Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 4, 2017

Queens County City Council News

Schumer Pushes Retailers To Block Bots Scalping Popular Holiday Gift Items

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) yesterday asked two of the leading retail trade associations – the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association – to investigate the prevalence of bots on their members’ websites and help their members institute best practices to subvert these sophisticated computer programs.

Schumer’s ask came after revealing that cyber bots are scooping up popular holiday gifts, from dolls to gaming equipment, for resell on other websites at outrageous prices to consumers.

Schumer explained that “bots” are sophisticated computer programs often used by nefarious scalpers and brokers that plague the online sale of many items. In years past, cyber scalpers primarily used bots to snatch up popular tickets to concerts and live theater productions, leaving fans with no choice but to buy tickets through secondary resale sites at much higher prices.

Last year, Congress passed the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, which Schumer co-sponsored, prohibiting the unfair and deceptive act of using mechanisms such as bots in order to scoop up tickets before consumers are given a fair chance to buy them. However, the legislation did not include items beyond tickets.

“Grinch bots cannot be allowed to steal Christmas, or dollars, from the wallets of New Yorkers. Middle class folks save up—a little here, a little there—working to afford the hottest gifts of the season for their kids but ever-changing technology and its challenges are making that very difficult. It’s time we help restore an even playing field by blocking the bots. When it comes to purchasing products online, major retailers should put forth policies that will help prevent future Grinch bots from stealing the season’s hottest toys,” said Schumer.

Peralta Pushes Back Against Trump Administration

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) on Friday issued the following statement outlining some of his positions to push back against the Trump Administration.

“President Trump seems determined to hurt the hard-working, middle class of this country. His latest attacks come in the form of a tax plan, which will be devastating for middle-class New Yorkers. Trump’s mission is to benefit the rich, but my mission is to fight his inhumane policies. The GOP tax plan is a stab in the back to all Americans, since, among many other regressions, it cuts local and state deductions, affecting hard-working families.

“With Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans dominating Congress, the new political landscape is plagued by un-American and anti-immigrant policies. We are on the frontline fighting Trump and we will not let Washington threaten our way of life taking us backwards. This is one of the reasons why I was able to secure $10 million in state funding for a legal defense fund to protect immigrants against Trump’s virulent and draconian immigration policies. If you need assistance, call the Independent Democratic Conference’s toll-free emergency hotline for legal services at (800) 213-6385.

“As we keep on fighting back Trump and working to reverse his ruthless policies, I strongly continue to push to pass my DREAM Act in the New York State Senate in an effort to protect DREAMers and immigrant communities. Simply put, I am fighting for the dignity of all New Yorkers. Some of my priorities for the next legislative session will include efforts to push the Liberty Act, which will provide additional safeguards for undocumented New Yorkers, and ensuring that immigrants, regardless of immigration status, have the possibility to obtain a driver’s license.

“We are not returning to the shadows! I want to ensure immigrant New Yorkers have the same opportunities my parents had when they left the Dominican Republic and settled in New York. Let’s stand against racism, sexism, hatred and discrimination.”

Peralta’s office, along with legal professionals from the CUNY School of Law’s Community Legal Resource Network, is also offer a Free Legal Counsel focusing on Immigration and Housing, the top two constituent issues in the Senator’s office. For free legal advice on these issues, please contact us at, 718-205-3881.

Crowley, NYC’s House Dems Come Down On Predatory Landlords

U.S. Representative Joe Crowley/via Facebook
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), along with U.S. Rep. Hakeem S. Jeffries (D-Queens, Brooklyn), and Democratic members of the New York City congressional delegation called on the New York State Attorney General to investigate landlords’ predatory and abusive practices.

Recent reports indicate that a growing number of individuals have opened businesses dedicated to streamlining and facilitating the eviction process for landlords by intimidating tenants into agreeing to bad deals that often leave hard-working men and women at risk of homelessness. These businesses rely on tenants’ lack of access to legal representation or knowledge of their rights. The lawmakers also asked the Attorney General to examine how these businesses and predatory landlords abuse the justice system to extract money from vulnerable renters.

“It is unconscionable that property owners and landlords throughout New York City have been lining their pockets by employing practices that rely on vulnerable tenants’ lack of access to legal representation, and preying on their financial insecurity,” the lawmakers wrote. “We encourage you to investigate whether these and other predatory practices are more widespread than previously reported, whether there is a growing trend of property owners using our judicial system to intimidate or extract money or other concessions from tenants, and whether these practices are out of line with the norms and standards of our justice system and tenants’ right to due process.”

In addition to Chairman Crowley and Congressman Jeffries, the letter was signed by Reps. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens), Grace Meng (D-Queens), José E. Serrano (D- the Bronx), Adriano Espaillat (D-Harlem, the Bronx), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-Queens), and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn).

Avella Protests Parks Department Planting Of Trees

Sen. Tony Avella

State Senator Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park, Beechhurst, Malba, Auburndale) along with Doctors Lombardi and Silver from a local medical practice will stand together today to protest the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) decision to plant trees in front of their medical practice, hindering access for their disabled patients.

Currently, tree pits have been dug to signal the future location of two trees, which will present a hazard to the many senior citizens who are patients of Dr. Lombardi and Dr. Silver.

The protest is slated for 1 p.m., today, Dec. 4 at 32-07 Francis Lewis Boulevard in Flushing.