Queens Lawmakers On The Move Nov. 26, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Sanders Sees Three Of His Bills Signed Into Law

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) yesterday proudly announced that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed three of his bills into law last week. 

Bill number S4583 requires nursing homes to provide potential residents with their policy on granting physician privileges prior to the execution of a residency agreement.

“Potential nursing home residents have a right to know which physicians will be available to provide care prior to signing a residency agreement,” Sanders said. “Many individuals enter nursing homes having pre-existing relationships with doctors in their community. Whether or not those physicians already have or have the opportunity to be granted privileges may play an important role in choosing a nursing facility.”

Bill number S4650 requires the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to provide quarterly reports on the status and outcomes of various initiatives to address the heroin and opioid epidemic.

“The more we understand this epidemic, the better prepared we will be to address the negative impacts it has on our city, state and nation,” Sanders said. “The only way to tell if the methods we are currently using are working, and working well, is to periodically evaluate them.”

Bill number S4582 relates to conforming the definition of palliative care under hospice provisions to be the same as under other public health law provisions. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. This bill will add a definition for and update other references to palliative care in the hospice law.

“This type of care is very important because it aims to provide the relief of symptoms associated with serious illnesses, including managing the stress associated with them,” Sanders said. “By clarifying the current law, this legislation will aim to improve the quality of life for both patients and their families.”

Addabbo Says Buy Local On Small BIz Saturday

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) wants to remind shoppers of a very important day on the calendar, Small Business Saturday.

This year Small Business Saturday is on Saturday, November 30, right after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday. Small Business Saturday was first observed on November 27, 2010, promoted by American Express as a way for individuals to patronize brick and mortar businesses at the kick-off of the holiday shopping season.  

“We all know about the incredible deals on Black Friday at major stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy, as well as the online sales during Cyber Monday on websites like Amazon, but many people still do not know about Small Business Saturday,” Addabbo said. “This day is a reminder for people to go out and support their local businesses. For me, from the stores in Rockaway to the ones in Kew Gardens Hills and all communities in between, I have great small businesses. Our small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhood, so it is imperative that when we are doing our holiday shopping that we spread some of the love to the local stores. By shopping at local stores on Small Business Saturday — and any day of the year for that matter — you are supporting a family from the neighborhood, so be sure to shop local this Small Business Saturday!”

Gianaris Calls On NYPD To Investigate Graffiti As A Hate Crime

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) yesterday called on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to investigate recently discovered, bigoted graffiti found on a bus shelter in Astoria as a hate crime.

“Hate has no home in New York and we cannot tolerate these incidents in our communities. This should be investigated promptly as a hate crime,” said Gianaris. “Western Queens is among the most diverse places to live on the planet and this does not reflect who we are or what we aspire to be.”

Gianaris was alerted to the markings on the side of a bus shelter on Ditmars Boulevard at Steinway Street in Astoria. 

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Delegation of Queens Elected Officials Urge MTA to Reconsider Jamaica Bus Depot Plan

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller
State Senator Leroy Comrie

City Council Member I. Daneek Miller, State Sen. Leroy Comrie and 16 other southeast Queens elected officials yesterday sent a letter to MTA Chairman Patrick Foye and NYC Transit President Andy Byford urging the MTA to construct the new Jamaica Bus Depot with enclosed parking, as opposed to the authority’s preferred plan of open-air parking.

The Jamaica Bus Depot is overcapacity and in a state of disrepair. Its proposed reconstruction has been delayed for years after its initial debut in the MTA’s 2010 – 2014 Capital Plan, and it remains included in the most recent 2020 – 2024 Capital Plan.

The lawmakers noted that for years, southeast Queens has been left to deal with the dysfunctions brought on by the outdated and aging structure. Residents surrounding the current bus depot live with the improper storage of buses on residential streets and in front of senior centers. Pollutants and loud mechanical noises negatively impact the quality of life of locals and to add insult to injury, the MTA now proposed to reconstruct the depot as an open air parking lot. However, enclosed parking is necessary for this residential neighborhood and is also preferred by both the local Community Board and union which represents the works at the depot, ATU 1056.

The enclosed parking alternative will help mitigate environmental and spatial disruptions and provide more parking spaces than an open air depot. This enhanced capacity is essential to address the Eastern Queens transit desert and also end the improper storage of buses on residential streets at what is one of the busiest depots in the city.

For these reasons, the Jamaica Depot must be constructed with the enclosed parking alternative, the lawmakers concluded.

Meng Introduces Legislation To Close Nation’s Homework Gap

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) yesterday announced the introduction of the Closing the Homework Gap Through Mobile Hotspots Act, which would create a $100 million grant program for schools, libraries, U.S. territories, and federally recognized Indian Tribes to purchase mobile hotspots to help close the nation’s homework gap. 

The funds will be used to create mobile hotspot programs for students to have internet access to complete their homework.

As many as 12 million students in the United States lack broadband at home. For these students, completing homework that requires internet access creates an additional barrier to their academic success. Students without the internet at home must find public venues that provide free Wi-Fi, or miss completing the assignment.

Meng’s bill would ensure that students can access the internet through mobile hotspot devices to complete their assignments at home.

“Every child deserves their best chance at pursuing an education. But it breaks my heart knowing that millions of kids, every night, are unable to finish their homework simply because they are without internet access. Before the internet became ubiquitous, students completed their homework with pencil and paper—today, that is no longer case,” said Meng. 

“We cannot allow this to go on. My bill is simple and does not require investing funds in developing new technologies to close the “homework gap;” instead, it builds on and expands existing infrastructures. Mobile hotspot devices already exist, and with my bill, we can get them to more students who need them. Essentially, students can “check-out” these mobile hotspots from their schools or local libraries – just as they do for books. I encourage all my colleagues in the House to support my bill – and help break down barriers to education,” she added