Queens Lawmakers On The Move Nov. 15, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Gillibrand Legislation Would Create a National Standard of Care for Pregnant Women in Federal Prisons

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) yesterday introduced the Pregnant Women in Custody Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation that would create a national standard of care for pregnant and postpartum women in federal prisons, prohibit the use of restraints and restrictive housing on pregnant and postpartum women, and require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to collect data on the mental and physical health of pregnant women in custody.

According to the DOJ, over 2,000 women give birth while in custody each year, and during the course of their pregnancies and in postpartum recovery, a majority of pregnant women are placed in restraints and restrictive housing.

While New York, at least 24 other states, and the District of Columbia currently limit or prohibit the use of restraints, there is currently no federal law that prohibits these harmful applications of force in federal prisons. The use of restraints on pregnant women can lead to muscle tears, bone separation, blocked blood circulation, and in some cases, miscarriage. When pregnant women are placed in solitary confinement, they are put at risk of mental and physical harm due to a lack of medical and nutritional care.

“Pregnancy and childbirth take an enormous physical toll on women’s bodies and require consistent medical attention, but in many states across our country, incarcerated pregnant and postpartum women are often restrained or placed in solitary without access to adequate medical and nutritional care. This inhumane and archaic treatment of pregnant women and new mothers is why I am proud to introduce the Pregnant Women in Custody Act of 2018,” said Gillibrand. “This legislation would create and uphold a national standard of care for mothers who are serving their time in an already flawed criminal justice system in dire need of reforms. Congress should be protecting and valuing mothers wherever they are in our society, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bipartisan legislation.”

Kim Unveils “Gut Checking Democracy” Project

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) today will unveil his “Gut Checking Democracy” project to a group of college students at Queens College.

GutCheck.us features his comprehensive White Paper which outlines state and federal mechanisms to buy, cancel, and monetize the nation’s $1.6 trillion student debt, which has become America’s second-highest category of household debt.

Kim will livestream the project at 2 p.m., today, Nov. 15 from from Queens College, 6530 Kissena Blvd in Flushing (Twitter/Periscope: @rontkim).

Dromm, Johnson Announce $3.8 Million in Allocations Toward Services for LGBTQ New Yorkers

City Council Member Daniel Dromm

City Council Member and the Council’s Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) along with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) today will celebrate and announce $3.8 million of Council allocations in Fiscal Year 2019 for LGBTQ initiatives across the city.

The lawmakers will announce these initiatives at the Queens LGBT Center (Q-Center) in Long Island City. These allocations will go toward the LGBT Community Services Initiative and the Trans Equity Program Initiative ‒ the first initiative the Council allocated city funds to transgender New Yorkers.

The official announcement is slated for 10:30 a.m., today, Nov. 15 at the Queens LGBT Center (Q Center), 37-18 Northern Blvd, Suite 107 in Long Island City.

Weprin For, Holden Against Amazon Deal

Assembly Member David Weprin

Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Richmond Hill, Fresh Meadows) hailed yesterday’s state and city deal that brought corporate giant Amazon’s second headquarters to Long Island City, while City Council Member Robert Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, parts of Woodside, Woodhaven) was critical of the deal.

“The selection of Queens as the location of Amazon’s new secondary headquarters is a unique opportunity to grow New York City’s employment base by 25,000 high paying jobs and reflects the incredible pace of growth in Queens in the past decade. I am confident that with an expected 9:1 return on investment and $27.5 billion in tax revenue over 25 years that the City and the State will benefit from this project,” said Weprin.

“New York must be a leader in the new tech economy and I look forward to working with local officials to ensure that Amazon follows through with its commitments to the public which include infrastructure improvements, job training, and job placement,” he added.

City Council Member Bob Holden

But Holden joined many of his colleagues in the city council by criticizing the deal.

“One of the most valuable companies in the world should not be given billions of dollars in certain incentives,” said Holden. “This deal fails to consider that it will add to the skyrocketing construction and rent prices in that area, the aging and deteriorating infrastructure and a 7 train that is severely overcrowded already. If anything, Amazon should be paying us.”

Amazon will reportedly receive $3.4 billion in incentives from New York and Virginia in the deal that will split the company’s east coast headquarters between the two states. New York, however, is set to provide $2.6 billion of that cost, more than triple the $750 million provided by Virginia.

“It’s outrageous that the governor and mayor are doing Amazon’s bidding and bypassing the Council’s usual land use duties,” Holden added. “I cannot support a project that prioritizes a business opportunity over the needs of the communities where the taxpayers live.”

Peralta, Koo  Distribute Thanksgiving Turkeys

State Senator Jose Peralta
City Council Member Peter Koo

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) and Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, alongside co-sponsors and community-based organizations yesterday donated more than 400 turkeys to local and faith-based organizations, schools, and senior and day care centers in time for the Thanksgiving Day celebration.

The ninth annual Turkey Drive will provide a meal to families in need. Some of the 10-12 pound turkeys were distributed in the senator’s office, and the rest will be picked up at various locations throughout the district, including Food Bazaar and Foodtown. 

“My office is proud to celebrate Thanksgiving for the ninth annual year along with the families of our district. I’ve been honored to represent a community of such loving and thriving families. Over the last nine years, we have distributed over 5,000 turkeys. We’ve made cherished memories together, and I’ve been truly blessed by the families in my community,” said Peralta.

Meanwhile, City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill) is partnering with local organizations and businesses to distribute over 350 turkeys as part of his annual turkey giveaway to help families in need.

This year Koo will deliver turkeys to 20 senior centers, community groups and faith-based organizations.

The lawmaker’s turkey giveaway is slated for 10 a.m., tomorrow, Nov. 16 at the CPC Nan Shan Senior Center, 133-14 41st Avenue, Basement in Flushing.