Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 16, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Meeks Unveils Legislation Giving Taxi Medallion Owners Financial Relief

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) tomorrow will join members of the New York Congressional delegation, state and city elected officials and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance on the steps of City Hall to announce legislation to relieve taxi medallion owners from tax liability for debt forgiveness.

Several thousand drivers are burdened by medallion debt which can run over a million dollars, and nearly a thousand have already filed for bankruptcy. In total, taxi drivers owe hundreds of millions of dollars on their medallions while the price of a medallion has fallen about 80% over the past years.

According to the New York Times, the legislation involves a high-level New York City panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials proposing a bailout for thousands of taxi drivers trapped in exploitative loans for medallion cabs, and for which will cost $500 million, including some city taxpayer money.

The announcement is slated for 9 a.m., tomorrow, Jan. 17 on the steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Weprin Celebrates First Day Of OBC Access For Adult Adoptees

Assemblymember David Weprin

Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill) yesterday joined State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, other elected officials and several adult adopted individuals, birth parents & adoptee rights advocates in announcing the first day of access for adult adoptees seeking a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC). 

Montgomery and Weprin, who sponsored the legislation in their proposed chambers also presented pen certificates to several key advocates who were instrumental in the passage of the bill and colored in New York State on a national map to mark New York as the newest state to provide unrestricted access for original birth certificates.

The Clean Bill of Adoptee Rights legislation ends a decades-long push to establish the right of adoptees to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate upon reaching the age of 18.

“We had an amazing day today celebrating the enactment of the Adoptee Bill of Rights with Senator Velmenatte Montgomery, Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter, Assemblyman Bobby Carroll & all of our supporters in Albany,” said Weprin. “I am so happy  that we were able to Get it Right and Make it Equal for New York’s Adult Adoptees and extend what is a basic human right, a right to know who you are, to people adopted in New York.”

AOC, Velazquez Push To Front Burner Flood Control Project In Puerto Rico

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

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) along with U.S. Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-Queens, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Northwestern Queens, Bronx), along with other electeds recently wrote a letter to Rickey Dale “R.D” James, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works strongly urging him to select the Caño Martín Peña project as a New Start project in the FY 2020 Work Plan. 

The Caño Martín Peña flood and storm damage reduction and environmental restoration project is critical to alleviating the ongoing public health risks and environmental problems caused by the blocked Martín Peña Channel, affecting the lives of nearly 30,000 residents in Puerto Rico.

More than just an engineering project, the project will improve the lives of residents that live in the eight barrios that comprise the Caño Martín Peña community along both sides of the canal. 

In 2015, the Caño Martín Peña Land Trust—one of the local partners involved in the project—won the United Nations World Habitat Award for their work to establish a land trust that empowers community residents and allows them to benefit from the Caño Martín Peña project improvements without displacing residents from their community.

The full text of Senate and House Democrat’s’ letter to Assistant Secretary Dale can be found here.

Addabbo Supports Legislative Package Encouraging Greater Voter Participation

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) this week joined with Senate colleagues in approving a package of bills, including two he co-sponsored, that are designed to increase voter participation in elections throughout New York and make it easier for citizens to register to vote.

The first bill Addabbo co-sponsored (S.6457) would create a system of automatic voter registration connected to certain applications filed by New Yorkers through the State Department of Motor Vehicles and State Department of Health. 

“Under the proposal, qualified individuals interacting with these two state agencies would be provided with forms that would automatically register them to vote unless they specifically decline,” he explained. “This will help to increase the number of eligible voters in New York and encourage greater participation in elections.” 

A number of safeguards are included in the legislation to ensure that non-citizens and others ineligible to vote are not inadvertently registered.

The second bill Addabbo co-sponsored (S.6805) would authorize state and local departments of transportation to provide message boards on roadways that would advertise important voter-related information, including deadlines to register to vote, absentee ballot requirements, and pertinent messages about upcoming election dates.

“This would be a valuable way to ensure that voters don’t miss out on important information that affects their ability to participate in elections, and enable them to plan ahead to ensure that their votes count,” said Addabbo.

Sanders Invites Constituents to Send a Valentine to an Elderly Veteran

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

Marine Corps veteran and  State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, parts of Far Rockaway) is inviting constituents to bring a little bit of happiness to an elderly veteran this Valentine’s Day.

“On this holiday, when we celebrate the love and affection we have for the special people in our lives, it seems only fitting that we include those who have served our country,” said Sanders.

Sanders is collecting greeting cards as well as new clothing items such as hats, gloves, scarves or socks, which he will present to elderly veterans in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Please drop off donations by Monday, Feb. 3, Sanders’ District Office, 142-01 Rockaway Boulevard in South Ozone Park or at his Satellite Office, 1931 Mott Avenue, Suite 305, in Far Rockaway. If you have any questions, contact Senator Sanders’ Office at 718-327-7017 or 718-523-3069

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