Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 12, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Meeks Amendment Prohibiting Confederate Names for DOD Assets Passes House

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D- Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport) yesterday lauded his amendment prohibiting the Department of Defense (DOD) from naming assets after confederate leaders or battlefield victories, was included in the final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The $738 billion defense spending bill passed the House, 377-48, and is expected to pass the Senate this week.

“I am excited to see included in the NDAA’s passage language that prohibits the naming of DOD assets after Confederate leaders or victories. Any homage to the Confederacy serves only to glorify that inglorious moment in our nation’s history, where brother turned on brother for the preservation of slavery,” said Meeks.

“Confederate symbols have historically been used as tools of oppression and intimidation, during the height of Jim Crow long after the Civil War, used by states championing the segregation of African Americans. They are used today, among white nationalists and neo-Nazis. To ignore the racial context of confederate symbols is to whitewash the fundamental reason our nation went to war with itself.

“These are not symbols to be exalted, not in our public square and certainly not in our armed forces. Those we’ve entrusted to defend the union should not be serving on ships named after those who fought to undo it. I thank all my colleagues who joined together across party lines to rightfully end this practice once and for all,” the Congressmember added.

Koslowitz Decries Jersey City Anti-Semitic Shooting

City Council Member Karen Koslowitz

City Council Member Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills, Forest Park, Kew Gardens, Rego Park and Richmond Hill) yesterday decried the shooting this week in Jersey City, in which a Kosher Market was targeted in an Anti-Semitic attack that left six dead, including the two assailants.

“People going about doing routine things in their daily lives. Nothing special about going to the local supermarket to purchase a few things. So they enter a store and their lives end-simply because they are Jewish,” said Koslowitz.

“Jews, including my mother and family, for generations have come to this country fleeing from religious intolerance and persecution in their homelands. In 2018, despite being less than 2% of the population of the United States, 57% of all anti-religious hate crimes had been directed against Jews. There is no question that Jews, in recent years, feel less safe. We, as government officials, must seek to understand the root of this rise in anti-Semitism in our country, and be supportive of policies, programs and initiatives to stem this ugly tide of racial hatred,” she added. 

Meng Helps To Establish SBA Services In Korean 

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) announced yesterday that the new Small Business Development Center (SBDC) that she helped to open at Queens College will now be providing services in Korean.

The facility, which Meng helped to launch in May after she secured funding to establish the Center, works to help small businesses grow and thrive by providing entrepreneurs with a wide array of counseling, training and research services – all free of charge. These include everything from developing business plans to applying for loans.

“Small businesses are the engine of our economy in Queens and SBDCs ensure that local entrepreneurs have the tools they need to succeed,” said Meng. “Providing assistance in Korean will help many Korean American business owners take full advantage of the exceptional services that this SBDC has to offer. Language should never be a barrier to accessing help with starting and growing a business, and I’m pleased to announce this great addition to the SBDC at Queens College.”

The facility already offers assistance in English and Mandarin.

The SBDC at Queens College is located in Kissena Hall, opposite the main campus, 64-19 Kissena Boulevard in Flushing. Appointments for services in Korean are required and can be made by calling 718-570-0821. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Cuomo Signs Legislation Limiting Political Parties From Modifying Their Name

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday signed legislation (S.5974-A/A.2047-A) to prohibit new political parties from changing their name once submitted or established.

Once established, a political party obtains a permanent ballot line for the next four years. This bill amends the election law to prevent parties or other independent bodies or parties from changing their name or party emblem after they have been submitted and established. 

In the 2014 elections, the Stop Common Core ballot line received party status, and thus obtained a permanent ballot line for the next four years. Yet in January 2015, the party organization announced it was changing its name from “Stop Common Core” to the “Reform Party.” This legislation, which takes effect immediately, makes such bait-and-switch tactics unlawful.

“New Yorkers have the right to know who and what exactly they’re voting for when they go to the ballot box,” said Cuomo. “By making this simple change to our election laws, we can ensure political organizations don’t pull the wool over voters’ eyes by claiming to be something they are not in order to gain multi-year legal party status.”

Addabbo Continues To Advocate To Legalize Mobile Sports Betting

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways), who has been fighting to bring mobile sports betting to the state, said yesterday he believes its legalization can actually provide new funding to address the issue of problematic gambling and raise awareness of the addiction.

“Gambling addiction is a serious issue and must be included in any discussion regarding gaming in our state,” said Addabbo, the chair of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering. “Instead of denying accessible sports betting to those who game responsibly, by continuing to not allow mobile wagering in New York, we need to be highlighting problem gambling and providing options for help for those that need it. The fact that the number of calls to the gambling hotline have increased goes to show that the program is working and those that need the help are actively seeking it out.”

In Addabbo’s Senate bill (S.17D) there is a provision that would allocate a portion of new funding received by New York State through gaming to go towards problem gambling awareness, prevention and recovery.

“As the sponsor of the Senate bill aimed at bringing mobile sports betting to New York, I will make sure that we bring problem-gambling programs with mobile betting to help those affected by problematic gaming, in addition to identifying the signs and ways to prevent problem gambling from the start,” Addabbo added.