Queens Lawmakers on the Move Jan. 27, 2021

Queens County City Council News

Koo Holds Hearing on Community Gardens, Agriculture

City Council Member Peter Koo/via Facebook

Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation City Councilmember Peter A. Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill) and the rest of the committee are holding a hearing on Wednesday. 

The hearing will be about a report on community garden food processing and agriculture. For more information, see the agenda.

The virtual hearing will be held on Wednesday, January 27 at 1 p.m. in Virtual Room 2.

Miller Holds Hearing on Concerns of Public Workers

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

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

The hearing will address the ongoing concerns of the city’s public workforce. While others were afforded the privilege of working remotely, the city’s dedicated workforce was made to risk their lives and that of their families’ throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, seamlessly delivering services despite these challenges. Wednesday’s hearing will serve as a platform to elevate ongoing safety concerns and address issues of equity in terms of compensation, access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and support for communities of color most impacted by the pandemic, where a majority of the city’s workforce resides.

The hearing will feature  representatives from DC37 Locals 371 and 372, Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 1056 and 726, FDNY EMS Locals 2507 and 3621, CWA Local 1180, SEIU 32BJ, and RWDSU.

For more information, see the agenda. 

The virtual hearing will take place on Wednesday, January 27 at 10 a.m. in Virtual Room 3.

Meng Lauds Biden for Memorandum Combatting Anti-Asian Hate

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) on Tuesday commended President Joe Biden for signing a presidential memorandum to address the anti-Asian sentiment that has spiked since the outbreak of the coronavirus, as well as actions to promote racial equity in COVID-19 response.

The memorandum takes action to combat this xenophobia against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). It directs the Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, to consider issuing guidance describing best practices to advance cultural competency, language access, and sensitivity towards AAPIs in the federal government’s COVID-19 response. It also directs the Department of Justice to partner with AAPI communities to prevent hate crimes and harassment against AAPIs.

The presidential memorandum includes several pieces of legislation that Meng has sponsored including:

“I applaud President Biden for joining me and the Asian American community in standing against the disgusting racism that has been directed against Asian Americans,” said Meng. “I recently raised the issue of anti-Asian bigotry with President Biden and I thank him for swiftly moving forward to condemn and combat it.

The President’s actions are needed and welcome, and the directives in his presidential memorandum will go a long way towards protecting Asian Americans who for the past year have been forced to endure racial inequities due to the coronavirus crisis. It is critical to see the leader of our nation address this xenophobia and prejudice, and I am proud that he is doing so by including various legislation that I have also championed relating to the racial inequities and health disparities.

Since early last year, even before the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in my state of New York, I have repeatedly advised the public and other elected officials to not blame the Asian American community for the spread of COVID-19. I fought tirelessly for months to pass my resolution. I also spoke out relentlessly and forcefully against the discrimination and violence we have seen across the country, bringing these concerns to the federal level, and denouncing in particular the rhetoric spewed by Donald Trump, GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and others who used terms such as ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan Virus’ and ‘Kung Flu’ that have further stoked and fueled attacks and acts of hate. I was proud to lead this effort with our now-Vice President Kamala Harris. I also saw the immediate need, and thereby, introduced multiple legislation addressing the increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans, plus the inequities of language access and cultural sensitivities. After all, no one should be denied access to COVID-19 response and care because of their ethnicity or language proficiency.

I called on President Biden to use his executive authorities to address these injustices. I am pleased that my actions and initiatives helped lead to this memorandum, especially within the first full week of President Biden taking office. Unlike the previous administration, President Biden understands the needs and concerns of the Asian American community. In signing his memorandum, the President said loud and clear that this intolerance against Asian Americans has no place anywhere in our country, and it underscores his commitment to lifting up and empowering those of Asian descent and tackling issues that have disproportionally impacted the Asian American community, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

I look forward to continuing to work with President Biden to combat the increase in anti-Asian sentiment, and ensure that the crucial initiatives he laid out today are implemented, and benefit the Asian American community during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sanders Hosts Panel on Stock Transfer Tax 

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) is holding a panel on Wednesday about the Stock Transfer Tax.

Sanders introduced legislation along with Assemblymember Phil Steck that would shave fractions of a penny from each stock sold (money that the state already collects, but refunds back to Wall Streeters) and use that money to repair the huge deficit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Stock Transfer Tax is becoming increasingly more popular, he said, among legislators and union leaders as the best way to help those communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the best long term fix for the State of New York’s crumbling infrastructure.

The panel will feature Sanders John Samuelsen, MTA board member and President of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), Gloria Middleton, President of CWA 1180, and Mark Henry, President of ATU Local 1056 for an important discussion on the Stock Transfer Tax.

The discussion will be moderated by Jim Henry, Global Justice Fellow at Yale University with opening remarks from Vincent Alvarez, President of the NYC Central Labor Council. The event is sponsored by the Metro New York Labor Communications Council.

The virtual panel will take place on Wednesday, January 27 at 10 a.m. on Zoom.