Queens Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 9, 2021

Queens County City Council News

Addabbo Introduces Legislation to Address Local Issues

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. introduced several bills for the 2021 Legislative Session, whose origins were based upon issues of importance to his constituents throughout the district.

“Although I was looking forward to getting back to the Capitol in January, we continue to conduct most of our legislative business remotely from our district,” stated Addabbo. “Despite this new manner in which we currently conduct our legislative business, I am pleased it did not delay my ability to introduce legislation aimed at improving the lives of individuals and families, as well as providing support for businesses, within my district.”

Addabbo sponsored bills addressing important district issues to include:

●     S.1035 – Prohibits hospitals from disallowing individuals with disabilities from having an essential support person accompany the patient for the duration of their hospitalization;

●     S.2112 – Disqualifies a vote cast for a candidate who has voluntarily withdrawn from consideration before the election, but whose name still appears on the ballot, thus allowing the voter to recast their vote;

●     S.2205 – Seeks to permanently extend protection of Jamaica Bay from contaminants. This will strengthen the quality Jamaica Bay waters making it safer for current and all future generations;

●     S.2206 – Requires adequate and appropriate advanced community notification for the placement of permanent homeless shelters; to provide transparency and notification to local communities for the utilization of hotels to shelter homeless individuals;

●     S.2207 – To reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among children from drowning by requiring instruction in water safety for public school students, grades kindergarten through twelve;

●     S.2488 – To alleviate the lack of parking spaces for local businesses;

●     S.2490 – Ensures waste that is transferred by rail is properly contained and covered, to prevent odors, along with leakage and spillage along the tracks;

●     S.2817 – Makes the opportunity to receive basic utility service, clean air, and clean water a civil right. Ensures residents can access service from gas and electric utilities that may have a monopoly on service in any given community;

●     S.2818 – Informs customers of NYS hotels and motels that the establishment is in agreement with Municipality, County or the State of New York that this establishment is contracted to house homeless individuals and families;

●     S.373 – Provides that any local government using hotels, motels or similar sites for homeless housing provide a website listing those entities, along with the amount being paid by the city and duration of their contract;

●     S.2921 – Enacts the Residential Structure Fire Prevention Act of 2021. Provides a tax credit to homeowners who repair cockloft fire hazards in their homes;

●     S.3456 – The bill provides for a priority system for use in connection with emergency disconnections of utilities during a response to such emergency;

●     S.3834 – To require the written notification to a school district 14 days before the commencement of a construction project that may disrupt the safety of individuals around the school;

●     S.6731 – To create a task force to study backup energy in the state of NY, in cases where the energy provider is unable or unwilling to provide such service;

Schumer, AOC: FEMA to Pay Funeral Costs for COVID-Hit Families

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez formally announced on Monday that, following their successful effort to include it in recent COVID relief legislation, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will help pay for the funeral and burial of COVID-hit families that cannot afford it via a $2 billion national pot of disaster funds.

Schumer and Ocasio-Cortez said this marks real progress in their larger disaster declaration support efforts, but that New York families will have to apply for these dollars when available, and that these families can prepare now.

“Families across New York are already paying the ultimate price with the tragic loss of their loved ones to the coronavirus,” said Schumer. “For families, the unspeakable loss of a loved one is being exacerbated by the substantial costs of funerals and burials that many cannot afford right now. This historic use of FEMA’s funeral assistance program helps ensure those grappling with this crisis are not also saddled with the financial burden of exorbitant funeral costs.”

“Millions of people across the country and thousands of New Yorkers have lost loved ones due to the pandemic and adding significantly to the emotional and financial burdens they were already dealing with. In the complete lack of adequate federal support, the least we could push for was for financial assistance to families burying their loved ones during this pandemic. After fighting for this relief all year, New Yorkers can now give their loved one a proper burial without going into debt,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

The senator and the congresswoman made a push to get the word out about the new funds and explained how families will be able to access them via a FEMA rollout that will begin soon.

Schumer and Ocasio-Cortez explained that their respective offices stand at the ready to help families navigate and secure this new benefit, and they want to get the word out that this federal relief is now a reality amid this crisis and will soon be open for application.

Moya Hosts Rezoning Hearing

City Councilmember Francisco Moya .

City Councilmember Francisco Moya, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, and the rest of the committee are holding a hearing on Tuesday. 

The hearing will discuss rezoning applications throughout the city, including a few in Queens. 

For more information, see the agenda for details.

The remote hearing will take place on Tuesday, February 9 at 10 a.m. in  Virtual Room 1.

Meng Introduces Bipartisan Divided Families Reunification Act 

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, the new Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and U.S. Rep. Van Taylor (R-Texas) introduced the bipartisan Divided Families Reunification Act that seeks to help Korean American families reunite with their loved ones in North Korea.

Since 1985, 21 family reunions have been held between North and South Korea. But Korean Americans who may have family members in North Korea have not been able to participate.

The legislation urges the U.S. Secretary of State to consult with his or her South Korean counterpart to identify opportunities for Korean Americans to participate in future reunions, including by video. It also encourages the Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights Issues to work with the Korean American community to identify those same opportunities.

“There are nearly two million people of Korean descent in the U.S including many in my district in Queens, New York,” said Meng. “I have had the honor to meet some of the divided Korean American family members, and it breaks my heart that their chance of a reunion with their loved ones grows less likely each day. Many of them are in their 70s-90s, and time is of the essence to be reunited with their families. We have the technology and resources to make this happen – we just need the leadership to see this through.”