NY Lawmakers on the Move March 8, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Addabbo Supports Plan To Create Spider-Man Statue in Forest Hills

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) yesterday threw his support behind Queens resident Larry Ng  organizing a community-led project to bring a life-size bronze statue of Spider-Man to MacDonald Park.

“For over 60 years in the comics, the fictional Peter Parker has lived in Forest Hills when he is not being Spider-Man and saving the citizens of New York City,” said Addabbo.

“To have his likeness right here in the town he calls home will be positive for the community — like the Captain America statue in Brooklyn — especially to the children of Forest Hills who can look at that work of art and hopefully it can inspire a new generation to do great things and become ‘superheroes’ in their lives. I appreciate that this idea has been brought forward, as well as the efforts of the volunteers and supporters of this project. I hope to see this project advance and have this wonderful vision become reality.”

Meng Applauds Passage of Honoring our PACT Act

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) yesterday applauded the House passage of the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2021 (H.R.3967), a bipartisan bill that includes the Congresswoman’s Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act, which she first introduced in 2017.  

“For too long, we have failed to live up to our promise to our servicemembers to care for them when they come home. With the passage of the Honoring our PACT Act, which included my bill, the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act, thousands of veterans will finally receive the much-needed care they deserve after being exposed to dangerous chemicals, nuclear waste, toxins and radiation,” said Meng. 

“Rep. Takai knew the importance of taking care of our veterans when they return home, especially those who served our nation with honor and distinction when they participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll that exposed them to dangerous toxins and radiation. We have a moral obligation to our toxic-exposed veterans,” she added.

The Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act, which was named after the late Congressman Mark Takai of Hawaii, designates veterans who participated in the nuclear cleanup of Enewetak Atoll on the Marshall Islands as “radiation-exposed veterans,” thus making them eligible to receive service-connected compensation benefits already given to other service members who were involved in the cleanup of active nuclear tests. 

The Honoring our PACT Act of 2021 additionally recognizes the full range of military toxic exposure. The bill creates presumptions for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers, such that they are assumed to have been caused by toxic substances. By shifting the burden of proof off our veterans, they will have access to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care related to burn pits and airborne hazards exposure. This necessary bill will provide healthcare for potentially as many as 3.5 million veterans exposed to airborne hazards and burn pits. The bill passed the House by a vote of 256-174, and now heads to the Senate.  

QBP Richards Launches Medical Supply Drive for Ukrainians in Need

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. yesterday launched a donation drive to collect medical supplies for those who remain in Ukraine under daily, deadly threat of bombardment and violence.

“In less than two weeks, Vladimir Putin’s vile and illegal invasion of Ukraine has already claimed thousands of lives and forced more than 1 million innocent families to flee their beloved homeland. Those who have remained in Ukraine are in desperate need of medical supplies, especially as the Russian government recklessly escalates its brutality against the local population,” said Richards. “The Queens Borough President’s Office is proud to do our part and help collect critically important medical supplies, and we encourage all Queens residents to consider donating in support of the proud and courageous Ukrainian people who have inspired us all.”

Starting yesterday, March 7, donations of first-aid kits, bandages, gauze, tourniquets and over-the-counter medications Aspirin, Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen will be accepted at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. 

Donations can be dropped off in a box located on the first floor of Borough Hall next to the security desk in the lobby, just inside the building’s main entrance on Queens Boulevard. The lobby is open 24 hours a day.

NY Congressional Delegation Back Tuition Assistance for Incarcerated New Yorkers

City Councilman Ritchie Torres
U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres

U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), with the backing of eight state Congressional members, yesterday pushed to restore the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for Incarcerated New Yorkers.

In addition to Rep. Torres, who wrote the letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul to restore the money for TAP in the budget were Congress Members Greg Meeks, Nydia Velazquez, Carolyn Maloney, Jamaal Bowman, Grace Meng, Hakeem Jeffries and Mondaire Jones. T

“Lifting the ban on TAP assistance for incarcerated New Yorkers will help them gain a second chance at remaking their lives and achieve higher education degrees that will open doors to good jobs. This will reduce recidivism, promote equity, and affirm our state’s commitment to racial justice,” said Torres.

The letter said: “We write as Members of the New York State Congressional delegation to express our support for lifting the ban on Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards for incarcerated individuals. Since its inception in 1974, TAP has been a lifeline for generations of New Yorkers of low- to middle-income backgrounds that pursue higher education degrees in our state.”

Ung Receives Update on Work at Flushing Library

City Council Member Sandra Ung

City Council Member Sandra Ung (D-Queens) recently received a firsthand look at a project to install a new elevator in the Flushing Library, as well as news that the library will reopen to the public in April.

Averaging approximately 6,000 visitors per day, one of the busiest library branches in the nation closed in March 2020 along with the rest of the city at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But when other library branches began to reopen, the Flushing Library remain closed due to issues with the HVAC system.

A temporary HVAC system is in place, however the library is still closed due to a project to add a second elevator. Queens Public Library President & CEO Dennis Walcott and Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley told Council Member Ung the library will reopen to the public next month after a plan is put in place for work to proceed safely while the public uses the facility.

“I’m so relieved that we finally have an idea when the Flushing Library will reopen to the public,” said Ung. “This library is more than a place to check out books, it’s the heart of the Flushing community. Especially in an immigrant community like ours, the library is essential to seniors and families, as well as a place for students to gather after school. I am also glad that with the addition of a new elevator, it will be even more accessible to more members of our community.”

When work on the new elevator is complete in summer of 2023, the existing elevator will be refurbished.