Queens Lawmakers On The Move June 6, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Ramos’ Bill Requiring Car Wash Workers To Get Minimum Wage Passes Senate

State Sen. Jessica Ramos

State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, parts of Astoria, Woodside) yesterday saw the Senate pass her bill, 4030, which requires car wash workers in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties are paid the minimum wage without allowance for gratuities.

Currently, car wash workers earn subminimum wages for long, irregular hours. This means that these workers, many immigrant workers, rely on tips to make a living.

“Car wash workers across Queens have been underpaid for years, and rely on tips to make their living. Wage theft is rampant, and many of these immigrant workers are exploited at the hands of a system that does not protect them,” said Ramos. “My bill will require that car wash workers are paid the minimum wage, which means they no longer have to rely on tips. As many as 200 to 300 workers in Senate District 13 alone will see a pay raise as a result of the passage of this bill.”

There are 12 car wash businesses and approximately 300 people who work at car washes in Ramos’ District 13. In 2008, the New York State Department of Labor interviewed 431 car wash workers and found that nearly half of these car washes were engaging in systematic wage theft statewide.

Kim’s Bill To Prevent Separation Of Immigrant Families Passes Both Chambers

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) this week saw his New York State Reuniting Families Act (A02106) officially passed both the State Assembly and State Senate.

The bill, aimed at protecting families navigating the federal immigration system, prioritizes keeping children with their families and out of the public welfare system. It will now be sent to the governor’s desk for a final decision.

“The New York State Reuniting Families Act, which I have sponsored and worked to pass in the Assembly every year, only to see it rejected in the State Senate, has finally passed both houses this year. This is a historic occasion and a crucial moment for New York. In today’s anti-immigrant environment, now more than ever, we must dedicate ourselves to keeping families whole,” said Kim.

“Parents navigating the lengthy immigration process should not have to face another legal battle to keep their family together. This bill recognizes that parents should not be penalized for something outside of their control. With countless New Yorkers living in fear during a time of great uncertainty, my colleagues and I urge the governor to sign this bill and protect the people of our great state,” he added.

Ulrich To Host Street Co-Naming Ceremony For FDNY Chief Spadafora

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) and FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro will host a street renaming ceremony on Flag Day honoring FDNY Chief Ronald Spadafora – a 9/11 hero who notably led rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero.

Last year, Ulrich sponsored the legislation, Intro 1300-2018, to rename the intersection of 90th Street and Rockaway Boulevard “Chief Ronald Spadafora Way” after the 40-year Fire Department veteran.

“Chief Spadafora was a true American hero who touched the lives of all who knew him. As an FDNY Chief, it was up to Spadafora to keep people safe – and 9/11 was no different,” said Ulrich. “He will always be remembered for his selflessness, his dedication and his courage. It is my hope that renaming this intersection in his honor will serve as a small reminder of his brave sacrifice and that his legacy will live on forever.”

Spadafora, who was born in Ozone Park, supervised safety and recovery at ground zero for the entire recovery operation following the September 11 attacks. Later, he worked on recovery efforts during the days following Hurricane Sandy. Spadafora died of 9/11-related illnesses on June 23, 2018, at the age of 63. According to official records, he is the 178th member of the FDNY to have died of 9/11-related illnesses.

The commemorative ceremony is slated for 10 a.m., Friday, June 14 at 90th Street and Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park.

Sanders Stands up for Seniors, the Disabled, Teachers and Tech Crime Victims

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway), this week made important strides in protecting seniors, the disabled, teachers and victims of tech crimes with three key pieces of his legislation, passed by the senate in a single day – June 4, 2019.

S.2475 – This legislation pertains to computer-related crimes and would update the computer-related crimes provisions of the law.

This bill would add more detailed definitions to cover a modern range of circumstances, and would include the definitions for computer system, government computer system, public safety infrastructure computer system, supporting documentation, injury, victim expenditure, computer contaminant, Internet domain name, electronic mail and profile.

“In today’s world of cyber terrorism and technological warfare, it is essential to modernize the state’s computer-related crimes law,” Sanders said. “This includes establishing definitions of terms, expanding provisions, establishing more specific offenses and providing civil remedies.”

S.3224 – SCRIE Rollback Act – This legislation provides retroactivity to the original date of eligibility in certain cases for the senior citizens rent increase exemption (SCRIE) and disability rent increase exemption (DRIE).

In other words, if a senior did not apply for SCRIE until they reached age 70, but they had been eligible at age 62, this legislation would provide them with a rent increase exemption based on their rent when they became eligible, but only back to when they were age 68.

“Many seniors and disabled people are living on a fixed income and rents are very high in New York City and around the state,” Sanders said. “This bill, which extends SCRIE and DRIE, will be enormously helpful to many people struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”

S.5410 – This legislation relates to the cumulative grade point average admission requirement for graduate-level teacher and educational leader programs.

This bill would remove the requirement that applicants admitted into a graduate-level teacher and leader education programs have achieved a 3.0 minimum cumulative grade point average in the candidate’s undergraduate program.

Under the current law, students with these issues would be prevented from being admitted into a graduate-level teacher or school leadership preparation program. This bill would instead allow for the state’s teachers colleges to have the authority to accept students that fit their program, including those from minority and underrepresented groups in the profession.

“This legislation will open up more opportunities for those seeking to become teachers as well as increase the diversity of good quality educators that we have in our school system,” Sanders said

Western Queens Elected Officials Host Renewable Rikers Panel in Jackson Heights

City Council Member Costa Constantinides
City Council Member Daniel Dromm

Western Queens elected officials including City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Daniel Dromm, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, State Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, tonight will present a panel discussion on the options for a Renewable Rikers Island.

With planned closure of the remaining detention centers there in the coming years, New York City also faces the question of how best to use this 413-acre for island. One recommendation in the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform’s A More Just NYC report was to use Rikers for critical infrastructure, a great deal of which is currently located in low-income and minority communities.

A panel of environmental experts and criminal justice stakeholders will be on hand to discuss the best ways of making this a reality.

The event is slated for 7:30 p.m., tonight, June 6 at The Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, 37-06 77th Street in Jackson Heights.