A 65-member caucus consisting of lawmakers in the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus on Saturday has newly proposed a public safety plan in New York State.
The plan is rooted in funding mental health, youth counseling and housing needs as well as diversion and educational programs.
The 65-member caucus carries power within both houses of the Democratic-controlled Legislature during the ongoing budget negotiations.
“These are initiatives we’ve been championing as a caucus, as individuals, for a long time because we know that for too long our communities have been enduring physical and psychological consequences of living with a consent presence of fear,” said Assembly Member Michaelle Solages, the caucus chair, in an interview on Saturday.
The plan, she said, is meant to look “at the root causes of violence, the root causes of poverty, and tackling those issues in a holistic way” in order to end the “perpetual punishment of our communities.”
Broadly, caucus lawmakers are calling for a range of measures meant to aid communities and reduce violent crime.
The proposed measures include:
More funding mental health services and boosting wages for frontline mental health workers
More investment in youth programs like My Brother’s Keeper and YouthBuild as well as after school programs with the goal of building communities and reducing recidivism
Reduce wait times for mass transit both for the MTA as well as upstate transit programs
Fund anti-gun violence programs in vulnerable communities
Expand educational access through child care as well as at the public college and university level
Provide public schools with psychologists and social workers
Lawmakers are also calling for ways of reducing recidivism through diversion programs, boosting efforts for housing stability and spend more money for community centers.