Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 15, 2019

Queens County City Council News

De Blasio Lauds State Legislature’s Passage Of Election Reform

Mayor BIll de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday praised the state legislature for passing the following election reforms as part of the governor’s first 100-day agenda: 

  • “Closing” the LLC Loophole: The legislature’s bill would “close” the LLC loophole by limiting the maximum contribution of an LLC to a total of $5,000 annually, the same limit as corporations. The bill would also require the disclosure of direct and indirect membership interests in the LLC making a campaign contribution, and for the contribution to be attributed to that individual.
  • No-excuse absentee voting by mail: The New York State Constitution currently restricts absentee ballots to individuals who provide a qualifying reason, such as absence from the county on Election Day or an illness or disability. This unnecessarily prevents New Yorkers from being able to vote by mail for reasons other than those currently listed in the constitution, or simply for convenience. Amending the constitution to make absentee ballots available to any eligible voter, no matter their reason for wanting one will help make voting as accessible as possible.
  • Early voting: Enacting early voting will make voting more convenient for voters whose professional or family obligations make it difficult to physically get to the polls, as well as reduce waiting times and ease logistical burdens for poll workers.
  • Same-day registration: Voters are currently prohibited from registering to vote less than 10 days before an election and still being able to vote in that election.  In today’s world with today’s technology, there is no policy or administrative reason to prevent voters from registering to vote on the day of an election. The budget will include a proposal to eliminate this outdated but formidable barrier to the ballot box.
  • Synchronizing federal and state elections: New York State currently holds separate primary elections for state and federal elections. With the addition of a presidential primary every four years and a general election, this means that in some cases New York is holding four different elections in a year. This can be confusing to voters and waste administrative resources. This year’s budget will seek to unify the federal and state primaries once and for all and ensure that voters only go to the polls once to choose their nominees.
  • Pre-registration for minors: New Yorkers are not permitted to register to vote unless they will be 18 years of age by the end of the year, and by the date of the election in which they intend to vote. The budget will include a proposal allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, meaning that a voter will automatically be registered on his or her 18th birthday.
  • Universal transfer of registration: When New Yorkers move to a different county, their voter registration does not move with them. This requires the voter to re-register with his or her new local board of elections as ifhe or she were registering for this first time. New York will propose legislation to ensure that when a voter moves elsewhere in the state, his or her voter registration will seamlessly go with them.

“New York has taken a tremendous step forward to make voting easier for all New Yorkers. Early voting, pre-registering 16- and 17-year-olds and the consolidation of state and federal primaries will help break barriers for New Yorkers every Election Day,” said de Blasio.

“I thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the rest of the legislature for passing these key reforms. The legislature should also be proud for passing same-day voter registration and voting by mail. We must continue to push for these reforms so that the next legislature includes them on the ballot in 2021,” he added.

Cuomo Proposes To Reinstate & Expand Speed Camera Program

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced a proposal to formally reinstate the speed camera program in New York City and more than double the number of zones will be included in the 2019 Executive Budget.

Speed cameras have proven to be effective at reducing car crashes and increasing survivability rates in school zones, but in 2018 the Republican-led Senate blocked passage of legislation that would allow the program to continue. In response, Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency to temporarily reinstate the program. The Governor’s new budget proposal would reinstate and expand the program through statute and expand the number of impacted school zones from 140 to 290.

“There is indisputable evidence that speed cameras save lives, and as public servants we must use every available tool to protect our children,” said Cuomo. “After Senate Republicans shamefully refused to extend this life-saving program, I declared a State of Emergency before the start of the school year to temporarily keep the cameras operating. With this new proposal we will not only reinstate the program the way it should have been done in the first place – we will also expand the number of cameras to protect more children and prevent needless tragedies and heartbreak.”

In addition to expanding the number of school zones covered by the program, the Governor’s proposal would also provide additional signage to give notice of cameras as well as expand the area in which cameras can be placed. The number of cameras for each school zone is determined by the City of New York, which operates the program.

Sanders Invites Residents To Send Valentines To Elderly Veterans

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, parts of Far Rockaway), a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, is collecting greeting cards as well as new clothing items such as hats, gloves, scarves or socks, which he will present to elderly veterans in honor of Valentine’s Day.

“On this holiday, when we celebrate the love and affection we have for the special people in our lives, it seems only fitting that we include those who have served our country,” said Sanders.

Donations and Valentines Day cards can be dropped off up until Wednesday, Feb. 6 at Sanders’ Office, 142-01 Rockaway Boulevard in South Ozone Park. If you have any questions, contact his office at 718-523-3069.

Katz, Borough Board Hear Presentation On Pedestrian Ramp Upgrade Program

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) and the Queens Borough Cabinet today will hear a presentation from the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) about its ongoing sidewalk pedestrian ramp upgrade program.

In addition, the city’s Department of Finance (DOF) will deliver a presentation on the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption and Disability Rent Increase Exemption programs, including information about the application process and eligibility requirements.

The presentations are slated for 9:30 a.m., today, Jan. 15 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.