYC’s newest cultural institution partner.
IDNYC is also pleased to announce People’s United Bank as the newest financial institution partner. Alongside over a dozen other financial institutional partners, cardholders are now able to use their IDNYC card as primary ID to open a bank account with People’s United Bank, in addition to other required documentation. With 12 branches across the City, this partnership provides cardholders with greater access to financial services. This addition is part of the City’s ongoing commitment to increase financial access for all New Yorkers, particularly the unbanked and underbanked.
In addition, New Yorkers can use their IDNYC to obtain a variety of great discounts in health, entertainment and more. Below are IDNYC’s newest benefit partners:
· Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge: 25% off rock climbing classes, including introductory and kids’ classes;
· Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!): $5 discount on all BAAD! events and performances;
· National Geographic Encounter: 25% on Daily Dive Time Reserved Entry tickets, plus 15% in the Encounter retail shop; and
· TADA! Youth Theatre: 10% discount on all TADA! programming.
All city residents age 10 and above are eligible to apply for a municipal ID card, and enrollment is free for anyone who applies in 2019. All IDNYC applicants must demonstrate their identity and residency in New York City. The City will protect the confidentiality of all IDNYC card applications to the fullest extent of the law and will not ask applicants about their immigration status. For information on eligibility criteria, benefits, enrollment centers across the five boroughs, and more, applicants can visit NYC.gov/IDNYC or call 311.
For a full list of information on IDNYC benefits and effective dates for new discounts, please visit NYC.gov/IDNYC/benefits.
A full list of IDNYC cultural institutional partners includes:
· American Museum of Natural History
· Bronx County Historical Society
· Bronx Museum of the Arts
· BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
· Brooklyn Children’s Museum
· China Institute
· The Drawing Center
· Film Forum
· Flushing Town Hall
· International Print Center New York
· Jacques Marchais Center for Tibetan Art
· King Manor
· Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
· Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
· Metropolitan Museum of Art
· Metropolitan Opera
· Museum at Eldridge Street
· Museum of Chinese in America
· Museum of Jewish Heritage
· Museum of Modern Art
· Museum of the City of New York
· New York Botanical Garden
· New York City Ballet
· New York City Center
· MoMA PS1
· Park Avenue Armory
· Pregones Theater
· The Public Theater
· Queens Museum
· Queens Theatre
· Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
· St. George Theatre
· Staten Island Museum
· Studio Museum in Harlem
· Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling
· Symphony Space
· Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo
· Central Park Zoo (enrollment required at the Bronx Zoo)
· New York Aquarium (enrollment required at the Bronx Zoo)
· Prospect Park Zoo (enrollment required at the Bronx Zoo)
“Every single New Yorker deserves to feel safe, and to be seen and respected,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “We are proud that at the start of 2019, IDNYC now offers a gender option that acknowledges the gender spectrum and expands options for our transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming neighbors – at no cost or hassle. IDNYC is the key to the city for all New Yorkers, regardless of gender identity or immigration status.”
“New York City is once again taking a step forward to be a more inclusive city by including an additional gender designation for IDNYC,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “For transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming New Yorkers having a document that is consistent with their gender identity is not only a matter of semantics, it represents self-determination and safety from discrimination and harassment.”
Dawn Smalls, Candidate for Public Advocate, Issues Statement in Response to Voting Reforms Passed By State Senate
"As one of the major platform issues in my campaign for Public Advocate, I'm happy to finally see progress on these long-overdue reforms," Ms. Smalls said of the legislation passed on Voting Reforms by the NY State Senate. "Our outdated election laws have directly contributed to our dismal voter turnout. Just 12% of eligible voters showed up for the 2017 Primary. That is shameful for a state that puts itself forward as one of the most progressive in the nation."
Smalls has been an active proponent of voting reforms over the course of her career. She managed tens of millions of dollars in grants at two of the world's largest philanthropies promoting civic engagement, political reform, and grassroots activism. And, as an attorney, she got an injunction against Trump in the lead up to the 2016 campaign to prohibit voter intimidation at the polls. Smalls has also been involved in Stacy Abrams' efforts to make sure every voice is heard and every vote is counted following her bid for Governor of Georgia.
"The passage of these reforms are a great start for New Yorkers - but they won’t mean anything unless they are properly implemented," commented Smalls. "As Public Advocate, I will be the people’s watchdog to make sure the current reforms are properly implemented so that New Yorkers see a real change the next time they come to the polls. I will also advocate for the passage of policies that are missing from this first round of reforms like restoration for people on parole and the flexibility to change parties closer to the election."