Queens Lawmakers On The Move Sept. 23, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Schumer Demands Stronger Regs Against Flavored E-Cigarettes

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said yesterday that President Donald Trump’s proposals to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes amid a nationwide outbreak of vaping-related sicknesses and deaths doesn’t go far enough.

Schumer said it is widely public that companies may be able to reintroduce their flavors at a later date, so long as they submit a formal application and receive Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. 

“There is no doubt that as the FDA finalizes a ban on kid-friendly e-cigs that the agency will be met with intense pressure by the industry to water it down as much as possible, so the message to the FDA today is: do not cave,” said Schumer. 

“If we are going to tackle the all-out epidemic of youth vaping and the flavor explosion fueling addiction and related health issues, the feds cannot go vanilla on a flavor ban. They have to get it right the first time. And that means limiting and tightening exemptions so companies can’t escape the intent of the policy and bring us right back to square one months down the road.”  

Van Bramer, Gianaris Demand Radical Action After Another Cyclist Death

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer
State Senator Michael Gianaris

City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) and Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) demanded more action from city authorities following the death this weekend of a 14-year-old cyclist from Astoria, who was killed in a truck crash on Borden Ave. in Long Island City

Mario Venezuela, 14, was riding his bicycle eastbound on Borden Avenue in Long Island City alongside a truck at about 1:55 p.m. when the 33-year-old driver made a right turn onto 11th Street and struck Venezuela. The driver remained on the scene and no arrests were made.

“I am sad but also angry to learn that a 14-year-old cyclist from Astoria was killed by a truck earlier today on Borden Avenue in LIC. I had contacted NYC DOT [Department of Transportation] before Robert Spencer was killed on Borden Avenue in March and then again afterward to plead for action. Now a very young man is dead. When will NYC DOT start treating this like the emergency it is? This is the 21st cyclist killed this year in NYC and the second in this area of LIC. It demands radical action,” said Van Bramer.

“Too many cyclists have lost their lives in our city and not enough is being done to keep them safe. Mario Venezuela is already the 21st cycling death this year. I am in contact with NYPD to learn more about what went wrong in this case but one thing is clear: we must do more to keep our streets safe,” said Gianaris 

Constantinides Continues To Advocate For City Control OF MTA

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, part of Long Island City, Woodside ) said Friday it’s time to further explore returning the subway system to municipal control following the MTA’s announcement that Astoria would get elevators at only two subway stations under its new capital plan.

Constantinides noted that since February 2018, he rallied for elevator access along the N/W line ahead of planned construction to the Broadway, 30th Avenue, and Ditmars Boulevard Stations. The Broadway station, which was closed from July 2018 to this January, handled an average 4.2 million annual riders between 2013 and 2017; the Steinway Street station averaged 4.8 million riders each year between 2013 and 2018.

“The train is pulling into the station too late here. While I’ll say yes to the new elevators coming to Broadway and Steinway Street, there are several heavily trafficked stops in Astoria where the elderly, the disabled, and parents with strollers will be stranded as the subway rolls by. Why was this work not done at Broadway when the station was stripped down to beams for mostly cosmetic improvements?, said Constantinides. 

“Commuters and small businesses along this corridor were just forced to languish for eight months, and are now likely to be subject to more neighborhood disruption during this installation. This just seems like poor planning, more wastefulness, and more disregard by the MTA. It’s time we explore returning the subway system to municipal control as Speaker Corey Johnson has rightly suggested.”

Meng Supports Teaching Climate Change In Schools

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) Queens) joined dozens of youth activists on Capitol Hill on Friday to help announce legislation supporting the teaching of climate change in schools. 

“The magnitude of climate change will continue to grow and challenge how we live,” said Meng. “That is why it is imperative that we bring the issue into our schools. Our kids are our future scientists, engineers, teachers, and innovators who will guide our nation. By teaching them about climate change, students will understand the gravity of the situation, and realize that they can be part of the solution. As the mother of two young boys, I want to do everything I can to protect them, and bringing the conversation of climate change into our schools will go a long way towards safeguarding the future of all of America’s children.”

The legislation, a House Resolution that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) will soon introduce and cosponsored by Meng, seeks to encourage the federal government, states, localities, nonprofit organizations, schools, and community organizations to teach climate change in appropriate programs and activities.

CM Miller Rallies In Support City Run Savings Plan

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Council Members I. Daneek Miller (D-Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Laurelton, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans) and Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) today will rally in support of their proposed legislation to offer city-run retirement savings accounts to private sector workers.

The measure would allow every private-sector worker in the city to save for retirement even if their employer does not a 401K: Introductions 888 and 901

It comes following reports that In 2009, more than 2 million New Yorkers didn’t participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans simply for the fact that none were offered. In 2016, only 33% of New York City’s private-sector workers aged 25 to 64 years old were participating in a workplace retirement plan: a drop of 39% from 2006.

The rally is slated for 9:30 a.m., today Sept. 23 at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.