Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 23, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Cuomo Announces Legislation Banning Contributions From Foreign-Influenced Corporations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced legislation in the FY 2021 Executive Budget to ban contributions from foreign-influenced corporations to political campaigns statewide.

The bill bans corporations from contributing to political campaigns in New York or from making independent expenditures to influence elections, if a single foreign entity controls 5 percent ownership. The proposal would also ban corporations with more than 10 percent ownership in aggregate by two or more foreign entities from making such contributions or expenditures. 

Finally, the proposal will ban campaign spending if more than 10 percent of a corporation’s board members are foreign nationals, or a foreign national participates in the decision making with respect to a corporation’s political activities in the United States.

“We’ve seen undeniable proof that foreign entities have tried to undermine and influence our elections, and today New York takes is taking a bold step forward to protect the integrity of our democratic process,” said Cuomo. “With this measure, we are once and for all closing a loophole that allowed foreign-controlled corporations to donate to campaigns and in the process, helping to restore confidence in our elections.”  

Gianaris Bill Requiring Agencies To Hold Hearings Passes Senate

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) yesterday announced the Senate passed his legislation allowing state agencies to use new methods to engage New Yorkers in decision making. 

The bill, which passed unanimously, allows residents to petition agencies to hold public hearings during rulemaking. The legislation also permits agencies to use new technologies, including live streaming and teleconferencing, to hold hearings.

“More public input in agency decision-making will help government make better decisions,” said Gianaris. “This proposal would empower New Yorkers to force a public discussion of important proposed regulations before they are decided. I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to pass this important measure so policy-making can benefit from more public input.”

Gianaris’ proposal would require agencies to hold public hearings if 125 or more New Yorkers sign a petition requesting one. This would mark the first time New York State residents could petition their way into an agency’s rulemaking process. Similar measures exist in other states including California, Arizona, New Hampshire, Idaho, Illinois, and Utah.

Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Help Support People With Disabilities

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rob Portman (R-OH) yesterday announced new, bipartisan legislation that would help support patients, particularly older adults and people with disabilities, by allowing them to maintain their direct support professional (DSP) during short hospital stays. 

DSPs are personal aids that support people in ways that promote independent living and community inclusion. Currently, Medicaid does not cover personal DSPs when a patient is admitted to the hospital, and the individual must be treated by other hospital staff who may be unfamiliar with the patient and not trained on their particular needs. 

Gillibrand and Portman’s legislation, the Ensuring Access to Direct Support Professionals Act, would change this provision by allowing Medicaid to cover DSPs during short-term hospital stays. This would help give patients, including people with disabilities, access to DSPs they know, helping them to navigate the hospital visit with full independence and leading to better health outcomes.

“Direct support professionals fill a vital role for older adults and people with disabilities, helping them live independent lives and enabling their full participation in the community,” said Gillibrand. “When individuals enter the hospital without the support of their DSP, it can often lead to a slower and less ideal recovery. This bill will enable Medicaid to cover the cost of DSPs, and will ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the best care possible and that their rights are respected.”

Sanders Offers Free Screening of Just Mercy

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) is inviting constituents to a free movie screening of the film “Just Mercy.” 

The movie tells the true story of Walter McMillian, who, with the help of young defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, successfully overturns his murder conviction.

There will be a panel discussion following the film screening.

The screening is slated for 12 noon, Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Bow Tie Cinemas (Grand Avenue Cinemas), 1849 Grand Avenue in Baldwin. Seating is very limited. You must RSVP to attend by calling Senator Sanders’ Office at 718-523-3069  or 718-327-7017, and speak to a staffer. Do not leave a voicemail.