Queens Lawmakers On The Move Nov. 15, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Kim Pushes For Cryptocurrency Public Payment System 

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) and State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn) this week proposed new legislation that would create a public savings and payments platform for all New Yorkers using a universally trusted digital debit-credit ledger system.

Their bill (A.8686/S.6792), also known as the Empire State Inclusive Value Ledger (IVL) Establishment and Administration Act, would create a public savings and payments platform for all New Yorkers using a universally trusted digital debit-credit ledger system. The IVL would also serve as a secure platform to receive tax and remittance credits or government benefits, which total an estimated $55.7 billion in the state.

The legislators spoke of the transformational impact of the IVL in the context of unvalued or undervalued work, especially “soft” work such as mentoring and tutoring younger generations, environmental preservation efforts, caring for the elderly and ill, and community service — work that is often uncompensated and performed by women, adolescents, retirees, and family members or conscientious neighbors. By liquidating $55 billion of worth of public benefits and tax credits onto a free public platform (in the form of a digitized tokens that all New York residents can use), the two envision a future where everyday people can store and exchange value on a single platform, and use it as through an app or e-card for daily necessities such as local groceries, care work or public transit. 

A key point they emphasized was the ability of all New Yorkers to transfer currency between each other directly, completing excluding the need for private, third-party financial institutions and any accompanying fees or extractive payments.

“I believe that our proposal, the Inclusive Value Ledger, has the potential to be truly revolutionary. The creation of a free public savings and payment platform that all New Yorkers can use, not only to pay for goods and services but also to transfer money directly to each other through, could fundamentally reshape New York into a fairer, healthier, wealthier, and more inclusive place for all,” said Kim.

Weprin Sees His Legislation Allowing Adoptees To Receive Birth Certificates Enacted

Assembly Member David Weprin

Assemblymember David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill) this week saw Governor Andrew M. Cuomo sign his legislation allowing adoptees for the first time to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate when they turn 18-years-old. 

This measure (S3419/A5494) helps ensures that all adult New York adoptees will have the same unimpeded right to information about their birth and biological parents.

“Where you came from informs who you are, and every New Yorker deserves access to the same birth records – it’s a basic human right,” said Cuomo. “For too many years, adoptees have been wrongly denied access to this information and I am proud to sign this legislation into law and correct this inequity once and for all.”

This legislation removes the right of government agencies to restrict the type of information made available to adopted persons and removes the previous barriers to receive information about biological parents to identify medical data that can prevent preventable diseases or untimely death. Under this new law, the adopted person’s lawful representative or their descendants will also be able to get access the birth certificate if the adoptee is deceased.   

“The signing of this adoptee rights bill is a momentous step forward for adoptees across New York State. After many decades, adoptees will finally share in the same human and civil rights as other New Yorkers who are free to access their family histories and medical backgrounds,” said Weprin.

“I commend Governor Cuomo for signing this landmark bill ending discrimination against adoptees statewide and I thank Senator Velmanette Montgomery for carrying this bill the Senate,” he added.

Cuomo Announces $338 Million In HEAP Funding

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced that applications for home heating assistance will be accepted throughout New York State. 

Administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is making more than $338 million in federal funding available to help older adults and low and middle income New Yorkers heat their homes this winter.

“Cold weather can bring added hardship for low-income and working-class New Yorkers who are already struggling to make ends meet,” Cuomo said. “This funding provides them with a critical stop-gap to help them afford the cost of heating their homes during the late fall and winter months.”

Eligible homeowners and renters may receive assistance of up to $726 per month, depending on income, household size and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $4,797 or an annual gross income of $57,546 and still qualify for benefits.