Queens Lawmakers On The Move Nov. 27, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Koo Floats Bill To Regulate System Related to Algorithms 

City Council Member Peter Koo

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) yesterday introduced legislation that would bring greater transparency and understanding to the automated decision systems used by city agencies to make mission-critical decisions affecting the daily lives of New Yorkers.

Intro 1806 would require annual reporting on Automated Decision Systems (ADS), or the computerized implementation of one or more algorithms by city agencies, including those derived from machine learning or other data processing or artificial intelligence techniques, which is used to make or assist in making decisions.

“This bill looks to give legislators as well as the public a better understanding on how the city uses algorithms. Automated equations are essential to the creation of the statistics and systems that are responsible for everything from school zoning to resource allocations, and it is imperative that this important information is vetted with full transparency to ensure its accountability,” said Koo, who previously served as Chair of the Council’s Committee on Technology.

The bill would give guidelines for what each agency considers to be ADS and require specific reporting on:

  •         The name/brief descriptor of such system;
  •         What such system is intended to measure or reveal;
  •         A description of how the information collected will be used;
  •         The name of the entity that developed the system;
  •         When the system was first used.

Katz To Co-Sponsor Second Opioid Overdose Response Training

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will again co-sponsor a training event with NYC Health + Hospitals for the public on how they can save the lives of people suffering from opioid overdoses.

Attendees will learn how to 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.

“The use of opioids has led to a crisis in which drug overdoses kill more than 1,400 New Yorkers annually,” said Katz. “We can help stop this overdose epidemic by spreading the word on how naloxone can be safely and easily used to save the lives of those overdosing on opioids. 

The next free public training is slated from 10 a.m. – 12 noon, Thursday, Dec. 5 in the auditorium of NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens at 82-68 164th Street in Jamaica. RSVP: Email mitchlil@nychhc.org or call 718-883-2208.

Meng Introduces Legislation To Help Young People Become Next Generation Of Entrepreneurs

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 that she has introduced the 21st Century Youth Entrepreneurship Act, a bill that seeks to expand entrepreneurship programs in public schools (grades K-12), community colleges, libraries, and other community spaces to equip young people with the tools necessary to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.

“Entrepreneurship kindles the spark of creativity and ingenuity that has been such a cornerstone of our economy,” said Meng. “And that is why, nurturing and inspiring our young people to be leaders and entrepreneurs will be critical to the future prosperity of our country.”

“Entrepreneurs are the backbone of Queens and the nation—they drive innovation, job creation, and economic growth,” she added.

Specifically, the 21st Century Youth Entrepreneurship Act would:

  • Amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to allow local and state educational agencies (grades K-12) to use federal funds for entrepreneurship programs, financial literacy programs, and leadership programs.
  • Amend the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to allow the use of federal funds for entrepreneurship programs in career technical education initiatives at high schools, community colleges and public community spaces such as libraries.

Van Bramer Allocates $1.3 Million For Sixteen Oaks Grove Renovations

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) this week joined Ravenswood Residents Association President Carol Wilkins, Community School 111Q Jacob Blackwell’s Principal Dionne Jaggon, and members of the Long Island City community to announce the plans for the $1.3M renovations to be conducted to Sixteen Oaks Grove Park.

“I am proud to have allocated $1.3M to renovate this essential gathering space for the Long Island City community,” said Van Bramer. “This is a beautiful space that is essentially empty. We can add appropriate benches and greenery to beautify this space for those who live around this park.” 

Van Bramer said since the approval of the budget in June, the borough has made a devoted effort in approving public spaces throughout Queens. “The renovations provide our residents with a place they can be proud to visit and enjoy with families and friends alike,” he said.

Sixteen Oaks Grove, a sitting park, was named by New York City Department of Parks and Recreation because the small traffic median is dominated by sixteen oak trees, and eight sitting benches. The 0.22 acre park provides a place to gather for adult and youth residents of the community and is located across from PS 111Q.

Gillibrand Visits Troops In Afghanistan And Kuwait For Thanksgiving

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, yesterday called on Congress to uphold its responsibility to support the nation’s service members and reaffirmed her commitment to protecting the nation’s national security. 

Gillibrand made the call after meeting with members of New York’s 10th Mountain Division and 77th Sustainment Brigade as a part of her trip to visiting troops in Afghanistan and Kuwait, and a group of women in the Afghan army to discuss their mission, the advancement of women in the military, their families, and safety.

“Earlier today, I landed back in the United States after spending the last few days in Afghanistan and Kuwait visiting our brave service members. In this season of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for our military’s service to our great country. I am so glad I was able to visit with some of them this holiday season and reaffirm my commitment to fighting for them,” said  Gillibrand. “These soldiers are some of the best and brightest our country has to offer. It was an honor to meet with those brave Americans — their sacrifice and devotion to our country inspires me and makes me so proud to represent them as their senator.”