Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 18, 2017

Queens County City Council News

Schumer Says Time To Deploy Explosive Detection Technology To NYC 

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U. S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said yesterday called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to formally test a technology it developed to help detect suicide vests or other strapped-to-the-body explosive devices before they detonate in New York City.

Schumer lauded the new technology and also urged an accelerated effort by the Feds to deliver these devices to law enforcement and transit agencies for use in the city’s busiest transit hubs.

Schumer’s call to test the technology in NYC came on the heels of last week’s attempted subway terror attack, where Bangladesh native Akayed Ullah strapped an “improvised low-tech explosive device attached to his body” with zip ties and velcro.

“The fact that we have this new, potentially life-saving technology at our fingertips – an ability to detect concealed explosives worn by cowards looking to do us harm – demands the federal government put both the testing and the perfecting of this technology on the fast-track. We not only want these devices in America’s busiest cities, like New York, but we need them here,” said Schumer. 

“So, today, I am urging the TSA to bring these devices to New York City, test them in our subways, in Penn Station, in our airports, and, if they work as well as touted, pursue an expedited seal of approval that gives all of us another layer of security to fend off would be lone wolf terror. As the threats we face evolve our preparedness and response must evolve as well to remain a step ahead of evil doers.”

According to the TSA, a new screening technology, known as Stand Off Explosive Detection Technology, will help law enforcement officials detect hidden explosives and whether an individual is wearing a suicide vest.

Meng Amendment Assessing Effectiveness of Sanctions Against Iran Passes House

U.S. Representative Grace Meng/Facebook

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng’s (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) last week saw the House pass her amendment requiring an assessment of the effectiveness of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, which was part of the Iranian Leadership Asset transparency Act, H.R. 1638.

The Act directs the U.S. Department of the Treasury to issue a report explaining how it assesses the impact and effectiveness of U.S. economic sanctions programs against Iran, but does not require the actual assessment. Meng’s amendment requires the Treasury to issue an assessment of the effectiveness of sanctions against Iran.

“I voted against the Iran deal because it did not do enough to mitigate the nuclear threat posed by Iran, and I voted multiple times to impose sanctions on Iran to deter further nuclear development,” said Meng. “Congress must determine whether or not the sanctions we have passed are working, and that is exactly what my amendment seeks to do.”

Meng’s amendment was passed unanimously by voice vote. H.R. 1638 passed the House by a vote of 289-135.

Peralta Awards Jorge Muñoz State Senate Liberty Medal

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) last week awarded Jorge Muñoz with the New York State Senate Liberty Medal during a ceremony that took place last night at the St. Mark’s AME Church in Jackson Heights.

Muñoz is the founder of An Angel in Queens Foundation, and he has been delivering free home-cooked meals to unemployed and homeless people in Queens for over a decade. Additionally, during the night’s celebration, Peralta honored another 12 community leaders.

“Jorge and his family have been handing free meals to day laborers and homeless New Yorkers beneath the 7 train in Jackson Heights for many years. People like Jorge are very hard to come by. I experienced first-hand the altruistic work he does every night of the year by distributing home-cooked meals to many people in need. He began his mission on a 2004 summer night by bringing food to a laborer who was hungry. The following night he fed eight New Yorkers, and since then, volunteers, his family and him have been distributing free dinners to more than 120 hungry people every single night of the year,” said Peralta.   

Jorge Muñoz and his group of volunteers distribute the free home-cooked meals to day laborers from his truck seven nights a week since the 2004 summer. He was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Barack Obama, was named of the CNN ‘Heroes’ in 2009, and was presented with the Order of Congress in the Degree of Knight by the Senate of Colombia.

“Clearly, this is a much-deserved award for Jorge, as we recognize his amazing achievements by helping others out of the goodness of his heart,” said Peralta.

Avella Celebrates Completion Of Depot Road Paving

Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens Village, Flushing, Bayside, Whitestone, Douglaston, Little Neck, College Point, Bellerose, Hollis, Jamaica Estates, Floral Park, Glen Oaks) today will stand with Flushing resident Teddi Kavanaugh and her neighbors to celebrate the completion of the paving of Depot Road.

Ms. Kavanaugh and the Senator had been asking New York City to pave this stretch of road for years due to the dangers it posed to pedestrians and motorists alike. Kavanaugh, who recently turned 93, has called this a bucket list item for her.

The celebration is slated for 3 p.m., today, Dec. 18 at 40-26 158th Street, in  Flushing.