Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 16, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Richards Renews Call For State Law Pertaining To Police Sexual Contact

City Council Member Donovan Richards

City Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Bayswater, Broad Channel, Cambria Heights, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Howard Beach, Jamaica, JFK Airport, Laurelton, Rockaway Beach, Rosedale, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens) along with Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) and City Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) yesterday called on the state senate to pass legislation prohibiting sexual contact between police and people held in custody.

Currently, a state statute exists that prohibits sexual contact between corrections or parole officers and the individuals in their custody. However, it does not explicitly indicate the legality of such contact between police officers and those who they detain or take into custody.

Treyger introduced a resolution, now Res. 177, shortly after a related incident in October 2017. Two NYPD officers were ultimately charged with rape after engaging in sexual activity with an 18-year old woman whom they had taken into custody.

“When an officer has a person’s freedom in the palm of their hands, that person is in no position to make a reasonable and thoughtful decision on consent,” said Richards, chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “Any officer who uses this power for their own personal gain is violating public trust and abusing the power given to them by the City of New York. I am honored to stand with Speaker Johnson and Council Member Treyger to call on the State Senate to pass this legislation and close this nonsensical loophole.”

Peralta Gets RWDSU Endorsement

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) yesterday received the endorsement for his re-election from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

“We have worked closely with Jose since his time on the staff of the New York City Central Labor Council, as a member of the Assembly and in recent years as a member of the State Senate. In the legislature, he has championed key legislation that impacts not just RWDSU members, but all workers in New York State, said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “His push this year for a bill to strengthen the Wage Theft Prevention Act would, if passed, help car wash workers, retail workers and food service workers recover stolen wages.  He has fought for on-call scheduling reform and an end to the tip credit for car wash workers among other priorities.   We support Jose’s campaign and we stand with him as he has with us.”

Peralta thanked the union for its endorsement.

“My progressive ideals will always go hand in hand with working families, and my legislative record speaks for itself, from pushing to pass the Paid Family Leave program to increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. RWDSU and its members embody the values we strive to achieve here in New York, and they are the backbone of our economy. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with RWDSU to push for a progressive agenda that reinvests in our workers and improves the lives of working families in my district and across this great state,” said Peralta.

Meng Introduces Legislation Recognizing Lunar New Year

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) introduced a Congressional resolution this week celebrating today as the Lunar New Year.

The measure encourages the House to recognize the cultural and historical significance of Lunar New Year in the year 2018. It also expresses the deepest respect for Asian Americans and all individuals throughout the world who celebrate the holiday. In addition, the resolution details the history and customs of Lunar New Year, and wishes Asian Americans and all who observe the Lunar celebration a happy and prosperous new year.

“For the Asian American community, Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year and it’s also a time to celebrate the important heritage of Asian Americans,” said Meng. “As Lunar New Year continues to grow in popularity, it is important that more to be done to acknowledge this annual observance, and official recognition by the House would go a long way towards further appreciating the holiday. I look forward to this resolution passing soon and I wish a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year to all who celebrate the Year of the Dog.”

In addition to the resolution, Meng marked the anniversary of Lunar New Year becoming a school holiday in New York City, a school holiday that she played a role in creating in 2016. The Congresswoman first proposed closing New York City schools for Lunar New Year when she was a member of the New York State Legislature in 2009.

Meng’s resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform where it is awaiting further action.

Avella Obtains Additional Traffic Controls for Confusing Cross Island Parkway Exit

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) this week received correspondence from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that they have modified the signal timing operation at the intersection of Utopia Parkway with 14th Road and the Cross Island Parkway (CIP) Service Road to provide better traffic flow.

Avella requested a change in the signal timing operation after traffic began backing up following previous DOT modifications to clearly indicate that this exit was only one lane, not two as motorists often thought. This is the third modification that DOT has made at the location within the last year.

In May of 2017, after years of Avella asking to widen the exit, DOT instead painted a double arrow on the roadway, which made it appear as if the one lane exit is actually two lanes. This decision had unintendedly made the already dangerous service road even more dangerous.

“I am glad that I was once again able to obtain action from the City for better traffic flow at this intersection. The amount of traffic at this exit has increased dramatically over the past few years and so has the confusion. I still believe that the proper solution to this condition is to widen the exit to permit two lanes. However, I am happy that DOT has adjusted the timing of the signal to allow for more cars to pass through the intersection on a green light. I hope that the new signal timing operation will provide better traffic flow and make the commutes of Queens residents a lot easier. I appreciate DOT’s willingness to work with me on this issue,” said Avella.

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