Queens Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 21, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Lancman Praises Cuomo On Prosecutorial Oversight Commission Creation

City Council Member Rory I Lancman
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

City Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica), chair of the Committee on the Justice System, yesterday lauded Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing legislation to create a prosecutorial oversight commission in New York State:

The legislation, (S.2412-D/A.5285-C), which Cuomo signed yesterday establishes the nation’s first State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct, with a three-way agreement on a chapter amendment to build on New York’s comprehensive criminal justice reform efforts.

The Commission will review and investigate prosecutorial conduct to address allegations of misconduct which lead to among other things including malicious prosecutions and wrongful convictions, frequently impacting people of color and marginalized communities. By avoiding wrongful convictions and associated retrial costs and settlements, the Commission will save taxpayers money.

“Our criminal justice system must fairly convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent,” Cuomo said. “When any prosecutor consciously disregards that fundamental duty, communities suffer and lose faith in the system, and they must have a forum to be heard and seek justice. This first-in-the-nation Commission will serve to give New Yorkers comfort that there is a system of checks and balances in the criminal justice system, and to root out any potential abuses of power to ensure that our justice system is just for all New Yorkers.”

“I commend Governor Cuomo for signing legislation today to create the nation’s first independent commission to oversee prosecutorial misconduct. Prosecutors are public officials with responsibilities and obligations that go beyond those of lawyers in private practice representing private litigants, and it is important that there is an oversight body capable of ensuring that those obligations and responsibilities are met when people’s lives and liberties are at stake. This is a landmark moment for New York’s justice system,” said Lancman.

De Blasio Raises Wages For Board of Election Poll workers

Mayor BIll de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced yesterday that the city will be raising wages for Board of Elections poll workers.

Currently, BOE poll workers are paid a daily salary of about $200, which comes out to an hourly rate of $12.50 an hour for a 16 hour work day. The city will now raise their daily wages to $250, which comes out to an hourly rate of $15 an hour. The raise not only meets new minimum wage standards, but also will help recruit and retain more qualified workers and likely increase the efficiency of poll site operations.

The mayor also announced that the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit will be conducting extensive, non-partisan outreach to more than 561,000 inactive voters to ensure that they remain registered and to avoid any possibility of removing eligible voters from voter rolls.

“We’re taking significant steps to increase the efficiency of our electoral system and to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2016, when countless New Yorkers were purged from voter rolls,” said de Blasio. “By having my Administration reach out directly to inactive voters and by raising the wages of some of the most important people in our electoral process, we’re strengthening our Democracy and preserving New Yorkers’ right to vote.”

Schumer Demands FDA Release Study on Chemicals In Everyday Food

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY yesterday revealed that the federal government via the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has been studying the chemical and its presence in everyday foods for about two years—but hasn’t released a full report to Congress or the public on any of the findings.

Schumer made his revelation on the heels of a new report by the well-respected Environmental Working Group (EWG) that shows the presence of a probable cancer-causing chemical—glyphosate—in everyday foods like breakfast cereals, granola bars and oatmeal, to name just a few.

“Startling headlines about glyphosate are popping up like weeds themselves, giving root to lots of serious questions and concerns for the government to act,” said Schumer. “So, I am making it known today that the federal government is in fact investigating this chemical, and I am here today to ask them to provide us all with an update on their work so that concerned parents and consumers can get the answers they seek.”

Schumer is pushing to FDA to update the public on the study to help tamp down new public panic and deliver fact-based answers to worried parents and consumers who are taking a look at the weed killer chemical like never before.

“Respected science tells us that at certain levels, the presence of glyphosate in foods is not life-threatening, but we also don’t know exactly how continued or prolonged exposure might play a role in how our bodies—or the bodies of children—breakdown its molecular structure in those foods. Simply put, the FDA must not only weed out the facts on glyphosate, but they must update the public on their progress. I have full confidence in their ability to effectively continue this study, but we are here to send them a message: get going,” Schumer said.

Avella, Braunstein Discuss Study Detailing Flight Patterns and Effects on Human Health

Sen. Tony Avella
Assembly Member Edward Braunstein

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) and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) today will stand with Columbia University Professor Dr. Peter Muenning to discuss the study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health titled, “Optimizing airport flight patterns take a toll on human health.”

The lawmakers will also discuss their commitment to seek additional state funding to expand this study.

The discussion is slated for 11:30 a.m. today, Aug. 21 at the entrance to Little Bay Park (Off Totten Avenue, near comfort station) in Whitestone.