Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 24, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Stavisky Holds Hearing on Establishing NYS Civil Service Pipeline 

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Central Queens), chair of the Committee on Higher Education and Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Committee on Civil Service & Pensions, last week held a joint hearing to discuss establishing a robust civil service from the state’s public and private colleges and universities into public service jobs. 

The senators heard testimony from college administrators and students, officials from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and representatives from public-sector unions.

A significant number of civil servants are approaching the age of retirement. According to the NY ATEP State of the Workforce report, 26.6% of government workers are considered an aging workforce. Further recruitment issues stem from a statewide decline in available workforce of .9% between 2012 and 2017. The Hearing focused on ways to fill the gap by encouraging young people to consider civil service careers.

According to the United Way, 45% of New Yorkers lack sufficient financial resources, many of whom are working. Civil service jobs provide health benefits and a pension that serve as a path to advancement for young people.

“A civil service pipeline would help students find quality jobs quickly upon graduation, and would help New York State recruit well trained, quality candidates to help further the work of the public sector. It is truly a win, win proposition,” said Stavisky.

Sanders Pushes To Reopen Investigation Into Death of Malcolm X

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) last week applauded the reopening of the investigation into the death of Malcolm X and is proposing legislation to reopen other unsolved Civil Rights Crimes. 

“Malcolm X was a great leader, a great human being, who championed truth, justice and freedom for everyone,” Sanders said.  “I applaud Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. for reopening the investigation into the death of Malcolm X.”

Sanders prosed bills are (S.7798), the Malcolm X Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2020, which require the state attorney general to conduct an annual study of unsolved civil rights cases of crimes committed not later than December 31, 1979; and provide funds for local and state law enforcement to pursue investigations of civil rights crimes committed not later than December 31, 1979.

The second bill (S.7797) is the New York Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act, which would establish a collection of civil rights cold case records within the New York State Archives; and create the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board to review unsolved civil rights crimes committed not later than December 31, 1979.

Schumer Reveals TSA Still Using TikTok App

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) revealed yesterday that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is still using the China-Owned social media app ‘TikTok to’ to engage travelers and that its use is a security risk.

Schumer said the risks to American and federal agency security via the platform remain very real and urged the TSA to cease its use of TikTok. Schumer says the TSA, charged with ensuring the security of our airports and the flying public, should not be exempt from the ban, especially given its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), already has a prohibition policy in place.

“The TSA is to be recognized for its work to engage a variety of stakeholders with airline rules and safety, but it also must acknowledge the ironic risk it’s placing its own agency—and potentially the public—in with its continued use of the China-owned TikTok app,” said Schumer. “Given the widely reported threats, the already-in-place agency bans, and the existing national security concerns posed by TikTok, the feds cannot continue to allow the TSA’s use of the platform to fly.”

Gillibrand Legislation Would Create a Data Protection Agency

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced last week she is introducing the Data Protection Act, which would create the Data Protection Agency (DPA), an independent federal agency that would protect Americans’ data, safeguard their privacy, and ensure data practices are fair and transparent. 

The push for a national agency to oversee data privacy comes as leaders from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, the New York Law School’s Innovation Center for Law and Technology and Institute for CyberSafety, and more express concern for the growing data privacy crisis that looms over the everyday lives of Americans. 

The U.S. is one of the only democracies, and the only member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), without a federal data protection agency.

“Technology is connecting us in new significant ways, and our society must be equipped for both the challenges and opportunities of a transition to the digital age. Data privacy is becoming an urgent concern for the everyday lives of Americans and the government has a responsibility to step forward and give them meaningful protection over their data and how it’s being used,” said Gillibrand. 

“Data has been called ‘the new oil.’ Companies are rushing to explore and refine it, ignoring regulations, putting profits above responsibility, and treating consumers as little more than dollar signs. Like the oil boom, little thought is being given to the long-term consequences. The U.S. needs a new approach to privacy and data protection. We cannot allow our freedoms to be trampled over by private companies that value profits over people, and the Data Protection Agency would do that with expertise and resources to create and meaningfully enforce data protection rules and digital rights,” the Senator added.

Van Bramer Examines Possible African-American Civil Rights History Museum

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) chair of the council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations, today will hold a public hearing on the creation of a museum about New York City’s African American Civil Rights History.

The legislation, as City Councilmember Fernando Cabrera (D-Bronx) put forth, would first require the creation of a task force to evaluate the feasibility of the museum.

The hearing is slated for 1 p.m., today, Feb. 24 at 250 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.