NY Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 19, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Meng questions city denying all Hurricane Ida claims

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) yesterday questioned the City of New York denying all claims for property damage caused by Hurricane Ida.

“Queens, and my congressional district in particular, was devastated by Hurricane Ida. Lives were turned upside down and many local residents continue to fully recover. New York City denying every claim from New Yorkers is wrong and I urge the city to reconsider,” said Meng.

“At the federal level, we are doing everything we can to make sure that Queens and the rest of the city get the proper funding to help prevent this level of destruction from happening again. Last November, I helped pass the federal infrastructure bill in the House. Following the President signing the measure into law, I urged the city and state to use part of that funding here in Queens. 

“This past June, I announced the House passage of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes my bill to authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to spend up to nearly $120 million to work with the City of New York in upgrading environmental infrastructure in Queens, which would help improve catch basins and sewers. We need the Senate to now take action and for money to be allocated.”

DiNapoli says NYC DOE must do more to combat Mental Health crisis among young

NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s latest series of audits of health and safety in schools found yesterday that, in the face of a mental health crisis among youth, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) can do more to ensure that public school students receive the supports and services that they need and that are supposed to be available. 

The audit found that too many NYC public schools are understaffed with mental health professionals, are not adequately training staff and too few have services readily available—and that DOE provides little oversight to ensure students receive the required mental health instruction critical to developing their awareness and resilience.

“While DOE has shown a willingness to confront these issues, many of New York’s school children still face a mental health emergency, and schools are not equipped to provide them with the support they need,” said DiNapoli. “At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a worsening mental health crisis among youth in New York State, the DOE should step up efforts to improve oversight of public schools’ mental health curriculum and equip school staff with the resources they need to support students’ emotional wellbeing.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of childhood mental health concerns have been increasing steadily since 2010. Among the New York state high school student population in 2017, around 17% of youth seriously considered suicide and slightly over 10% made non-fatal suicide attempts. This mental health crisis has been further compounded by the isolation, disengagement, and instability brought on by the pandemic as well as other traumatic societal events, making the need for comprehensive mental health training, services and supports even more critical.

State law requires that mental health instruction be a part of schools’ health education. However, auditors found that DOE does not take any action to ensure that schools have included a mental health component in their curriculum and are providing mental health instruction to the students, nor does it monitor whether schools’ programs meet the minimum requirements or assess their effectiveness.

Addabbo announces Fall mobile office hours at district libraries

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) will be continuing his popular Mobile Office Hours event series at several Queens Public Library branches throughout his district. 

At these Mobile Office Hours, Addabbo will be at select local libraries between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to meet with constituents who want to come by and bring up any personal or community-related issues that they may be facing. 

“I have been hosting these Mobile Office Hours events at libraries in my district since being elected to the Senate in 2008, and I am happy to continue doing them this summer and fall,” Addabbo said. “I believe it is important that we as elected officials make time to meet with constituents one-on-one to hear their concerns — especially after traditional business hours so those who cannot make it to my district offices still get a chance to see me and relay their concerns to their representative. I encourage anyone who has a personal or community issues that they would like to raise to come out to my Mobile Office Hours when they come to your neighborhood.” 

Addabbo’s Mobile Office Hours will be held on: 

September 1 at the Lefferts Library at 103-34 Lefferts Boulevard; 

September 8 at the Middle Village Library at 72-31 Metropolitan Avenue; 

September 15 at the North Forest Park Library at 98-27 Metropolitan Avenue; 

September 22 at the Woodhaven Library at 85-41 Forest Parkway; 

September 29 at the Forest Hills Library at 108-19 71st Avenue; and 

October 6 at the Glendale Library at 78-60 73rd Place.