Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 8, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Dromm Announces Restoration Of Some Funding In City Budget

City Council Member Daniel Dromm

City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights), chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) and Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx) yesterday announced an agreement to restore over $77 million in funding for vital programs and services in the Fiscal 2020 Budget.

These programs and services, all of which were deemed priorities in the Council’s Preliminary Budget Response, include adult literacy programs, the addition of 5,000 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) slots, Restorative Justice programs, and the Home Delivered Meals Rate increase.

Prior to this agreement, funding for the Bridge the Gap social workers was the only item included in the Mayor’s Executive Budget from the list of so-called “one-shot” programs and services funded in Fiscal 2019. These “one-shots” are funded in the Fiscal 2019 Budget, based on negotiations between the Council and the de Blasio Administration. The absence of the “one-shots” would result in a year-over-year service reduction. The Council is fighting to restore all of the “one shots” from Fiscal 2019 to the upcoming budget. The $77 million restoration amounts to about half of the “one-shot’ allocations.

“The restoration of these funds will help thousands of youth, seniors, recent immigrants and other New Yorkers who rely on these important services. I am pleased to have worked with Speaker Johnson and Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Gibson to reach this important agreement. I remain committed to fighting alongside the Speaker and Chair Gibson for a progressive and equitable budget,” said Dromm.

Negotiations on other Council priorities continues, as well as a more in depth review of the Mayor’s Fiscal 2020 Executive Budget in the weeks ahead.

Addabbo Bill Package To Protect Environment, Improve Public Health Passes Senate

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) yesterday announced a package of bills he co-sponsored seeking  to protect the state’s air and water, preserve natural resources, address high concentrations of pollution in certain communities, and cut back on toxic chemicals in toys and other household items passed the senate.

“Taking steps to protect and heal the damage that has already been done to our environment is vitally necessary to safeguarding the public health,” said Addabbo. “I am proud to co-sponsor these initiatives to help ensure a cleaner, greener and safer environment both today and in the future, and to protect our children and families from toxic chemicals in consumer products.”

The environmental protection and health legislation approved by the Senate with Addabbo’s support would:

  • Amend the New York State Constitution’s Bill of Rights to include a fundamental right to clean air and water, and a healthy environment. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Montana have already enshrined similar rights in their state constitutions. (S.2072)
  • Develop criteria the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) should use in creating a list of “high local environmental impact zones,” which would identify communities severely impacted by polluting facilities, such as power plants and waste stations, and other environmental hazards. The listings would be published and used to protect overburdened communities from additional environmental threats. (S.181)
  • Establish greater reporting and public information efforts regarding toxic chemicals used in toys and other items used by children, with the aim of completely prohibiting the sale of products containing dangerous chemicals like asbestos and certain flame retardants by 2023. (S.501)
  • Set new standards to significantly reduce the use of dangerous mercury, which presents a variety of risks to human health, in mercury-added light bulbs. A number of other states and the European Union have already adopted maximum mercury content limits. (S.2139)
  • Increase the personal income tax credit now provided in New York to encourage the installation of solar energy system equipment from $5,000 to $10,000. The credit has not been raised since 2005, despite an increase in the cost of solar equipment. (S.752)
  • Raise the performance standards for water-efficient plumbing and appliances in New York by aligning them with the “Water Sense” savings guidelines issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2006. New York’s water savings standards were last updated in 2002, and are less stringent than federal guidelines. (S.354).

With the exception of the legislation increasing the tax credit for solar equipment systems, which the State Assembly is still considering, all of the other bills have been approved by both houses of the State Legislature and will be sent to Governor Cuomo for his final consideration.

Ramos Bill Expanding State Criminal Record Relief Passes Senate Codes Committee

State Sen. Jessica Ramos

State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday saw her bill, S04981/A06983, to expand criminal record relief for trafficking survivors, pass the Senate Codes committee in a 9-4-1 vote.  

Survivors frequently have drug, larceny, trespass and other charges on their record as a result of their exploitation and should not have to “prove rehabilitation” to clear these charges, Ramos said.

Ramos is working with Decrim NY, a 30+ organization coalition working to decriminalize, decarcerate and destigmatize the sex trades in the city and state. In 2010, the state became a national leader when it amended its Criminal Procedure Law to allow survivors of trafficking to vacate their “prostitution-related” convictions.

Advocates for these reforms say while this was a good first step, it still means trafficking survivors are criminally prosecuted for a wide range of offenses—including drug, larceny, trespass, and other offenses—they were forced to commit and have no way to clear such offenses from their records. New York now lags behind many other states in its record relief policies for survivors.

“Vacating survivors’ records will remove a real barrier to seeking alternative employment and will ensure they cannot be trafficked again. The passage of this bill in the Senate Codes Committee today is a monumental step in protecting victims of trafficking. We must pass this bill this session. Survivors of sex trafficking and labor trafficking should not have to wait any longer,” said Ramos.

Ulrich To Host Commemorative Ceremony 100 Years After World’s First Transatlantic Flight

City Council Member Eric Ulrich

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven) today will host a ceremony on the 100 years since the first Transatlantic flight.

Contrary to popular belief that Charles Lindbergh was the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, five members of the US Navy and the first US Coast Guard pilot were the first to fly across the Atlantic. Their journey began on May 8, 1919, when three Navy seaplanes took off from Jamaica Bay, and, after a series of stops, one of those planes landed in Lisbon.

Ulrich will host a commemorative ceremony today, in which he will unveil a new street sign at Beach 169th Street at Rockaway Point Boulevard, which will be co-named “US NAVY SEAPLANE DIVISION ONE WAY” to honor this important legacy.

The ceremony will include speakers from the Navy and Coast Guard, veterans’ groups, local schools, bands, and participation by the NYPD and FDNY, as well as family members of the crews.

The ceremony is slated for 9:30 a.m., today, May 8 at Rockaway Coast Guard Station/ Riis Landing in Fort Tilden.