Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 26, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gillibrand Denounces Proposed Anti-Choice Bills

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday slammed two Republican proposed abortion-related measures in the Senate that attempted to thwart a women’s choice over their body.

The first piece of the proposed legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks with exceptions for the life of the mother and victims of rape or incest. Doctors who violate the bill could face up to five years in prison.

The second bill would penalize doctors who fail to “exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.”

“The anti-choice policies put forward by Senator [Mitch] McConnell (R-KY) are designed to punish women, interfere in family decisions, and spread dangerous disinformation about abortion. The decisions that women make about their pregnancies and reproductive health should be between themselves, their families, and their doctors—not politicians like McConnell,” said Gillibrand.

“It’s disgraceful that McConnell has AGAIN wasted time voting on these dangerous, unconstitutional abortion bans, instead of the hundreds of bills sitting on his desk that would actually protect women’s health care and support American families,” she added in a written statement.

Schumer Blasts Trump’s Dangerous Incompetence Regarding Coronavirus

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) yesterday spoke on the Senate floor blasting President Trump’s dangerous incompetence and lack of plan to deal with the coronavirus. 

Schumer also outlined four steps the Trump administration must take immediately. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

“The coronavirus has already spread to 30 countries, including South Korea, Italy, Iran, and 53 confirmed cases here in the United States. Officials at the World Health Organization are now warning world governments to begin preparing for a “pandemic”—a pandemic,” said Schumer.

“But here in the United States, the Trump administration has been caught flat-footed. The administration has no plan to deal with the coronavirus—no plan—and seemingly no urgency to develop one. Even now, after the virus has already become a worldwide health crisis with rapidly growing economic risk, the Trump administration is scrambling to respond. We have a crisis, and the Trump administration is trying to build an airplane while already in mid-flight,” he added.

Schumer noted that coronavirus testing kits have not been widely distributed to the nation’s hospitals and public health labs. Those without these kits must send samples all the way to Atlanta, rather than testing them on-site, wasting precious time as the virus spreads, he said.

Meng Calls On Trump To Ensure Any Coronavirus Treatment Is Affordable & Accessible

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park), a member of the House Appropriations Committee which is responsible for funding all federal agencies and programs, announced yesterday that she, along with other members of Congress, called on President Trump to ensure that any vaccine or treatment for the coronavirus is accessible, available, and affordable to the public.

Last month, the director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases indicated that initial clinical trials could begin within three months.

“The coronavirus is a menace to public health, and the race to develop a cure proceeds at full speed,” said Meng. “Any cure or treatment must be affordable and accessible to the public. President Trump has said many times he wants to lower the cost of drugs, but allowing pharmaceutical companies to have exclusive monopoly rights for any coronavirus treatment would be inimical to his promise. I urge the President to prioritize public health, not pharmaceutical companies’ bottom line, by ensuring that the price of any coronavirus vaccine or treatment does not deter access.”

Addabbo, Pheffer Amato Partner Up For Second Anti-Semitism Town Hall

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato

Rockaway lawmakers State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato are once again partnering with the Simon Wiesenthal Center to bring an educational town hall to the Rockaways that will discuss the current state of hate crimes and what is being done to prevent them.

Attendees of the town hall will receive information and resources on what is actually considered a hate crime and what to do if they see one taking place, or are the victim of a hate crime.

The panel at the town hall will include Holocaust survivor Mark Schonwetter who will be speaking on his experience with Anti-Semitism, as well as Carly Korman, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s College Coordinator; Michael Brovner, Deputy Chief of Gang Violence and Hate Crimes; and a representative from the 101st Police Precinct.

“It is terrible that Anti-Semitism and other forms of hate crimes are on the rise both locally and nationally,” Addabbo said. “It is our responsibility to come together as a community to help root out this hate. I believe the best way to get rid hatred against large groups of people is through education, and a town hall like this one is a great way to inform the people of not only what these hateful messages mean, but also what we are doing to ensure that all of our community members remain safe.”

“We can start building from the success of our first Town Hall for Action which created a framework for these discussions which our community needs,” said Pheffer Amato. “This next Town Hall, featuring a Holocaust survivor, will illuminate even further the direct effect that hatred and bigotry has on families and communities. Being able to hear directly from a survivor spotlights that these are not abstract terms, but real life actions that when left unchecked can have a terrible impact and ruin people’s lives and communities.”

The next town hall is slated for 6-8 p.m., Thursday, March 5 at the Bayswater Jewish Center, 2355 Healy Avenue in Far Rockaway. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP with Pheffer Amato’s office by calling 718-945-9550.