Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 10, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Ulrich, Holden Celebrate National Pet Month

City Council Member Eric Ulrich
City Council Member Bob Holden

City Council Members Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven) and Robert Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood), announced yesterday that in celebration of National Pet Month they will host a mobile pet adoption event this weekend with the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC).

“As someone who has always been passionate about animal welfare, I am excited about this new partnership with ACC,” said Ulrich. “National Pet Month is a celebration of the benefits that pets bring to people’s lives – and vice versa. What better way to celebrate than to add a new member to your family and adopting an animal in need?”

“There are so many dogs and cats in need of a loving home and mobile pet adoption events like this are a great way to connect families with pets in need,” said Holden. “I adopted a cat from an ACC event earlier this year and had a great experience. I encourage anyone looking for a pet to take in one of these animals.”

ACC strives to find loving homes for homeless and abandoned cats, dogs, and rabbits by adopting animals directly to the public. Adoption counselors and volunteers will be on-site to guide prospective pet owners through the adoption process.

To ensure successful adoptions, individuals interested in adopting an animal will be required to fill out a pre-adoption form and provide references. To adopt an animal, you must have a valid photo ID, be 18 years of age or older and bring current proof of address.

The event is slated for between 12 noon – 3 p.m., Saturday, May 19 at Forest Park’s Bandshell Parking Lot. All animals on the truck are ready to go home the same day; and are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped.

Kim, Espinal Call For Passage Of Green Light Bill

Assembly member Ron Kim

Assembly Members Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) & Ari Espinal (D-Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) today will call on the assembly to pass the Green Light NY Bill (A10273).

The measure would allow all immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, to apply for driver’s licenses in New York. Joining the lawmakers in pressing for the bill’s passage include the MinKwon Center for Community Action, the New York Immigration Coalition, and other Asian American organizations.

The lawmakers and advocates will press their case at 2 p.m. today, May 10 at the MinKwon Center for Community Action, 136-19 41st Avenue, 3rd Floor in Flushing.

Meeks Decries Trump On Separating Families at Border

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport) yesterday decried President Trump’s decsion to separate families caught at the border by placing children in custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.

“In its callous decision to separate families arriving at our border, the White House’s escalation of border enforcement has crossed the moral line. Though my colleagues and I have had strong disagreements over immigration policy, tearing children away from their families and loved ones is indefensible and downright heartless,” said Meeks.

“This administration continues to dehumanize families who are seeking safety and refuge from dangerous gang violence in Central America. The dangerous journey families take is not a choice they make lightly and many suffer unspeakable harm on their voyage. Many do not make here it here alive.

Ripping apart families does nothing but inflict unnecessary pain. As a nation of immigrants, we should exhibit thoughtful compassion, not boundless contempt for, those who have made it safely to our soil,” the lawmaker added.

Miller Bill Would Allow Further Regulations On Large For-Hire Vehicles

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

Council Members I. Daneek Miller (D- Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Laurelton, Queens Village, Springfield Gardensand St. Albans), and Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) yesterday introduced legislation that would close a loophole and allow for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission to regulate large for-hire vehicles and commuter vans.

This legislation, Intro 925, would amend the definition of “for-hire vehicle” to include vehicles that seat more than 20 passengers for the purposes of the enforcement authority of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). This bill would also amend the definition of “commuter van” to make explicit that, for enforcement purposes, the definition of “commuter van” also includes vehicles that seat more than 20 passengers.

Previously, the law had only permitted TLC to regulate vehicles up to 20 seats, allowing some operators to circumvent necessary regulations and licensing processes by adding more capacity to their vehicles. This loophole disadvantaged law-abiding businesses operating in good faith and providing a vital service to communities where public transportation is not expansive.

By skirting TLC enforcement, these large vehicles present  a danger to the public as unsafe, unlicensed, unregulated vehicles on the streets of New York City. Expanding TLC’s authority through this legislation will force compliance with all existing regulations to the commuter van industry.

“As representatives of transportation deserts that depend on the valuable service commuter vans provide, Councilman Williams and I have been steadfast in our efforts to promote responsible drivers and operators while ridding the industry of its worst actors,” said Miller. “Introduction 925 will build on the achievements of our 2017 Commuter Van Safety Act by closing the seating capacity loophole that has limited the ability of authorities at TLC to keep riders, pedestrians and motorists safe by keeping illegal commuter vans off the road.”

Lancman Introduces Bill Requiring ATMs in Each Criminal Courthouse

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) yesterday introduced legislation to require the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) to make reasonable efforts to work with the New York State Office of Court Administration to ensure the installation of ATMs in all criminal courthouses where arraignments take place.

“It is mind-boggling that the de Blasio administration could not do something as simple as install ATMs in every criminal criminal courthouse,” said Lancman, chair of the Committee on the Justice System. “At a time when we are doing everything we can to reduce unnecessary incarceration, their incompetence made it more difficult for New Yorkers to pay bail in a timely manner. My bill will ensure that the City follows through on its promises.”

MOCJ announced plans in May 2016 to install ATMs in each of the City’s criminal courthouses in order to make it easier for New Yorkers to pay bail. In October 2017, MOCJ said that ATMs would be in every courthouse by “late-2017.” Several months later, in March 2018, MOCJ finally declared that “the City has installed ATMs in all courthouses to improve the bail-paying process and prevent unnecessary detention.”

However, The New York Times reported last week that ATM machines have not been installed, or are inaccessible, at courthouses in three of the five boroughs. There is no ATM in either Bronx or Staten Island criminal court. The ATM in Queens criminal court is not accessible after 5 p.m., even though arraignments run until 1 a.m.