Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 5, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Meeks Call For Dismissal of House Intelligence Committee Chair Nunes

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (R-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport) on Friday called for the dismissal of U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes as chair of the House Intelligence Committee for his move to declassify the top-secret memo as it relates to the ongoing investigation of Russian involvement in American politics and the last 2016 Presidential election.

President Turmp allowed for the memo to be released, and he alleges it proves the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was involved in partisan politics and a biased investigation. Democrats are now trying to release another classified top-secret memo to clarify the first memo in what is increasingly a political football.

“After ostensibly recusing himself from the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, Nunes has repeatedly interfered in it, proving that he is unworthy of chairing the House Intelligence Committee. Independent Congressional oversight is central to our democracy, and Chairman Nunes’ decision to subject his committee to the President’s whims and directions is a serious dereliction of duty that shakes the very foundation of our nation’s system of check and balances,” said Meeks.

“I do not say this lightly, but I do say it with complete conviction: Devin Nunes must be immediately removed as Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence.

“Congress and the American people should be vigilant as this President and complicit Republicans erode our institutions to serve their political needs.”

Avella and Northwest Bayside Civic Obtain All-Way Stop

Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) on Friday received correspondence from the Department of Transportation (DOT) informing him that, at his request, the intersection of 204th Street and 33rd Avenue has received two new stop signs, making the intersection an All-Way stop.

The Northwest Bayside Civic Association brought the need for the change to Avella’s attention in 2015. DOT officials told Avella to expect the new signs to be installed by the end of February but the Civic’s President informed the Senator’s office that the signs have already been installed.

“I am happy to report that DOT has answered the calls of a local civic association for additional stop signs at this well-trafficked intersection near an elementary school. The addition of an All-Way stop at this intersection will go a long way in improving traffic safety in the community. I am glad that I was able to help Bayside residents secure this extra safety measure,” said Avella.

Addabbo Considers Legality Of Sports Betting In New York

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Elmhurst, Woodside, Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, Ridgewood, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, the Rockaways) recently joined his colleagues on the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee in holding a public hearing to gather input on whether sports betting should be legalized in New York if a federal ban on the practice is ultimately lifted or limited by the United States Supreme Court.

“At the hearing, we heard from a variety of witnesses discussing both the pros and cons of legalized sports betting in New York,” said Addabbo, the ranking member of the Racing Committee. “Groups including the NBA, OTB, national sports betting organizations, horse breeders, and the New York Council on Problem Gambling were represented, along with leaders of the State Gaming Commission and the New York Racing Association.”

Addabbo explained that sports betting became illegal in the United States in 1993 under federal law, with the exception of four states where the practice was permitted to continue in a legal framework. New York was not one of those states, but the Upstate Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013, which allowed for casino development in the state following approval of a public referendum, contains a provision that would provide for legal sports wagering at casinos if it is legalized at the federal level.

The fate of sports betting is currently in the hands of the United States Supreme Court, which recently heard oral arguments in Christie v. NCAA, a lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s efforts to implement sports betting. The state has made several different attempts to legalize sports wagering over the years despite the provisions of the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibiting the practice. A decision is expected this spring.

“It was educational to listen to those who spoke on various aspects of legalized sports betting, including whether it might ultimately be permitted at racetracks as well as casinos,” said Addabbo. “Witnesses also spoke to whether sports leagues should receive a portion of the total amounts wagered, and whether legalized sports betting would add to an already serious problem of compulsive gambling in New York State. It is a complex issue, and I am sure there will be greater discussions in New York depending on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the New Jersey case.”

Crowley Statement on Black History Month

U.S. Representative Joe Crowley/via Facebook

U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, and parts of the Bronx) on Friday issued the following statement in commemoration of Black History Month:

“During Black History Month, we reflect on African-Americans’ invaluable contributions to our country and pay tribute to all the champions who fought for equality and justice. From science to politics and music to law, African-Americans have profoundly shaped our history and progress.

“This year, as we honor these incredible achievements, we must also recognize that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Men and women who sacrificed everything to ensure that our country honors its promise that all men are created equal. Their perseverance must be remembered today as a new generation of activists have resisted hate and discrimination to fight against President Trump’s divisive and racist agenda. Our fight is far from over, but together we can keep working toward a more just, more equal, and more perfect Union.”

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