2016-07-06 / Political Page

Crowley Hails Supreme Court’s Health Care Ruling

CROWLEY HAILS SC RULING UPHOLDING WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE: Congressman Joseph Crowley (D–Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, released the statement below on the announcement of a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt,” a lawsuit challenging a Texas law that undermined a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health decisions by placing burdensome, unnecessary restrictions on the state’s health clinics,” Crowley said, adding:

“As a husband and a father, I believe that women’s health is more important than politics. That’s why I was so disappointed to see Texas go against this principle with their clinic shutdown law that deliberately limited access to health care.

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has recognized the unconstitutional restrictions this law placed on women’s health care, and I will keep fighting to make sure all women can access reproductive health care services when they need them and where they need them.”

DA BROWN EULOGIZES SANTUCCI: Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown released the following statement upon the passing of former District Attorney, John J. Santucci:

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my predecessor, John Santucci. John spent his entire career in dedicated service to the people of Queens County, serving as a prosecutor, a member of the City Council and the State Senate, and finally as District Attorney. John’s wife, Edna, and their entire family remain in our thoughts and prayers.”

NOLAN ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR REELECTION: Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, who has achieved star status for Queens in her 32 years as a Queens lawmaker in the State Assembly, recently announced her plans to seek a 17th term in November during a reception at Dazies Restaurant in Sunnyside.

Nolan, a fixture as the 37th AD lawmaker, has been a member of the state legislature ever since her groundbreaking win in 1984 as one of the youngest women ever elected in New York. She has chaired a number of legislative committees, including Education, Labor, Banks, Real Property, Mass Transit and the bicameral, bipartisan Women’s Caucus. Nolan was the first woman to chair the Labor Committee, and currently serves on the Ways and Means, Rules, Steering, Corporations and Veterans Committees.

Nolan has sponsored important legislation on worker rights, worker safety, bank development districts and industrial business zones. She defended worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance. Most recently, she was the lead Assembly sponsor on the bill to finally bring Paid Family Leave to New York State. “Passing Paid Family Leave in the Assembly for many years helped set the stage for its inclusion in the 2016 state budget,” said Nolan. “Seeing it signed into law was very gratifying.”

Nolan has a record of accomplishment in her community, which includes the thriving neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Sunnyside, Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills, Queens Plaza, Hunters Point, parts of Maspeth and Astoria. She has successfully brought schools, arts, health, transit, senior, youth, parks, development and small business funding throughout her district. Her record includes renovated subway stations, including the elevated structure along the #7 line, 21st Street station and Myrtle -Wyckoff. She has fought for better and more accessible bus service. Nolan has supported community lead efforts for small scale and responsible development. Her record of achievement also includes New York State’s most recent urban state park at Gantry, a new library on 21st Street and renovations at Sunnyside, Astoria, Court Square and Ridgewood library branches.

She has funded many improvements and programs for LaGuardia Community College. She has always led the fight to build new schools in Western Queens and eliminate overcrowded trailers; she oversaw the naming of the Geraldine Ferraro School on Metropolitan Avenue in Ridgewood. Nolan began her career in the Assembly when the selection of Ferraro as the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee created a number of vacancies in Western Queens. “Naming a school for Geraldine Ferraro is honoring a role model and providing inspiration for women and girls throughout our district,” said Nolan.

Best known for her current leadership of the NYS Assembly Education Committee, Assemblywoman Nolan has conducted hearings, roundtables, committee meetings and school visits that focus on children, teachers, school leaders and parents. This challenging committee, one of the largest in the legislature, handles the budget for the education of millions of children in Pre K-12. She has worked in support of English Language learners, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, special education, student privacy, class size reduction, career and technical education and all issues of educational access, improvement, excellence and equity. Cathy Nolan also leads the legislature’s hearings on selection of the members of the State Education Board of Regents. Nolan has been the NYS Assembly’s representative to three gubernatorial Commissions on student data privacy, teacher evaluation and testing issues. She has fought for school modernization monies for improved air and water quality for schools. Nolan has successfully fought for hundreds of million of dollars in state funding for the NYC Pre-K initiative.

Nolan has been a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, women’s rights, disabled and farmworker rights, and the rights of many groups normally unrepresented in the corridors of power in Albany. Nolan has been a grassroots activist, serving as a democratic district leader for many years; preserving the 100 year old Ridgewood Democratic Club and working to elect democrats locally to the state senate and city council. She has been selected as a top 40 Albany leader by the NY Observer and a top 100 Albany leader by City and State, organizations.

The daughter of a shop steward and a hospital worker, Cathy Nolan has lived in the 37th Assembly District almost all of her life, graduating from St. Aloysius R.C. School, Grover Cleveland High School and New York University, where she was selected as a university scholar. She is married to Gerard Marsicano and is a proud public school parent. “I love our neighborhoods,” said Nolan. “Its schools, its parks, our seniors, our young people and our strong community values of tolerance and diversity. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent Western Queens in the Assembly.” She is announcing her bid for reelection at the woman-owned small business, Dazies Restaurant in Sunnyside, and looks forward to many more years of public service.

SCHUMER, GOLDFEDER URGE ACTION ON ROCKAWAY PLANNING: U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, along with community leaders, urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release the draft report and immediately thereafter hold public community meetings regarding the proposed Rockaway Reformulation Study. Schumer pushed for and secured full federal funding for this much-needed resiliency project to better protect the whole Rockaway peninsula from storms and floods. Their plan for action was contained in a letter to Colonel Caldwell, of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Initially, the Sandy relief bill that was signed into law required only that the feds pick up 65% of the project. Immediately after the bill’s passage, Schumer began working with the Army Corps and Office of Management and Budget to re-categorize the effort as “ongoing construction,” and therefore, eligible for full federal funding. This jump-started this vitally needed, yet long-stalled plan to better protect the whole Rockaway peninsula. Despite the bill being passed into law over two years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers has not yet released the draft report publicly or held formal public meetings, the next steps in the process to start construction. Schumer and Goldfeder said it is time for the feds to give Rockaway the update it deserves and one it has been patiently awaiting.

“Rockaway residents, some of whom are still feeling the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy, deserve to see the essential details on the Rockaway Reformulation Study being planned in their community and have an opportunity to provide feedback,” said Schumer. “The Army Corps should release the draft plan and engage with the community ASAP. Public meetings will allow residents to voice their concerns, improve the plan and ask important questions that affect their future.”

“Communities in Rockaway and around Jamaica Bay are only as strong and resilient as the weakest link in our storm protections,” said Goldfeder. “The Army Corps’ proposed Rockaway Reformulation Study has the potential to strengthen our shorelines and protect thousands of families from the devastation from sea level rise and storms like Sandy. With the future of our communities at stake, families deserve to see the long-awaited study released, work commence and the Army Corps ensure our voices are heard at every step in the process.”

The Rockaway Reformulation Study, which Schumer and Goldfeder have long supported, will ultimately determine the solution for long-term erosion control and coastal protection projects along the Atlantic Coast, between East Rockaway Inlet, Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay. While the reformulation study dates back to a 2003 agreement with NYCDEC, it has been subjected to various delays in funding and implementation. However in the Sandy Supplemental Appropriation of 2013, Schumer secured full federal funding to complete the Reformulation study and construction of the preferred alternative. In September 2011, Schumer and Goldfeder surveyed the damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, and pledged to fight for resources needed to rebuild the beaches.

Immediately after Superstorm Sandy, the Army Corps allowed for emergency sand replacement to protect Rockaway from future storm surges. The Army Corps has since completed that work, placing 3.5 million cubic yards of sand in Rockaway. However, since that sand placement, the Rockaways has already experienced significant erosion. The long term comprehensive coastal storm risk reduction plan for Rockaway and Jamaica Bay requires the completion of hard protective features, including a sea wall, jetties and groins. Schumer and Goldfeder said in their joint statement dated June 27 that the next step in moving forward with the long-term project is releasing the draft report and engaging with local communities during a public process.

Schumer and Goldfeder said that the Army Corps should immediately release the draft report and provide public meetings in Rockaway so that impacted residents can review the Army Corps plans and project alternatives and provide experts with necessary community input as they continue to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.

GOLDFEDER LEAVING ASSEMBLY, JOINING YESHIVA U.: Yeshiva University announced New York State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder will lead its government relations efforts beginning this fall. Goldfeder will work to strengthen and develop relationships between the University and federal, state and local governments, and monitor legislation and policies that could have an impact on YU and its programs. Goldfeder represents the 23rd District in the New York State Assembly, which includes Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and Rockaway, and has announced that he is not seeking reelection.

“YU has developed several public-private partnerships over the past few years, which are resulting in academic and facility improvements,” said President Richard M. Joel. “When we began exploring how we could take our successes with government relations to the next level, it was clear that Phil was uniquely qualified for this role.”

Andrew (Avi) Lauer, Vice President for Legal Affairs and general counsel at YU, added: “I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Phil for many years, from the time he worked in the Mayor’s Office, through his work with Senator Schumer and most recently as a New York State legislator. I look forward to working closely with him and have every confidence that he will represent YU with the same passion, professionalism and vigor as he has his constituents for so many years.”

Goldfeder expressed that he is excited his public service will continue but in a new way. He said, “I have dedicated my life in public service to ensuring a better future for all our families. This begins by providing our children with a worldclass education that will enable them to be successful and contribute to the community. I’m excited to utilize my diverse experience to advance the mission and goals of the University.”

Goldfeder’s career in public service began as a community liaison for the New York City Council. His passion for community service, along with his unique ability to understand the needs of the neighborhoods of Queens, earned him a position as the Queens Director for the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit under Michael Bloomberg. His capacity to bring people together caught the attention of New York Senator Charles E. Schumer, who hired him as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. In September of 2011, Goldfeder was elected in a special election to serve in the New York State Assembly where he focused on education, transportation and Sandy recovery.

Schumer praised Goldfeder for being “a hard worker and a fighter, and with a deep passion for public service and people. In the Assembly he knew how to work with residents, leaders and businesses to get real results that improve peoples’ lives.”

For further information, visit www.yu.edu.

MALONEY APPLAUDS DECISION PREVENTING DOMESTIC ABUSERS FROM PURCHASING GUNS: Following the Supreme Court’s 6-2 ruling in Voisine v. United States affirming convictions of domestic violence can restrict gun ownership, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, co-sponsor of the bills to ban assault weapons (H.R. 4269) and prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun (H.R. 1076), and original sponsor of five other “common-sense gun safety proposals,” released the following statement:

“This ruling upholds a key common-sense gun violence prevention measure meant to keep guns out of the hands of known violent individuals. Congress passed the Lautenberg Amendment in 1996 because we know that domestic violence perpetrators are more dangerous with access to firearms. Those with a history of domestic violence are five times more likely to murder an intimate partner when a firearm is in the house.

“This decision also affirms that common sense gun safety laws are, in fact, constitutional. Our nation is awash in gun violence and in desperate need of new gun safety laws. I was proud to spend the night on the floor of the House as part of the historic sit-in for new gun protections. Congress needs to act to pass universal background checks, renew the assault weapons ban and enact no-fly, no-buy legislation. It’s long past time for us to pass these laws that will save lives.”

In addition to being an original co-sponsor of the bills to ban assault weapons (H.R. 4269) and prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun (H.R. 1076), Rep. Maloney has introduced five bills to reduce gun violence:

1.H.R. 2380: The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2015

2.H.R. 2612: To authorize $10 million annually to fund gun violence public health research

3.H.R. 2613: Handgun Trigger Safety Act of 2015

4.H.R. 2546: Firearm Risk Protection Act of 2015

5.H.R. 3455: Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2015

The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act would boost penalties for straw purchasers and give prosecutors tools to go after trafficking rings that bring illegal guns to our cities. H.R. 2612 would provide funding to research gun violence as a public health issue. The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act would subject all gun sales at gun shows to background checks. The Firearm Risk Protection Act would require liability insurance coverage for gun owners. The Handgun Trigger Safety Act would improve gun safety by ensuring that only authorized users would be able to operate handguns utilizing personalization (or “smart gun”) technology.

STAVISKY UPDATE ON REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS IN PAN AM SHELTER: State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Flushing) issued the following statement as an update to the two sex offenders reported to be living at the Pan Am Family Shelter.

“I have been in communication with the Human Resources Administration since I first learned that two sex offenders were residing in the Pan Am Shelter. At my request, HRA attended a Community Advisory Board Meeting at the shelter with representatives from Samaritan Village, Department of Homeless Services, Department of Education, the Queens Borough President’s Office, Councilman Daniel Dromm’s office, local residents and myself. I am pleased to say a few of my many questions were answered, though I will continue pressing for as much information as possible.

“According to HRA, there are currently no registered sex offenders living at the shelter, which is a relief. However, due to privacy laws, we have no way of knowing if these individuals had ever lived at the Pan Am and, if so, for how long.

“Regardless of their parole or probation status, I cannot stress enough how inappropriate it is to place a convicted sex offender in a family shelter with nearly 300 children. The children’s safety, the safety of the surrounding community and the safety of the other shelter residents are a priority. Because there is not law in place to prevent two level three sex offenders – one convicted of raping three children – than we must put one in place. That is why, since 2009, I have been a co-sponsor of legislation that would bar any level two or three sex offenders from living in a family shelter. The Senate has passed the bill five times, including this year, but unfortunately the Assembly has failed to act. I will continue to support this legislation so that all families can live in a safe and secure environment and I hope the Assembly will take action on this next year.”

VAN BRAMER WELCOMES PENTAGON’S REPEAL OF BAN ON TRANSGENDER SERVICE MEMBERS: After the Pentagon lifted its ban on openly transgender individuals serving in the military, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer released the following statement:

“I applaud today’s historic decision to allow openly transgender individuals to serve in our nation’s armed forces. Our march towards full LGBT equality is long and difficult, but today, we have taken a giant step forward. Our transgender brothers and sisters have been serving their country for years, but they will now be able to do so while living openly as the people they were meant to be,” Van Bramer (D–Sunnyside) stated.

“This issue is deeply personal to me. My husband, Dan Hendrick, was among the thousands of Americans removed from military service for being gay under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, Before the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Dan and far too many LGBT service members were subject to witch hunts and expulsions. Now, we move forward yet again. Anyone who is brave enough to risk their life in defense of our nation will now be free to do so regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Van Bramer explained.

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