Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 31, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Schumer Demands Stronger Fed Action Against Hate Crimes

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday called for a stronger federal response to and strategy to fight hate crimes – particularly against religious institutions and members of religious groups.

Schumer’s call comes after the recent horrific Hanukkah attack against the Hasidic Jewish community in Monsey, New York and the killings in the West Freeway Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas.

Schumer’s two-pronged plan would:

1)      Dramatically increase not-for-profit security grants (NPSG) that recent episodes demand a surge in.   

2)      Increase support for federal programs to prosecute hate crimes.

“The Monsey attack on the Jewish community was cowardly and callous, and it struck even more terror into the Jewish community, which was already reeling from the horrific attacks and cold-blooded murders of other orthodox Jewish community members in Jersey City just days ago, not to mention an alarming spate of other attacks against the New York area Jewish community. But what should alarm each and every American across this country is that the Hanukkah attack is part of a cascade of violence and intolerance as the state of hate in America has risen to a boiling point that demands a much stronger federal response, because we are in a crisis,” said Schumer.

“The attacks here in Monsey and the New York-area, along with the shocking killing yesterday at a church in West Texas – as well as earlier appalling hate-crime attacks, like the Charleston church massacre in which nine African Americans were killed during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church – shows the vulnerability and increased danger in houses of worship,” he added. 

Cuomo Reminds New Yorkers Of Upcoming Minimum Wage Increase

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday reminded New York workers and businesses that minimum wages across the state will increase starting today, Dec. 31, and reminded employers to update their required minimum wage informational posters. 

In 2016, the Governor campaigned for and succeeded in enacting the nation’s strongest minimum wage law, which is being implemented in phases, ultimately achieving a statewide minimum wage of $15.

“With this monumental increase in the minimum wage, New York is continuing to lead the way to restoring economic justice for working families,” said Cuomo. “In 2016 we set an example for the rest of the nation to follow by raising the minimum wage to $15, and this year we are continuing to move forward with this successful plan that is bringing real change for New York’s families and paying dividends across the entire state.” 

The New York State Department of Labor has established a hotline (1-888-4-NYSDOL) where minimum wage workers can call to report any employers who do not comply with the phase-in schedule.

On December 31, 2019, the general minimum wage rates will increase to:


NYC – Small Employers (10 or less) $15.00 $13.50
Long Island and Westchester $13.00 $12.00
Remainder of State $11.80 $11.10

Stringer Lobbies DHS To Not Increase Cost Of Citizenship Applications

Comptroller Scott Stringer

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer yesterday sent a letter to Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging the federal agency to not move forward with a proposed 61 percent increase in the citizenship application fee totaling $1,170. 

Stringer’s letter noted that the exorbitant rise in the fee would present an undue financial burden on the costs of naturalization, particularly on those families who live on or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). DHS is also proposing to eliminate fee waivers for applicants with a household income of less than 125 percent of the FPG, which would remove more than $360.1 million annually from immigrant communities in need of this subsidy. 

Stringer urged DHS to reconsider these proposed changes as both would preclude thousands of immigrants from applying for citizenship, and thereby creating a barrier of entry to a sense of belonging, economic opportunity and achieving the American Dream.

Stringer letter also comes after he recently called for the creation of a public-private New York City Citizenship Fund to help the city’s legal immigrants cover the costs of the citizenship application.

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