Queens Lawmakers On The Move June 5, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Liu Lauds SOMOS Spreading Health Education Through WeChat

State Sen. John Liu

State Sen. John Liu (D-Bayside, Flushing Auburndale) yesterday lauded the physician-led network, SOMOS, for announcing the launch of its official WeChat messaging and social media account, aiming to bridge health care disparities faced by Chinese immigrant communities.  

The WeChat account will provide public updates on local health fairs and community events; spread Chinese-language health education resources; and help connect patients to Chinese-speaking doctors that practice in their local communities.  

The SOMOS network has over 2,500 healthcare providers and serves more than 700,000 patients in New York City. WeChat is the world’s leading Chinese-language multipurpose messaging and social media platform – boasting over a billion monthly users worldwide.

By simply scanning the relevant QR code, WeChat users will be able to subscribe to the official SOMOS account, receive real-time updates and health information, and communicate with SOMOS staff that can help show them how to connect with a Chinese-speaking health care provider. To follow the account, users can also search “SOMOS 和諧社區醫療大聯盟” in the official account tab.

“SOMOS is always striving to provide NYC’s vulnerable communities with beneficial health services and this smart new WeChat platform, created with the Chinese-speaking community in mind, is no exception,” said Liu. “Not only will people be able to use a communication tool with which they are already familiar, they will be provided with salient information and resources on how to get quality care in their own neighborhoods.”

Kim Introduces Legislation To Protect New Yorkers’ Data

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, and Murray Hill) yesterday announced that he is introducing new legislation (A.7736) to protect New Yorkers’ data and privacy in the 21st century.

The measure follows State Senate oversight hearing in which representatives from big tech corporations expressed concerns that stricter regulations to protect consumer data would impact their profitability.

Kim’s bill represents the gold standard for privacy protections in the era of tech monopolies, treating private information and data as a part of users’ inalienable rights, a recognition that would be codified into the state’s civil rights laws. It establishes new, stricter standards for obtaining consent and exercising reasonable care when it comes to the use, distribution, and collection of any individual’s image or personal information.

Kim emphasized the urgency of this issue in the wake of greater and increasingly alarming reports about the activities of large technology firms in relation to the tracking, storing, and commodification of our data.

“We now live in an era where large technology monopolies extract and monetize our data with almost no consequences, and government agencies work side by side with them to establish a vast surveillance state without our consent or knowledge. This must end. While some of my colleagues are introducing legislation to cozy up to Big Tech companies, I’m razor-focused on protecting consumers from predatory tech companies that relentlessly surveil, extract, and monetize our personal data,” said Kim.

Ramos Slams BSA Decision To Allow Target

State Sen. Jessica Ramos

State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, parts of Astoria, Woodside) yesterday slammed the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals decision to allow the proposed Target at 40-31 82nd Street to move forward.

“This decision sets a dangerous precedent, paving the way for unregulated underground variety stores to be built in residential neighborhoods throughout the city, putting the safety of our communities and infrastructure at risk,” said Ramos.

“I represent a vast area north of the proposed site, a district with no hospital that depends on the two one-way streets surrounding the proposed Target site as thoroughfares for ambulances to reach Elmhurst Hospital just a block away. Our ambulance response times, especially in East Elmhurst, are dangerously and sometimes fatally long. Traffic that will come along with Target as a tenant will exacerbate our healthcare access.

“Space in our growing community is limited. We are in need of dire services and infrastructure that would benefit from the location of this site. The BSA’s decision today is a vote with real estate and a vote against our community. I am joining Queens Neighborhood United in appealing to the New York State Supreme Court, and we will keep fighting to amplify the voices of our neighbors above corporations.”

Meng Hails Passage Of The American Dream & Promise Act

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, and Rego Park) hailed the House yesterday for passing the American Dream and Promise Act establishing permanent residency and pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, and individuals who either held or were eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) as of January 1, 2017.

“I’m proud to have voted in favor of the American Dream and Promise Act that provides vital and humane protections for Dreamers and TPS and DED recipients,” said Meng. “The Trump Administration’s approach to immigration has been cruel, unjust, and vicious. Instead of working toward a future that creates hope and opportunity for Dreamers and TPS and DED recipients, the Administration has relentlessly sought to further drive them into the shadows and close the door on their dreams and aspirations. Dreamers and TPS and DED recipients are our neighbors, students, servicemembers; they are integral members of our community. Passing this bill is not just a critical step toward ensuring they can continue to live in this country where they have spent most of their lives – it upholds the values and promises of our nation. I now call on the Senate to immediately take up this measure.”

Over 2.1 million individuals are protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The U. S. currently provides TPS to approximately 417,000 foreign nationals from 10 countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Gianaris, Rosenthal Announce Passage Of Legislation To Ban Cat Declawing

State Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) yesterday announced that both the Senate and Assembly passed legislation (S.5532B/A.1303A) to ban cat declawing in New York.

Once it is signed, New York will become the first state in the nation to enact such a proposal.

“Cat declawing is a brutal procedure similar to severing a human finger at the first knuckle and has lifelong ramifications for cats,” said Gianaris. “I am proud of the Senate’s emphasis on animal welfare and I am pleased we passed this important proposal.”

The legislation bans cat declawing unless performed to address a legitimate medical condition. Any person found to be in violation of the law would be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000.

Cat declawing, also known as onychectomy, is the permanent, surgical removal of most of the last bone, and the tendons, nerves and ligaments on the paws of a cat. Proponents of the measure say declawing often results in intense and chronic lifetime pain for the cat, and also causes unwanted behavioral issues, such as aggression, refusal to use the litter box, depression, biting and/or spraying.

Van Bramer Hails MTA Installation Of Protective Netting Under 7 Train

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) yesterday lauded the Metropolitan Transit Authoirty (MTA) in its announcement they will start installing protective netting beneath some parts of the elevated 7 train tracks.

“After five consecutive incidents this year of debris crashing down from the 7 train and nearly hitting pedestrians and drivers, I am thankful that the MTA has finally agreed to start installing protective netting under parts of the elevated 7 train in Woodside,” said Van Bramer.

“This is a hard-earned victory after months of advocacy, but it is also just the start. We need netting under the entire elevated 7 train structure to guarantee the safety of all Queens residents until this dangerous situation is under control. And let’s not forget that there have been similar incidents under other subway lines in Queens and the Bronx. We must keep the pressure on the MTA to ensure that all of our city’s elevated subway structures are safe and secure.”