Queens Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 20, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Vallone Celebrates Creation of Center for Older Workforce Development

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Councilmember Paul A. Vallone, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development and a member of the Council’s Aging Committee (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone), celebrated the passage on Thursday of a package of five bills he co-sponsored which will together create a Center for Older Workforce Development, prevent and address age discrimination in the workplace and help develop the older adult workforce. 

“It is unacceptable that our older New Yorkers continue to face discrimination and harassment at all stages of employment due to age discrimination, which persists as one of the most prevalent forms of discrimination in the American workplace,” said Vallone.

In a recent national survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) of adults older than 45, 61 percent of respondents indicated that they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and 38 percent of these respondents indicated that such discrimination is “very common.” In the last 15 years, the number of older New Yorkers in the workforce has steadily increased and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, age discrimination has only worsened for older Americans, who have reported targeted layoffs in recent months.

Miller Holds Hearing on Workplace Safety

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Councilmember I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor (D-Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, and Springfield Gardens), and members of the committee will be holding a hearing on Friday.

The hearing will include an oversight hearing on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two bills will also be introduced. One would create an informational campaign concerning workers’ rights under the earned safe and sick time act. The other would establish a board to review workplace health and safety guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information see the agenda for the hearing. 

The remote hearing will take place on Friday, November 20 at 10 a.m. in Virtual Room 2.

Sanders Hosts ‘Community Chit Chat’ on the ‘Digital Divide’

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Senator James Sanders Jr.’s (D-Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) office is hosting a digital event on Saturday about the “digital divide,” an issue more relevant now that schools have closed again. 

The first of many ‘Community Chit Chat’s,’ the community will be able to engage in dialogue with elected officials, community leaders, and educators as we discuss how the “digital divide” and COVID-19 are impacting the community. This week’s special guest will be City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), a long time proponent for digital equity in NYC. The discussion will explore policy, challenges and potential solutions that can help bridge the gap. 

The event is co-sponsored by City Councilmember and Queens Borough President-Elect Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens).

It will be livestreamed on Saturday, November 21 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sanders’ Facebook page. 

AG James Warns of Rising Threat of ‘Revenge Porn’

State Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James issued an alert on Wednesday to warn New Yorkers about potential invasions of privacy while they are engaged in intimate online or mobile conversations with their partners. 

As New Yorkers practice social distancing in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis, an increased number of individuals are engaging in intimate conversations with distanced partners with webcams and video chat apps, or are meeting new partners online and dating virtually. Unfortunately, some users have chosen to take screenshots or recordings of their partners without their knowledge or consent and are then threatening disclosure of these intimate images — an act commonly referred to as “revenge porn” — sometimes even forcing partners to comply with certain demands.

“Revenge porn is a vicious form of humiliation and control that disproportionately affects women, and we will continue to fight this cruel form of degradation in New York state,” said James. “As New Yorkers continue to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic, we urge all who are sharing intimate and private pictures to follow these tips to protect themselves. We also warn anyone thinking of sharing revenge porn and exploiting their partners to think twice, as we will work with local law enforcement to prosecute all individuals engaging in the illegal act to the fullest extent of the law.”

Revenge porn was already a widespread problem prior to COVID-19, but recent reports suggest the abuse has increased dramatically as the pandemic has increased the amount of time people spend on social media sites and has led people to use technology more often to communicate. Such reports note that abuses overwhelmingly affect women, who make up 90 percent of revenge porn victims