Queens Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 3, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Addabbo to Co-Sponsor Veterans Hearing Support Virtual Symposium

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

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) a member of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, will co-sponsor the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings’ (OATH) Third Citywide Symposium for Veterans Hearing Support (VHS) this November. 

Due to COVID-19, this year’s symposium will be held virtually.

“Oftentimes our veterans have trouble navigating governmental systems when they return home. We hope to provide veterans with valuable information and hopefully ease this process if a veteran receives a summons or ticket. As I like to say, every day is Veterans Day, and I hope to see many veterans participate in the virtual seminar,” Addabbo said. 

One week after Veterans Day, the OATH VHS symposium will provide NYC military veterans with important information about what to do when they get a summons or ticket issued by a city enforcement agency for an alleged violation, as well as provide veterans with valuable information on how to navigate the administrative law process and get access to resources and assistance when they contest a summons or a ticket.

The event is scheduled to take place in a webinar platform on Wednesday, November 18 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Webex.

For more information on how to join the meeting and RSVP your spot, please call Addabbo’s office at 718-738-1111.

Stringer Calls on City to Close Digital Divide

Comptroller Scott Stringer

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer (D) sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza calling on the city to provide all New York City students with the internet access they need to participate in remote learning and realize their right to a free and public education amid today’s COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

Stringer urged immediate action to solve the city’s digital divide that leaves over 100,000 students who live in approximately 40,000 households without internet and 77,000 students lacking Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

Students have been struggling to learn remotely since the outset of the pandemic; many have been forced to go to extreme ends to obtain internet service, including huddling on street corners around LinkNYC stations for free Wi-Fi, searching for other weak connections in their general vicinity, or worse still, not logging into remote learning at all.

Stringer outlined solutions to these challenges, recommending that the city immediately convene all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and carriers operating in the five boroughs to discuss all possible options to quickly provide affordable and reliable internet service to every student in the city who lacks a high-speed broadband connection. The comptroller also proposed that the city offer subsidized and redeemable “Internet Passports” for low-income families to purchase broadband service from any ISP in their area.

The comptroller also called on the city to release updated information about the city’s efforts to identify the exact number and location of all students lacking a high-speed internet connection at their home or shelter; offer details on any plans to provide affordable, reliable internet service for every student in need; and provide transparent data on the DOE’s responsiveness to help desk calls.

The full letter is available below and here.

Schumer, Gillibrand Call for Federal Funds for Public Health Programs

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) joined colleagues in pressing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that millions of dollars in federal funding for critical public health programs will not be withheld in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have threatened to withhold the funding as part of an illegitimate Trump order to punish Americans in New York City, Seattle, Portland, and Washington, D.C., they said.

To ensure that critical funding for public health essential programs is delivered, the senators requested that HHS respond to the letter with a copy of the compiled report of federal grants, funding awards, and health programs from all agencies the Department oversees; an explanation for how the Department plans to implement President Trump’s directives regarding punishing New York City, Seattle, Portland, and Washington, D.C.; and an explanation to whether President Trump’s directives will influence the granting or withholding of coronavirus relief funds.

“President Trump continues to vindictively target New York and goes out of his way to make illicit and irresponsible retaliatory threats that endangers our communities’ access to healthcare in the middle of a pandemic,” said Schumer. “In the midst of the current public health crisis and an increase in COVID-19 cases, President Trump is dangerously proposing cuts to public health programs for the most vulnerable populations. This includes cuts to HIV treatment, addiction and recovery services, nutrition and mental health services for the elderly, hospital preparedness, care for COVID-19 patients and more. These programs are vital to the health and safety our of communities and I will do everything I can to stop these cruel cuts. The president must stop playing these reckless games that put lives at risk.”

“I am extremely concerned about recent reports that President Trump is looking into cutting essential public health programs we need to combat this pandemic in New York City,” said Gillibrand. “As New Yorkers work to safely rebuild our city and our country, the Trump administration must immediately cease these arbitrary and counterproductive attacks.”  

Schumer and Gillibrand recently pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requesting information about the agency’s implementation of a White House memorandum ordering federal agencies to withhold funds from cities that President Trump falsely and absurdly claimed are being run by “anarchists.” The senators have yet to receive an initial response from the EPA.
Read the senators’ letter here.

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