Queens Lawmakers on the Move October 28, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Meng, Gillibrand Condemn Barrett’s Supreme Court Confirmation

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) on Monday night were amongst a group of lawmakers from Queens decrying Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court by the Senate.

“Judge Barrett’s rise to the Supreme Court stands to shape our nation in unforeseen ways, especially on issues such as health care and reproductive rights. Instead of waiting for the upcoming election to pass, Senate Republicans rushed President Trump’s candidate through, and she will have an enormous impact on working families,” said Meng. “The Affordable Care Act expanded access to health care coverage to more than 20 million people and has protected approximately 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The rightward shift of the Court casts a dark shadow on health care and many other issues it will rule on. We have much work to do to protect people’s right to health care and women’s reproductive health.”

Gillibrand called the confirmation rushed. 

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation represents the efforts of the Republican Party to impose an ultra-conservative ideology on the American people, the majority of whom do not share their views. I voted against Judge Barrett’s nomination because her views on reproductive rights, health care, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, and civil rights are far out of the mainstream, and make her unfit to serve on the Supreme Court,” she said. “But in addition to her unacceptable legal views, the duplicitous and hypocritical manner of this rushed confirmation process demonstrates a flagrant disregard for American democracy. Under Senator McConnell’s leadership, our judiciary has been politicized beyond recognition and it will distort our legal system for years to come.”

Constantinides’s Committee Seeks Plan for Tracing COVID-19 in Sewage

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Councilmember Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside), chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, and the committee heard testimony on Monday on a pilot program to study wastewater for the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19 and another that would rein in a major source of sewage backups.

“COVID-19 will sadly remain a risk to New Yorkers for years to come, so we must employ every resource possible to find an outbreak before it happens,” said Constantinides. “The legislation we heard today will codify ongoing City efforts, so DEP staff has the resources it deserves to protect New Yorkers from another wave of COVID-19.”

The Committee today discussed Intro. 1966, which would create a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) pilot program to study wastewater for COVID-19 RNA. Done in consultation with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), this would help the City detect new waves of the virus before they spread too far.

Experts have found the strain, officially SARS-CoV-2, can appear in a person’s feces even before they are symptomatic. This has been an effective tool in tracing a cluster or new outbreak before it gets worse. Health officials, for instance, have called on Massachusetts leaders to ramp up containment measures after a Greater Boston treatment plant showed an uptick in traces of the virus. Several New York State high education facilities have relied on testing at its dorm facilities to catch outbreaks.

DEP began to test wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 in the spring in partnership with DOHMH and leading institutions across the country. Intro. 1966 will help solidify and expand those efforts, as the United States is now expected to feel the effects of COVID-19 well into 2022. It will also add a degree of built-in transparency by requiring the agencies to report the findings of wastewater testing in a timely manner.

Addabbo, Miller, Holden to Host E-Waste Recycling Event

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
City Council Member Bob Holden
Assemblymember Michael Miller (photo from Assemblymember Miller’s Twitter)

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways), Assemblymember Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale) and Councilmember Bob Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Woodside) are holding an electronics waste recycling event at Forest Park this month after having to postpone the event in October due to a rising number of COVID cases in the area.

“Since the suspension of e-waste pickup due to COVID-19, we have been receiving inquiries from residents saying they have old televisions, computers and other electronics they want to dispose,” said Miller. “I am happy that Senator Addabbo and I, and co-sponsor Councilman Robert Holden, are now able to provide this e-waste recycling event for our constituents. I want to thank Lower East Side Ecology Center for giving their time and providing their services and the Parks Department for their help in coordinating this event at the Forest Park.”

“It’s important to properly recycle old electronics that are no longer in use, but it can be hard for people to find a place to take them,” said Council Member Robert Holden.

In order to keep everyone safe, NYC Parks Department is requiring all participants to wear masks when in the parking lot, especially when interacting with a volunteer. Participants are asked to stay in their vehicles as much as possible, for the safety of the staff and volunteers. Please have all items in an easily accessible part of the car, such as the backseat or trunk, to allow a volunteer to safely remove them and bring them to the proper location.

If anyone wishes to exit their car, they must have their temperature taken and fill out a visitor health screening questionnaire — as per Parks Department requirements — indicating if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have been in close contact with someone who has contracted the virus in the previous 14 days. They will also have to provide their name, phone number and email address for contact tracing purposes if it is found that anyone with COVID was present at the event.

“I would like to thank Assemblyman Mike Miller for his continued partnership, Councilman Holden for coming on board and helping to bring this great event to the people, and Lower East Side Ecology Center for being able to help our constituents recycle their unwanted electronics,” Addabbo said.

The recycling event will take place on Sunday, November 15 at the Forest Park Bandshell Parking Lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.