As a former teacher and Day Care Director, Velmanette Montgomery has seen the challenge in making safe, affordable child care accessible and available. That's why she sponsored the historic law creating a child care resource and referral network to help families find the services they need. Senator Montgomery also helped create campus child care centers at SUNY and CUNY. This year, Senator Montgomery sponsored a law requiring day care employees to know CPR and first aid.
Velmanette Montgomery has fought for Brooklyn schools every single year since she first took office -- for billions of dollars in funding for better equipped classrooms, training for teachers, computers, school safety and after-school programs. Senator Montgomery is now advancing her Teen Health Agenda -- to teach age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education in grades K-12. Her many community efforts include support of youth and after-school educational and procreational programs including a plan to transform the Bedford Stuyvesant Armory into an athletic facility.
CLEAN WATER AND LAND
Velmanette Montgomery was the first elected official to publicly support the listing of the Gowanus Canal as Superfund site, ensuring a bright future for the nearby residents. She helped bring together the grass-roots community coalition FROGG (Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus), which is working to improve the quality of the land and water in the Gowanus area. Senator Montgomery is also one of the sponsors of important legislation to stop severe water contamination. The measure would halt the dangerous practice of hydrofracking (i.e. hydraulic fracturing, the injecting of massive amounts of sand, water and dangerous chemicals into the ground to withdraw natural gas or oil) until a complete study of its effects can be completed.
Velmanette Montgomery has repeatedly upheld New York's rent laws. She also fought against an eminent domain action that placed her Brooklyn neighbors at risk of losing their homes, and stood up against predatory lending to protect homeowners. This year she sponsored new laws providing $400 million in federal funding for the timely repair of NYCHA buildings and calling for the conversion of half-built and vacant luxury condos into affordable housing. Senator Montgomery has also sponsored a law requiring that foreclosure notices include a notice for rent-regulated tenants regarding their rights.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND EQUALITY
Velmanette Montgomery's commitment to human rights spans her entire career. She sponsored the laws preventing female genital mutilation and banning the inhumane shackling of pregnant prison inmates. Senator Montgomery has been one of the most outspoken supporters of people living with HIV/AIDS -- creating the needle exchange program and this year, fighting to ensure that people are not criminally-liable for possessing clean needles. A longtime fighter for gay rights, Velmanette Montgomery supports marriage equality, bereavement leave, and the right of two-parent adoption for same-sex couples.
FUNDING FOR VITAL COMMUNITY PROGRAMS
In the past two years alone, Senator Montgomery has brought home $4 million in funding for: non-profit housing groups for targeted affordable housing: community health centers including Bed-Stuy Family Health; Pratt and Poly colleges; the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation; and museums, libraries, and cultural institutions.
From standing up against budget cuts to sponsoring innovative laws to close the gaps in care for our families, Velmanette Montgomery has always worked to improve access to quality healthcare. Recognizing that the health of too many children falls through the cracks, Senator Montgomery was one of the earliest advocates for School-based Health Centers that provide primary care and mental health services right in the school. Building on these efforts, this year she sponsored a bill that is waiting to be signed into law to expand access to these centers by including them as an option in the Child Health Plus insurance program. S enator Montgomery also helped author the Women's Health and Wellness Law that expands reproductive and preventive heath services.
To help address the primary care doctor shortage that has troubled our community for decades, Velmanette Montgomery is a longtime proponent of empowering nurse practitioners. She sponsored the landmark law that provided these dedicated healthcare professionals with a scope of practice and licensure. This year, Senator Montgomery sponsored legislation that was retoed by the Governor which would give nurse practitioners the ability to order DNR provisions and sign death certificates, since they are often the ones providing end-of-life care.
Since becoming our Senator, Velmanette Montgomery has been an outspoken voice for changing the way young people are treated in our criminal justice system. She helped establish the Red Hook Community Justice Center -- an innovative community court where problems are addressed right in the neighborhood and young people learn personal responsibility by doing service projects and taking classes.
Now Senator Montgomery is sponsoring her Juvenile Justice Reform Agenda to give young people the support they need and a future of hope. The cornerstone is Re-Invest New York, which would fund services for at-risk youth to keep them in more effective treatment programs in their own communities. The agenda also includes Re-Direct New York, which creates alternative-to-detention residential programs to give young people the guidance they need to stay away from crime. in addition Senator Montgomery is working with the State Court Administration to allow the courts to take over the probation system. A judge who has one-on-one contact will be more inclined to choose probation, so that young people can avoid the cycle of prison.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Velmanette Montgomery has been a champion of reforming our criminal justice system for many years,particularly in the area of promoting more humane treatment for non-violent offenders. Senator Montgomery fought to secure passage of the Rockefeller Drug Law reforms. She also co-sponsored the new "stop and frisk" reform law that helps prevent racial targeting by the police.
NEW HOPE FOR THOSE IN NEED
Velmanette Montgomery is one of the strongest advocates for aiding the transition of men and women who are released from prison. She fought for many years to allow formerly incarcerated people to be able to receive barber and cosmetology licenses, and won. Now Senator Montgomery is seeking to create a state commission and a source of funding to improve community-based programs that help formerly-incarcerated people make the transition back home.