Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 14, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Koo Announces Resolution in Support of Adoptee Citizenship Act

City Council Member Peter Koo

Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) announced a resolution to be introduced at the next Stated City Council meeting calling for the passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019 – federal legislation that would close a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 that prevents internationally-adopted children from receiving U.S. citizenship despite being legally adopted by U.S. citizens.

Koo announced the resolution on City Hall steps alongside adoption advocacy groups on NYC’s sixth official Korean American Day – a citywide day of recognition commemorating the first arrival of Korean immigrants to the United States in 1903. Korean adoptees historically account for one of the largest groups of international adoptions to the U.S. according to the State Department (over 20,000 since 1999), alongside China and Russia.

Koo stated, “Today on Korean American Day, we are calling for an end to the injustice that has befallen so many adoptees from Korea and other countries who are forced to live in the shadows because our government has refused them citizenship. These are adoptees who were legally adopted by American citizens but have been denied the rights and security of citizenship. They are our family members, our friends, and our neighbors, and it is far past time that we treat them with the basic human dignity that they deserve. It is time to welcome them home as Americans.”

Cuomo Announces Puerto Rico Trip to Provide Emergency Services

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will be leading a delegation to Puerto Rico to provide emergency services in the aftermath of earthquakes that have left hundreds of thousands without power and water, and thousands staying in shelters or homeless. 

The Governor will survey damage with state officials and determine additional State assets to be sent to assist in the recovery from the earthquakes. Last week, the Governor directed the New York Power Authority to assist in recovery efforts alongside the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority. 

Cuomo said, “New York has been a tremendous supporter on the recovery of Hurricane Maria. Now, they get hit with earthquakes and it is ongoing. So we will go down tomorrow. The point of the visit is basically to assess the damage and determine how we can best help… to find out what we can do to help. Can we help with engineering, can we help with the power plant, can we help with supplies? What do they need that we can best provide.”

Lee, Borough Cabinet Get Benefit, Tax Assessment Briefing

Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee and the Queens Borough Cabinet today will hear a presentation from the city’s Department of Finance (DOF) on the tenant and homeowner benefit programs the city makes available to help residents afford to stay in their homes. 

Those programs include the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE). The presentation will include information about the application process and eligibility requirements for these programs.

The presentation will also include a discussion on recent changes to the city’s process of assessing property values for the purpose of calculating property taxes.

The Queens Borough Cabinet is chaired by the borough president and is comprised of the district managers of each community board and representatives from city agencies.

The presentation is slated for 9:30 a.m., today, Jan. 14 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

Velázquez, Ocasio-Cortez Call on End to Puerto Rico Disaster Assistance Delay

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-Queens, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens, Bronx) along with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), sent a letter to President Trump yesterday demanding that his administration end its delay in federal disaster assistance to Puerto Rico in the face of the island’s urgent humanitarian needs following hundreds of earthquakes and aftershocks, just two years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. 

“The hurricane devastated the island and today, tens of thousands of people are still living under tarp roofs,” the members of Congress wrote. “In recent days, the quakes have cost millions in damages, destroyed hundreds of homes, caused widespread electricity blackouts, and forced residents to resort to sleeping in roofless shelters due to the fear of being buried in their own homes by another earthquake.” 

The letter calls on the president to immediately approve the major disaster declaration made by the Puerto Rican government on January 12, release funds approved by Congress for humanitarian relief, and direct FEMA to undertake a disaster response.

“Let us be clear: Postponing the disbursement of this vital assistance any longer in the face of the humanitarian needs of Puerto Rico is simply shameful,” the letter continues.

Grodenchik Applauds APEC Grand Opening

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik

City Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village) yesterday lauded the hundreds of people who showed up at the Alley Pond Environmental Center’s (APEC) grand opening celebrating its new temporary headquarters over the weekend.

The center recently moved to 224-75 76th Avenue in Oakland Gardens where it will stay for two years while its’ building on Northern Boulevard is renovated and expanded.

“The fact that so many people attended the event shows how loved APEC is,” said Grodenchik. “With this wonderful new space, APEC’s programs and classes can continue uninterrupted while the old building gets an upgrade.”

About 400 people showed up at the grand opening, where they enjoyed fruit smoothies and vegetarian Bengali cuisine, interacted with animals, and enjoyed an array of activities, such as a play dough station and an aromatherapy spritzer class. 

Other attendees included City Council Member Paul A. Vallone, Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein, Queens District Attorney Melinda R. Katz, Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee, and Queens Parks Commissioner Michael H. Dockett.