Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 17, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Katz Wants Cuomo To Go Further On Marijuana Legalization

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President and District Attorney Candidate Melinda Katz (D) said yesterday said Governor Cuomo’s plan to legalize marijuana for adult use in New York is an important step forward, especially the plan to review and seal prior marijuana convictions.

“However, I strongly encourage the Governor to take this plan further by expunging past low-level marijuana convictions, which will ensure that New Yorkers can truly move forward and right the unfair racial disparity of our criminal justice system,” said Katz.

“Too many young people, overwhelmingly people or color, have their futures unfairly limited by these past arrests and expungement is the only fair thing to do,” she added.

Cuomo Wants Increased Penalties For Assaulting The Press

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) yesterday announced a proposal to increase criminal penalties for assaulting the press is included in the 2019 Executive Budget.

The measure comes in order to provide additional protections for journalists in light of recent acts of violence against members of the media. Under the plan Cuomo is advancing legislation that would increase the penalties of assault against a journalist while performing their journalistic job duties to a felony level offense.

“Reporters have a tough enough job as it and it is unacceptable and unconscionable that they increasingly have to endure the threat of physical harm for just for doing their jobs,” said Cuomo. “While the current federal administration is fostering an environment that normalizes and even encourages attacks on the press, New York is taking a stand. It is my hope that other states join us in enacting these protections into law once and for all.” 

Busy Day For Van Bramer In District 

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) has two events in the district today starting with a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new elementary school (P.S. 375) at Hunters Point South Parcel F in Long Island City.

School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo will join local Van Bramer for this event, along with other elected officials, civic leaders, the Gantry Parent Association, and P.S. /I.S. 78 students and parents.

The ground breaking ceremony is slated for 1 p.m., today, Jan. 17 Hunters Point South Parcel F; 2nd Street Between 56th and 57th Avenues in Long Island City.

Later in the day, Van Bramer will join the Department of Transportation officials P.S. /I.S. 78 parents, students, and faculty, the Gantry Parent Association, and members of the community to announce the installation a new all-way stop sign at 46th Avenue and 5th Street. The intersection is near P.S. /I.S. 78 and had been very dangerous to cross.

That event is slated for 4 p.m., today, Jan. 17 at the iintersection of 46th Avenue & 5th Street in Long Island City.

Lancman Rallies To Stop NYPD Entrapment

City Councilman Rory Lancman.

City Council Member and Queens District Attorney Candidate Rory Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) today will join New York County Defender Services (NYCDS) Executive Director Stan Germán, executive director of New York County Defender Services and City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) to call on the NYPD to stop entrapping innocent people.

The NYPD has resurrected a problematic police practice. Recently the NYCDS has represented multiple clients who are accused of taking possession of property – usually a backpack – that gave every appearance of having been lost or abandoned. However, the property was intentionally placed in that location by the NYPD as a lure to ensnare people not engaged in criminal activity.

Recent criminal justice reforms in the city have moved away from arrest in favor of treatment and the reduction of mass incarceration. Perhaps as a result, these advocates say, the NYPD has revived this disreputable and dishonest practice to boost arrest statistics.

Lancman and others will bring light on the issue at 1 p.m., today, Jan. 17 on the steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Koo Hearing Will Look At Shoring Up 311 Operations

City Council Member Peter Koo

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone ) chair of the Committee on Technology, today will hold a joint hearing with the council’s Committee on Governmental Operations to look at several issues related to 311 calls.

The phone number 311 is a non-emergency phone number that people can call in many cities to find information about services, make complaints, or report problems like graffiti or road damage.

Among the proposed legislation the committees will look at include procedures to be adopted by the 311 call center for responding to certain repeat anonymous complaints against the same property, and legislation related to identifying the foreign and ensuring the callers get the appropriate language assistance.

The joint hearing is slated for 1 p.m., today, Jan. 17 at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.