Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 21, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris Calls On Spectrum Refund Towards Canceled Security Equipment

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) is calling on Spectrum to refund home security subscribers for the cost of now-defunct equipment once their home security services go dark.

Spectrum announced in December it would shut down its home security service. It cost up to $1,000 or more to install the home security system in a customer’s home. Spectrum sold customers devices that are firmware coded, meaning they are not compatible with other services. Once Spectrum ends this service, these devices are rendered useless.

“Spectrum has locked consumers out of hundreds of dollars they paid for a valuable service. These consumers should be able to transfer their equipment or receive a refund,” said  Gianaris. “I urge Spectrum to do the right thing by New York consumers and refund these customers.”

Addabbo Says Mobile Sports Betting Could Help Budget Shortfall

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) said Friday he believes the way to help bridge the budget gap to better fund the state’s healthcare system, while also supporting educational resources like Foundation Aid is to legalize mobile sports betting in New York.

Addabbo’s comments came as the state enters budget negotiations this month facing a $6 billion shortfall, mainly due to the rising cost of the vital Medicaid healthcare program.  

“If state legislators cannot figure out a way to bring in more money, there will be unfortunate and devastating cuts to Medicaid,” Addabbo said. “It is frustrating to know we will have to make these tough decisions when there is money out there just waiting for us to capture, but we refuse to take advantage of it. Mobile sports betting is benefitting New Jersey — with approximately 25% of the state’s mobile wagering business coming from New York residents — and it could provide the same positive results for New York.”

The numbers are clear, Addabbo says. According to the Economic Impact of Legalized Sports Betting study conducted by Oxford Economics in May 2017, legalized sports betting has the potential to generate $2.6 billion annually for the state, with $727 million in labor income, and a $1.4 billion in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  

“When I see numbers like this, it makes the case pretty clear that New York needs to legalize mobile sports betting,” Addabbo said. “Even if we do not hit these exact projected numbers, mobile sports betting will bring in hundreds of millions — if not billions — of revenue that the state desperately needs for vital programs like Foundation Aid and closing the gap in Medicaid funding.”

Weprin, Legislators Call For Passage Of Halt Solitary Confinement Act

Assembly Member David Weprin

Assemblymember David Weprin (D-Richmond Hill, Fresh Meadows), chair of the Correction Committee, other legislators and over 800 people today will hold a rally and press conference to demand that New York complete the unfinished business from last session, follow the will of a majority of state legislators, and vote to pass the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (S.1623/A.2500).

While human rights standards adopted by the United Nations state that solitary beyond 15 days is torture for all people in all circumstances, New York State regularly holds people in solitary for months, years, and decades.

On the day after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, advocates will invoke the Reverend Doctor and his time in solitary to call out the ongoing racist infliction of solitary in New York. Despite the fact that black people represent only 18% of the state’s total population, black people are 48% of people in New York State prisons, and 57% of people in solitary confinement. 

Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed new regulations on solitary confinement, but an analysis showed they would fail to impose any meaningful time restrictions. Advocates are calling for lawmakers to enact HALT — which has majority support in both the Senate and Assembly.

Lawmakers and advocates will lobby for this passage with a rally at 11 a.m., today, Jan. 21 on the State Capitol’s Million Dollar Staircase in Albany.