Queens Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 29, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris Passes Tenant, Homeowner Protection Legislation

Senator Michael Gianaris

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) and the State Senate passed the Covid-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act (S.9114), the strongest bill in the nation to block eviction and foreclosure proceedings and ensure renters and homeowners facing hardships due to the pandemic can stay in their homes.

“There has not been nearly enough done to prevent a full-blown housing crisis from erupting as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. This moratorium is a good step to ensure New Yorkers don’t get thrown out of their homes at a time when we’re asking people to stay in their homes. We must do even more to provide real relief in the months ahead,” said Gianaris.

Under this new bill, any pending eviction proceedings, or any commenced within 30 days of the effective date of this legislation, will be stayed for at least 60 days to give tenants an opportunity to submit a simple hardship declaration that would prevent eviction. This implements a two-month moratorium to ensure New Yorkers are able to take advantage of this legislation and the protections it provides. A similar prohibition on foreclosures would also be enacted. 

Click here view Senator Gianaris’ floor speech on the legislation.

Sanders Lauds Passing of Eviction Moratorium

State Senator James Sanders Jr. Photo from nysenate.gov

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D–Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) released a statement on Monday praising the passing of the eviction moratorium:

“Today the New York Senate passed the strongest eviction moratorium in the nation. I am pleased to join my colleagues in the Senate today to pass immediate relief to the homeowners and renters that have been devastated by this pandemic and failing economy. New York State will never be able to attain long-term recovery unless we ensure housing security. It is unconscionable that during this holiday season so many New Yorkers have been living in fear that they will lose their home.  Immediate relief to assist our citizens has been and will continue to be a top priority.”

BP Richards, DA Katz Host Kwanzaa Celebration

City Council Member Donovan Richards
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and District Attorney Melinda Katz are hosting a virtual Kwanzaa celebration on Tuesday with the African American Heritage Committee. 

The celebration will be livestreamed online at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 29. 

To RVSP, go to www.queensbp.org/rsvp 

To watch the livestream go to the Queens Borough President’s website.

AG James Issues Coronavirus Vaccine Scams Alert 

State Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James issued an alert on Monday to warn New Yorkers about potential scams offering early access to a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine.

While New York has begun the process of vaccinating nursing home residents, nursing home staff who regularly interact with patients, and high-risk medical workers, the vaccine will not become widely available to the general public in New York for several more months. 

Consistent with federal guidelines, New York plans to offer vaccines next to long-term care residents and staff and other healthcare workers, then to certain essential workers, and finally to members of the general population, beginning with the people at highest risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms (such as those over 65 years old or with underlying health conditions like cancer or heart disease). New York has not yet announced a definitive timeline for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine to any of these later groups.

“We must remain vigilant about potential scams and ensure New Yorkers know the latest information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, there is no government-authorized vaccine available to the general population in New York,” said James. 

“Throughout this pandemic, scammers have found ways to victimize the public, with the vaccine distribution process being their latest method for fraud. My office remains committed to rooting out COVID-19 scams, and I encourage the public to report suspected illegal activity to my office.” 

The Office of Attorney General (OAG) continues to warn New Yorkers of anyone who calls, e-mails, or texts individuals offering access to a COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, some individuals may seek to use online platforms with similar schemes. Scammers may impersonate public health officials from organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). They may also offer to ship a COVID-19 vaccine directly to homes, provide special access to vaccines or clinical trials, or sell special cold storage device for vaccines. 

The OAG continues to surveil and monitor the state for potential scams designed to exploit public concern related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scammers commonly exploit real public health concerns and use heightened public fear to prey on consumers and profit from frauds related to those health fears. If a consumer believes they have been the victim of an unlawful activity, they can report these incidents to the OAG