Queens Lawmakers On The Move June 28, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Addabbo, Barnwell Measure Establishing Seawall Study Commission Passes State Legislature

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 and The Rockaways) and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell (D-Maspeth, Woodside, and parts of of Middle Village, Astoria, Sunnyside, Long Island City) saw their legislation (S.6927/A.8686) creating a New York City Seawall Study Commission get both state senate and assembly approval last week.

The intent of the bill, which will now go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for final action, is to determine the feasibility of constructing a seawall or seagate along the New York City coastline to protect residents from any future extreme weather events.

“Those of us who lived through Hurricane Sandy know full well the devastation that can be caused by rapidly rising sea levels and storm surge,” said Addabbo. “Almost six years later, and despite a great deal of progress, some of our residents are still working to recover from a storm that claimed human lives, destroyed properties and transportation systems, demolished local businesses, and otherwise presented extraordinary challenges we had never faced before in our communities.”

Assemblyman Brian Barnwell

“It is great news for our City that the New York State Legislature passed our seawall study bill. Hurricane Sandy showed us how our infrastructure needs major upgrades to protect our citizens and our communities from future hurricanes and storm surge. When implemented, a sea wall will help save lives, protect our homes, and save the City billions of dollars by protecting our infrastructure. I ask the Governor to sign this bill into law,” said Barnwell.

Under the Addabbo/Barnwell legislation, a 14-member New York City Seawall Study Commission would be created within the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and chaired by the DEC Commissioner. Members of the commission would be appointed by DEC, the New York Secretary of State, the Senate and Assembly, the City of New York, and the County Executives of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Appointees must have expertise in at least of one of these areas: climatology, hydrology, environmental science, aquaculture, oceanography, coastal ocean science, and engineering. Members would serve without compensation, but would be reimbursed for expenses associated with their work on the commission.

By December 31, 2020, at the latest, the New York City Seawall Study Commission would be required to present its finding to the Governor and State Legislature. Its study and recommendations must address the costs, impacts, and best possible locations for a seawall or seagate along the New York City coastline, and identify areas most at risk of storm surge, rising groundwater levels, saltwater intrusion, coastal flooding and other extreme weather dangers.

Gillibrand Introduces SNAP Act For KIds Amendment

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has introduced the SNAP for KIDS Actas an amendment to the upcoming Senate Farm Bill.

This amendment would expand the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for vulnerable children from low-income families in New York and across the country. Gillibrand’s push comes after the House passed its version of the Farm Bill last week, which would cut an estimated $9 billion from the program and result in a million people losing access to SNAP.

Gillibrand’s SNAP for KIDS amendment would increase food assistance for school-age children (5-17 years old) by $42 per child per month, a 27 percent increase, and would adjust the formula for benefit calculations to make certain that families don’t fall behind as food prices rise.

“Our children should never have to suffer from hunger, but the House Farm Bill is a blatant example of how out-of-touch Congress is about poverty in our state and across the country,” said Gillibrand. “The drastic, cruel cuts in the House Farm Bill would add unnecessary red tape that will undoubtedly end up kicking many families off of this life-saving program, including their children. I will do everything in my power to fight back against this awful plan, and I’m proud to offer the SNAP for KIDS Act to expand SNAP for children. No child in our country should ever have to go to bed hungry.”

Avella Stands with Homeowner to Address City Tree Roots Damage

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 stood with resident Mr. Paul Verma to insist the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) remove the City tree in front of his home.

The tree in question has been wreaking havoc on Mr. Verma’s property, from roots damaging his sewer lines to uplifting his sidewalk.

Verma reported to Avella in March of this year that the roots of the tree have infiltrated his sewer line, causing home water damage and flooding his basement.

“The City refuses time and again to take responsibility for damage done on private property from City trees. Trees grow, roots expand – and sometimes, it is on the private property just a few feet away. Enough is enough,” said Avella.

Velázquez Congratulates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 

U.S. Rep.  Nydia Velasquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Queens, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn) yesterday congratulated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her upset Congressional primary election win over U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, who is also the Queens County Democratic Party boss.

“Ms. Ocasio-Cortez ran a strong campaign and I congratulate her on a hard-fought victory. A young, female Puerto Rican, she channeled the progressive energy that has grown in response to Donald Trump and that we will need to elect more Democrats in November.

“I look forward to partnering with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to fight for New York’s working families and stand up to the Trump Administration’s hateful policies,” said Velazquez.