Queens Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 12, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Schumer Proposes Legislation Regulating Body Armor Sales

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced yesterday that he will author new legislation that requires Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) permission before anyone except law enforcement and other safety-related exceptions can get advanced body armor.

Schumer’s proposed legislation notes how those intent on doing evil turn to sophisticated body armor, including last Sunday’s shooting tragedy in Dayton, Ohio and a recent scare in a Missouri Walmart.

“Shockingly, with the click of a mouse, the scroll of a thumb or the dialing of a phone, just about anyone can order-up the kind of advanced armor or tactical law enforcement gear we see used in wars or all-out law enforcement raids, and that is unacceptable and needs to change,” said Schumer. “As the pattern of these purchases becomes more and more predictable, we have to take a serious look at who is seeking this sophisticated armor and approving of a sale in the first place.”  

The body armor used in many of these mass-shootings is widely available across the U.S. Sophisticated armor vests, such as the one used in Ohio, can be purchased online for as low as $185—they can also be purchased on eBay. There are few legal barriers to purchasing the armor, aside from convicted violent and drug-related felons being barred. Some armor is even marked to protect wearers from armor-piercing bullets used by law enforcement officers. Even some of the most sophisticated tactical gear is available online for just a few hundred dollars. 

Constantinides, Brannan Call For Presidential Climate Debate Gathers Steam 

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council members Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach) and Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) last week received fellow lawmaker support in imploring CNN to host its Sept. 4 climate town hall either in Queens or Brooklyn. 

They argued at a rally on the steps of City Hall that Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination should have to make their case before communities most at risk by the effects of climate change in the coming decades. 

“Climate change is the defining issue of our lifetime. It will influence our national security, our economy, and our health,” said Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, who organized the rally. “I applaud CNN’s decision to host a climate town hall right here in New York City, which saw the effects of climate change nearly seven years ago when Sandy struck. But these candidates should have to answer directly to the people most at risk of climate change — so we have to take this show beyond the bright lights of Broadway.”

“Every candidate running for president should be treating climate change as the existential crisis that it is. I’m glad to see that CNN is doing a climate change town hall but let’s get these candidates out to where real, everyday people are going to be affected by climate change the most,” said Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Resiliency. “Let’s get them to Coney Island or the Rockaways or someplace else besides Manhattan, where these kind of events usually happen. There are venues that not only can accommodate a presidential town hall, but would force candidates to see for themselves exactly how vulnerable our outer-borough waterfront communities are.”

Joining them in this call to hold the Town Hall in either Brooklyn or Queens were 11 city, state and federal lawmakers.

Weprin, Liu Laud Anti-Discrimination Of Facial Hair Enactment

Assemblymember David Weprin
State Sen. John Liu

Assemblymember David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill) and State Sen. John Liu (D-Northeast Queens) on Friday lauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature on their legislation (S.04037 /A.4204) which prohibits employment discrimination based on religious attire, clothing or facial hair. 

The new law amends the New York State Human Rights Law to make clear that employers cannot refuse to hire, attain, promote, or take other discriminatory action against an individual for wearing attire or facial hair in accordance with tenets of their religion. 

“As New Yorkers we celebrate our diversity and we champion freedom of religious expression in all places, including the workplace,” said Cuomo. “This law will protect people from discriminatory employment practices based on religious attire or facial hair and makes it crystal clear to anyone who may still have doubts that New York has zero tolerance for bigotry of any kind.”  

“Today, New York expressly prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of religious attire and appearance. In these divisive times, New York must lead in protecting religious expression and eradicating bigotry and intolerance. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for signing this historic bill and protecting New Yorkers of all faiths,” said Liu.

“The historic religious garb bill makes it clear that New Yorkers will not tolerate any discrimination against people of faith in the workplace. At a time when instances of bigotry and hate are increasing, it is our duty to stand up for each other’s rights and dignity. No New Yorker should have to choose between their profession and their religious beliefs,” said Weprin. “I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this momentous bill into law ensuring that all New Yorkers can feel respected in the workplace and I thank Senator John C. Liu for carrying this bill the Senate.”

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