Queens Lawmakers on the Move June 2, 2020

Queens County City Council News

DA Katz Supports Repealing Loitering Law Regarding Prostitution

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz

District Attorney Melinda Katz yesterday announced her support for a bill that would repeal the crime of loitering for the purposes of prostitution from the New York State Penal Law. 

Since taking office on January 1, Katz has not charged or convicted a single individual for the crime of loitering for the purposes of prostitution and until the law is repealed she will decline to prosecute anyone arrested on this charge in Queens County.

“This decision was made after careful consideration, which included an analysis of historical data that demonstrated enforcement of this statute often used to arrest and harass people based on their gender or appearance and adversely impacted already marginalized members of our community. Our objective is not to penalize people who are being victimized or commercially exploited sexually, but rather to connect them to meaningful services, support and tools to enable them to safely exit the sex trade industry,” said Katz.

Katz said her office is committed to combatting human trafficking by implementing policies designed to provide much-needed services and assistance to victims. 

The DA reiterated that victims of sex trafficking will not face charges in Queens. But those responsible for forcing these victims into the sex trade industry will be held responsible and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Sanders Statement On George Floyd Killing

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, parts of Far Rockaway) said while he is angry and understands that many are angry over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, who was murdered by a white police officer in Minnesota, unpeaceful protests that includes rioting and looting of businesses is not the answer. 

“We all have the right to peaceful protest, to make our voices heard, and to honor the memory of George Floyd, a man who reportedly had no prior criminal record, before the encounter with the police that led to his death. However, when we start destroying our own neighborhoods, we are doing a disservice to this man’s memory. I believe George Floyd would want justice by having all of the officers involved in his death arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but I don’t think he would want to see his fellow citizens targeting each other by burning down stores, looting, and provoking police, or getting injured with rubber bullets, flashbangs, tear gas and pepper spray,” said Sanders.

“It is important to note that there were a lot of peaceful protests and that the majority of people who got arrested in New York City and other cities were visitors from out of town, looking to stir up trouble and chaos for their own purposes and agenda. I would also add that there were several incidents in which the police could have handled their interactions with the protestors in a more professional manor. I think it is safe to say that tensions are high and everyone is on edge.

“I would ask my fellow citizens to look back at the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose use of peaceful protest made enormous strides forward in the civil rights movement. Obviously, we still have a long way to go, but if we act violently then we are no better than the violence we seek to eradicate. As Rev. King said, In spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts,” he added.

Constantinides Calls for Resiliency Investment at Outset of Hurricane Season

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday joined colleague council members in calling for a series of actions and investments to make the city more resilient ahead of the approaching hurricane season. 

“New York City is at greater risk every hurricane season as storms strengthen and our infrastructure falls apart,” said Constantinides, chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “The White House must stop playing with New Yorkers’ lives and restore the Army Corps of Engineers study, and the City must guarantee we adapt our coastlines to the challenges of climate change. These are the things that will put people back to work and make our communities safer.” 

Constantinides called for investments in the recommendations by the Army Corps and implementing a five-borough resiliency plan.

Public works like these not only create jobs, but guarantee hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers won’t be displaced, he said.

Addabbo Joins Senate Colleagues in Legislation Addressing COVID-19 Issues

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) yesterday joined his senate colleagues in approving a package of bills designed to provide much-needed relief and assistance to residents and businesses throughout the state.

“This package of legislation works to improve New York’s ability to move forward in a positive direction from the most devastating pandemic our community, city, state, and country have had to deal with,” said Addabbo. 

“New Yorkers are struggling every day as they deal with the loss of loved ones, income and benefits, and the uncertainty of the future.  I have been working through these unprecedented times to not only help constituents navigate the present challenges, but also to forge a plan for the future of New York. For me, it was important to travel to Albany this week to vote on critical legislation, to begin the process of healing and recovery, while making sure we are better prepared for future emergencies,” he added.

Among the measure approved include:

●       S.8113A (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Aims to prevent utility corporations or municipalities from terminating the services of residential customers enduring financial hardship because of COVID-19. 

●       S.8138B: Allows a local taxing jurisdiction to defer property taxes due to the COVID-19 pandemic or separate taxes into as many installment payments as necessary without liability to the county.

●       S.8243C (Co-sponsored by Addabbo): Requires banks and state-regulated mortgage services to grant 180 days of mortgage payment forbearance to residential mortgagors who are behind in payments or have applied for loss mitigation and demonstrate financial hardship during the NYS On PAUSE period.