Queens Lawmakers On The Move June 14, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Constantinides, Dromm Support City Ban Of Single-Use Styrofoam Products 

City Council Member Costa Constantinides
City Council Member Daniel Dromm

City Council Members Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, part of Long Island City) and Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) voiced strong support for Mayor de Blasio‘s announcement yesterday that the city’s styrofoam ban will go into effect by January 1, 2019, following the dismissal of a lawsuit preventing the implementation of the ban.

This means that food service establishments, stores, and manufacturers may not possess, sell, or offer for use single service Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam food service articles or loose fill packaging, such as “packing peanuts” in New York City beginning in 2019. Over the next six months, the de Blasio administration will work with businesses across the City to ensure they understand the law and help them transition to new materials to replace foam products.

“At long last, New York City’s foam ban can take effect. The industry tried lobbying, and they tried litigation, but nothing they did could obscure the simple fact that polystyrene cannot be recycled in any practical way,” said Constantinides.

“Now the city can begin the process of rolling out the ban in a way that meets our sustainability goals while making the transition as easy as possible for our small businesses. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia for their perseverance in fighting to make New York one of the greenest cities in the nation.”

Dromm said this styrofoam ban will make the city cleaner and healthier for all.

“Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam is notorious for spoiling compost and impeding the recycling process. Even worse, it is hazardous to fish and other marine creatures. In this day and age, with the many affordable and environmentally friendly substitutes available, a ban on EPS makes perfect sense. By coordinating a multilingual outreach plan and offering businesses this six month grace period, Mayor de Blasio has signified his desire to work with small business owners to ensure a smooth transition. As a co-sponsor of the legislation that created the styrofoam ban, I am pleased by this progress,” said Dromm.

Crowley Supports Assembly Passage Of Bail Reform

U.S. Representative Joe Crowley

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, part of the Bronx), chair of the House Democratic Caucus, this week voiced his support for the state assembly passage of a bill that would eliminate cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felonies:

“This is a much-needed reform to our state’s criminal justice system. This bill will reduce New York’s jail population and help ensure that low-income New Yorkers are no longer punished for simply being unable to afford bail,” said Crowley.

“It’s a travesty that two-thirds of our state’s jail population hasn’t even been convicted of a crime. Thousands of our fellow New Yorkers, many of whom are black or Latino, have been robbed of a future and stripped of their dignity simply because our criminal justice system is broken.

“This bill is a good first step toward bringing justice to the families who have been torn apart by mass incarceration and will set us on course to end cash bail once and for all.”

Meeks Critical Of Trump Summit With Kim Jong-Un

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport) senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, this week warned that President Donald Trump‘s summit meeting with North Korean Kim Jon-Un may have yielded concessions and praise not yet earned.

“Denuclearization of North Korea is of utmost importance, not just to our National Security, but the safety of all our allies in the region. Any step towards that end is commendable, insofar as it results in meaningful actions to accomplish our goals,” said Meeks.

“Nevertheless, it is unclear what or if the U.S. has received anything in return for the accolades and compromises Trump conceded to President Kim Jong Un. What few details we’ve gleaned from President Trump’s press conference are far from comprehensive, let alone articulated in the signed agreement. Highly concerning is Trump’s announcement of the end of U.S.-South Korea defensive military exercises without any warning to our allies, discussion with Congress, or explanation to the American people.

“I am deeply disturbed that in the last few days, President Trump has further demonstrated to the world his sharp disregard for the American values that our nation has fought so hard to uphold globally through strong leadership and commitment to our allies who share and amplify those values.

“In his rush to claim success in denuclearizing North Korea, President Trump has mistaken deference for diplomacy, yielding concessions and praise not yet earned by Kim Jong Un. In so doing, he has legitimized a murderous dictator guilty of egregious human rights horrors against his own people. Meanwhile, Trump has shown nothing but contempt to our closest allies in G7, who extol the virtues of democracy and have bled in our wars.

“Although I remain optimistic that new diplomatic efforts can yield results, yesterday’s summit has further tempered my expectations of a deal which meets the high standards established by past denuclearization agreements.  It is clear that Congress must stridently conduct thorough oversight as the administration moves forward, and that will require my Republican colleagues to be assertive with President Trump in ways they have been unwilling to so far.”

Kim, Stavisky Celebrate 2018 Taiwan Heritage Day

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) and State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D- Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, Clearview Gardens, Flushing, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Hillcrest, Elmhurst, Electchester, Pomonok, Queensboro Hill, Whitestone, Woodside, Mitchell Linden, Fresh Meadows, and Oakland Gardens.) yesterday hosted the 2018 Taiwan Heritage Day Celebration in the state capital.

The free public event was held in the capital’s Legislative Office Building, and the lawmakers were joined by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of New York as well as key Taiwanese American leaders from across the state. The celebration served as an occasion to commemorate the diplomatic and cultural relationship between the State of New York and Taiwan, and an opportunity for the attendees to share in and learn about Taiwan’s culture and traditions.

Assemblyman Kim introduced the assembly version of the resolution, which proclaimed June 13 as Taiwan Heritage Day in New York, and acknowledged the importance of instituting a reciprocating driver’s license program between Taiwan and the State of New York.

Over a dozen other U.S. States have already signed such an agreement with Taiwan, and the legislators emphasized the importance of continuing to strengthen New York-Taiwan relations.

“We are pleased to join our colleagues in introducing this Assembly resolution commemorating Taiwan Heritage Day and celebrating the many years of friendship between the State of New York and Taiwan. It is difficult to overstate the importance of our long-standing partnership, and we must continue to take the steps needed to support the bonds between our two communities. As mentioned in our resolution, I call on my fellow elected officials and government colleagues to join us in urging the adoption of a reciprocating driver’s license program—already implemented by many other states—between Taiwan and New York,” said Kim.