Queens Lawmakers on the Move Jan. 8, 2021

Queens County City Council News

BP Richards Hosts Haitian Independence Day Event

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards is hosting a virtual celebration next week in honor of the 217th anniversary of Haiti’s Independence Day.

The celebration will be co-hosted with the Haiti Independence Coordinating Committee. 

It will take place on Wednesday, January 13 from 7-8 p.m.

RSVP online by Tuesday, January 12 at www.queensbp.org/RSVP

Watch the livestream at www.queensbp.org

Sanders to Host PPE Giveaway and COVID Testing

State Senator James Sanders Jr. Photo from nysenate.gov

State Senator James Sanders Jr. will be giving away free masks and hand sanitizer (while supplies last) and offering free on-site coronavirus testing in Richmond Hill on Saturday. 

This is part of Sanders’ continuing efforts to combat the pandemic in his district.

The event is being co-sponsored by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, District Leader Richard David, and Test & Trace Corps I Health & Hospitals, in partnership with the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council, and the Richmond Hill / South Ozone Park Lions Club.

The giveaway and testing event will take place on Saturday, January 9 from noon to 3 p.m at the RH Triangle located at 133rd Street and Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill.

Gianaris Builds Momentum for New York Hero Act

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Karines Reyes announced on Thursday that the New York HERO Act (S.1034), a bill requiring businesses to have enforceable safety standards to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, has 15 co-sponsors across the Senate and Assembly. 

The state legislature began their annual session this week.

“Too many workers have already sacrificed their health for our community’s benefit. The New York HERO Act will honor their efforts by giving workers the tools to protect themselves while on the job. I appreciate the support for this proposal from my colleagues in both houses,” said Gianaris.

The NY HERO Act, or the New York Health and Essential Rights Act, would require the Departments of Labor and Health to implement enforceable minimum standards for workplace safety. The regulations must include protocols on testing, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls. Employers would be permitted to establish individual regulations for their businesses that exceed state requirements.

Workers would also be given a direct role in monitoring and reporting violations through workplace health and safety committees that would be empowered to raise complaints and report violations. The bill would protect employees from retaliation for utilizing their rights under the law.

The NY HERO Act is supported by more than 100 labor, community, and safety organizations.

Senate co-sponsors from Queens include Senate Labor Committee Chair Jessica Ramos and Senator James Sanders Jr.

Queens State Assemblymember Nily Rozic is a co-sponsor in the Assembly. 

A video of Thursday’s press conference is available here.

De Blasio Launches Mentorship Programs for Businesses

Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris on Thursday announced three new mentorship programs, ‘Small Business Mentors NYC,’ ‘BE NYC Mentors,’ and ‘M/WBE Mentors,’ which will provide industry experts as guides for current and aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to start and grow a business in a post-COVID era. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every small business in our city – but our Black entrepreneurs and Minority and Women-Owned Businesses have been hit especially hard,” said de Blasio. “These businesses will be the beating heart of our economic recovery, and New York City is committed to giving them the guidance and advice they need to succeed in this pandemic and beyond.”

These programs are expected to serve 1,500 businesses in 2021. SBS’ first mentorship program, WE Connect Mentors, has engaged women mentors to work with over 1,700 women entrepreneurs since 2019.

Small Business Mentors NYC is a mentorship program for existing storefront business owners in underrepresented communities seeking to grow their businesses. The program, introduced by the Mayor’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, will provide these businesses with specialized guidance and professional networks. The City has worked with 14 entrepreneurs who have successfully pivoted their businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, and who will mentor storefront business owners in New York City. 

BE NYC Mentors is New York City’s inaugural business mentorship program for Black entrepreneurs in the pre-startup and early stages of operating their business. The program aims to increase the number of new Black-owned businesses in high-growth industries, with a programmatic focus on pre-startup and newly formed businesses.  

M/WBE Mentors is the first peer mentorship program for NYC’s certified Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). The program will help M/WBEs to further build their professional networks and expand their access to resources and contracting opportunities. The following entrepreneurs have successfully led their businesses through the pandemic, and will mentor certified M/WBEs to introduce them to government contracting and expand their businesses:

You can now sign-up for ‘BE NYC Mentors’ and ‘Small Business Mentors NYC’ upcoming sessions. M/WBE Mentors will host their first kickoff event in January. For more information on each mentorship program visit nyc.gov/businessmentors.