Queens Lawemakers On The Move July 23, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Lancman, James Decry Fed Court Decision Regarding Queens Reproductive Health Clinic

City Council Member Rory I Lancman
Public Advocate Letitia James

City Council Member Rory Lancman (D- Briarwood, Cunningham Park, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Holliswood, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill) and Public Advoate Letitia James yesterday decried a federal court ruling against the state in a suit brought on behalf of patients and staff of Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, who the lawmakers allege for years have endured a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and obstruction aimed at preventing women from obtaining healthcare services, including constitutionally protected abortion services.

The suit, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, sought primarily to enforce the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the state New York Clinic Access Act,  and the New York City Clinic Access Act, which together essentially prohibit the actual or threatened use of force, obstruction, or harassment to injure, intimidate, or interfere with a person accessing reproductive health services.

The lawmakers said the court explicitly disregarded documents and the testimony of patients, staff, and volunteer escorts detailing an unrelenting campaign of threats, harassment, and obstruction as women attempted to enter the clinic on Saturday mornings, and bent over backwards to credit the testimony of harassers, and to interpret video evidence in their favor, without regard to the atmosphere of harassment and intimidation created by anti-choice zealots.

“The court’s ruling is another blow to Roe v. Wade, effectively limiting abortion rights to women willing to run a gauntlet of harassment, intimidation, obstruction, and humiliation. I urge the Attorney General to appeal this decision, and law enforcement at every level must ensure the safety of women seeking reproductive healthcare services, including abortion, at Choices,” said Lancman, chair of the council’s Committee on the Justice System

“This decision sets a dangerous precedent. It is unconscionable that any person would be subjected to harassment, threats, and even physical violence for simply seeking or providing medical care – and that our courts would condone this behavior. Now, more than ever, we must establish laws in our state that protect women’s reproductive rights and ensure this type of behavior is never tolerated,” said James.

Avella Presents Queens Chamber of Commerce with $125,000 State Grant

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) on Friday presented a $125,000 check to the Queens Chamber of Commerce to assist with increasing entrepreneurship in Queens.

The Queens Chamber plays a crucial part in helping entrepreneurs grow and keep their businesses in Queens, instead of moving elsewhere in the country.

“I am proud to be able to help Queens Chamber increase entrepreneurship in the Borough of Queens,” said Senator Avella. “We need to make it easier for small businesses and startups not only to start their businesses here, but to remain here. I look forward to seeing the results Queens Chamber is able to produce by assisting Queens-based entrepreneurs.”

Sanders Meets With JFK Airport Workers Over Claims Of Wage & Hour Violations

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale, parts of Far Rockaway) last week joined employees for contractor Global Security Associates at John F. Kennedy International Airport to hand-deliver a letter addressed to Caribbean Airlines CEO Garvin Medera detailing workers’ wage and hour complaints.

Sanders earlier met with members for Union 32BJ SEIU and other elected officials at Terminal 4, the International Arrivals Terminal. The Senator, whose district includes the airport, heard the frustrations of union workers who claim GSA failed to provide uniform maintenance allowance to its minimum wage workers. Many of the workers, who are of Caribbean descent, are part of a $720,000 class-action lawsuit settlement as violations continue, the union said.

In May 2018, the NYC Office of Labor Policy and Standards issued Global a Notice of Investigation following complaints of short-changing workers under the Paid Sick Leave Law.

Suozzi Critical Of Trump Following Trump/Putin Summit

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D–Eastern Queens, Long Island) last week was highly critical of President Donald Trump following his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

“I cannot understand why the President continues to have a blind spot with the Russians and Putin. Something is seriously wrong. Not only has Senator John McCain, Senator Bob Corker, along with many Republican members of Congress, spoken out, but most importantly, the President’s own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, who says that Russia has continued its ‘pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy’”, said Suozzi.

“The President has thrown America’s intelligence community under the bus and sided with the Russians while on foreign soil.

“The Russians have acted illicitly in Crimea, the Ukraine and in Syria. They are working to undermine democracy throughout the world. The President is just plain wrong here.”