Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 30, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Gillibrand Introduces Bill To Support Family Members Raising Children Due To Opioid Epidemic

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA) yesterday announced legislation to help ease the financial burden of grandparents and other family caregivers who are raising children because of the opioid crisis.

The Grandfamilies Act is based on the success of legislation that was signed into law last year to help grandparents easily find the resources they need when raising grandchildren such as navigating the school system, planning for their families’ future, addressing mental health issues for themselves and their grandchildren, and building social and support networks.

“As the opioid epidemic continues to tear apart families all over the country, Congress must do everything it can to help protect the children who have been hurt by this crisis,” said Gillibrand. “I am proud to cosponsor this bill to help support the hardworking grandparents and family caregivers who have taken on the responsibility of raising grandchildren because of the opioid epidemic. This legislation would help families across New York and around the country manage this crisis, and I urge my colleagues to quickly pass it into law.”

Specifically, the Grandfamilies Act would do the following:

  •         increase access to Social Security child’s benefits and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families cash assistance program.
  •         incentivize states to create temporary guardianship laws for grandparents who need to step in quickly to help a grandchild.
  •         provide support for housing specifically provided for grandparents raising grandchildren.

CM Miller Awards $1.2 Million to Five Participatory Budgeting Projects for FY 2020

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Jamaica) recently unveiled the winning projects of the 2018-2019 Participatory Budgeting (PB) Vote in Council District 27.

Over 1,000 constituents cast their ballots last month at several pop-up PB poll-sites located at local library branches, a senior center, and Miller’s own Saint Albans District Office during the eight-day ‘Vote Week’ period for up to five community designed infrastructure projects relating to Education, Parks & Recreation, Transit, and Arts,Culture, and Community Facilities.

Out of 10 total projects, the following ones earned the highest vote totals:

  1.     Technology Upgrades at District Libraries (625 votes) – new computers, printers, and networking for the South Hollis, Cambria Heights, St. Albans, and South Jamaica Queens Library branches: $400,000
  2.     21st Century Schools (617 votes) – laptops and laptop carts to facilitate improved student learning at P.S. 15Q – The Jackie Robinson School, P.S. 360Q, and the Riverton Street Charter School: $300,000
  3.     Where’s My Bus?! (478 votes) – MTA Bus Time countdown clocks at local bus stops to display bus arrival times: $200,000
  4.     Supporting Young Scholars (411 votes) – robotics lab and laptops for Queens High School for the Sciences at York College: $75,000
  5.     Beautify the Boulevard (391 votes) – tree planting and tree guard installation along Linden Boulevard: $200,000

“Our community’s priorities are reflected in every single Participatory Budgeting vote,” said Miller. “Resources that promote the academic growth of our young scholars continue to be in high demand, but projects aimed at modernizing the IT infrastructure critical to our libraries, beautifying our local environment, and adding convenience to the commutes of our public transit riders each carry their own significance. I congratulate our voters as well as the bright minds who conceived all of the projects considered this year, and want to also thank our volunteers, without whom this program would not be the success it has been.”

Van Bramer Recounts Struggle as Out Gay Man In Fundraising Plea

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside), in an emailed pitch to raise money for his upcoming run for Queens borough president, recounted his struggles on coming out as a gay man.

“Thirty years ago this week I did the most important thing I’ve ever done: I came out to myself, acknowledged that I am a gay man, and decided that I would become an activist in the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality,” Van Bramer wrote.

“I was 19 and had been tormented about my sexual orientation for nearly a decade. So much progress has been made since then that it’s hard for some to remember how difficult the 1980s were for queer people. It was the decade of Reagan/Bush conservatism and the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic — which unleashed fierce queer activism but also a massive homophobic backlash,” he added in part.

“In honor of my journey — and to celebrate your story or that of an LGBTQ+ person you love — I’m asking everyone to donate $30 to my campaign to help me and the LGBTQ+ community make more history!”

Addabbo Optimistic Mobile Sports Betting Will Get Legalized

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, The Rockaways), chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, yesterday expressed confidence that mobile sports betting will get legalized after hearing Gov.  Cuomo’s remarks indicating it may yet become a reality in New York State before the end of the 2019 legislative session.

“I strongly believe legalizing online sports betting would be an economic boon for New York State, and would capture revenue that otherwise flows across the border to New Jersey where residents can already bet with their phones or other mobile devices.  Moving forward with mobile sports betting in our state would create new jobs while raising necessary funding for education and other vital public purposes,” said Addabbo.

“I look forward to working with the Governor, my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly, and other interested stakeholders to green light a mobile sports betting law that satisfies all constitutional concerns, while enabling us to take advantage of a new and significant source or revenue for New York State,” he added.

Koo To Help Break Ground On Francis Lewis High School Expansion

City Council Member Peter Koo

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows Whitestone) today will join the Francis Lewis High School community, the School Construction Authority and the Department of Education for a ground breaking on a new, 555-seat annex at Francis Lewis High School – NYC’s most overcrowded high school.

The groundbreaking is slated for 12:30 p.m., today, May 30 at Francis Lewis High School, 58-20 Utopia Parkway (Entrance at 59th Avenue and 174th Street) in Fresh Meadows.