Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 9, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gillibrand Calls For Congress To Curtail Trump’s Ability To Declare War

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, yesterday called for Congress to pass her War Powers Reform Resolution, which would repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, and restrain President Trump or any future president from using open-ended authorizations to unilaterally engage in military actions. 

Gillibrand’s call for the resolution comes in the continuing crisis with Iran.

“I am greatly relieved that Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes did not result in casualties to U.S. service members caught in the middle of these hostilities. My thoughts are with U.S. troops and diplomats in the region and their families.

“This crisis was unnecessary and avoidable. Without seeking congressional authorization or presenting a clear strategy, President Trump brought us to the brink of war with Iran. Furthermore, President Trump’s actions have severely damaged our relationship with Iraq, which has called for expelling U.S. troops, an action that would create chaos and enable ISIS to regain power. Make no mistake—President Trump has made us less safe.

“It is not clear that this crisis is over. President Trump must not take further military action unless he notifies Congress immediately and obtains authorization based on a clear explanation of the goals of military action, our adversaries, and the countries where our service members would be sent into conflict. The United States must embrace diplomacy and work with our allies in the region to de-escalate this situation and forge a lasting peace.

“Congress should pass my War Powers Reform Resolution, which would repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, and restrain President Trump or any future president from using open-ended authorizations to unilaterally engage in military actions. Congress must assert its authority before it’s too late,” Gillibrand said.

Addabbo Continues Push To Legalize Mobile Sports Betting

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways), chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, made the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State Message to the Legislature:

“As we go into a very difficult fiscal year, facing a state budget deficit of more than $6 billion, and working on many initiatives mentioned in the Governor’s State of the State, I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and my legislative colleagues to identify new sources of revenue to help close the budget gap, revitalize our economy, support local families and businesses, increase educational funding and continue to provide vital services to New Yorkers in need.

“First and foremost, to address these issues, I will continue to advocate for the implementation of mobile sports betting in New York State, which will curb the flow of dollars to nearby states, that could be used – now and in the future – to balance the state budget and provide needed funding support for education and create jobs. We took a step forward last year in permitting sports betting in several upstate casinos, but adding the mobile wagering component is crucial to reaping the benefits of this gaming activity and enabling us to compete with other states.

“I also intend to explore options that may be pursued with regard to the three unused casino licenses that are still available to launch gaming facilities in the downstate region. These licenses represent an untapped source of revenue for New York State, which could also be directed to important state programs and funding for our schools.  I will be holding a public hearing of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee on January 22nd to begin gathering public and industry input on how we can best place these casino licenses on the front burner.

“This will be a very challenging year on many levels, and I am pledged to pursuing initiatives that will be part of the solution to the fiscal and public policy issues we are confronting.”

Constantinides, Miller Bill Would Require Boro-Specific Transit Plans

City Council Member Costa Constantinides
Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) .and I. Daneek Miller (D-Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Laurelton, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans) yesterday introduced a bill that requires the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to craft a transit plan for each of the Big Apple’s five boroughs.

This comes amid shifting changes in New York City’s landscape of where people live, work, and leisure within the city. That’s greater demand for mass transit that’s focused on getting from one neighborhood to another, as opposed to moving people to a central business district. 

“Even though not all roads lead to Manhattan anymore, we still live under a system that does so,” said Constantinides. “We deserve a City-led transit plan that takes a holistic approach to how people actually get around in the 21st century. The DOT can and should run a community led process that takes a forward-thinking view of our streets, and engages with the MTA so faster, reliable, and, most importantly, accessible bus service.” 

“Transit is the great equalizer, and yet we are still fighting for basic intra-borough connectivity,” said Miller. “For years, residents of Queens have contended with lack of service and inefficient routes, disconnecting entire neighborhoods. Eastern Queens, in particular, remains an extreme transit desert, despite decades of outreach and advocacy. This legislation will help facilitate the hyper-local analysis our transit system desperately needs as we work to provide better options for all residents of the borough.”

The measure requires the DOT to conduct a transit study for each borough that includes: 

  •         Assess the conditions for transit in every neighborhood within the borough 
  •         Identify “transit deserts” within those neighborhoods in which residents don’t significant access to mass transit
  •         Work with the borough’s community boards as well as government agencies and authorities 
  •         Submit a report to the Mayor and Speaker of the City Council within a year of the bill’s passage on the DOT’s findings along with its recommendations on getting New Yorker’s around their respective borough’s easier.

Jeffries Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Protect Private Communication Between Lawyers and Incarcerated Clients

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Central Brooklyn) and Doug Collins (R-GA), members of the House Judiciary Committee, yesterday introduced the bipartisan Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act.

This legislation would bring prison regulations into the 21st century by applying the attorney-client privilege to electronic communications sent or received through the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) email system. Other forms of communication, including telephone calls, currently receive this kind of protection. 

Unlike other forms of communication, inmates who use the email system at BOP facilities must currently consent to government review of their attorney-client communications, the contents of which can be accessed by prosecutors. According to Legal Gambling and the Law, This bill would prohibit BOP from monitoring privileged email communications, allowing incarcerated individuals to communicate with their attorneys efficiently and privately .

“Most fair-minded people would agree that our system of justice requires a dynamic where individuals are able to have the effective assistance of counsel necessary to adequately defend themselves. Email is the most efficient way for an attorney to communicate with an incarcerated client and should enjoy the same protection as telephone calls and other forms of private communication. Congressman Collins should be thanked and commended for his leadership in this regard,” said Jeffries.

Supporters of the bill include: American Civil Liberties Union, American Bar Association, Americans for Prosperity, #cut50, Due Process Institute, Faith & Freedom Coalition, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Federal Defenders, FreedomWorks, National Action Network, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Prison Fellowship and Right on Crime.