Queens Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 3, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Constantinides Supports “Fast Bus, Fair City” Plan

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, Long Island City) this week threw his support behind the Bus Turnaround Coalition’s newly proposed “Fast Bus, Fair City” plan.

Coalition members include the Riders Alliance, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, TransitCenter and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

The coalition, advocates and elected officials behind the plan noted that on average, city bus riders have lower incomes and are more likely to be people of color (75% of riders) and immigrants (55% of riders) than New Yorkers at large.

Highlights of the of ‘Fast Bus, Fair City,’ include the following proposals:

  • 100 new miles of bus lanes in the next five years, with 60 miles in place by the end of 2021, prioritizing the most heavily traveled and congested routes
  • Ramped up bus lane enforcement against vehicles that block bus lanes and reforms to bulk ticket discounts for truck fleet owners and other violators that receive large numbers of tickets
  • “Green light” transit signal priority for buses at all possible intersections in the city by 2020
  • Bus shelters and real-time passenger information (“countdown clocks”) at all bus stops

Queens residents desperately need a mass transit system that lets them easily move within the borough now — not in the years to come. The Riders Alliance has laid out a good framework for faster, comprehensive, and attainable goals for bus travel in New York City. We need this kind of holistic approach to mass transit, so residents in long forgotten parts of Queens finally have the options they deserve. I look forward to working with my colleagues in government to finding a solution,” said Constantinides.

Cuomo Advances Legislation Banning The Death Penalty

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) yesterday said in solidarity with Pope Francis and in honor of his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, he will be advancing legislation to remove the death penalty from state law once and for all.

The move follows Pope Francis, who heads the Catholic Church, yesterday declaring the death penalty inadmissible in all cases and working to end the practice globally.

“Pope Francis’s decision is a validation of my father’s principled stand against the death penalty in the face of overwhelming support for capital punishment. My father staked his political career on his opposition to the death penalty and never backed down, saying it ‘demeans those who strive to preserve human life and dignity.’

As Governor, Mario Cuomo vetoed legislation reinstating the death penalty 12 times in 12 years.

“The death penalty was reinstated in New York under the Pataki administration but halted by the courts in 2004. In his final years, my father continued to advocate for eliminating the law from the books, calling it a ‘stain on our conscience,'” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Gillibrand Protects Military Families Form Domestic Violence

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced her provisions to help protect military families from intimate partner violence and child abuse and neglect passed the Senate with bipartisan support as part of the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

In FY 2017, there were 12,849 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect across the military services, with 6,450 of those incidents meeting criteria for abuse. The Defense Department (DoD) also reported 17 child abuse-related fatalities during the same year. Twelve of the child victims were under five years old, and 65 percent of the child victims were one year old or younger.

“Our military families have sacrificed so much to protect us, but Congress and the Defense Department haven’t done enough to help protect them from violence and abuse. Last year alone, there were thousands of confirmed incidents of domestic violence and child abuse, including 17 deaths of children,” said Gillibrand, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee.

“Congress has an obligation to address this scourge and help end intimate partner violence and child abuse in the military. I am proud to announce that the FY19 NDAA bill which just passed the Senate includes provisions I introduced to give the Department of Defense the tools it needs to more effectively prevent and respond to child abuse and intimate partner violence and improve the lives of our military families.”

The measure now heads to the president’s desk for his signature.