Queens Lawmakers On The Move March 13, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Peralta Bill To Become Easier Organ Donor Passes Senate

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside) yesterday saw the senate pass his bill that will include a space on applications for student loans and aid programs to voluntarily sign up for the Donate Life Registry.

The proposal (S.6196) will increase opportunities for New Yorkers to register as organ donors. Currently, the state ranks third nationally with the highest need for donors, and it is second to last in the nation per capita when it comes to registered organ donors.

Donate Life, a nonprofit donor organ organization in the country, pointed out that nearly 9,500 New Yorkers throughout the state are waiting for organ transplants. Over 1,600 New Yorkers have been on a waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant for more than five years. In 2017, more than 2,200 New Yorkers received a lifesaving organ transplant.

“Signing up for the organ donation registry is the highest form of solidarity with others. One organ donated is one life saved. Unfortunately, far too many New Yorkers are waiting for organs. Simply put, this proposal will increase the number of New Yorkers who become organ donors by including an option to check if you want to be included in the donate life registry on student loan forms,” said Peralta. “This is a common-sense approach to increasing the number of people who register as organ donors.”

The measure now goes before the assembly for passage.

Avella Responds To East River Helicopter Crash

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) yesterday renewed his call for the state to pass his legislation, (S6875) seeking to direct the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to acquire control over the operation of helicopters.

The call comes in the wake of Sunday’s helicopter crash in the East River that took five lives.

Avella said that by instituting oversight of helicopters and their operations, it will  not only improve safety for passengers, but also improve the quality of life for those neighborhoods they fly over.

“While it is too soon to jump to conclusions as we are still waiting to hear all of the details, we must still look to what can be done to prevent anything like this from ever happening again. For a very long time, residents in my district have expressed their worries about helicopters that fly over the area and the effects it has on the communities of Northern Queens that I represent. That is why earlier this year I introduced legislation that seeks to manage the helicopter routes over our city and our state,” said Avella.

“Currently, there is very limited regulation of helicopter routes in New York State. In fact, one private locally organized group, the Eastern Region Helicopter Council (ERHC), has begun self-policing helicopter routes over the state. While well intentioned, a private organization of helicopter pilots is not nearly enough and is not what our communities need when it comes to regulating helicopter traffic above our homes,” he added.

Katz, Boro Board To Discuss Entrepreneurship, Tax Scams

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) and the Queens Borough Board this morning will hear presentations from the U.S. Treasury Department and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) on combating tax scams and on local entrepreneurship programs as part of the Queens Borough Cabinet meeting.

The Treasury Department presentation will offer tips on how residents can avoid victimization by scammers who pose as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees. Scammers contact individuals by phone and other means, then use scare tactics to demand immediate payment on back taxes supposedly owed.

The presentation will emphasize how regular mail is the IRS’ primary mode of contact with taxpayers about any tax bill. The IRS will also never demand that someone pay anything without first having the opportunity to question or appeal the amount said to be owed.

The SBS presentation will focus on its programs that promote the growth of small businesses in the City, including “WE NYC”, a program that connects women entrepreneurs to learning opportunities, mentorships and sources of funding and credit.

Also on the agenda for discussion is SBS’ Commercial Lease Assistance Program, which helps business tenants handle lease negotiations, landlord issues, lease renewals and eviction notices.

The Queens Borough Cabinet is composed of the district managers of each community board in the borough and representatives from city agencies.

The meeting is slated for 9:30 a.m., today, March 13 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens..

Addabbo On The California Veteran Home Shooting

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park and the Rockaways), the ranking member of the senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, yesterday said he was greatly saddened to read about the tragic events that unfolded at the Pathway Home — a nonprofit organization that is part of the Veterans Home of California-Yountville in Napa County — where 36-year-old military veteran Albert Wong killed three employees and then took his own life after a day-long standoff with police on Friday, March 9.

It has been reported that Wong may have suffered from physical and mental ailments after returning from serving in Afghanistan between 2011 and 2012.

“This situation is a clear indication that we as a nation, even in our state, need to do more for our veterans returning home from combat. If a veteran is showing signs of mental duress and has access to weapons, our government shouldn’t turn our backs on them. Instead, we should offer them more support and counseling.

“I hope to see our veterans receive even more of the vital mental, physical, and economic care they rightfully need and deserve.”

Crowley, Dromm To Demand Congressional Action On Gun Safety

U.S. Representative Joe Crowley
City Council Member Daniel Dromm

U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona and Woodside, parts of the Bronx) along with City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) today will hold a press conference to demand congressional action on gun safety.

The press conference will include community activists from MomsRising, an on-the-ground and online grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security for all moms, women, and families in the United States. It will also include students from the Renaissance School in Jackson Heights.

The event is slated for between 1:30 – 3 p.m., today, March 13 at The Renaissance Charter School, 35-59 81st Street in Jackson Heights.