Queens Lawmakers on the Move July 15, 2020

Gianaris Calls for Alternatives to In-Person Bar Exam

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) called on New York’s Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to seek alternatives for this year’s bar exam, including moving the test online and offering diploma privileges to graduates of New York law schools –– powers within the executive discretion of the Court of Appeals. 

“The bar exam is stressful under normal circumstances –– months of studying leading to a lengthy exam in a crowded room. That is simply unwise and impossible to execute this year,” said Gianaris. “Looking for exam alternatives, including moving the exam online and offering diploma privileges, would prevent a public health catastrophe when recent law school graduates are scheduled to sit for this exam.”

On July 13, Gianaris sent Judge DiFiore a letter outlining his proposal and citing the possibility that the test, which was originally postponed to Sept. 9-10, could need to be rescheduled again because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He urged the judge to offer alternatives to the in-person exam and pointed to Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, Louisiana, and Nevada and Washington, D.C., which will be offering online exams and Utah, Washington, and Oregon which have decided to grant “emergency diplomas” to certain law school graduates. 

Katz and Lee Host Peace Rally

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz is hosting a rally for peace on Sunday with Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee.

The event, Queens Stand United, will call for de-escalation & unity amid rise in gun violence. Katz and Lee will be joined by other elected officials and members of the Southeast Queens communities.

All organizations are welcome to attend and to bring their banner, Katz said. 

The rally will be on Sunday, July 19 from 4-6 p.m. in Roy Rilkins Park. Masks and social distancing will be required. Masks will be provided for those who don’t have them.

RSVP at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/queens-stands-united-its-our-community-peace-rally-tickets-112871734396

AOC Hosts Eviction Defense Training  

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Representative Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez (D-Astoria, College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, parts of the Bronx), Jamaal Bowman, and tenant leaders from Housing Justice for All will host an eviction defense training on Wednesday night to help New Yorkers hold onto their homes.

This event comes as many Black and Brown families hit hardest by COVID-19 are vulnerable to eviction and getting crushed by rent debt they can’t pay back, the press release said.

Participants in this online training Wednesday evening will discuss ways that New York’s families and communities can protect themselves against evictions through organized defense efforts and blockades. They will also highlight the need for a universal eviction moratorium in New York that protects all tenants through the end of 2020, and the cancellation of mounting rent debt.

Recent eviction moratoriums in New York wrongfully excluded tenants who are undocumented residents and gig workers paid in cash. At the same time, the so-called Tenant Safe Harbor Act leaves tenants drowning in debt and forces them to prove financial hardship caused by COVID-19 – something that’s often impossible for gig workers and others in New York’s cash economy to do, the press release said.

The training will be held over Zoom on Wednesday, July 15, at 7 p.m.

To register for the Zoom call, please click here.