Queens Lawmakers on the Move July 23, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris Announces Passing of Automatic Voter Registration Bill

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) announced the State Senate passed the New York Automatic Voter Registration Act (S.8806) by a vote of 40 to 20. 

The legislation will automatically register eligible New Yorkers to vote upon interactions with various state and local agencies.

“While national efforts to establish more roadblocks to voting increase, it is critical we make it as easy as possible for all New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote. With approximately 2 million eligible voters not currently on the rolls, automatic registration will make a huge difference in increasing our state’s voter participation,” Gianaris said. 

Gianaris has been a longtime advocate of voting reform, the release said.

Sanders Hosts Event About Black-Owned Banks

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) will be hosting “How to Create a Black-Owned Financial Institution,” a virtual event featuring a variety of speakers representing financial associations from New York State and nationally. 

The special guest is Linda Lacewell, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Black-owned banks offer an alternative for residents, who have been consistently discriminated against by other financial institutions. They have typically provided more money to borrowers living in low- and moderate-income (LMI) census tracts in the last 14 years than other banks. Black-owned banks are also more willing to tolerate higher levels of risk than alternative institutions. In 2016, 67% of mortgages made by Black-owned banks were either FHA mortgages—which typically serve riskier borrowers—or mortgages held “in portfolio,” meaning they are liable to the risk of the borrower defaulting.

The event will be held from 12 to 2 p.m. on July 24. Please RSVP on Eventbrite.

Meng Votes ‘No’ on 2021 Defense Spending Bill 

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D- Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, and Rego Park) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the annual defense spending bill that authorizes the Pentagon’s policies and programs: 

“I take oversight of our national security very seriously. Each year, Congress has an opportunity to review the Defense Department’s budget, priorities, and policies by passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I do not believe that the bill we voted on yesterday goes far enough to important priorities that strengthen our national security. Instead, our national security depends on a military that reflects the demographics of the American people and a Congress that conducts aggressive oversight over the inflated budget of the Pentagon. While this debate is important and warranted, our country continues to struggle to contain COVID-19. Because of this crisis, people have lost their jobs and lack the financial resources to buy food and pay rent. This is tragic and these issues must be addressed urgently.

The bill on the floor yesterday sets an unsustainable and irresponsible annual budget for the Pentagon and does not address financial waste, fails to protect transgender members of our military who bravely fight for our country, fails to amend or repeal the outdated and abused Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, and fails to provide funding to fully remediate PFAS/PFOA sites. Because this NDAA fell short on so many fronts, I voted no.”

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