Queens Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 13, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Meng, Dromm Decry Trumps Public Charge Policy Change

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng
City Council Member Daniel Dromm

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, and Rego Park) and City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday decried the Trump administration’s new policy, known as the public charge ruling, that would disqualify legal immigrants from permanent residency if they use certain public-assistance programs and block prospective applicants deemed likely to need them.

“President Trump’s public charge rule is another ruthless and callous attack on immigrant communities. This cruel and un-American plan penalizes those who are in the U.S. legally. It will have dire consequences for hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants, mostly children and families who require critical safety net programs for health care, food and other basic and daily necessities,” said Meng.

“Just recently, we witnessed immigrants being targeted and gunned down, and President Trump’s raids separating children from their parents. Now, the President wants to weaponize basic human services to continue his assault against immigrants. 

“Over the last year, I have urged the President to not implement this inhumane proposal and today I call on him to abandon this reckless effort. Hard-working immigrants enrich our communities and contribute to our economy and nation. We cannot allow them to be kicked to the curb by this President,” she added.

Dromm said Poverty should never be a barrier to attaining citizenship.

“The United States has a long history of welcoming the poor. Inscribed on our very own Statue of Liberty are the indelible words ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ Our nation stands to lose a lot by this rule. We must never turn our backs on the economically distressed. As an elected official representing one of the most immigrant-rich districts in New York, I will continue to do all that is in my power to fight back against this terrible rule,” said Dromm.

Simotas Comprehensive Employment Reforms Bill Enacted

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria, Long Island City) yesterday saw Gov. Andrew Cuomo enact her sweeping workplace protections for employees’ bill. 

These reforms take a comprehensive approach to reducing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.  

“Today, New York becomes a national leader in the fight against harassment and discrimination in the workplace,” said Simotas. “With the signing of this landmark legislation, New York is tackling the culture of intimidation, discrimination and retaliation in our workforce. Employers across all sectors will now have to answer to their employees and survivors will finally be granted the necessary time to report claims.”

The legislation eliminates the requirement that harassment be proven “severe or pervasive” to be considered unlawful, and removes parts of the Faragher/Ellerth that allows employers to avoid liability for harassment if an employee did not make a formal complaint. It also allows for punitive damages against private employers to ensure discrimination is not tolerated on any level. 

On the reporting end, this bill extends the statute of limitations to report sexual harassment to the Division of Human Rights to three years from the discriminatory act, widening the window for reporting and seeking damages. The bill also extends sexual harassment protections to employees of small businesses of all sizes, whereas protections previously would have only applied to employers who have four or more employees. 

Additionally, the bill prohibits non-disclosure agreements that prevent employees from initiating or participating in an investigation conducted by a federal, state, or local agency, sharing information necessary to receive unemployment or other public benefits, or speaking with an attorney.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Sexual Harassment Working Group, the New York chapter of the National Employment Lawyer’s Association, and all the advocates who rallied and worked tirelessly to advance this survivor-centered, trauma-informed legislation to protect workers throughout the state,” said Simotas.

Braunstein’s Record-Breaking 7th Annual Summer Blood Drive

Assembly Member Edward Braunstein

Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) sponsored his 7th Annual Summer Blood Drive at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, in conjunction with the New York Blood Center with great success.

“Thank you to everyone who donated at our blood drive, which my office sponsored with the New York Blood Center. Despite the heat, a record-breaking 138 donors participated, and thanks to their generosity, hundreds of lives will be saved,” said Braunstein.

“Additionally, I would like to thank the New York Blood Center for providing a voucher for a free pair of New York Mets tickets to all of the donors; Cord Meyer Development Company’s Bay Terrace Shopping Center for providing the venue; Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers for once again providing vouchers for free pints of soup to the first 100 donors; and Stop & Shop of Bay Terrace for donating delicious pastries, as well as water and ice,” he added.

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