Queens Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 30, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Rozic, Rosenthal Hold Ranked Choice Voting Seminar

Assembly Member Nily Rozic
Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal

Assemblymember Nily Rozic (D-Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, Douglaston) and Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Kew Gardens, Pomonok, Electchester, College Point and parts of Whitestone, Richmond Hill, Briarwood and Forest Hills) are partnering with Common Cause to host a Ranked Choice Voting Seminar this week. 

Ranked Choice Voting will begin in New York City in 2021 with the Special Election for the 24th Council District on February 2. Rozic and Rosenthal will be joined by Common Cause Director Susan Lerner to provide voters with a breakdown of how ranked choice voting works and what to expect on Election Day. 

“New York is making strides in implementing voting reforms, but with that comes the need to educate and inform voters. With the February special election around the corner, teaming up with Common Cause and Assemblyman Rosenthal will provide voters with the knowledge needed for a successful first run of ranked choice voting in NYC,” said Rozic.

“In the wake of our recent election, it is evident that New Yorkers deserve more from our voting system. As we stand poised to implement the state’s first ranked-choice voting program, it is vitally important to ensure that our communities are informed and well positioned to exercise their rights,” said Rosenthal.

The seminar will be held on Thursday, December 3 at 5:30 p.m. Those interested can RSVP by emailing RozicN@nyassembly.gov.

De Blasio, Carranza Announce Plan to Return to In-Person Learning

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced on Sunday a plan to safely reopen New York City school buildings for in-person instruction with more rigorous testing protocols in place. 

Students in 3-K and Pre-K programs, as well as those in grade k through grade 5 who have opted for in-person learning will return to school buildings on Monday, December 7, and schools serving students with the most significant disabilities, known as District 75, will return on December 10th. Middle and High Schools will remain remote for the time being.

“Reopening our buildings is paramount to our city’s recovery from COVID-19,” said de Blasio. “That’s why we are doubling down on the safety and health measures that work to make in-person learning a reality for so many of our students.”

“Getting our kids back in school buildings is one of the single most important things we can do for their wellbeing, and it’s so important that we do it right,” said Carranza. “The unparalleled value of in-person learning for students has been evident in the first few months of school, and we will do everything we can to keep our schools safe and keep them open for the duration of this pandemic.”

By the time students return to buildings on December 7th, a consent form for testing will be required for all students and staff, and every school will participate in weekly random testing for 20 percent of their in-person population. Parents can fill out the consent form online using a New York City Schools Account (NYCSA) at mystudent.nyc or print and sign the form and bring it to school on their first day back to buildings. 

AG James Finds That Pro Fundraisers Pocketed Nearly $365 Million 

State Attorney General Letitia James

Attorney General Letitia James released the annual “Pennies for Charity: Fundraising by Professional Fundraisers” report on Friday in preparation for Giving Tuesday and the holiday season which found that nearly one-third of charitable donations ended up in the pockets of professional fundraisers. 

This year’s report looks at trends in fundraising, such as the rise of online giving, as well as the percentage of funds raised that went to charities.

“Every year, New Yorkers give generously to charity. Unfortunately, not all the money they donate reaches the charities they intend to help,” said James. “Today’s report highlights the high percentage of charitable dollars that are pocketed by outside fundraisers rather than reaching the charity itself. My office will continue to combat charity fraud, and I encourage all New Yorkers to follow our tips to ensure that their money is going to a reputable source this holiday season.”

New York has a robust charitable sector, supported by generous giving by New Yorkers. In 2019, more than $1.2 billion was raised in New York state through 824 fundraising campaigns conducted by professional fundraisers on behalf of charities. These campaigns, which are the focus of the report, used a range of methods including special events, direct mail, and telemarketing. The report and the searchable Pennies for Charity database containing the underlying data is posted at www.CharitiesNYS.com

Of the more than $1.2 billion raised in 2019 through campaigns conducted by professional fundraisers, charities netted more than $918 million, or 72 percent of the proceeds, while professional fundraisers’ fees and expenses totaled $364 million, or 28 percent. This is in line with an overall improvement in amounts retained by charities, which the report attributes to a variety of factors including enforcement and donor education efforts by the Charities Bureau. 

This year’s report also analyzed current fundraising trends, such as the rise in online giving. Telemarketing, while continuing to decline as a fundraising method, remained among the costliest mechanisms, with 196 telemarketing campaigns by fundraisers retaining more than 50 percent of funds raised for charities.