Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 19, 2017

Queens County City Council News

Kim Lays Groundwork for Deeper Ties between New York and Yunnan Province

Assemblymember Ron Kim/Facebook

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and his wife, Alison Tan, yesterday met with Dr. Liu Guangxi, Chairman and Deputy Secretary of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (Yunnan Province), Ellen Yang, Deputy Director of China Chamber of International Commerce, Yunnan Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Chen Taifeng, Deputy Secretary of the Pu’er Municipal Government, and Harvey Liu, Secretary General, US-Asia Innovation Gateway, to discuss future long-term partnerships between the State of New York and the province of Yunnan.

As the economy and quality-of-life continues to improve in Yunnan and its surrounding provinces, new opportunities in trade, technological development, and intercultural exchanges have arisen. Kim’s wife was born in Yunnan, and many of her extended family members live there. Based on his current and previous visits, Kim saw a unique chance for potential future collaborations between the province and his home state of New York.

At the meeting, the participants discussed potential partnerships in the fields of biotechnology, agronomics, and biomedicine between upstate New York and Yunnan province, as well as possible long-term collaboration between a NY-based Chamber of Commerce and Yunnan’s Chamber of Commerce.

The province’s untapped natural resources and unique location in the southwest of China, bordering over 50% of the world’s population, have long hinted at its strong, if underdeveloped, economic potential. The discussion was a highlight in Kim’s current tour through China, where he has sought to develop strategic partnerships to keep New York at the forefront of innovation. He will also be meeting with officials in Shanghai near the end of December.

“This is my third time visiting this province,” said Kim, “and since then, they have implemented cross-country high speed rail, added thousands of housing units, and are currently building a smart parks and subway systems. As quality of life for the people in Yunnan inevitably improves over the next ten years, and new consumer interests and demand continues to rise, I believe there will be unique opportunities for long-term partnerships with New York. I look forward to meeting further with commerce and trade officials to explore potential opportunities for collaboration. On a personal note, I hope more people from our state and country have the chance to visit and explore this beautiful place, my wife’s family’s hometown.”

Maloney, Suozzi Announce New Bills to Combat Workplace Sexual Harassment

U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney

U.S. Reps Carolyn B. Maloney (D- Western Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn) and Thomas Suozzi (D-Little Neck, Whitestone, Glen Oaks, Floral Park, Long Island) yesterday along with Reps. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Annie Kuster (NH-2), and Tom Suozzi (NY-3) joined with feminist activist organizations to announce two new pieces of legislation to combat sexual harassment in the workplace; the Ending Secrecy About Workplace Sexual Harassment Act and the No Tax Deductions for Sexual Harasser Buyouts Act.

The two bills are designed to end the corporate culture of secrecy surrounding sexual harassment settlements and to no longer allow companies to treat Bill O’Reilly-like severances as an ordinary cost of doing business. As a result, companies will have stronger incentives to prevent sexual discrimination, including verbal and physical sexual harassment, from happening in the first place.

“We are in a moment of reckoning. What was once confined to the whisper networks of warnings between women has been brought into the light and we owe it to all the women coming forward with their #MeToo stories, and those still suffering in silence, to act and make things better,” said Maloney.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing payouts to sexual harassers and companies shouldn’t be able to use these buyouts as a way to lower their taxes. Instead of just sweeping sexual misconduct under the rug, companies need to be held accountable for all allegations – including those that are settled out of court. With total secrecy, companies have absolutely no incentive to focus on preventing sexual misconduct if they know they will never be held accountable. But, with these two bills, we flip the incentive structure from one of cover up to one of prevention. We must seize this movement to inspire lasting change that keeps everyone safe from sexual harassment – in the workplace, at universities, in Congress – and everywhere in between. With these bills, we can help do that,” she added.

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi

“Whenever trying to reform, we must remember the adage, ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant.’ We need to shine a light on the existing problem of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace,” said Rep. Suozzi. “By requiring companies to detail sexual harassment data, we can clearly define the extent of this pervasive problem and begin to change this toxic culture of behavior. I’m committed to working with Rep. Maloney and others on this very important issue.”

Crowley Critical On Trump’s National Security Plan

U.S. Representative Joe Crowley/via Facebook

U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, parts of the Bronx) yesterday called President Donald Trump released national security plan a regurgitation of Trumps’s most antagonistic campaign rhetoric.

“[This] Rhetoric that has alienated our closest allies during his first 11 months in office, weakened the United States’ position as a global leader and diminished our security both here at home and abroad,” said Crowley..

“The unfortunate reality is the president lacks a true national security vision for this country. There are numerous missed opportunities in this document – most glaringly the failure to publicly acknowledge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. If President Trump is unwilling to stand tough against our adversaries in practice, then this national security plan will do nothing to make us safer or stronger.”

Addabbo Marches With Students To Drop Off College Apps

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) on Friday marched alongside the soon-to-be graduating class at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (MELS) as they went to the postal truck to drop off their college applications during their annual College March.

Addabbo was a guest speaker at the event and encouraged the students to continue their hard work and thank those that helped them get to this point.

“As you begin this next journey in your life, do not forget all the people who helped you get to where you are today,” said Addabbo.“Congratulations to you all and best of luck to you in the future.”