Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 16, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Ramos Passes Bill To Establish Professional Certification Of Doulas

State Sen. Jessica Ramos

State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday saw the Senate pass her bill, 3344, to establish professional certification for doulas also known as birth companions, birth coaches or post-birth supporters.

The legislation comes as a recent report released by America’s Health Rankings ranked New York State 30th in the nation for its maternal mortality rate. Furthermore, racial disparities are pervasive, with four times as many black women as white women dying in childbirth. Research shows that doulas are effective in improving maternal health outcomes.

“Ensuring that certified doulas are properly trained and credentialed is essential to ensuring that they are able to provide the support and services patients need.” said Ramos. “We must invest in the prevention of maternal mortality, which includes ensuring that all birthing methods are safe.”

Ramos’ bill authorizes the professional certification of doulas. Only those certified may provide doula services defined as continuous emotional and physical support provided by a certified doula throughout labor and birth, and intermittently during the prenatal and postpartum periods.

Vallone and PS 129 Community Celebrate Big Participatory Budgeting Win

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Little Neck, Malba, North Flushing, Whitestone) on Tuesday joined dozens of students, parents, teachers and faculty at PS 129 to celebrate the school’s big participatory budgeting win: a $400,000 full gymnasium renovation.

During voting this spring, PS 129 physical education teachers David Sommer, Craig Krupski, Neequaye Williams and Ron Sandow told students that if they worked hard to get out the vote and their school’s project won, they would organize a celebratory event where students would be able to duct tape the teachers to the gym walls. PS 129’s project came in first with 2,009 votes, and the teachers “stuck” to their word.

“Every year, I look forward to seeing the new and creative ways our community members motivate their neighbors during the participatory budgeting process,” said Vallone. “Congratulations again to Principal Marilyn Alesi, Assistant Principals Angela Fiorenza and Denise Smith, and the entire PS 129 community. I can’t wait to visit the school again to see the final result!”

Participatory Budgeting NYC (PBNYC) allows the community to discuss local needs and develop proposals to meet those needs. Decisions are then made through a public vote, where residents choose which proposals to fund.

Gillibrand Introduces Bill To Protect American Elections From Interference

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), along with 11 Senate colleagues, yesterday introduced a new bill to protect American elections from interference.

This measure comes as Florida’s governor announced that two counties in the state were hacked during the 2016 elections. The Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act of 2019 would take measures to fix the vulnerabilities in the nation’s federal election infrastructure and help secure American elections from hackers.

This includes creating new cybersecurity standards, providing state and local governments with resources to guard against cyberattacks, and mandating paper ballots for all federal elections.

“Voting is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, and we must never allow our elections to be vulnerable to interference again,” said Gillibrand. “The PAVE Act would help ensure the validity of election results by requiring a paper receipt for every vote, providing states with the resources they desperately need to upgrade their voting machines, and creating new cybersecurity standards at the voting booth. Congress has a responsibility to secure the integrity of our elections, and I am proud to join with Senator Wyden to introduce this bill that strengthens our country’s election infrastructure.”

Stringer Calls For City to be First City in the Nation to Directly Fund Abortion Care

Comptroller Scott Stringer

City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, the National Institute of Reproductive Health (NIRH) Action Fund, and a coalition of advocates yesterday called for New York City to be the first city in the nation to directly fund abortion care.

The call to action comes In the midst of the latest wave of abortion bans across the country. Stringer and advocates urged the City to reaffirm its commitment to abortion access and include at least $250,000 in the FY2020 Budget for the New York Abortion Access Fund. This investment matches the organization’s operating budget and will help over 500 people annually in covering the cost of abortion care.

“Our city budget is a reflection of who we are as a city, what our priorities are for the future, and the values we hold most dear. As the federal government and states across the country turn back the clock on reproductive rights, New York City must lead the way forward and provide a first-in-the-nation investment to ensure access to safe, compassionate abortion care,” said Stringer. “While other parts of the country are turning our health care back centuries, New York City has the opportunity to send a clear message in this year’s budget: we believe abortion should be safe, legal and accessible – and we will put our money where our mouth is”