Queens Lawmakers On The Move Oct. 23, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Gillibrand Legislation Aimed At Helping Older Adults In Nursing Facilities

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced new, bipartisan legislation that would help protect older adults and long-term care patients from abuse by improving health care worker hiring practices. 

The Promote Responsible Oversight & Targeted Employee background Check Transparency for Seniors (PROTECTS) Act would help expand access to the National Practitioner Data Bank for Medicare and Medicaid providers to conduct background screenings on potential employees. Currently, New York has over 269,000 older adults in long-term care facilities.

Health care providers use the National Practitioner Data Bank to screen potential hires to verify that they do not have a history of malpractice. This database is currently inaccessible to some Medicare and Medicaid providers, potentially putting the health of older adults and long-term care patients in New York and across the country at risk. 

“Families need to trust that when a loved one is living in a long-term care facility, they will be safe and cared for professionally. Unfortunately, there have been far too many reports of abuse in these facilities, and this is unacceptable,” said Gillibrand, a member of the Special Committee on Aging. “One way we can help protect our loved ones is by expanding access to the National Practitioner Data Bank. This system allows hospitals, medical boards, and law firms to screen health professionals for a history of malpractice, but long-term care facilities are not allowed to use this important tool. I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan PROTECTS Act, which would change these rules and ensure that long-term care facilities can access critical information. We must do more to protect our vulnerable older adults and long-term care patients in New York, and I urge my colleagues to join me and support this bill.”

CM Miller Brings OATH To Queens Library In Jamaica

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Councilmember Daneek I. Miller and NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) are announcing today they will bring the OATH “Resource” Initiative to Queens Central Library in Jamaica at the end of the month.

OATH Resource will bring information and resources to Queens residents and small business owners at the library, a location where people feel safe going to ask questions and getting help. 

OATH staff will be able to provide numerous resources and answers to questions about City-issued summonses, do property and name searches for outstanding summonses and provide case-status information about summonses issued to the residents of Jamaica and the surrounding areas. 

The full list of services provided through this new outreach initiative will be announced at 3:30 p.m., today, Oct. 23 at the Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica.

The actual OATH Resource event is slated for between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Oct. 30 at the Queens Public Library’s Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica.

Constantinides Delivers Plan for Accessible Queens

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member and Queens Borough President candidate Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) yesterday announced his plan to make Queens’ public spaces fully accessible for people with disabilities, the elderly, and parents with strollers.  

Constantinides’ plan would reverse this historic trend with a mix of capital dollars and advocacy to make Queens a fair, equitable place. It would directly respond to recent shortfalls by the MTA and City projects, as well as take a forward approach with new projects. 

“If we’re going to say Queens is for everyone, we should mean it. Sadly, we far too often see multi-million dollar renovations to subway stations or new libraries that don’t consider the challenges some might face in accessing them,” said Constantinides. “Our public spaces should be available to everyone, whether they have special needs or not, and we should think about them from the start. My plan as borough president ensures we get to a fairer place by holding ourselves accountable on this issue.” 

The plan will includes: 

  • Investing in Facilities for Everyone: Any capital investment into parks, libraries, and schools under a Constantinides borough presidency will ensure the facilities are accessible to everyone. Americans with Disability Act compliance shouldn’t be a box that’s simply checked off. Public spaces must be designed through a user-experience lens that prioritizes diverse needs: families and those with disabilities both seen and unseen. 
  • Holding the MTA Accountable on Accessibility: The borough president must hold the MTA accountable. The transit authority has notoriously initiated multi-million dollar capital projects to renovate old stations and fully closed them for months on end without making them ADA-compliant. 
  • Appointing a Boroughwide Accessibility Coordinator: Constantinides would appoint an accessibility expert to facilitate and oversee this important work. The Accessibility Coordinator will partner with community-based organizations to identify facilities that pose challenges and are difficult to navigate. 

Addabbo Continues Push For Mobile Sports Betting

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) is continuing his push to get New York off the sidelines with mobile sports betting.

Addabbo notes that the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, New Jersey’s Sports Wagering Gross Revenue for the month of September, which includes the use of mobile devices, was $37.9 million — up from $23.8 million in September 2018, which is a 59.3 percent increase over the one-year period.

Since January, New Jersey has gained gross revenues from sports betting of $ 190.6 million. Addabbo stated that based on that figure, the lost revenue for New York could be more than $47 million and a certain loss of educational funding.

“New Jersey continues to release astounding sports wagering numbers month after month, while New York remains largely out of the conversation since we do not allow mobile sports betting as of now,” Addabbo said. “With football season now in full swing, the MLB playoffs underway, hockey season dropping the puck, and basketball season beginning soon, the only way these numbers can go is up. With New York not allowing mobile sports betting, our revenue will continue to be poured into New Jersey and surrounding states that have mobile sports betting, in addition to a missed opportunity for increased educational funding that is generated from our state’s gaming operations and creation of new jobs.”

Another aspect of sports wagering that often goes unstated is the current illegal sports wagering that is still thriving in New York since residents do not have an easily accessible way to place a sports bet.

“Just because New York does not allow mobile sports betting does not mean that people are not making sports wagers; they are just doing it illegally,” Addabbo said. “Many residents do not want to take a long care ride to make a sports bet, so they go to their local bookie. I believe with mobile and an increase in accessibility to authorized sports betting, we can recapture the revenue currently being lost to illegal sports wagering and as a consequence, increase educational funding as well. I will continue to push for mobile sports betting when session begins again in 2020.”