Queens Lawmakers on the Move August 21, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris Bill Giving Extra Day for Absentee Ballots Signed into Law

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced Thursday that his legislation (S. 8799-a) has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo

Gianaris’ bill allows absentee ballots missing postmarks to be counted if received by the Board of Elections up to the day after Election Day. Previously, absentee ballots would be rejected if received after Election Day. Many votes were invalidated for this reason during the recent primary election. 

“It’s critical we learn the lessons of the primary election and ensure every valid vote counts in November. The bill being signed today will help insulate voters from problems caused by difficulties with the US Postal Service,” Gianaris said.

Gianaris’ legislation is part of a host of measures passed by the Senate Democratic Majority to make voting easier and safer during the COVID-19 pandemic, including allowing all New Yorkers to vote by mail using an absentee ballot. 

Schumer Pushes to Support Indie Music Venues

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, standing with local music artists and independent venue owners  on Tuesday and warning that independent music venues throughout New York City and the state face an uncertain future without dedicated federal assistance, pushed to provide vital support for independent live music venues through the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258). 

“Independent venues, like theaters and concert halls, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force in the economy. These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to reopen,” said Schumer. “That’s why it’s so important to provide dedicated federal assistance to independent venues so when it is safe, we can gather again for music, comedy, theater and other live performances in venues that have been around for generations.”

Schumer, a cosponsor of the legislation, said that 90% of independent venues report that they will have to close permanently without federal funding, according to a survey of National Independent Venue Association members. The bipartisan Save Our Stages Act is crucial to saving independent venues, like concert halls, theaters, and other places of entertainment including Broadway, which generate economic activity within communities and are the lifeblood of New York, he said. The Senate needs to act in an immediate way if independent venues are going to stay afloat and reopen when it is safe to do so and he will fight to include federal assistance for independent venues in any upcoming coronavirus relief legislation.

Sanders Hosts Back to School Panel

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. is hosting an education panel titled, “Back to School.” 

The panel will address one of the most vital and pressing questions in the midst of the COVID -19 pandemic: Is it safe to open schools in September and how can we continue to educate our children and keep everyone safe and healthy at the same time? Navigating these challenges will be no easy task for school administrators, teachers, parents or students. The event will be a detailed discussion about the reopening of schools in Southeast Queens.

The panel will be held on Wednesday, August 26 at 3 p.m. and will be livestreamed on Sanders’s Facebook page. 

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