Queens Lawmakers on the Move September 23, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Constantinides Climate Bill Discussed in Council

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Councilmember Costa Constantinides’s (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) climate bill was discussed Tuesday at the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection.

The committee heard overwhelmingly favorable testimony on Intro. 1947, a proposed amendment to Local Law 97 that will mandate ambitious carbon reductions from rent-regulated housing. 

“Today, we followed through on a promise to clean up dirty buildings without the costs being unfairly passed onto renters,” said Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection and the bill’s prime sponsor. “Intro. 1947 will guarantee rent-regulated tenants won’t be forced to breathe in toxins while richer neighborhoods improve their air quality. I want to thank the wide coalition of supporters for their constructive testimony today.”

The hearing was part of the Committee’s Reclaim Our Health, Restore Our Environment initiative this Climate Week. Efforts undertaken by the Committee this week look to address the public health and economic crises brought about by both COVID-19 and climate change. The legislation heard will help significantly reduce pollution from the City’s largest emitters: large buildings. 

Gianaris Pushes to Allow Comedy Clubs to Open 

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) joined with New York’s comedy club owners and comedians to call on the state to allow comedy clubs to safely open. 

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo refused to allow these venues to reopen, despite many having outdoor spaces similar to restaurants that are currently operating. 

“I challenge anyone to explain why comedy clubs would be less safe to operate than restaurants or bowling alleys. There is no good reason to keep them closed when these other establishments are open — all that does is further hurt our economic recovery.” said Gianaris.

Gianaris and the club owners are asking the state for the following:

Allow outdoor performances to happen immediately. Allow clubs to be included with restaurants at 25% occupancy for indoor service. Allow venues to be included with indoor bowling at 50% occupancy without food & beverage service immediately. Explain the metrics clearly. 

Grodenchik Holds Events for Seniors

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik

City Councilmember Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village) sponsored an online health and wellness program with the SNAP Senior Center and an online dance therapy class with the JASA Holliswood Senior Center that drew a record number of seniors.

Both events were part of Senior Appreciation Month, during which elected officials from across Queens organize a series of events for local seniors.

“I’m not surprised,” said Grodenchik, who partnered with SNAP and JASA to sponsor the events and is helping to roll out others during Senior Appreciation Month. “Our seniors have been stuck inside because of the pandemic. I am delighted that folks were able to enjoy physical activities, which enrich minds, bodies, and souls.”

Attendance at SNAP’s zoom classes for seniors, which included cardio exercise, chair yoga, Zumba and Tai Chi, averaged 35 people per class, up from 25, said the center’s program director Nina Bhola.