Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 30, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Liu Renews Push to Lower Blood Alcohol Level In the State

State Sen. John Liu

State Sen. John Liu (D-Northeast Queens) and Assistant Assembly Speaker Félix W. Ortiz (D-Brooklyn joined advocates yesterday in support of legislation that will lower the legal limit of blood-alcohol content (BAC) in New York State from .08 to .05.

Joining Ortiz and Liu today were William Aikens, Vice President of RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers), Thomas Louizou former NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Regional Administrator and Sandy Lapalante, a victim who was badly injured in a DWI crash.

“This common-sense bill will help prevent senseless tragedies caused by drunk driving,” Liu said.” It’s time for New York to lower the blood alcohol limit to .05. It’s a simple, proven measure that will help people make better choices around alcohol consumption and driving, and keep all of us safer on the roads.”

More than 100 countries have already enacted .05 or lower BAC levels and Utah was the first state in the nation to enact a statewide law. Dozens of other states have similar proposals pending.

The legislation is currently pending in committee in both the Assembly and the Senate.

Suozzi Helps Pass Bipartisan Never Again Education Act

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Eastern Queens, Long Island) this week announced the passage of H.R. 943, the Never Again Education Act. 

The bill, which passed by a vote of  393 – 5, will create a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to give teachers across the United States the resources and training necessary to teach our nation’s children the important lessons of the Holocaust and the horrific consequences of hate and intolerance.

“‘Never Again’ is, sadly, not assured. If we do not use the lessons of history to make enlightened moral choices, we risk turning a blind eye to the same hatred and anti-Semitism that formed the permissive foundation for genocide,” said Suozzi. “I am proud to have cosponsored and voted for this critical legislation and will always support legislation like it, so we ensure that ‘Never Again’ is assured by future generations.” 

Suozzi, a Vice-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, has been a fierce advocate for the Never Again Education Act and has helped secure bipartisan support for the legislation. Once the legislation garnered 290 cosponsors, it had to be brought to a vote on the House floor due to rules that Suozzi and the Problem Solvers Caucus negotiated with House Leadership at the start of the 116th Congress. 

AG James Fights to Protect Children in Civil Immigration Detention

State Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James, as part of a coalition of 20 attorneys general, yesterday fought to defend the rights of immigrant children held in civil detention centers around the country by the Trump Administration. 

The coalition filed an amicus brief in support of the children who are plaintiffs in Flores v. Barr — a case involving the Trump Administration’s attempts to terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement, which has governed the treatment of children in immigration custody since 1997. 

In the amicus brief, the coalition urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to uphold an earlier permanent injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, preventing the federal government from keeping children in prolonged and unnecessary detention.

“The Trump Administration’s illegal and immoral efforts to lock children in cages is a shameful and appalling action that should strike a nerve with every person in this country,” said James. “All of us, regardless of national origin, deserve to be treated with basic dignity, but the president continues to use immigrants, including young children, as political pawns in his twisted game of chess. Regardless of one’s nation of origin, all people deserve to be treated with decency, which is why our coalition will continue our fight to stop the Trump Administration’s cruel, inhumane, and xenophobic actions.”

Cuomo Says His Budget Markes Greatest Increase For Homeless Services

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced the FY 2021 Executive Budget includes the greatest funding in state history to combat homelessness and expand access to affordable housing and supportive services. 

The Budget doubles funding from $64 million to $128 million for the Homeless Housing Assistance Program, which will create more housing for individuals and families who are homeless and unable to secure adequate housing without assistance. 

The Budget also invests $5 million to expand permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans and supports the continued implementation of Code Blue efforts across the State with a $13 million stand-alone appropriation.

“Homelessness is a growing problem in some parts of our state, and right now we are seeing too many New Yorkers living and sleeping on the street,” said Cuomo. 

“The homeless issue has been studied, debated, litigated, and addressed for 40 years. We know what works and we know what doesn’t work from experience, and we know that there are only two factors for a solution: commitment of resources and competence of administration. This significant investment – the largest amount of funding in the history of the State of New York – will expand access to quality, affordable housing and supportive services for our most vulnerable men, women and children and create a stronger, more prosperous New York for all,” he added.

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