2018-01-10 / Political Page

I On Politics

THE WHITE HOUSE’S ‘DEPORTATION MACHINE’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the Trump administration decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorians:

“This is a heartless and illogical decision. The 200,000 Salvadorians who fled violence and poverty in search of safety and opportunity make our country stronger and better every day. The Temporary Protected Status program has given them the ability to work in our industries, learn in our schools, lead in our communities, and build families and homes in our neighborhoods. They should be allowed to stay.

“Individuals who enter the country through the Temporary Protected Status program go through rigorous background checks in order to come and stay here. They are not a threat, but an asset to America. This decision just further proves that President Trump doesn’t care about America’s safety or values – he solely wants to appease the anti-immigrant voices in his party.”

DOI REPORT: ‘DHS NOT PROPERLY VETTING HOTEL SITES’: NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. released the following statement on the Department of Investigation’s report on the Department of Homeless Services, “When the Department of Investigation released their report on Thursday, January 4, showing that the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) failed to properly vet hotels throughout the city, where DHS housed homeless women and children, for criminal activity, it was both shocking and concerning. I am deeply concerned not only for the homeless women and children across the city who have had to live in these inadequate hotels where criminal activities have taken place, but for everyone at the hotels and the residents of the surrounding communities.

“Potentially exposing vulnerable women and young children to prostitution or drug-related activities can introduce additional risks to an already risky situation. I am glad to hear that DHS has taken action on the DOI’s recommendations laid out in the report, and I hope this can shed light on the need to fix this situation, and finally get the homeless out of hotels.”

CUOMO’S AGENDA VS SEXUAL HARASSMENT ‘THOUGHTFUL, IMPORTANT’: Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to questions about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s multi-pronged agenda that targets sexual harassment in the workplace:

“A settlement should not compel silence in perpetuity and preclude further accountability for harassers enabled by that very silence. This multi-pronged proposal is a thoughtful, important step toward restoring legitimacy and control on the survivor’s terms, and is an unequivocal statement on New York’s zero tolerance for sexual harassment, at least in the workplace.”

Borough President Katz has a long legislative career, having served in the New York State Assembly from 1994-1999 representing Forest Hills, Rego Park, Middle Village and Glendale, as well as in the New York City Council from 2002-2009 representing Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and parts of Maspeth, South Elmhurst and Richmond Hill.

BILLS TO COMBAT SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE: NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky announced her co-sponsorship of a package of bills to combat workplace sexual harassment. With recent revelations of ongoing, systemic sexual harassment in both the public and private sector, the need for strong action from state government is clear. The proposals supported by Senator Stavisky will address this crisis and help ensure employees in private and public sector offices are treated with respect and equality.

“No one should be forced to endure harassment at their workplace. Sexual harassment is inappropriate and must be confronted at every turn,” Stavisky said. “I am proud to co-sponsor these common-sense bills to protect public and private sector workers from sexual harassment. We must pass these bills immediately to send a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated in New York State.”

The legislation advanced by the Senate Democratic Conference includes bills that will:

Make State Legislators Personally Liable for Settlements of Claims of Sexual Harassment Made Against Them: This bill, S.7196, would ensure that any settlement amounts provided by a house of the State Legislature to the victims of sexual harassment perpetrated by a member of the State Assembly or State Senate be reimbursed by the offending legislator. This would ensure that taxpayer money is not spent to resolve findings of wrongdoing by public officials.

Hold Public Officers to a Higher Standard: This bill, S.6975, will add provisions to the Public Officers Law explicitly prohibiting acts of sexual harassment. Additionally, this legislation would recognize that sexual harassment would constitute a breach of the ethical Code of Conduct and subject any offending public officer to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

Strengthen Anti-Retaliation Provisions: This bill, S.7192, will ensure employees who report incidents of sexual harassment to the State Division of Human Rights are guaranteed job security and shielded from retaliation. This bill will also mandate that employers prove that any adverse employment activity made against claimants have no connection whatsoever with the reporting of allegations of sexual harassment.

Crack Down on Sexual Harassment in the Private Sector: This bill, S.7193, will codify sexual harassment as an unlawful discriminatory practice and ensure that employees of small businesses may bring a claim of sexual harassment/gender discrimination against their employer. This bill will also lower the standard for a sexual harassment case to make sure that one incident of harassment is severe enough to sue for damages. By distributing model policies and better information about anti-harassment laws, this legislation will support better practices by small businesses and corporations.

Provide Fairness in Arbitrations and Limit Confidentiality: This bill, S.6382-A, will void most confidentiality agreements for settlements of sexual harassment cases. This legislation will also bar contracts from denying workers’ procedural rights in arbitration agreements as a condition for employment.

Crack Down on Sexual Harassment in the Public Sector: This bill, S.7195, will require the adoption of a strong managerial policy against harassment by all Executive agencies and the State Legislature. These policies will outline clear rights for employees facing harassment, including interns and fellows, and will make provisions to hold supervisors accountable for bad conduct they knew of and allowed to continue. This bill will also require that Legislative investigations be concluded within 60 days, a recommendation of action must be completed within 30 days of the investigation conclusion, and findings will be posted online with personal information redacted. Public sector employees will be required to have two hours of annual training on harassment in the workplace and an additional hour of training for supervisors. Similar policies and training procedures will also be applied for large state contractors.

CROWLEY: AMERICAN ECONOMY UNBALANCED: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the December jobs report:

“The American economy is unbalanced. Workers struggle to find financial security while special interests, corporations, and the richest among us enjoy lavish tax breaks that do nothing to help the men and women who contribute most to our country and economy.

“When CEOs are out-earning workers 347 to 1, the economy isn’t just unfair and uneven – it’s no longer working for middle-class America. Democrats have a vision for this country that will lift up working men and women by increasing wages, investing in our transportation and infrastructure, and creating an American economy where those who work hard will see the benefits of a rising economy.”

ADDABBO WANTS NYC FERRY TO PHASE IN FREE TRANSFERS: As the NYC Ferry system continues to grow in popularity by providing thousands of people in Queens a quick ride into Brooklyn and Manhattan each day, New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is advocating for making the service even better for passengers.

As the state legislative session starts, Addabbo wants to begin the comprehensive discussion to have the ferry system provide free transfers for riders that can be used on all MTA buses and trains. Right now, passengers have to pay a $2.75 fare for a one-way ticket on the NYC Ferry, and additional $2.75 for any MTA bus or train they wish to use.

By providing a free transfer between the two modes of transportation, Addabbo hopes to streamline the travel process for the thousands of people who use the NYC Ferry.

“As the MTA continues to work on the next generation of the MetroCard, I ask that they take into consideration the growing number of people who use the NYC Ferry,” Addabbo said. “With the number of passengers on the NYC Ferry likely to increase in the coming years, it would be a major benefit for the riders if they could continue their route by using a free transfer onto an MTA-operated bus or train. Joining these parts of our city’s public transportation system will help everyone travel faster.”

Additionally, Addabbo intends to contact the city Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) about possibly expanding its ferry bus service to the residents in Broad Channel and Howard Beach.

“Currently, residents of Broad Channel who drive and park their cars before boarding the NYC Ferry in the Rockaways can do it for free, while residents of Howard Beach who wish to do the same are inundated with the toll for crossing the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge,” Addabbo said. “That just adds an additional fare for those people, which isn’t fair. That is why I would like to see the buses that bring people into the Rockaways to get (to) the ferry expanded to Broad Channel and Howard Beach. This would provide these residents with an alternate way of getting to the ferry, and if the MTA transfer plan moves forward it would be a free transfer from that bus onto the ferry.”

FY 2019 EXPENSE, CAPITAL FUNDING APPLICATION NOW AVAILABLE: Fiscal Year 2019 Funding Applications for Expense and Capital Funding for the Office of the Queens Borough President are now available at www.queensbp.org/budget. All links below are available on this site. There are no exceptions to any of the following deadlines.

Capital Funding

If you are a non-profit organization (non-cultural) or charter school seeking capital funding, please complete the Non-Profit Capital Funding Application. If this is your first time applying, it is highly advised that you review the “How-to Video” and the “Guidelines” provided on the CapGrants application website before you begin your application. The deadline for submission is next month, February 20, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

If you are a cultural non-profit organization seeking capital funding, please complete the Cultural Institution Capital Funding Application. The deadline for submission is February 20, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

If you are a public school seeking capital funding, please complete the Public School Capital Funding Application. The deadline for submission is February 20, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

Expense Funding

If you are a non-profit organization seeking expense funding to support programs, please complete the Expense Funding Application. The deadline for submission is April 27, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

Queens Borough Board Budget Hearing

The Fiscal Year 2019 Queens Borough Board Budget Hearing is scheduled for January 30, 2018 starting at 10:00 a.m. Please bring 20 copies of your testimony. You are highly advised to sign up ahead of time by completing the Budget Hearing RSVP form. The Borough President’s office will contact you soon thereafter with your designated speaking time.

JUSTICE DEPT’S CITIZENSHIP QUESTION FOR CENSUS ‘THREATENS ACCURACY’: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), co-Chair of the House Census Caucus and sponsor of the 2020 Census Investment Act, is leading the effort urging U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reject the Department of Justice’s request that a question regarding citizenship status be added to the 2020 Decennial Census. Maloney released the following statement in response to the request:

“Our democracy depends on a fair, equitable, and complete count of the nation, yet the Department of Justice’s request to add a question regarding citizenship status to the 2020 decennial census seriously threatens its accuracy. Research from the Census Bureau already shows that survey respondents and focus group participants are expressing an ‘unprecedented’ level of concern regarding the confidentially of the data they provide to the Bureau and whether that data will be improperly shared with other government agencies, especially immigration officials. This often leads to respondents explicitly falsifying data or leaving household members off survey rosters for fear of incrimination. I fear that including a citizenship question will only serve to grow these fears and, in turn, severely undermine accuracy and initial response levels. This will increase the cost of the census by hundreds of millions of dollars in non-response follow-up, the most expensive component of the decennial census operation.

“This is why I am asking my colleagues to join me in a letter to Secretary Ross urging him to reject the Justice Department’s request. The census is too important a process and tool to be politicized.”

TRUMP’S $18B BORDER WALL ‘ILLOGICAL, UNNECESSARY’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the funding request from President Trump to build his border wall:

“President Trump has no interest in keeping Americans safe or overhauling our nation’s fundamentally flawed immigration system. He is solely focused on building an illogical and unnecessary border wall to appease the anti-immigrant voices in his party.

“Spending $18 billion on a useless border wall is a non-starter for House Democrats. We need to fund the government, extend health insurance programs for children, protect DREAMers, secure Americans’ pensions, put forward a comprehensive overhaul for our broken immigration system that addresses border security concerns, and get back to work for the middle class. We should not waste time on a completely impractical obsession that the President exploited for crass political reasons.”

VAN BRAMER RELEASES HIS 2017 REPORT CARD: City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer released his 2017 Report Card on January 8. The report card extensively details Van Bramer’s year-in-review, including: constituent services, legislation, fighting for Queens values and resisting the Trump Administration, supporting culture and the arts, advocating for libraries, safe streets and transportation, fighting for public housing, and organizations and projects funded by the Council Member in the district. This is the 8th consecutive year that City Council Majority Leader Van Bramer has released his annual report card to the public.

“I am a firm believer that a good council member is accessible, accountable, and transparent with their constituents and all New Yorkers,” Van Bramer said. “I started releasing my annual report card the first year I served in the City Council and I have continued to do it every year because I want the people I work for to know what my team and I are doing, how effectively that work is being done, and what kind of projects their tax dollars are funding.”

ROZIC APPOINTED CHAIR OF TASK FORCE ON WOMEN’S ISSUES: Assembly Member Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) announced on January 8 her appointment to serve as Chair of the State Assembly’s Task Force on Women’s Issues. The announcement comes as lawmakers return to Albany to commence the 241st legislative session.

“Serving in this new role is an exciting opportunity to continue building off my current efforts to empower women while working alongside my colleagues to ensure our impact is felt across the state. I thank Speaker Heastie for providing me the opportunity to serve in this new capacity.”

Rozic is currently serving her third term representing the 25th Assembly District. At the time of her election, she became the youngest woman elected to the State Legislature and the first woman to represent the 25th Assembly District. Over the years, Rozic has authored and passed legislation addressing women in the workplace, domestic violence, women’s conditions in correctional facilities, access to healthcare, and sexual harassment. This past year, legislation she passed to create equity in rehabilitative programming for women inmates was signed into law. Most recently, she announced legislation to protect models in the fashion industry from sexual and other forms of harassment.

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