2018-05-16 / Political Page

I On Politics

LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE CREATES SCHOOL SECURITY TASK FORCE: Recent tragedies have sparked a nationwide conversation on school safety. On May 8, the City Council sparked the shift from conversation to action with the introduction of Council Member Paul Vallone’s bill which will create a School Security Task Force. The task force will meet quarterly to take a top to bottom look at school safety throughout New York and make recommendations. The NYPD commissioner shall serve as chair of the task force and will be joined by the chancellor of the Department of Education (DOE) and the director of the Office of Criminal Justice. They will also be required to seek input from at least one DOE teacher, one DOE employee such as a guidance counselor or social worker, and one parent of a student currently enrolled in a NYC public school. The task force will report its recommendations to the mayor and speaker of the City Council annually.

This bill was introduced as part of a 10-bill legislative package which outlines the responsibilities and scope of the recommendations that the task force will make. The 10 bills include locals laws by various officials, including Vallone, Council Members Matteo, Speaker Johnson, Brannan, Torres, Rose, Ampry-Samuel, Constantinides, Van Bramer, Treyger, Cabrera and Menchaca. The local laws involve creating a school task force that would then review the following: emergency communication technologies at schools; emergency preparedness at nonpublic schools; the optimal security presence at schools; NYPD, DOE and community collaboration on school emergency preparedness; a public notification for school emergencies; safety protocols for students experiencing a mental health crisis; evacuation plans and emergency response protocols at schools; infrastructure security technologies at schools; and emergency preparedness training for school personnel.

CROWLEY INTRO’S LEGISLATION TO COMBAT NOISE POLLUTION IN SCHOOLS: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced legislation to help reduce excessive noise in schools.

The Peaceful Learning Act of 2018 is a core component of Crowley’s Better Deal for Queens and the Bronx, a comprehensive plan put forward by Crowley to improve the lives of families, working men and women, and students in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

This legislation would require federal and local agencies to implement new strategies to reduce noise pollution in schools and assess how students are impacted by excessive noise from nearby public transit.

“We have a responsibility to our students to ensure they receive the highest quality education possible. But when trains rattle their desks and excessive noises disrupts their classrooms, it is simply is not possible for students to succeed,” said Chairman Crowley. “And while Republicans in Congress have failed to act, an entire generation of students has been deprived of the opportunities they deserve. There’s no time left to waste—we must create a peaceful learning environment for all of our children”

In the 1970s, a landmark report found that excessive noise emanating from public transit has an adverse impact on children’s learning, a conclusion that has been supported by numerous studies since.

Since he was first elected to Congress, Crowley has prioritized combating noise pollution in Queens and the Bronx. Last week, Crowley and his fellow New York Members of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus successfully attached amendments to the FAA Reauthorization Act to help mitigate aircraft noise, and last year, he co-sponsored the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act of 2017 to study the health impacts of prolonged airplane noise on local communities. In 2014, Crowley worked with parents of elementary students at PS 85 in Queens to develop the original Peaceful Learning Act.

Crowley’s Better Deal plan for Queens and the Bronx can be found at crowley.house.gov.

CROWLEY ENDORSED BY WOMEN’S RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, received the support of key organizations and individuals leading the fight for women’s rights in Queens, the Bronx, and across the country. The announcement was made on May 9.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Women’s Equality Party, National Institute for Reproductive Health, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz all strongly endorsed Crowley as he fights for the families of New York’s 14th Congressional District.

“Congressman Crowley has been a champion for New York women and families, and we are proud to endorse his reelection to Congress,” said Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Women and families deserve someone who is unafraid to stand up to threats to our basic rights. Congressman Crowley has always been a voice we can count on to put protecting our reproductive freedom first.”

Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund said, “As the Trump administration continues its relentless attack on reproductive rights and abortion access, Rep. Crowley has been a tireless leader on the issues that matter most to New York women and families.”

“Congressman Crowley is a true champion for equality and women’s rights. He’s led the charge in Congress to expand health care access, fund family planning programs, and increase child-care options for working mothers,” said Susan Zimet Chair of the Women’s Equality Party.

Crowley has received a perfect voting record from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade. He’s sponsored legislation to ensure that female workers earn fair and equitable pay, condemned President Trump for attempts to allow employers to restrict access to birth control, and stood against Republican efforts to restrict access to abortion and defend Planned Parenthood.

CROWLEY RESPONDS TO RECENT TRUMP ADMIN DECISIONS:

Trump’s Decision To Withdraw From Iran Nuclear Agreement: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) issued the following statement on President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Agreement: “President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is reckless and irresponsible. It was made without adequate explanation of a realistic alternative or a comprehensive strategy. Abandoning the Iran Deal not only hurts our credibility overseas, but puts the United States in a weak position on future inspections enforcement and snapback of international sanctions. This leaves Americans at greater risk of a nuclear-armed Iran and increases the chances of another war in the Middle East.

“The agreement has worked as intended for more than two years, preventing Iran from obtaining the materials needed to develop a nuclear warhead. President Trump’s decision is based on purely political reasons and blatantly disregards the security of the American people.”

President Trump’s Rescission Package: Chairman Crowley issued the following statement on President Trump’s attempt to cut $15 billion in federal: “Each day, Republicans are finding new ways to abandon middle-class Americans. Just months after passing a deficit-exploding tax scam that hiked taxes on working men and women and gave lavish breaks to special interests, President Trump is now proposing cutting critical health programs to offset the bill’s trillion-dollar price tag. This is an absurd proposal from President Trump and House Republicans, and yet another reminder of how they lack the vision to lead effectively.”

White House Decision to Separate Families At The Border: Crowley issued the following statement on President Trump’s newly announced policy to separate children from their parents when families are detained at the border: “This is without a doubt one of the cruelest, most inhumane decisions President Trump has proposed so far. Shame on him and shame on any Republican who doesn’t immediately speak out against it.”

Republican Legislation ‘Weakens Pre-Trial Reform Efforts’: Congress Member Crowley released the following statement on the Citizens’ Right to Know Act, a Republican bill to weaken pre-trial reform efforts: “Our criminal justice system is built on the basic premise of presumption of innocence. Yet, our current cash bail system severely undermines that bedrock principle in an unjust fashion that disproportionately punishes people of color. This bill will hurt efforts to reform our bail system in a significant and devastating way. It should not become law.

“In my district, thousands of men and women accused of low-level offenses are kept behind bars at Rikers Island each day. Often unable to afford bail, these individuals can spend months in confinement even though they have not been convicted of a crime. This is an issue of dignity and equality, and any proposal that hurts our ability to advance true reform runs counter to our efforts to create a fairer criminal justice system.”

OFFICIALS’ JOINT STATEMENT ON SUNNYSIDE YARD REDEVELOPMENT: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, NYS Senator Michael Gianaris, NYS Assembly Members Catherine Nolan, Aravella Simotas, and Brian Barnwell, and NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer issued the following joint statement on the city’s planned redevelopment of Sunnyside Yard:

“We are deeply alarmed by the city’s decision to move forward with plans to build a massive residential and commercial development in Sunnyside Yard without seeking adequate community input or establishing sufficient infrastructure and transit options for local residents who will be impacted by the project.

“If the city accelerates the Sunnyside Yard project without seeking community input, it will only further contribute to the affordability and public transit crises that have created chaos for New Yorkers. We urge the city to cease development of this project until our voices and concerns have been fully considered.”

MAKING IT EASIER TO DISPOSE OF UNUSED, EXPIRED MEDICATIONS APPROVED: In an effort to help New Yorkers more easily dispose of unwanted or expired medications, the New York State Senate approved two bills co-sponsored by NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. to provide more public information about disposal programs and require manufacturers to take back drugs from consumers without charge.

The first bill co-sponsored by Addabbo (S.6673) would require the State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation to create a statewide website listing of existing drug disposal sites, events and other options for safe disposal.

Addabbo, who is a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee said, “No one really wants to flush them down the drain and have these drugs seep into our water sources and overall environment. Having truly convenient avenues to get unwanted medications out of our homes would be a great help to environmentally-responsible consumers, and would also address the opioid epidemic by reducing access to narcotics in the home.”

The second bill (S.7354) would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to create a drug take-back program to enable consumers to return or recycle their unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. Chain pharmacies (with 10 or more locations) would need to offer on-site collection receptacles or mail-back collection opportunities with pre-paid envelopes.

 “The Legislature approved similar legislation last year to implement a take-back program at chain pharmacies, but it was vetoed by the Governor,” Addabbo explained. “The Governor didn’t want consumers or pharmacies to shoulder the cost of returning the drugs. By ensuring that manufacturers will assume the expense, we may be closer to having a program of this type signed into law.”

Having passed the Senate, the bills will be considered by the Assembly Committee on Health.

NOLAN, ASSEMBLY COLLEAGUES’ EFFORTS TO STOP OUTSIZED BUILDINGS: Assembly Member Catherine Nolan (D-Western Queens), along with numerous members of the Assembly joined together in recent NYS budget negotiations to stop a plan to eliminate a cap on zoning allowances for building height in New York State.

The current law limits the floor-to area ratio, (FAR) to no more than 12. An FAR of 12 already allows for extremely high towers of over 70 stories. Certain portions of Long Island City are now zoned R10 which allows for an FAR of 12 if the builder includes “affordable housing.” The NYS Senate proposed repealing this limit, which would allow for localities to pass zoning with even higher limits.

Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, (D-Manhattan) led the group of over 25 Assembly members to oppose the repeal of the FAR cap in the budget.

New York City had proposed eliminating the FAR cap in 2017 and Nolan opposed it then.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Assembly to stop any changes to state law that would allow for even larger buildings. The city’s current plans trading greater development for affordable housing does not result in truly affordable units for our local residents, only outsized towers, and I think this would make matters worse,” said Nolan.

“I am committed to fight against this change in state law.  New York City’s zoning resolution already allows for large buildings in Long Island City. We have seen what the results have been and there is no need for even taller buildings,” concluded Nolan.

ADDABBO’S LEGACY CREDITS FOR STEPCHILDREN OF 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS APPROVED: The Senate passed a NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.’s bill (S.3070) that would enable stepchildren and other non-biological children raised by deceased 9/11 first responders to become eligible for “legacy credits” on competitive civil service exams.

 “New York State law already honors the memories of first responders who died as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by providing their surviving children and siblings with an additional 10 points on competitive civil service exams,” said Addabbo. “Many of these children and other relatives of firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics and others who perished as a direct result of the attacks—whether at the scene or from subsequent related health issues—often wish to follow in the footsteps of the people they lost and pursue a civil service career. But the initial legacy credit law inadvertently left out a number of other loved ones of first responders who died, and my legislation is an effort to address a specific deficiency.”

Under Addabbo’s bill, the stepchildren or children of surviving spouses of deceased first responders who were not legally adopted or their biological offspring would become eligible for the extra points on civil service exams.

In the Assembly, the legislation is under review by the Committee on Governmental Employees.

“Sometimes, the definition of family is much bigger and more complex than the law officially recognizes,” said Addabbo. “This legislation will help to ensure that additional children who suffered the loss of a parent as a result of the terrorist attacks 17 years ago will have a greater opportunity to enter public service – whether as first responders themselves, or in other civil service capacities.”

PHEFFER AMATO ANNOUNCES FREE NALOXONE TRAINING SESSION: Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Queens) announced that, in conjunction with, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, she will host a second free naloxone training session at the Rise Center (58-03 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Far Rockaway) on August 8 at 6:00 pm. This session will teach participants how to recognize, respond to, and reverse an opioid overdose using Naloxone.

“Families across New York State and the entire nation have been torn apart by addiction and a heroin epidemic that has rapidly escalated,” said Pheffer Amato. “To see families lose loved ones to addiction is heartbreaking. This session can give people the necessary knowledge and training that can help save lives.”

The training session is free and open to the public. Registration for the event is required. Participants must be 16 years of age. For more information or to register, contact Pheffer Amato’s office at 718-945-9550 or amatos@nyassembly.gov .

“This training program—along with the increased funding provided in the state budget to fight this addiction crisis—will help provide life-saving prevention, treatment and recovery services for local communities here in Queens,” Pheffer Amato said. “I encourage residents to attend.”

PHEFFER AMATO INVITES TEENS, FAMILIES TO TAKE ‘ARRIVE ALIVE’ PLEDGE: With prom and graduation season approaching, Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-South Queens) is encouraging parents and teens to take the Arrive Alive pledge together to ensure teens can get to and from their destinations safely on prom night and graduation night. The pledge asks teens to promise not to drink and drive or ride in a vehicle with someone who has done so, while asking parents to provide a ride home at any time, no questions asked.

“The Arrive Alive pledge helps parents and teens talk about the dangers of driving under the influence and ensures that teens know it’s better to reach out to their parents rather than get behind the wheel intoxicated or with someone who is,” Pheffer Amato said.

One in five teen drivers involved in fatal car crashes had some alcohol in their system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Further, young drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a car crash when they’ve been drinking and had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08 percent. Judgment and ability are impaired even at a lower BAC, and one mistake behind the wheel can cause a fatal accident, noted Pheffer Amato. She is inviting families to take the pledge with their teens to prepare for prom season and support them on one of the most memorable nights of their lives.

To print a copy of the pledge, contact the Assembly Member’s office at 718-945-9550, via email amatos@nyassembly.gov, or on her website: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Stacey-Pheffer-Amato

MALONEY RECOGNIZES JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) released the following statement in recognition of Jewish American Heritage Month: “The Jewish American community has played a vital role in the development of our great nation. During the month of May, which has been designated as Jewish American Heritage Month, I want to take the time to celebrate this proud and vibrant community that has helped form the backbone of American history and continues to play a critical role in our national identity.

“Since the foundation of our country, Jewish Americans have made outstanding and indelible contributions to our country’s social, cultural, and scientific development. To name just a few, we should remember Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish American Supreme Court Justice, author Betty Friedan who wrote ‘The Feminine Mystique,’ scientist Dr. Gertrude B. Elion, who developed the first chemotherapy treatments for childhood leukemia, the great songwriters Irving Berlin and Ira and George Gershwin, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, astronomer Carl Sagan and polio vaccine inventor Jonas Salk. With creativity, inventiveness and perseverance, the Jewish American community has unequivocally made our great country greater.

“Most impressively, the Jewish American community has accomplished all this while staying resolute in its own faith and persevering in the face of anti-Semitism and discrimination. We must continue to stand with Jewish Americans to conquer the hatred and bigotry that has unfortunately become more commonplace in today’s world.”

VAN BRAMER TO BE HONORED BY SUNNYSIDE SHINES BID AT METS GAME: Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District announced that they will honor New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer at a Mets game this summer. The Council Member will receive the honor behind home plate before the first pitch is thrown.

At the July 11 game, the Sunnyside Shines BID has the opportunity to honor an individual who has been integral to the success of their organization as part of their distinction of being named “Non-Profit of the Game,” the BID noted. They have selected Council Member Van Bramer because of his unwavering commitment to supporting the BID and the work they do to beautify and strengthen Sunnyside. Van Bramer provides funding to the BID to support their services, programs and events including street banners, planters and small business support.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition from Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District,” said Council Member Van Bramer. “I am proud to provide funding to the Sunnyside BID to ensure that they can continue to beautify the district and strengthen the small businesses community. As a lifelong Mets fan, it will be really special to accept this honor on the field and enjoy the game with Sunnysiders!”

Members of the Sunnyside community and others wishing to celebrate with the Council Member and BID will meet in Sunnyside for happy hour before the game and travel to Citi Field together. Those interested in joining can purchase tickets to the July 11 game through Sunnyside Shines by visiting https://groupmatics.events/event/Sunnysideshines.

BIKE HELMET FITTING AND GIVEAWAY EVENT: Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik, Congress Member Grace Meng, and Assembly Member Nily D. Rozic hosted a free bike helmet fitting and giveaway in partnership with the City Department of Transportation (DOT). The event was held at the Farm Playground next to PS 26 Rufus King. Helmets were available for people of all ages, and DOT staff was on-site to perform the fittings. The event provided 585 helmets to children and 686 helmets to adults, totaling 1,271 helmets. The event was also cosponsored by the non-profit Bike New York, which donated four children’s bikes, which were given to local children through a raffle.

“Keeping our children safe is always a priority, so it was wonderful to be able to fund and attend such an important event.” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik.

“It is critical for kids and adults to have access to helmets and ensure that they’re properly fitted when riding a bicycle. As a founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Kids Safety Caucus, I believe that we must do all we can to help keep our children safe,” said Congress Member Grace Meng.

“With the Eastern Queens Greenway in the heart of our neighborhood, bike-riding is a quintessential element of daily life—from commuting to recreation,” said Assembly Member Nily Rozic.

 

sources and overall environment. Having truly convenient avenues to get unwanted medications out of our homes would be a great help to environmentally-responsible consumers, and would also address the opioid epidemic by reducing access to narcotics in the home.”

The second bill (S.7354) would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to create a drug take-back program to enable consumers to return or recycle their unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. Chain pharmacies (with 10 or more locations) would need to offer on-site collection receptacles or mail-back collection opportunities with pre-paid envelopes.

“The Legislature approved similar legislation last year to implement a take-back program at chain pharmacies, but it was vetoed by the Governor,” Addabbo explained. “The Governor didn’t want consumers or pharmacies to shoulder the cost of returning the drugs. By ensuring that manufacturers will assume the expense, we may be closer to having a program of this type signed into law.”

Having passed the Senate, the bills will be considered by the Assembly Committee on Health.

NOLAN, ASSEMBLY COLLEAGUES’ EFFORTS TO STOP OUTSIZED BUILDINGS: Assembly Member Catherine Nolan (D-Western Queens), along with numerous members of the Assembly joined together in recent NYS budget negotiations to stop a plan to eliminate a cap on zoning allowances for building height in New York State.

The current law limits the floor-to area ratio, (FAR) to no more than 12. An FAR of 12 already allows for extremely high towers of over 70 stories. Certain portions of Long Island City are now zoned R10 which allows for an FAR of 12 if the builder includes “affordable housing.” The NYS Senate proposed repealing this limit, which would allow for localities to pass zoning with even higher limits.

Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, (D-Manhattan) led the group of over 25 Assembly members to oppose the repeal of the FAR cap in the budget.

New York City had proposed eliminating the FAR cap in 2017 and Nolan opposed it then.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Assembly to stop any changes to state law that would allow for even larger buildings. The city’s current plans trading greater development for affordable housing does not result in truly affordable units for our local residents, only outsized towers, and I think this would make matters worse,” said Nolan.

“I am committed to fight against this change in state law. New York City’s zoning resolution already allows for large buildings in Long Island City. We have seen what the results have been and there is no need for even taller buildings,” concluded Nolan.

ADDABBO’S LEGACY CREDITS FOR STEPCHILDREN OF 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS APPROVED: The Senate passed a NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.’s bill (S.3070) that would enable stepchildren and other non-biological children raised by deceased 9/11 first responders to become eligible for “legacy credits” on competitive civil service exams.

“New York State law already honors the memories of first responders who died as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by providing their surviving children and siblings with an additional 10 points on competitive civil service exams,” said Addabbo. “Many of these children and other relatives of firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics and others who perished as a direct result of the attacks— whether at the scene or from subsequent related health issues—often wish to follow in the footsteps of the people they lost and pursue a civil service career. But the initial legacy credit law inadvertently left out a number of other loved ones of first responders who died, and my legislation is an effort to address a specific deficiency.”

Under Addabbo’s bill, the stepchildren or children of surviving spouses of deceased first responders who were not legally adopted or their biological offspring would become eligible for the extra points on civil service exams.

In the Assembly, the legislation is under review by the Committee on Governmental Employees.

“Sometimes, the definition of family is much bigger and more complex than the law officially recognizes,” said Addabbo. “This legislation will help to ensure that additional children who suffered the loss of a parent as a result of the terrorist attacks 17 years ago will have a greater opportunity to enter public service – whether as first responders themselves, or in other civil service capacities.”

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