Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 24, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Hyndman, Comrie Host Movie & Discussion On Marijuana Legalization

Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman
State Senator Leroy Comrie

Assemblywoman Alicia L. Hyndman (D- Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans, Addisleigh Park, Hollis, Springfield Gardens, Jamaica i) and State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Jamaica, Hollis, Rosedale, Laurelton, Kew Gardens, Queens Village) next week will host a screening of the Netflix Documentary Grass is Greener and follow it with a discussion on the legalization of Marijuana In New York State

New York State legislators have been debating the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) for the past several months and it may come up for a vote as soon as this year. The legislation would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana under state law along lines similar to the state’s current system regulating alcohol, and would represent a new approach for New York State after decades of costly, counterproductive policies that have produced racially discriminatory outcomes.

Hyndman and Comrie will moderate the discussion and panelists will include Mary Pryor, Cannaclusive, CEO & Co-Founder; David C. Holland Esq., Empire State NORML. Executive Director; and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

The event is slated for between 6-9 p.m., Tuesday, May 28 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica.

Meng, Serrano Include Language In Bill Prohibiting Citizenship Question On 2020 Census

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, and Rego Park) and José E. Serrano (D-NY) this week announced the inclusion of language in the Commerce, Justice, Science spending bill that would prohibit funding for the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

As a member of the subcommittee of Commerce, Justice & Science, Meng has fought for a fair and accurate 2020 Census, and for adding the language. The CJS Subcommittee, which funds the U.S. Census Bureau, approved the spending bill last week and the full Appropriations Committee passed it this week. The measure now heads for a vote on the floor of the House.  

“The inclusion of a citizenship question would be a disaster for New York and many other areas throughout the nation,” said Meng. “Asking respondents if they are citizens will decrease response rates in immigrant communities and that reduction will result in an inaccurate census count. This will have a devastating impact on the billions in federal aid that is distributed to communities, and will affect the number of Congressional districts that each state receives.

“States that depend heavily on federal aid, such as my home state of New York, will be particularly hard-hit, with resources likely not getting to areas that need them the most. There are no do-overs with the census; a mistake is a 10-year mistake. I will continue to oppose any attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census and I thank Chairman Serrano for continuing to partner with me in this fight. I look forward to the CJS spending bill coming before the House.”

Nolan Supports State Farmworkers Right To Organize

Assembly Member  Catherine Nolan

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Astoria, Woodside, Long Island City, Maspeth, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills, Blissville) yesterday lauded the New York State Supreme Court Appellate decision that the law barring farmworkers in New York State from organizing for the purposes of collective bargaining is not allowed under the New York State Constitution.

The decision follows the New York Civil Liberties Union and Attorney General Letitia Kames’ challenging the constitutionality of the law in the courts.

“This laudable decision by the court recognizes that our New York State Constitution was written to ensure that the human rights of all workers are respected. While there is still more to be done to ensure that farmworkers are provided the same protections as other employees in the state, this decision marks a great stride forward in our fight to see long-awaited justice for farmworkers here in New York,” said Nolan.

“I am a long time sponsor of Assembly bill A2750, which would allow farmworkers to collectively bargain, to receive overtime pay for their labor, and to be guaranteed a day of rest. Congratulations to the farmworkers of our state, who finally have a chance to see real change for themselves and their families, and to the NYCLU, Attorney General James, and the many groups who have worked tirelessly alongside our farmworkers to see the end of this injustice in our state.”

Sanders Talks About 2020 Census At Clergy Breakfast

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) bought together faith-based leaders at his Community Clergy Breakfast yesterday to discuss the role community-based organizations must play in getting a full and accurate count for Southeast Queens during the 2020 Census.

“It’s time to stand up and be counted,” Sanders said. “Your participation in the census is critically important to ensuring that our community gets the resources it needs and deserves.”

Sanders held the breakfast at the Bernice Caesar Multi-Purpose Center in Jamaica. It was conducted in partnership with the NY Regional Census Center, Fiscal Policy Institute & the Advocacy Committee for the New York Counts 2020 Coalition.

The U.S. Census occurs every ten years and provides a snapshot of demographics, which determine how billions of state and federal dollars are distributed. Since the first count in 1790, the census has evolved to count every person living in every state, territory, and tribal nation. This year an estimated 330 million people, representing an estimated 140 million housing units will be counted, according to Ian Hill, the Deputy Regional Director for the NY Regional Census Center.

“Census population counts help to determine the equal apportionment of approximately $883 billion in federal funds every single year,” Hill said. “It is estimated that in 2017 that approximately $73 billion came to the State of New York based on Census counts.”

The funding goes to support programs like Medicaid, SNAP, highway planning, Section 8 Housing, special education grants, S-CHIP, Title 1 Grants, the National School Lunch Program, WIC, Head Start, foster care and health center programs.

Hill said the three key things to know about the census is that it is safe, easy and important. People will be able to fill out the census survey online, by phone, on paper, or via a personal visit by a census employee. The U.S. Census Bureau never publishes private information including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and telephone numbers. Only general demographic statistics are released publicly. Personal information cannot be used against respondents by any government agency or court. The Census Bureau employees are sworn to protect confidentiality for life.  

The survey will be available in 59 different languages. As far as those languages that are not covered, the census is looking to hire workers for different positions, including to travel to areas where ethnic groups may be overlooked due to communication barriers or for other reasons.  The jobs start at $25 per hour and the U.S. Census Bureau provides paid training and reimburses all travel costs, Hill said. For more information, go to https://2020census.gov/jobs

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