Queens County Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 12, 2017

Queens County City Council News

Dromm Legislation Gets Tough On Bullies

City Council Member Daniel Dromm/via Facebook

City Council Member Daniel “Danny” Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday saw the city council pass the legislation he sponsored requiring the Department of Education (DOE) to post on its website information regarding how to report incidents of bullying, harassment, intimidation or discrimination.

The measure also includes having information on the website about to which school staff such reports may me made, email addresses designated by DOE to receive reports of such incidents; and information guiding students, parents and staff members to visit their individual school websites for more information.

The legislation stemmed from a September incident in which a student was fatally stabbed and another critically wounded by a fellow student at a school in the Bronx. Early reports indicated that the student who allegedly committed the act is a victim of bullying. The Council immediately acted by holding an oversight hearing to examine DOE’s efforts to address bullying in City schools and introducing legislation to increase transparency about the DOE’s policies.

“This legislation will give students, parents and others a quick and easy way to report school bullying, holding the DOE responsible for ensuring that our students receive the quality education that is their due. Bullying wreaks havoc on our schools, creating a toxic environment where it is nearly impossible for young people to learn,” said Dromm.

“Tragically, LGBTQ students, Muslim students, students with disabilities, those who are overweight, and many others experience or witness bullying on a daily basis. When enacted this bill will make principals and other administrators aware of bullying inside of their schools—the first step toward addressing the issue,” he added.

. I thank the Speaker and my colleagues for supporting this important effort,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm.

Koo Legislation Amending Definition Of Harassment Passes City Council

City Council Member Peter Koo/via Facebook

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) yesterday saw the City Council approve his legislation expanding the definition of harassment to include threats based on a person’s actual or perceived status in a protected class, including threats to report immigrant tenants to ICE.

The bill also adds to the definition of harassment requests for identifying documentation that would disclose a person’s immigration status, when the person has already provided the owner with a current form of personal identification.

“The message this legislation sends to bad landlords is clear: if you harass your tenants, you will face consequences. As New Yorkers, we will not stand for harassment against immigrants in any form.  Unfortunately, many immigrants don’t know their rights under the law. By amending the Housing Code’s definition of harassment, we will make it easier for tenants to retaliate against these forms of discrimination by giving them the power to file claims directly against the landlord,” said Koo.

Lancman Legislation Looks At Fare Beating Arrests

City Councilmember Rory Lancman/Facebook

City Council Member Rory Lancman (D-Briarwood, Cunningham Park, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Holliswood, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Richmond Hill) yesterday saw the City Council pass his legislation disaggregating specific details concerning fare beating arrests in the subway.

Specifically, the measure would require the NYPD to report on a quarterly basis the number of theft of services arrests and fare evasion offenses returnable to the Transit Adjudication Bureau that occur in the New York City subway system disaggregated by age of the offender/arrestee, subway station in which the offense took place, the transit bureau of the offense and, in the case of a criminal enforcement, whether the individual was issued a desk appearance ticket or whether the arrestee was processed through central bookings.

Additionally, the department would be required to publish their policy with respect to determining whether an individual is issued a summons returnable to the Transit Adjudication Bureau or a criminal summons.

“What we know is that the Mayor’s insistence on using arrests and criminal prosecution for fare evasion, all while a civil alternative is readily available, has disproportionately impacted brown and black New Yorkers. However, what we do not know is how the NYPD is focusing its fare evasion enforcement and which precincts are spending most time and resources chasing after fare beaters,” said Lancman.

“My bill will change that by providing the public with the data needed to understand the extent to which communities of color are over-policed when it comes to fare evasion. Sound public policy is only possible with complete data,” the lawmaker added.

Meng Urges Race, Ethnicity Data Standards for 2020 Census

U.S. Representative Grace Meng/Facebook

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D–Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) yesterday urged Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney to revise outdated federal standards for data collection as soon as possible.

The call for action is for an effort to collect more accurate and complete data on race and ethnicity for the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau must submit final questions for the 2020 Census to Congress by March 31, 2018, so any change to federal data collection standards must be made immediately to allow the Census Bureau sufficient time to respond.

“I cannot overstate the importance of accurate and reliable Census data, particularly concerning race and ethnicity,” said Meng. “This data is used in everything from how we allocate federal resources to how we determine the distribution of congressional seats. Research shows that shifting from a two-question approach on race and ethnicity to a one-question approach would improve data collection and lead to more reliable and more accurate results. OMB should adopt this more comprehensive approach so that government at all levels can better serve every community.”

Meng requested that OMB implement a single, comprehensive question on race and ethnicity within its Statistical Policy Directive No. 15. Census Bureau research shows that a single, comprehensive question leads to much better data collection than the current two-question approach that first asks a question about Hispanic ethnicity, followed by a second question on racial identification.

The research shows a distinct mismatch between Latino identification and the current Census question sequence and race categories. More than 43% of Latinos chose “Some other race” or did not answer the race question in the 2010 decennial Census. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders also face mismatches with self-identification and a larger problem of a lack of disaggregated data. The current two-question approach only includes listed race categories of “Asian Indian” and “Other Asian” with an option to write in a more specific race.

In 2015, the Census performed the National Content Test (NCT), an extensive evaluation of the content of the Census questionnaire. NCT tested the traditional two-question approach to race and ethnicity as well as a comprehensive one-question approach that asked for both racial and Hispanic ethnicity identification through a single question. The single question was found to be the most optimal question format to gather data.