Queens Lawmakers on the Move May 29, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Meng Introduces Legislation to Improve Access to Menstrual Products

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), in commemorating Menstrual Hygiene Day and National Period Poverty Awareness Week, yesterday introduced two pieces of legislation in the House that seek to advance the fight for menstrual equity, particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Meng introduced the Good Samaritan Menstrual Products Act which would allow for more menstrual products to be donated to and distributed by nonprofit organizations. Currently, due to certain menstrual products like tampons being considered “Class 2” medical products, such designations deter the donation of such items – out of fear of liability issues. 

As such, liability concerns, even for products donated in good faith, limit both the variety and availability of menstrual products, as well as individuals’ choices in how their menstruation needs are met.

The Congresswoman’s legislation would provide liability protection for individuals, manufacturers, and distributors that donate menstrual products in good faith, as well as for the nonprofit groups that receive and distribute them, which as a result would help increase donations. The bill is modeled after the Good Samaritan Food Donations Act, a bill enacted in 1996 that created a liability exemption for food and household donations.

In addition, Meng introduced a resolution to raise awareness of period poverty – the issue of an individual’s inability to access and afford menstrual products. The measure highlights facts and statistics on how many women struggle to afford menstrual products, and the negative impacts that the lack of access has on their lives, especially during the coronavirus crisis. 

“Period poverty is unthinkable and simply wrong. It impacts one’s self-perception, mental health, educational opportunities, and economic well-being. It can also be detrimental to one’s physical health, as the risk of infections increase with use of substitutions, such as paper towels or toilet paper, or because of an inability to change products as frequently as recommended. This must not – cannot continue,” said Meng. “Menstrual equity is not a choice or a luxury; it is a human right, and a health right. 

Sanders Hosts COVID-19 Economic Disaster Recovery Training 

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, parts of Far Rockaway) on Monday will host a COVID-19 Economic Disaster Recovery Training.

The training comes as pandemic continues to shape social norms, non-essential business closures and social distancing measures have drastically affected local small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Sanders will join Chairman John Hope Bryant of Operation HOPE to explore how the dedicated team of counselors at HOPE Inside Disaster are prepared to help small businesses navigate economic recovery.

“You do not want to miss this thought-provoking and important conversation with John Hope Bryant who has earned such titles as “Innovator of the Year,” “One of the World’s 10 Top CEOs,” and one of Time Magazine “50 Leaders for the Future.” He is an American entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and prominent thought leader on financial inclusion, economic empowerment and financial dignity,” said Sanders.

The conversation is slated fr 4 p.m., Monday, June 1, on Facebook Live.  Go to Facebook.com/StateSenatorJamesSandersJr/.

Moya Bill Prohibitibing Illegal Immigrant Term Passes City Council

City Councilmember Francisco Moya .

City Council Member Francisco P. Moya (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona LaGuardia Airport) yesterday saw the city council pass his legislation prohibiting the use of the terms “alien,” “illegal immigrant,” or “illegal migrant,” and removes such words in local laws, rules, and other documents and materials

These terms n all official legal city documents will be replaced with noncitizen, where applicable.

“The word terms ‘illegal immigrant’ and ‘alien’ have no place in our city’s guiding documents or social discourse today,” said Moya. “These words are outdated and loaded words used to dehumanize the people they describe. It’s time to retire them. 

“My bill, Intro 1836 would replace the term ‘alien’ with ‘noncitizen’ wherever it refers to noncitizens in the City Charter and Administrative Code and would bar the City from using the terms ‘alien,’ ‘illegal alien,’ or ‘illegal immigrant’ in-laws, documents, or materials unless referencing a federal law or program. Words matter. The language we choose to use has power and consequences. It’s time we as a city use our language to acknowledge people as people rather than to dehumanize them and divide us,” he added.

Constantinides Bill Will Improve Air Quality for Rent-Regulated Buildings

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, parts of Long Island City, Woodside) yesterday introduced a bill to expand the historic carbon emission reductions mandated by the Climate Mobilization Act — a Green New Deal for New York City that’s become a model for cities nationwide to fight the climate crisis.

The legislation, Intro. 1947-2020, will build upon the landmark Local Law 97 of 2019, by mandating aggressive carbon cuts from large buildings in which 35 percent or less of units are rent-regulated. 

The existing law requires buildings 25,000 square feet or larger to shrink their carbon footprint a collective 40 percent by 2030. But it provided an alternative path for rent-regulated structures to guarantee these costs are not unfairly passed onto tenants. 

“We knew last year that the Climate Mobilization Act was the first step toward a brighter, greener, safer future,” said Constantinides, chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “But the work to make New York City the leader on sustainability, absent of leadership in the White House, continues. Thanks to Albany’s historic rent reforms that finally put tenants first, we are now able to guarantee every New Yorker lives with cleaner air, which is a fundamental human right.”

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