Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 11, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Avella Calls on Legislature to Leave Choice of Next Attorney General to the People

Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whiteston, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) yesterday called on the sate legislature to abstain from appointing a successor to the disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“Unfortunately, once again, a New York State politician has violated the public trust and, as such, it is imperative that the voters have the final, and only, say in who takes over the position of attorney general, not the political parties.

“The current discussion-taking place within the New York State Legislature would give the political parties undue influence to handpick a successor to the disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. I am calling for the legislature to make no appointment, and to allow the well-qualified acting Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, to complete the current term of office until the people of New York State make the decision via the upcoming primary and general election process.

“During my career, I have continuously fought to ensure that the people, not political insiders, are the ones making the decisions on who is representing them. Two of the bills I am currently pushing are aimed specifically at eliminating the Committee on Vacancies (S.6868) and reforming the special election process for the New York State Legislature to be via non-partisan elections (S.2040). These pieces of legislation target similar situations to the one currently taking place where the political parties attempt to control the nomination process, denying the people a say in who represents them. Therefore, I call on the legislature to abstain from appointing a new attorney general to ensure that the parties, via the legislature, do not handpick the next officeholder. That is the right of the people,” said Avella.

Meng Applauds North Korea’s Release Of American Detainees

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, and Maspeth) this week applauded North Korea’s release of three American detainees.

“I’m relieved to learn that North Korea has finally released the three Korean Americans that it had been detaining. Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim, and Kim Hak-song were separated from their loved ones for far too long, and their release is way overdue. But this development is wonderful news,” said Meng.

“I am extremely pleased they’re coming home, and that they will soon be reunited with their families and friends. I thank everybody who worked and advocated for their release,” she added.

Meeks Economic Equity Bills Included in CBC Jobs and Justice Act

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.) senior member of the Financial Services Committee, and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, this week introduced the Jobs and Justice Act.

The omnibus bill includes a wide range of legislative items that focus on economic empowerment of minority and low-income communities (Jobs), and criminal justice reform (and Justice).

“The Jobs and Justice Act’s expansive scope is a necessarily thorough approach to fixing the inequities faced by minority and low-income communities,“ said Meeks. “In this omnibus bill are three pieces of legislation I’ve introduced—all aimed at providing minorities with equitable opportunities and building up communities—and many more that I have proudly cosponsored.”

Meeks’ legislation included in the Jobs and Justice Act are:

  • H.R. 970 – Encourages corporate diversity by requiring federal contractors and public companies to disclose the race, gender, and ethnicity of their board of directors and senior management.

Rep. Meeks’ comment on H.R. 970: “That inequity, however, is even more pronounced at the top. Despite the overwhelming evidence that a diverse workplace generates better ideas and productivity, an overwhelming amount of Fortune 500 companies fail to reflect the diversity of their greater workforce. My legislation would shine light on the makeup of these corporate boards, and encourage more inclusivity.”

  • H.Res.159 – Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that infrastructure spending bills should include development programs that recruit and train individuals from communities with high unemployment rates

Rep. Meeks’ comment on H.Res. 159: “H.Res.159 impresses upon Congress the need to recruit and train individuals from communities with high unemployment rates for new infrastructure jobs. It would ensure that jobs created by infrastructure appropriations bills prioritize African-American, Latino, and American Indian communities, as well as any veterans who’ve served since 9/11. This both addresses the aging population of infrastructure workers while addressing glaring inequities in the workforce.”

  • H.R. 3741 – Supports black-owned depository institutions by codifying the Minority Bank Deposit Program which encourages the federal agencies to deposit their funds with minority banks.

Rep. Meeks’ comment on H.R. 3741: “H.R. 3741 codifies and enhances the Minority Bank Deposit Program (MBDP). Over 80 minority banks and low-income credit unions are certified with the MBDP, yet a majority of them have no working relationship with the federal government. This not only helps minority-owned and women-owned businesses, but it brings investment and credit opportunities to the low-income communities currently lacking them.

Vallone Introduces Bill Creating School Security Task Force

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) this week intoduced a bill which would create a School Security Task Force as a responce to recent tragic school shootings which have sparked a nationwide conversation on school safety.

The task force will meet quarterly to take a top to bottom look at school safety throughout New York and make recommendations. The NYPD Commissioner shall serve as chair of the task force and will be joined by the Chancellor of the Department of Education (DOE) and the Director of the Office of Criminal Justice.

They will also be required to seek input from at least one DOE teacher, one DOE employee such as a guidance counselor or social worker, and one parent of a student currently enrolled in a NYC public school. The task force will report its recommendations to the Mayor and Speaker of the City Council annually.

This bill was introduced as part of a ten bill legislative package which outline the responsibilities and scope of the recommendations that the task force will make.

“As a result of our call for greater school security, we are proud that the Council is moving forward with this package of legislation that will take a hard look at the state of school security as it exists in every school, and what we can do to improve it,” said Vallone. “In the end, you can’t put a price tag on our children’s safety and I’m proud to introduce this important legislation with our Speaker Corey Johnson and my colleagues.”

Peralta and CUNY School of Law Launch Free Legal Assistance Program to Protect Immigrants and Tenant

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D) and CUNY School of Law’s Community Legal Resources Network announced this week they are re-launching of free legal assistance services for immigrants and tenants.

Peralta helped secure a $50,000 state allocation in this year’s state budget to offer these critical services in his district office.

“In the past several months, we were able to assist over 150 constituents who faced immigration or housing challenges. This is why it is my privilege to team up again with the CUNY School of Law to continue providing these vital free legal assistance services to our neighbors. At the state level, I am at the frontline when it comes to protecting my constituents, and won’t tolerate acts of discrimination against them. I am not going to allow anyone to treat my constituents as second-class citizens. I am glad my office and I are able to partner again with the CUNY School of Law to offer these legal services,” said Peralta.

The state funding offers a package of legal services, including one-on-one legal counseling and community education workshops. Since November 2017, CUNY School of Law alumni lawyers provided legal counseling and assistance in more than 60 immigration-related matters and over 90 housing-related issues.

If Senator Peralta’s constituents need assistance, they can make an appointment by calling his office at (718) 205-3881.