2015-03-11 / Political Page

Queens Village GOP Club To Celebrate 140th Lincoln Dinner

 William Kristol, one of the nation’s leading proponents of Republican conservatism and known to national Sunday morning television audiences as a political commentator on ABC’s This Week, will be the keynote speaker at the 140th Anniversary Lincoln Dinner, hosted by the Queens Village Republican Club, America’s oldest GOP club.


The gala dinner party, one of the premier annual events in Republican Party circles, is coming up shortly on Sunday, March 22nd at the famous Antun’s of Queens Village restaurant. If past turnouts for this traditional Republican fixture are any indication, this 140th Anniversary observance will attract every statewide and countrywide member, big and small. And Mr. Kristol is a main part of the attraction.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered, what one newspaper described as his “epic tirade against President Obama” speaking before both houses of Congress, he denounced the president’s ongoing negotiations with Iran.


In the news release from the Queens Village GOP club announcing the Lincoln Dinner, it described Kristol’s “brilliant editorial” in defense of Netanyahu that appeared in the Weekly Standard, Kristol’s magazine.


The dinner announcement states that, “Kristol stood up in defense of the Prime Minister Netanyahu with a brilliant editorial that practically went viral. It further quotes the editorial, “Netanyahu’s Moment”, as being a “Churchillian speech” in  which Kristol said,
“On March 3, something remarkable and historic will happen. The prime minister of Israel, speaking on behalf of not only his country and millions of Jews, but on behalf of the West itself, will command the world’s attention as he declares his refusal to appease the enemies of Israel and the West.”


Picking up on Kristol’s editorial, the Queens Village Republican President Philip Orenstein stated:


“This is a matter of the survival of the State of Israel and Western Civilization. If you stand in defense of Israel and America, then you will want to attend the Lincoln Dinner and hear Kristol’s keynote speech, as he addresses the issues that are of utmost importance to all freedom-loving people today.”


Describing Kristol’s background, the release states that before starting the Weekly Standard in 1995, he led the Project for the Republican Future, “where he helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 congressional victory.”


“Prior to that, Kristol served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during the first Bush Administration, and to Education Secretary William Bennett under President Reagan.”
The dinner party’s Master of Ceremonies will be Steve Malzberg, a conservative radio and TV personality who frequently has Kristol on his Newsmax TV program. Other notable public figures expected to attend include Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, who is running to fill a vacancy for Congress in the 11th CD, and will deliver the annual Lincoln Address.


Another prominent expected attendee is Congressman Chris Gibson, representing New York’s 19th CD, who may be running for statewide office in 2018. Gibson is a decorated war hero who will be honored with the Rabbi Morton Pomerantz Veteran of the Year Award, a new club tradition to bring to the public’s attention outstanding examples of service and sacrifice to our nation and the cause of freedom.


Many other honorees and GOP elected officials from throughout New York will be in attendance, as well as some surprise speakers, according to the announcement.


MALONEY: GOP HOMELAND SECURITY FIGHT ‘RECKLESS… IRRESPONSIBLE’: Following House passage of funding for the Department of Homeland Security last Tuesday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) issued the following statement:
“After months of threatening to shut down the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to overturn President Obama’s recent executive order on immigration, House Republicans finally allowed a vote on a clean, long-term funding bill for our nation’s security agencies. And, as many of us had said all along, the bill passed by a large bipartisan vote.
“There is certainly a time and place for a debate on immigration policy. However, it is reckless and irresponsible to threaten funding for the Coast Guard, TSA screeners, the Secret Service and thousands of others working to keep our country safe. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the Department of Homeland Security can now focus on its mission and not be burdened with the noise and distractions of partisan political drama.
“Our country has endorsed far too many manufactured cases in recent years. For far too long a minority of House Republican members have been allowed to hold up bills that are central to a functioning government. This pointless political posturing has real consequences and it needs to end. I am hopeful that we are not again forced to ensure such an irresponsible and thoughtless exercise.”


PERALTA URGES MTA IMPOSE SAFE PASSENGER MEASURES: In response to the latest subway incident on the 7 line, in which a man was struck by a Manhattan bound 7 train at the 103 Street-Corona Plaza station located in the district of state Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), Peralta stated:
 “I am calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to examine all viable options to make our transit systems safer for its riders. I am urging the MTA to revise the proposals I have made in the past to improve security measures in the transit system, among them, installing sliding doors on subway platforms in as many stations as it is financially feasible; and installing more security cameras and making sure the ones that are in place are operational.
“Although it was reported that the man struck was lying on the tracks, there should be restricted access to the tracks. The fact is that more than 100 people are struck, and dozens killed, by New York City subway trains every year.”


EULOGIES FOR EDWARD CARDINAL EGAN FOLLOWING HIS DEATH: The following comments were issued by public officials following the death of Cardinal Edward Egan:
Governor Andrew Cuomo: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Cardinal Edward Egan. Throughout his life, Cardinal Egan encouraged others to devote themselves to the greater good. His thoughtful and compassionate stewardship helped New Yorkers grieve and recover following the events of September 11, 2001.
Cardinal Egan had a powerful and positive impact on our state and the world that will continue to be felt for years to come. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the Cardinal’s family and friends, as well as the greater Catholic community throughout New York State.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer: “Cardinal Egan was deeply spiritual and a great intellectual, but at the same time very down-to-earth, compassionate and friendly. I was lucky to know him and New York was lucky to have him. May he rest in peace.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Chirlane and I are saddened to learn of the death of Edward Cardinal Egan. He was a generous man who committed his life to serving others. His compassion was reflected in his deeds, and his ability to inspire those around him. As Archbishop-Emeritus, 12th Bishop and 9th Archbishop and 7th Cardinal of the See of New York; Cardinal Egan spread love and knowledge, and brought comfort to countless New Yorkers and others across the country and the world who sought his guidance and counsel—especially in the aftermath of 9/11. On behalf of all New Yorkers, Chirlane and I extend our deepest sympathies to Cardinal Egan’s family and his extended family at the Archdiocese of New York.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito: “I join with Catholic New Yorkers to express my sorrow at the passing of Cardinal Edward Egan. Cardinal Egan served this city as Archbishop of New York for many years until his retirement, and his spirit will be greatly missed. Cardinal Egan was especially active in his advocacy for immigration reform and we continue to honor his calls for humans and just immigration policies to this day. He was also instrumental in consoling the city after the tragic events of September 11. My prayers, thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Cardinal Egan’s family, Cardinal Dolan and the millions [of] Catholic New Yorkers across the five boroughs.


CROWLEY DEMANDS BURMESE OFFICIALS FREE STUDENTS:
Following news reports of Burmese authorities using violent tactics on peaceful students demonstrating in Yangon, Congressmen Joseph Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) called for the immediate release of all detained students.
“We are deeply dismayed,” the lawmakers stated, “after seeing photos of an apparent violent state crackdown on peaceful student demonstrators in Burma. This is completely inconsistent with a transition to democracy and President Thein Sein’s pledges to handle disagreements peacefully. The Burmese authorities must immediately release all detained students and pursue justice against those who carried out this crackdown.”
Crowley and Chabot added: “We also urge the authorities to restrain from future crackdowns against students, farmers and others who exercise their right to peaceful assembly.”
In 2014, Crowley and Chabot, along with Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced the Burma Human Rights and Democracy Act, legislation that would prevent the United States from providing or expanding military assistance to Burma’s Armed Services until benchmarks on human rights and defense reforms are met by Burmese military.
These benchmarks include free and fair elections, reform of the military-dominated constitution, an end to human rights abuses committed against the Burmese people, and the establishment of civilian oversight of the armed forces. Ahead of President Obama’s trip to Burma last November, the group of members sent a letter urging the President to make clear to Burma authorities that failure to enact democratic reforms and ongoing brutality would jeopardize U.S.-Burma relations.


10 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE FOR HALLORAN: As the campaign for the City Council seat covering Whitestone began in 2009, a split developed in the Democratic Party ranks and the Republican Party candidate, Dan Halloran, eventually won the election and the seat in the heavily Democratic district.
Last week, Halloran, 44, was sentenced to a 10-year term in state prison for his part in a bungled scheme to place a Democrat on the Republican ballot in the election for Mayor of the City of New York in the 2013 election.
Still awaiting sentence for their part in that scheme are former State Senator Malcolm Smith, the Queens Democrat who aspired to be the Republican mayoral candidate, and Vincent Tabone, the Queens Republican Vice Chairman when the scheme was hatched. Both are to be sentenced on July 1 after being found guilty in separate trials for their parts in the ill-fated plot.
Halloran was convicted of taking bribes for placing Smith, the former State Senate Majority Leader, on the Republican mayoral ballot. He was also guilty of paying bribes to Tabone and others for agreeing to place Smith on the GOP ballot.
Halloran also was found guilty of designating up to $80,000 in New York City funds to go to a nonprofit consulting company supposedly part of the scheme. Of that sum, $15,000 went back to Halloran, it was testified.
In sentencing Halloran, White Plains Federal Judge Kenneth M. Karas stated: “This was a very serious crime. When a public official gets into cars and takes wads of cash or promises public money in return for cash to the politician, it is so troubling. It causes us all to be cynical about our leaders. It causes us to doubt that our leaders are looking after us. And it’s a very serious matter.”
United States Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office prosecuted the case, declared after the sentencing, “When elected officials, like Daniel Halloran, not only corrupt themselves but, unseen, corrupt the body politic from within they undermine the public’s confidence in a representative form of government.”
At the time the bribery and fraud scheme were being arranged Halloran, an attorney, was making plans to run for Congress. According to Bharara’s office, Halloran negotiated the size of the bribes the GOP party leaders required to authorize Smith to get the Republican Party ballot line. Tabone accepted a $25,000 cash bribe up front and was to receive a like amount after the Queens party committee authorized Smith to run. Halloran also accepted $15,500 “as a down payment on a ‘broker’s fee’ of at least $75,000.” He also “expected to be appointed First Deputy Mayor if Smith was elected mayor,” Bharara’s office’s news release said.


CROWLEY, MALONEY WELCOME JOBS REPORT: Congressmembers Joseph Crowley and Carolyn Maloney welcomed the Department of Labor’s February jobs report, which found that the unemployment rate in the U.S. had dropped to 5.5 percent as February marked the 60th consecutive month of private sector job growth.
Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx) stated:
“For 60 months, we’ve seen consecutive private sector job growth—a strong, positive sign that our economy is making progress. While today’s numbers exceed many economists’ expectations, there is much more that can and must be done. Our top priority must be putting Americans back to work and ensuring the financial security of American families. House Democrats are working hard to enact policies that create jobs, boost paychecks and encourage investment. The time has come for Congressional Republicans to abandon their reckless partisan agenda and instead join us in putting our economy and American families first.”
Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) said: “This was another strong jobs report. We now have 60 straight months—or five years—of private sector job growth. Businesses have added more than 12 million jobs during this time. While we should be building on this progress to ensure that the recovery reaches all Americans, the Republicans swerve from one distraction to the next—from trying to repeal the ACA one moment to playing politics with our national security the next. It’s time that this Congress focuses on a middle class agenda—job creation, higher wages, stronger education and better infrastructure.”
Maloney also added a note about women’s part in the work force. The lawmaker stated
“As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day this Sunday, we must remember that America succeeds when our women succeed. But the stark reality is that while women are nearly half the workforce, we hold just 19 percent of the board seats. And while women are breadwinners in about two-thirds of America’s families, on average, we earn just 77 cents for every dollar men take home. It’s long past time for Congress to address these inequities by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and putting in place family-friendly workplace policies—once and for all, giving women the tools they need to thrive today and for generations to come.” (Maloney is the Ranking Democrat on the Joint Economic Committee for the 114th Congress.)


MALONEY, SCHAKOWSKY MARK INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: In honor of International Women’s Day, Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Jan Schakowsky this week introduced a resolution calling for the US Senate to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
This landmark international agreement, adopted by the United Nations in 1979, mandates that governments take positive steps toward the advancement of women and eradicate laws, customs and practices that discriminate against women.
“I’m proud to join my friend and colleague Jan Schakowsky once again in calling for ratification of a critical international treaty that protects human rights for women around the world,” Maloney said. “This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that ushered in enormous improvements in the lives of women across the world. In recognition of this inspirational anniversary we urge the United States to continue our nation’s proud bipartisan tradition of empowering human rights by ratifying the most comprehensive international agreement on women's rights, CEDAW. We need to ratify CEDAW and reaffirm our standing as a global leader for the rights of women and girls.”
Schakowsky stated: “It is time we commit to providing the world’s women with equal rights and equal opportunities. When girls and women live in security – free from violence – they can go to school, start businesses, help their families prosper and even serve their nation. Ratifying CEDAW—something every other Western nation has already done—would be an enormous step in the right direction,” Schakowsky said. “I am so proud to join my good friend Representative Maloney in introducing this important resolution urging the Senate to act.”
Maloney explained that International Women’s Day occurs each year on March 8 and is a global celebration to honor women and recognize their economic, political and social achievements. She said 188 countries have ratified CEDAW, affirming their priority of protecting women against violence of any kind occurring domestically, at work, or in any sphere of a woman’s life. The US is the only Western country in the world that has not ratified CEDAW, joining the ranks of Somalia and Iran.
CEDAW is an important tool in combating discrimination and human rights abuses against women around the world. As a result, its ratification would provide a catalyst for the US to examine areas of persistent discrimination against women.


SCHUMER: NATION’S AIRSPACE COMPUTER SYSTEMS VULNERABLE TO HACKERS: US Senator Charles Schumer has urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to “immediately implement” a series of expert-recommended cyber security upgrades to national airspace computer systems that currently “remain vulnerable to hackers.”
The lawmaker said a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this week “suggests significant security weaknesses” within the FAA’s air traffic control systems and included 17 recommendations and 168 specific actions the FAA should take to improve security.
Schumer (D–NY) urged the FAA “to take swift and immediate action to rectify the weaknesses exposed in the GAO report, involving failure to secure its National Air Traffic Control System, failure to encrypt certain sensitive data, and failure to install important firewall protections and needed system upgrades in a timely manner.”
Without addressing these threats, Schumer highlighted the real risk that a Sony-like takeover of the FAA computer systems could occur without being detected, while thousands of planes and their passengers are in the air.
While the FAA has been working to implement some of the recommended changes, Schumer said that, in light of the GAO’s findings, more must be done to prevent a Sony-like takeover of the system. Schumer is urging the FAA to fully implement system-wide upgrades to computer systems to prevent terrorists, criminals and other bad actors from hacking into the computer system.
Schumer stated, “The recently released GAO report makes clear that the FAA computers have systemwide failings that leave the agency’s air traffic control systems vulnerable to hacking, which could expose sensitive aviation data or even shut down the system while thousands of planes are in the air. We all saw what happened at Sony: one can only imagine the immediate risk posed by a hacking of the FAA’s air traffic control and computer systems, in addition to the national security risk posed if foreign nationals or terrorists get their hands on the FAA’s sensitive and encrypted data.
“The FAA should quickly implement changes based on the expert recommendations from the GAO, like establishing multiple firewalls to protect against unauthorized intruders and make sure all software and servers are properly updated with the best possible technology.”
Schumer said that in August 2013, the GAO began their report on the FAA’s security systems and potential threats to the National Airspace System (NAS). The GAO’s report was finalized earlier this year and the findings revealed major, dangerous vulnerabilities in the FAA’s computer systems.
Schumer noted that this is particularly concerning in light of the recent cyber attacks as well as the growing threat of terrorism. While the FAA is taking steps to address some of these recommendations, Schumer is urging the FAA to expeditiously implement all of the GAO’s recommendations to better protect our national airspace in the immediate future.
MENG RECEIVES 97 RATING: Congresswoman Grace Meng (D–Flushing) announced that she has received a grade of 97 from the League of Conservation Voters, one of the nation’s leading environmental advocacy organizations.
Meng said the score was among the highest in New York State and was part of the group’s annual National Environmental Scorecard that tallies the performance of every member of Congress on key environmental votes.
Meng stated; “I am proud to receive such a high grade from one of America’s top environmental groups. Protecting our environment in Queens, across New York and throughout the nation is not just important for the planet. It’s critical to the health, safety and quality of life for us and future generations. I thank the League of Conservation Voters for awarding me the high score, and for recognizing my record on protecting our air, water, land, and wildlife.”
For over 40 years, the National Environmental Scorecard has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental public health, and energy issues. Grades for the house scorecard reflect 35 votes cast in 2014 on climate change, Superfund cleanup, carbon pollution, clean energy, clean water, pesticide pollution, wildlife conservation, protecting parkland, preserving public lands and many other issues.
The average score for members of the House was 43 percent, and the average grade for US Senators was 44 percent. The average score for House Democrats was 85 percent.


ADDABBO QUIZZES OFFICIALS ON EMERGENCY READINESS: Still bothered by the pounding his district took from Superstorm Sandy, state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. had lots of questions for state Homeland Security officials at a recent legislative hearing in Albany.
Many of the inquiries revolved around a $3.2 million appropriation in next year’s budget to prepare 100,000 local citizens statewide in emergency preparedness techniques for future “extreme weather events” and other disasters. Addabbo got a quick update from officials, who told him “50,000 people have already taken courses in person or online to help them learn what to do when disaster strikes.”
“I’m pleased that DHSES (Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services) is taking these steps, because knowledge and preparedness is the first line of defense in emergencies,” Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) said.
Addabbo, the ranking Democrat on the Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs was aiming to learn what other aspects of the broad Public Protection portion of the 2015-2016 New York State Executive Budget the officials could report on. He was told the budget also proposes a Statewide Emergency Management and Response system, intended to improve “coordinated responses with local governments and other entities—including the state and federal governments—in the event of extreme weather and other emergencies.
Addabbo questioned the details of this proposal, noting the “distribution of information should be “efficient and effective.” The lawmaker pointed out:
“Even if we have the best system in the world in place and a great deal of information that could be useful to our residents in the event of an emergency, the most important aspect is making sure the information actually gets to the people who need it, when they need it,” Addabbo said.
Addabbo pointed out that a DHSES representative noted the State attempts to provide disaster preparedness information to New Yorkers through a variety of awareness campaigns, with information offered through the internet and relevant agency websites, as well as pamphlets handed out at community events.
Additionally, Addabbo said he shares concerns with other legislators that DHSES Acting Commissioner John Melville was not present at the budget hearing to discuss the activities of his agency with legislators as negotiations move forward on a final state budget.
As legislative negotiations on the budget proceed through March with the goal of being finalized by the April 1 deadline, Addabbo said he would continue to investigate efforts that will help to better prepare all New York residents for natural and man-made disasters.
“Sadly, we have been in the position to learn more than our share in recent years about the need to be prepared for extreme weather emergencies and the threat of terrorism,” Addabbo said. “While we may not always be able to prevent disasters, we must certainly try our very best to be prepared in ways that may mitigate the damage and tragedy.”


ADDABBO ADDRESSES ALLEGED FRAUD IN FEMA SANDY REPORTS: On March 2, Addabbo issued the following brief statement:
“My constituents, after dealing with the ravages of Superstorm Sandy, should not have to have dealt with dishonest FEMA personnel. It’s unacceptable to think that the initial federal agency that was to help my people after the storm was actually another roadblock to full recovery. I’m calling upon our federal elected officials to investigate FEMA and help those individuals who were previously denied FEMA assistance.”


MALONEY VOTES TO CONTINUE AMTRAK FUNDING: Facing what Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney described as “a radical attempt to eliminate all funding for Amtrak,” Maloney joined with the others to defeat an anti-Amtrak amendment to the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act. Federal funding allows Amtrak to successfully transport more than 86,000 business and tourist travelers on more than 300 trains each day.
Maloney (D-Queens/Manhattan) declared: “Threats like today’s attempt to strip federal support from Amtrak push us back and hurt morale for our railroad operators.We need to be expanding rail service, especially high-speed rail, not cutting it. I’m pleased we were able to defeat the outrageous attempt to defund Amtrak, which would have eliminated transportation options for millions of Americans.
“Congress has rightly chosen to maintain Amtrak funding and to support passenger rail service for the long term. This is a good first step. The next step should be comprehensive reauthorization and robust funding of surface transportation legislation.”
The funding for Amtrak is included in the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, which authorizes $7.2 billion for passenger rail over the next four fiscal years. Amtrak’s share of that is $5.8 billion plus $96 million for the Amtrak Inspector General. The $5.8 billion includes $1.9 billion for capital improvements to the Northeast corridor and $3.4 billion for capital and operating grants for long distance and state-supported passenger rail service.

WEPRIN’S RESOLUTION PROCLAIMING MARCH 2015 AS “EARLY-INTERVENTION MONTH” PASSES: The New York State Assembly has unanimously passed a legislative resolution introduced by Assemblyman David I. Weprin memorializing Governor Andrew Cuomo to proclaim March of 2015 as “Early Intervention Month” in the State of New York.
Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), who is the chairman of the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, stated:
“The early years of a child’s life are critical to development during the infant and toddler years as children grow quickly and have much to learn. Some children are born with developmental delays and disabilities. It is crucial these children receive immediate and therapeutic intervention based upon acceptable norms and proper treatment upon diagnosis. The observance of Early Intervention Month provides an opportunity to recognize the availability and importance of Early Intervention providers and services in New York State.”
Weprin noted, “New York’s children are among our most valuable, precious and vulnerable populations. They require proper care and attention as soon as they are born and throughout their formative years. Oftentimes, many children and families face special challenges and need extra help, but are not aware that such assistance and services are available to them in our communities. For instance, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) Bureau of Early Intervention is authorized to provide early intervention services for more than 75,000 infants, toddlers and their families suffering from developmental delays and disabilities. It is important that New York’s citizens know about Early Intervention services available to them so that families may take advantage of every opportunity to improve the health and well-being of their children and families.


PRAISE, BLAME FOR PLANE SKID AT LAG: Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras generally had high praise for the plane skidding incident at LaGuardia Airport last week, but State Senator Jose Peralta questioned how it happened at all. Luckily, the Delta Airlines plane with 127 passengers aboard, which almost slid into Flushing Bay as it landed, stopped a couple of feet short of the water as it skidded into a fence and no one was injured as the passengers and crew left the plane.
Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), whose district includes the airport, issued the following statement when it all ended:
“Today’s incident reminds us to exercise extreme caution on the road, but it has also highlighted the remarkable ability of our city’s first responders and the flight crew. LaGuardia Airport is not only a focal point for my district, but for the entire city, and thanks to the work of those men and women, it was able to bring those passengers to safety and rapidly reopen.
Peralta (D-Jackson Heights), whose district also includes the airport, issued the following statement when it was all over:
“I don’t understand how the Port Authority [which has jurisdiction over the airport] and the Federal Aviation Administration allowed this to happen. Both agencies need to give an answer as to why the plane had permission to land during today’s terrible snowy and icy conditions.
“Fortunately, there were only six minor injuries reported. This time we were lucky, but we must make sure this does not happen again. It was frightening to see how passengers were being evacuated from the plane onto a broken wing.”


STRONGER PROTECTION FOR VETERANS’ BURIAL PLACES: Criminals who desecrate burial sites where veterans are buried would face a new felony offense if convicted. The new law would subject those found guilty to up to four years in prison.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach), a co-sponsor of the new Class E felony, reports the Senate has passed the law creating the new felony offense and is now being considered by the Assembly.
Addabbo stated: “Cemetery desecration already represents a horrendous act of disrespect to the memories of people who have passed away, but it seems even more atrocious to violate the gravesites of men and women who selflessly served their country in the armed forces and may have sacrificed their own lives in this effort.”
Addabbo, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, added: “This legislation specifically creates a new Class E felony offense, punishable by up to four years in prison for those who target the final resting places of veterans.”
He explained, “Under the terms of the bill, the new crime of ‘cemetery desecration of a veteran’ will apply to instances in which offenders damage or steal  real or personal property used as a place of interment; property used to store the remains of a veteran; or other property such as headstones, plaques, or decorations associated with the place of interment.”
Addabbo summed up: “Men and women who have devoted themselves to the service of our country—leaving their families behind and placing themselves in mortal danger on our behalf—deserve our deepest respect while in the armed forces, when they return home and when they reach their final resting places. This legislation will help to ensure our veterans are honored both in life and in death—just as they should be.”


KOO SAYS MAYOR FORGOT LUNAR NEW YEAR DAY: Councilman Peter Koo (D–Flushing) issued the following statement in reference to Mayor de Blasio administration’s decision not to include Lunar New Year Day as an officially recognized school holiday:
“The de Blasio administration did a commendable thing by recognizing the two Eids as important holidays for those of the Mu

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