Queens Lawmakers On The Move April 1, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Schumer Says Suspend Boeing From Committee Charged With Recommending Airline Regs

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday called on Boeing to be temporarily suspended from sitting on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) committee charged with recommending airline industry regulations that include possible safety oversight.

Schumer made the call amidst an active and ongoing investigation by the feds into recent Boeing crashes, and a preliminary report that points to serious issues with Boeing’s planes.

The committee, known as the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC), is charged with recommending airline industry regulations.

“Earlier this week, we heard the federal Department of Transportation lament about an overly ‘cozy’ relationship between the FAA and industry, but clandestine committees like ARAC act like a proverbial blanket with their lack of transparency and the comfortable cover they provide for companies like Boeing,” said Schumer. “It makes no sense for Boeing —or any company for that matter— to be involved in an active investigation surrounding questions of safety while also retaining ‘membership’ on a federal committee that recommends airline industry regulations. That is why I am demanding the FAA both suspend Boeing from this committee and any others until the formal investigation has ended, and to also answer serious questions I have raised.”

Specifically, Schumer is demanding the FAA do three things:

1)      Suspend and/or update the public on Boeing’s membership on the committee known as ARAC;

2)      Make public who else sits on the committee (all airline and industry members) and release the minutes of each and every meeting since the Trump administration took office;

3)      Commit to reforming the entire FAA committee by examining the member selection process, transparency, and potential conflicts of interest so the public and Congress know who is making regulatory decisions at the FAA– and for what reasons.

Gianaris Applauds State Approval of his Bail Elimination Act

State Senator Michael Gianaris/Facebook

State Sen. Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of  Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) heralded major bail reform as part of the New York State $175 billion FY 2020 budget approved over the weekend.

Gianaris is the author of New York’s Bail Elimination Act and a longtime advocate for criminal justice reform.

“These reforms will deliver justice to thousands of people incarcerated without a conviction,” said Gianaris. “I am proud to have helped usher in the most historic and dramatic reforms our troubled criminal justice system has seen.”

Bail reform is part of the state budget and will end money bail for most misdemeanors and low-level felony charges. More than 16,000 people are currently held in New York State jails pre-trial.

The state budget will also enact significant reforms of the discovery and speedy trial processes.

Miller Applauds Council Resolution Calling for Federal Marijuana Prohibition Repeal and State Cannabis Equity for Communities of Color

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Jamaica, Cambria Heights, Hollis, St. Albans, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens) issued the following statement on the Council’s adoption of two resolutions he sponsored relating to the anticipated legalization of marijuana in New York State:

Resolution 743: calling on the federal government to enact the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, sponsored by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, which would end the federal prohibition of Marijuana, incentivize similar changes instate law, automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes, and enable those incarcerated in federal prison to petition courts for resentencing.

Resolution 744: calling on the State to enact legislation atoning for the discriminatory enforcement of marijuana prohibition, which caused the suffering of countless New Yorkers of color, by reinvesting tax revenue derived from any legally established market for recreational marijuana into afflicted communities of color, and promoting their participation in that new industry.

“The facts are clear. Whether arrests or summonses, marijuana enforcement perpetuates racial discrimination towards New Yorkers of color, depriving future generations of higher education, employment, and homeownership opportunities. We have a moral obligation to end this legacy of misery, and make them whole again. Criminal records for petty marijuana offenses must not be sealed but automatically expunged, and a significant share of the new market reserved for minority businesses so that our aggrieved communities of color can have cannabis equity,” said Miller.

“Any effort at legalization that falls short of embracing these key principles will not represent true reform, and failure to resolve this issue before the state adopts its budget will only perpetuate the discriminatory policing of Black and Brown New Yorkers, and impede their upward mobility. We are taking a clear stand on this issue, and implore the Legislature and the Governor to heed our call.”

Assembly Minority Pushes For Property Tax Cap For NYC Homeowners

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R-Canandaigua), an upstate lawmaker, yesterday called out the Assembly Majority’s decision to not putting a property tax cap on New York City residents.

Kolb’s call came as the state passed a $175 billion Fiscal Year 2020 budget, $7 billion more than last year’s $168 billion budget – the second largest state budget in the U.S. after California.

“The Assembly Majority’s refusal to address sky-high property taxes in their own backyard is absolutely shocking. Homeowners from Rochester to Staten Island should all benefit from the realities of a permanent property tax cap. Drawing a line in the sand around New York City does nothing but make the dream of affording a home in the five boroughs an impossibility for middle-class residents,” said Kolb. “The Assembly Minority is proud to have championed the idea of a permanent property tax cap for years, and we will continue to push for our neighbors in New York City to feel the same tax relief as the rest of the state.”

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge, Staten Island) said the city should receive the same benefits of a 2% property tax cap as the rest of the state that was instituted in this year’s spending plan.

“Property taxes have increased 44 percent over the past five years and continue to raise the cost of living in the city for renters and homeowners alike. Without the protections of a tax cap, residents will continue to see their tax bills rise uncontrollably,” said Malliotakis.