Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 3, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Constantinides Rallies Against Free-Pass System for Delivery Trucks

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday joined Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and transportation and environmental activists on Cyber Monday to call for an end to the Stipulated Fine Program, which they say has given reckless delivery companies a free pass to create unsafe streets throughout New York City.

Those against the free pass system say big delivery corporations regularly flaunt the Big Apple’s traffic laws as a result of this program. A recent New York Times expose found that FedEx, UPS, Peapod, and FreshDirect racked up $27 million in fines last year. Bike lanes are often blocked by many of the program’s 1,000-plus participants; more than 52,000 violations were issued for blocking the lanes over a two-year period ending in July 2019, according to information obtained under the Freedom of Information Law. New York City, as a result, may have reduced nearly $800,000 in fines meant to deter unsafe behavior. 

“Millions of packages bought on Cyber Monday will hit the streets over the next few weeks to create a safety nightmare,” said Constantinides. “We have seen more than 50,000 bike lane violations over a two-year period with little to no penalty for these companies. Frankly, it’s sickening that we give delivery corporations a free pass to put people at risk. Ending the Stipulated Fine Program will keep our cyclists and pedestrians safer, reduce the unprecedented traffic levels, and take useless, harmful truck exhaust out of our air.”

In October 2018, Constantinides introduced a bill to effectively abolish the Stipulated Fine Program and hold multi-million dollar companies accountable for unsafe streets. 

Lancman Committee To Hear Proposal For More Juvenile Justice Oversite

City Councilman Rory Lancman.

City Council Member Rory Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica), chair of the council’s Justice Committee, today will chair a committee meeting that will look at proposed legislation that would requiring the Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) and the Department of Probation (DOP) to report on juvenile justice statistics.

The measure is in response to state Raise the Age legislation, in which an expanded number of justice-involved youth will be under the jurisdiction of ACS instead of incarcerated as adults. This legislation expands existing reporting requirements contained within the Administrative Code to more closely adhere to legal classifications of the juvenile justice population.

The public hearing is slated for 10 a.m., today, Dec. 3 at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Dromm Lauds City For Achieving Milestone In Fight To End HIV/AIDS Epidemic

City Council Member Daniel Dromm

City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights), chair of the council’s LGBT Caucus, yesterday lauded the city’s announcement that it has reached the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals two years ahead of schedule.

This means that 90% of all people with HIV know their status, 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV are on treatment, and 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV who are on treatment are virally suppressed. As of 2018 in New York City, 93% of people with HIV have been diagnosed, 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are on treatment, and 92% of people on treatment are virally suppressed.

“Years of hard work and determination has put New York front and center in the global fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With more New Yorkers receiving treatment than ever, the day of zero diagnoses is closer than ever—something many believed unthinkable not so long ago. We will not rest until we end the epidemic once and for all.”

New York City is the first Fast-Track City in the U.S. to reach the milestone. The Fast-Track Cities initiative is a global partnership of more than 300 cities and municipalities around the world working to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. Last month, the Health Department released the 2018 HIV Surveillance Annual Report, which showed the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV in New York City in 2018 fell below 2,000 for the first time since annual HIV reporting began in 2001.

“New York City is on track to ending the AIDS epidemic once and for all,” said Dromm. “These results show that the vast majority of New Yorkers living with HIV are receiving care and have viral loads at undetectable, and therefore, untransmittable levels. As an openly gay man who lived through the AIDS crisis, this news is truly heartening. I am pleased to have worked with Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Barbot and Speaker Johnson to ensure that our city’s Health Department and our clinics have the resources they need to care for New Yorkers living with the virus. Because of this concerted effort, NYC is now a model for other municipalities working to end AIDS and new HIV infections.”

Rozic Sees Signing Of Veteran-Related Legislation She Sponsored

Assembly Member Nily Rozic

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) last month announced the signing of two pieces of legislation (A4654 and A5660) she sponsored relating to veteran issues.

The first would expand an education program called Operation Recognition that allows high school diplomas to be awarded to veterans. The second would direct key state agencies to issue reports on New York’s homeless veterans and social services they need. As part of the reports, recommendations would be provided to combat this growing epidemic. 

The bill passed both the Assembly and Senate with bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Cuomo in recognition of Veteran’s Day.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that New York’s veterans have full access to the educational opportunities and social services they need regardless of when they served. We should honor their service while also providing a pathway towards economic self-sufficiency,” said Rozic. “This legislative package enacts solutions to best assist all those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.”

Under current law, Operation Recognition recognizes WWII, Korea, and Vietnam veterans who joined military service prior to high school graduation by awarding them a high school diploma. The applicant must be a resident of New York and have received an honorable discharge. This new law expands coverage to all veterans who enlisted in military service after the end of the Vietnam War — such as those deployed in Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It has been proven that continuing education and job placement after military service is crucial to healthy reintegration into civilian society. New York is home to 838,000 veterans.

Ramos To Host Fourth Town Hall

State Sen. Jessica Ramos

State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, parts of Astoria, Woodside) tomorrow will host her fourth town hall of the year.

Among the topic being discussed include housing, transportation, education, labor and immigration.

“Join us for a lively discussion on the issues that matter most to our community and get a sneak peek on what our legislative priorities will be for the upcoming session in 2020,” Ramos said in her release on the town hall.

The town hall is slated for 6:30-9 p.m., tomorrow, Dec. 4 at the Lexington School For The Deaf, 25-26 75th Street in Jackson Heights.

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