Queens Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 6, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Cuomo Pushes Back Against Fed Rollback Of Transgender Rights

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) yesterday announced multi-agency opposition to the federal government’s proposed rollback of healthcare protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. 

On June 14, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule that would repeal a federal regulation that clarifies that the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination protections based on sex include protections based on gender identity and sex stereotyping.

However, under the New York State Human Rights Law, discrimination based on gender identity or expression is prohibited in employment and licensing, public accommodations (which includes healthcare providers), housing, education and credit. 

While New York State law will protect against the federal government’s proposed changes, the changes, if implemented, will impose an additional regulatory burden on the state Department of Financial Services because many insurers will try to roll back their nondiscrimination policies.

The proposed rule will also negatively impact the healthcare industry by creating confusion among healthcare providers and recipients alike and will also negatively impact access and quality of care, Cuomo said.

Thus, several state agencies, under Cuomo’s direction, submitted comments urging the federal government to abandon the proposal.

“While the federal government continues its assault on healthcare and the LGBTQ community, New York is fighting back,” said Cuomo. “We took immediate action this year to ensure all New Yorkers are protected from insurance discrimination – regardless of what happens in Washington — but this proposed rollback is repugnant to our values and it must be stopped. In New York, our bottom line is this: we will not allow this noxious rule to impact transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers’ right to healthcare.”

Sanders Addresses Rockaway Beach Drowning Deaths

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) will be meeting with the appropriate government agencies in the coming days to discuss solutions to prevent future drowning deaths at Rockaway Beach. 

There have been three such deaths and one person missing and presumed dead within the last month. All of the victims entered the water after 6 p.m. when lifeguards are not on duty.

“How many people have to die, before we say enough is enough?” Sanders asked. “Rockaway Beach is beautiful, but it can also be dangerous.”

Sanders is advocating for increased and improved signage all around Rockaway Beach, particularly in areas where the ocean floor dips several feet, the launch of an educational campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of rip tides, whirlpools and other conditions that can cause drowning, increased access to supervised public pools and swimming lessons.

“I am deeply and profoundly saddened by the drowning deaths that have occurred in Far Rockaway over the last month and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Sanders said. “I want to make sure that no other family has to experience such heartbreaking loss.”

Constantinides Calls for Protective Netting Under Elevated Subway Tracks

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday called on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to install protective netting under the entirety of the elevated N/W tracks in western Queens. 

Such a move will ensure Astoria pedestrians are protected from falling debris amid ongoing track and station repairs. 

Astoria residents have recently complained of debris either from construction or daily track maintenance falling onto 31st Street. Last week, a metal flashlight nearly struck an Astoria resident as she crossed the busy thoroughfare near 23rd Street. This underscored the daily risk western Queens residents face because of the district’s heavy amount of infrastructure. 

MTA officials recently announced netting will be installed under N/W tracks at the Queensboro Plaza and 39th Avenue stations. That left two miles of track still exposed, however, all the way up to the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd station. Nearly 52,000 commuters on average went through those stations — 36th Avenue, Broadway, 30th Avenue, Astoria Boulevard and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard — each weekday in 2018. 

“Our lives should not be put in danger by falling debris or train equipment whenever we cross 31st Street,” said Constantinides. “The MTA can do right by Astoria residents by installing protective netting under the entirety of this line — not just a few stations. Given the aging infrastructure of this line and the years of work still ahead to fix it, this is a no-brainer.” 

Addabbo Sponsors 10th Annual Big Band Concert

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth,  parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) yesterday announced he is again sponsoring the 10th annual Arnie Mig Memorial Big Band Concert, with co-sponsors Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and the Brady & Marshak law firm.

Arnold “Arnie Mig” Migliaccio led his Serenaders in Blue Orchestra in the very first annual swing concert nearly 30 years ago where they performed Big Band-era jazz music from the 1940’s for the residents of Howard Beach.

When the beloved musician passed away on June 7, 2009, Addabbo wanted to honor his legacy and continue the tradition that he established. Therefore, Addabbo started the Arnie Mig Memorial Big Band Concert in 2009 that would allow the residents of Howard Beach to continue to enjoy the music that Migliaccio played for them.

“Arnie Mig was a staple within the Howard Beach community, and it is an honor and pleasure to continue the tradition of bringing great music to the residents that he started so many years ago,” Addabbo said. “This memorial concert is the perfect way to not only honor Arnie’s memory, but to bring the people the music they enjoy listening to right into their community. Seeing the people of all ages coming out to these concerts over the last decade truly shows the impact Arnie had on this community.”

The free concert is slated for 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 22 in the St. Helen’s parking lot, located at the corner of 157th Avenue and 84th Street in Howard Beach. If there is inclement weather, the concert will be moved indoors to the Father Dooley Hall. For more information contact Addabbo’s Howard Beach office at (718) 738-1111.

Gianaris Announces Anti-Violence Funding For Jacob Ris Neighborhood Settlement

State Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) today will announce funding for the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement to support anti-violence programs.

The announcement will come as part of the Queensbridge Houses Family Day.

The event is slated for 1 p.m., today, Aug 6 at 10-44 41st Avenue in Long Island City.