Queens Lawmakers On The Move Sept. 10, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Cuomo Takes Action Against Harmful Vaping Products

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) yesterday directed the State Department of Health (DOH) to take a series of measures to address two emerging public health crises: the increasing number of cases of vaping-associated respiratory illnesses and the increasing number of youth that are using vape products and developing lifelong nicotine addictions. 

Specifically, Cuomo directed the DOH to issue subpoenas to companies marketing and selling “thickening agents” used in black market vaping products and to issue emergency regulations mandating that warning signs must be posted in all vape and smoke shops in the state. Additionally, the Governor announced that he will advance new legislation to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

“Common sense says if you do not know what you are smoking, don’t smoke it, and right now we don’t know what you are smoking in a lot of these vaping substances,” said Cuomo. “The rise in vaping-associated illnesses is a frightening public health phenomenon and I am directing the Department of Health to take several actions to address this crisis, including starting an investigation into some of these companies that produce vaping substances to find out what’s in it and requiring that smoke and vape shops post a warning that lets people know that this is a risky activity. I am also going to propose new legislation that will ban flavored e-cigarettes. In the meantime our advice is quite simple: don’t do it because we don’t know if it’s safe.”

Rigorous testing also continues on all vape products currently authorized in the state’s highly regulated Medical Marijuana Program. There have been no adverse events related to vaping among certified patients in this program since this investigation began. However, out of an abundance of caution, the DOH is urging patients in the medical marijuana program to consult with their health care providers on potential alternatives to vaping products while the investigation continues. For additional information, patients can also contact the state’s Medical Marijuana Program at 844-863-9312.

Anyone experiencing symptoms who uses vape products should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Healthcare providers should report possible cases to the local poison control center (1-800-222-1222). If you are concerned at all with your vaping device or products or just want more information, call the DOH’s Vaping Hotline at 1-888-364-3046.

Vallone Announces Afterschool Arts Funding

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul A. Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) yesterday announced yet another expansion of CASA (Cultural After School Adventures) programs at schools throughout Northeast Queens. A total of 17 schools will receive CASA grant funding to bring arts enrichment to students, up from 15 schools last year. 

CASA allows council members to designate cultural organizations to partner with public schools for afterschool programming, which provide unique cultural education opportunities to students. 

Vallone has consistently increased CASA funding for schools in his district since first taking office in 2014, with total annual funding up to $340,000 from $100,000. This year, school administrators at PS 32 and 209 will receive CASA grant funding and select an eligible nonprofit community organization to partner with.  Many CASA programs take place over many months with a culminating performance or event towards the end of the school year. 

CASA programming at the following 17 schools will begin this fall: 

  • TBD — PS 32Q
  • TBD — PS 209Q
  • Alley Pond Environmental Center, Inc.  — Public School 31Q
  • Conrad Poppenhusen Association  — Public School 29Q
  • Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, Inc.  — Public School 184Q
  • Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, Inc.  — Public School 193Q
  • Magic Box Productions, Inc.  — Junior High School 194Q
  • Marquis Studios, Ltd.  — Public School 159Q 
  • Marquis Studios, Ltd.  — Public School 94Q 
  • Midori Foundation, Inc.  — Junior High School 67Q
  • Midori Foundation, Inc.  — Public School 98Q 
  • Queens College Foundation, Inc.  — Public School 129Q
  • Queens Museum of Art 112278998  — BELL Academy
  • Queens Theatre In The Park, Inc.  — Public School 130Q 
  • Queens Theatre In The Park, Inc.  — Public School 169Q 
  • Research Foundation of the City University of New York  — Junior High School 185Q 
  • Wildlife Conservation Society  — Public School 79Q 

“The CASA program, which allows students to participate in cultural programming outside of the classroom, provides our students with exciting, hands-on experiences that broaden their horizons and open their minds,” said Vallone. “As we welcome a new school year, I’m proud once again to partner with our great local cultural organizations to bring these unique programs to more of our Northeast Queens schools.”

Gianaris Calls On SLA To Reject Liquor Superstore Application

State Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) yesterday called on the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to reject an application from Total Wine and Liquors, a wine and liquor superstore, to open a new retail location in College Point. 

“Total Wine would be a total disaster for small businesses in western Queens and I urge the State Liquor Authority to reject its application,” said Gianaris. “I stand with small business owners to fight for a stronger community and against further intrusions from anti-competitive businesses that prey on our small businesses.” 

Queens has more than 350 locally-owned liquor stores throughout the borough. The opening of Total Wine & More pushes small liquor stores out of business. Total Wine and More already has a location in Westbury, on Long Island. The retailer applied for a license for a location in Hartsdale, Westchester County, which was denied by the SLA. 

Addabbo Sept. 11 Remembrance Bill Signed Into Law

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) yesterday saw his bill, (S.4166A), providing for the observance of September 11th Remembrance Day, including a brief period of silent reflection followed by a discussion signed into  was signed into law on September 9th.

“This new law will mean that the significance of the tragic events of September 11th, whether it be the loss of loved ones or the largest rescue operation our nation ever witnessed, will be forever acknowledged by school students too young to have witnessed this life-changing day,” Addabbo said. “Since 2001, our country has been united through four simple words, ‘We will never forget’ and with the Governor signing this measure, we can ensure that all school children will continue to keep those words active in their hearts and minds.”

The new law mandates a brief moment of silent reflection and appropriate discussion at the start of the school day on every September 11th in statewide public schools. The terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 were a defining moment in the history and lives of New York State and of the country. The tremendous loss felt by the citizens of our state, many of whom suffered great personal loss in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the pentagon, and in the fields of Shankville, Pennsylvania, has resulted in significant transformation for our state and country.

Katz Co-Sponsors Free Opioid Overdose Response Training

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will join NYC Health + Hospitals and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) this month is sponsoring an event to train members of the public on how they can save the lives of people suffering from opioid overdoses.

Attendees will learn how recognize an opioid overdose and how to properly and safely administer naloxone medication to reverse it.

Naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan®) is a medication that can be used on an emergency basis by non-medical professionals to treat opioid overdoses to prevent fatalities. Naloxone is administered by nasal spray and has saved the lives of many who have overdosed on opioids such as heroin, prescription pain killers and fentanyl.

“We are in the middle of an opioid epidemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people in New York City in the past two years alone,” said Borough President KATZ. “We can help address this crisis by learning how to administer potentially lifesaving naloxone to those overdosing on opioids, empowering family members, friends and neighbors with the information to assist. It is my privilege to partner with NYC Health + Hospitals and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in co-sponsoring this vitally important training session, which will put naloxone in the hands of our borough’s residents and save many more lives.”

The training is slated for 10 a.m. – 12 noon, Thursday, September 26 in the auditorium (Room A1-22) of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, 79-01 Broadway in Elmhurst.

Van Bramer Demands The DOT Makes Thomson Avenue Safer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside), LaGuardia Community College, Transportation Alternatives, and safe streets advocates will rally today to demand the the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) implement much-needed traffic calming measures to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists along Thomson Avenue and around LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City. 

The proposals include: designating the area around the campus a school zone, closing surrounding streets to add more walking space, and expanding protected bike lanes.

The rally is slated for 8:30 a.m., today, Sept. 10 at 30-20 Thomson Avenue in Long Island City.