Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 10, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Meeks Opposes Nauert’s Nomination to UN Ambassador

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport) on Friday issues a statement strongly opposing President Trump’s nomination of Heather Nauert as U.N. ambassador.

Nauert is a former broadcast journalist for ABC news and Fox News.

“Heather Nauert in my estimation is not qualified or equipped to take on the position of U.N. ambassador. We are living in serious times, and with all that is happening across the world, Nauert’s experience as a T.V. personality in no way prepares her for the diplomatically sensitive work that is required of that position. This administration, I suspect, knows this, and knows the Senate will not find her qualified, and that is why Bolton, Pompeo and others are attempting a ploy to downgrade the U.N. ambassadorship so as to not require Senate confirmation,” said Meeks.

“President Trump routinely nominated or appointed Secretaries with no knowledge or expertise over the agencies they’re heading, judges with absolutely no prosecutorial experience, and ambassadors whose lack of understanding about diplomacy have caused disastrous gaffes. This non-sense needs to stop. The Ambassador of the U.N. will have to navigate complicated relationships, many that have only grown increasingly fraught under the Trump administration. The next U.N. ambassador must be prepared to stand up for our values on the world stage, and appointing someone with Naurt’s background sends a poor message to nations around the world about the seriousness with which the U.S. conducts foreign policy,” he added.

Meng Submits Public Comment Strongly Opposing the Proposed Public Charge Rule

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) on Friday responded to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) request for public comments on its new proposed regulation seeking to punish immigrants who lawfully use public benefits.

The proposed rule would force many families and their children to forgo essential public benefits—which may be necessary for their health, housing, and education needs—in order to maintain their eligibility for immigration admission and to get permanent alien residency commonly known as a green card..

In her comment, Meng argues that DHS’s proposed rule will have dire consequences for immigrant families and their children, many of whom are U.S. citizens.  According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, an estimated nine million children—of which 87 percent of these children are U.S. citizens—would lose their public federal benefits, or face stress and confusion over whether their families will stay together.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s inhumane action to restrict legal immigration is disgusting and would be detrimental to immigrant families,” said Meng.  “Forcing immigrant families to choose between public benefits or forgo these benefits they are legally entitled to in order to maintain their eligibility for immigration admission is wrong and will only punish those seeking to keep their families safe and healthy. I resolutely oppose DHS’s proposed public charge rule and urge Secretary Nielsen to withdraw it.”

Katz Appoints Pauline Healy To Queens Library Board Of Trustees

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz on Friday appointed attorney Pauline Healy to the Queens Library Board of Trustees.

A resident of Douglaston, Queens, Healy has served as Director of Agency Standards of the Melville, NY office of the New York Life Insurance Company since May 2015. In this position, she is responsible for ensuring the office’s compliance with the company’s rules and with State and Federal laws.

“Pauline Healy is a skilled and conscientious attorney who will be a valuable addition to the Queens Library Board,” said Katz. “Ms. Healy brings with her a wealth of experience that will help enhance the governance and efficacy of our borough’s beloved public library system.”

Healy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from New York University in 1987 and a Juris Doctor degree from the St. John’s University School of Law in 1993.  After graduating from law school, Healy worked for two years as a law clerk to the Chief Judge of the United States Court of International Trade.

Richards Lauds City’s First Two Mental Health and Substance Abuse Drop-Off Centers

City Council Member Donovan Richards

City Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens) on Friday lauded Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for announcing two vendors have signed leases to open the City’s first two drop-off diversion centers, a significant first step towards opening the centers.

Health diversion centers will offer short-term, stabilizing services for individuals with mental health and substance use needs, giving police officers a much-needed alternative to arrest or hospitalization.

The first two centers will be in the Bronx and East Harlem.

First announced in 2014 in the Mayor’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System Action Plan, the diversion centers will serve people referred by the NYPD who need support and services for mental illness, substance use, and health and social issues. This is a voluntary program – there is no mandate to receive services.

The centers will offer a range of clinical and non-clinical services, including overnight beds and basic needs, such as food, laundry and showers. Clinical services will include health and behavioral health assessments; counseling; advocacy; peer-to-peer engagement services; medication; medically-supervised substance use stabilization and withdrawal management; and naloxone training and distribution.

“The opening of the City’s first two Health Diversion Centers delivers on the recommendations of the 2014 Behavioral Health Task Force and provides first responders with a new health-focused option when encountering New Yorkers in crisis,” said Richards, chair of the Committee on Public Safety.

“Relying on the criminal justice system to solve mental illness and addiction has not and will never work, which is why the intervention of these new centers is so important to helping New York City address these issues with a smarter, more humane approach. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray, Health Commissioner Barbot, and NYPD Commissioner O’Neill for their dedication to finding a better solution for people in crisis,” he added.