Queens Lawmakers on the Move March 5, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Meeks Holds Hearing on Modern Redlining for Minority Neighborhoods

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport), chair of the House Consumer Protection and Financial Services Committee, will hold a press conference tomorrow following the committee’s field hearing on the topic of modern-day redlining he’ll Chair that morning.

The press conference will disclose new analysis by Congressman Meeks which shows substantial discrepancies in access to banking, particularly in minority communities.

At the hearing members of the committee will receive testimony from a panel of experts on affordable housing and banking marginalized communities, including from the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANDH), Chhaya CDC, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), Inclusiv, and the National Bankers Association.

The hearing is slated for 10 a.m. and the press conference for 11:30 a.m., tomorrow, March 6 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica.

Addabbo Addresses Problem Gambling

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), chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, yesterday noted that March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and recognizes the importance of providing education and resources towards the fight against gambling addiction.

While Addabbo is working to get mobile sports betting legalized in this year’s budget, he is aware of the increase in problem gambling this change may cause in people across the state and has a plan to address the issue.

Addabbo’s proposed legislation (S.17D) on legalizing mobile sports betting includes specific measures written into the bill’s language that directly addresses the prevention of problem gambling and its addiction, among which includes providing a new funding source for problem gaming programs and educational materials, requiring the Gaming Commission to enforce rules on implementing responsible gaming programs and regulations on compulsive play.  

“Problem Gambling Awareness Month serves as a reminder that gambling addiction is real and requires effective resources to educate, support and treat individuals,” Addabbo said. “As we continue to push for legalized mobile sports betting, and with March Madness upon us, we want to inform the public about problem gambling and its negative effects. Every year during March Madness there is a spike in both gambling and gambling addiction helpline calls. I will continue my commitment to manage gaming responsibly in New York while also looking to move our state forward by instituting mobile sports betting.” 

Meng, Velazquez Spending Package Addressing Coronavirus Passes House

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Queens, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan), and Judy Chu (D-CA) yesterday saw the House pass their bipartisan emergency spending package that would provide $8.3 billion in federal funds to address the coronavirus.

Included in the measure is a provision that would allow emergency loans to small businesses that have suffered economic losses related to the outbreak. The spending bill is expected to be approved by the Senate this week.

“I commend the House for passing this critical spending bill and for dedicating the resources needed to respond to the coronavirus outbreak,” said Meng. “I am also thankful that the legislation does not forget about our small businesses. Many small businesses, in particular Asian American-owned businesses such as restaurants and retailers, have experienced a huge drop in business due to misinformation and xenophobia about coronavirus. This includes many businesses in my district in Queens. Our hard-working small businesses drive our economy and enhance our communities. We must assist them in their time of need so that they can continue to operate, and not suffer further from the downturn that they have been forced to endure.”

Under the provision, the Small Business Administration (SBA) could provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to help small businesses that have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, the bill provides $20 million to administer these loans.

The spending package also includes:

  • More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
  • $300 million to ensure access to affordable vaccines;
  • $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, $950 million of which is to support state and local health agencies;
  • Nearly $1 billion for medical supplies, health care preparedness, community health centers, and medical surge capacity; and
  • $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad, which helps keep Americans safe here at home.

Kim Encourages Governor to Support $40 Million Allocation Towards Coronavirus

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) announced yesterday the passage of bill A.9953 / S.7919 through both houses chamber of the state legislature which secures $40 million in funding to protect New Yorkers from the threat of a Coronavirus outbreak.

The lawmaker first proposed the creation of an emergency grant to combat the coronavirus nearly a month ago on February 7, when he created the Asian American Health Advisory Council with several New York-based professional medical associations. Though the long-term plan of the body is to address pressing local health concerns on a regular basis, its most pressing priority since its recent formation has been addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19.

One of the most important and direct uses of the $40 million allocation will be to ensure adequate testing and treatment for any and all patients affected by the Coronavirus.

“This newly passed bill shows just how serious we are as a state about confronting the potential threat posed by the Coronavirus. During the debates and negotiation over this bill, I also fought hard within the leadership of our party, as well as on the debate floor, to clarify that under this new measure, Governor Cuomo should be able to issue new directives to support the communities most economically impacted by fear of this virus,” said Kim.

“In districts like Flushing, small businesses have lost 50-60% of their revenues and my constituents are more scared of losing their jobs and livelihood than catching the virus. It is the sincere hope of my fellow community leaders and I that the governor fully utilizes this newly granted authority for that exact purpose,” he added.