Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 3, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Van Bramer, Crowley Rally Against Shoddy 7-Train Service

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer
U.S. Representative Joe Crowley

City Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D- Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, part of the Bronx) today will rally to demand more action to improve the 7-Train service.

The 7-Line service has been especially awful the last few weeks with overcrowding at peak times, delays, service changes and now the announcement that signal upgrades won’t be complete until late this year.

“For years we have been forced to endure ongoing work to the 7-Line with constant shutdowns, service changes, delayed service, and disruption to riders, community members and local businesses. Join me at the rally to demand that NYCTA President Andy Byford come to our neighborhood to address our concerns and for the MTA to quickly and efficiently return the 7-Line to a state-of-good-repair,” said Van Bramer in a release.

The rally is slated for 8 a.m. today, May 3, under the elevated 7-Line at 40th Street & Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside.

Koo Kicks Off ‘Spring Cleaning’ At Maple Playground

City Council Member Peter Koo

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) today will join Wildcat Operations to conduct the season’s first ‘spring cleaning’ of Maple Playground in Flushing.

In partnership with local organizations, Koo’s office conducts regular cleanups of local playgrounds in Council District 20 during the spring and summer months. Over the next six months, his office will organize cleanups of the community, focusing primarily on parks and playgrounds.

Koo funded today’s cleanup with $5,000 in discretionary funding for community beautification projects and to assist at-need seniors with snow shoveling in the winter.

The Spring Cleaning Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m., today, May 3 at Maple Playground, 136-50 Maple Avenue, in Flushing.

Lancman Hears Legislation Regarding Bail Bond Industry

City Council Member Rory I Lancman

City Council Member Rory I. Lancman, (D-Briarwood, Cunningham Park, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Holliswood, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Richmond Hill) chair of the council Justice Sysytem Committee, and City Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn), chair fo the council’s Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing Committee, yesterday held a joint hearing to consider two pieces of legislation regarding the bail bonds industry.

 Intro. 510-A, which Lancman sponsored, would require all bail bond businesses to post signage outlining the maximum premiums they can charge under state law and require the Department of Consumer Affairs to create a complaint mechanism for vulnerable New Yorkers to report bail bonds businesses that charge more than legally permitted. The legislation would also require the Department to refer those complaints to the NYPD for investigation.

 Intro. 724, which City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), would require bail bonds businesses to provide clients with a “consumer bill of rights regarding bail bond businesses” including information on how to make a complaint and definitions of common industry terms.

If approved through committees, the measures are expected to come before the full city council for a vote in the near future.

Addabbo Bill Creating Income Tax Check-Off Fund For Veterans Organizations

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways.) announced the recent committee approval of his legislation (S.3675) which would enable New Yorkers to check off a box on their personal income tax returns to assist veterans’ service organizations.

Addabbo, who serves as the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, said, “My proposal would establish a veterans’ service organization fund, which would be supported through the generosity of  New York residents who decide that they want to contribute to veterans’ groups when they file their state personal income tax returns. I am grateful my colleagues on the Senate Veterans Committee have joined with me in advancing this initiative.”

Under the bill, New York residents would be able to choose a new income tax “check off” box on their returns to voluntarily support groups that provide services to veterans. The contributions would be held in a fund maintained by the State Comptroller and the State Division of Taxation and Finance, and monies would be provided to veterans’ service organizations to enable them to better assist former military members in accessing necessary benefits and programs.

The contributions would be gifts and not reduce the amount of tax owed by check-off program participants.

“Veterans are often in need of a variety of services when they return home, but do not always know where to turn to find out about an array of programs that exist to help them,” Addabbo said. “Veterans’ service organizations serve as a key liaison between veterans and appropriate government agencies, and their efforts are vital to ensuring that our returning servicemen and women gain access to the health, employment, education and other services available to them.”

The bill’s next step towards full Senate passage is consideration by the Senate Finance Committee. In the Assembly, the Ways and Means Committee is already considering the legislation.