Ramos Applauds Budget Passage, Brings Funding To District 13
State Senator Julia Ramos (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) together with the Senate Majority Conference passed the 2019-2020 State Budget this week.
According to the Ramos, this year’s budget was fiscally responsible and remained within the 2% state spending cap. The budget passed by the Senate Majority will improve the quality of life for New Yorkers by implementing the Affordable Care Act into state law, banning single-use plastic bags and taking historic actions on the state’s criminal justice system.
The enacted budget includes:
- One Day Less Bill
- Criminal Justice Reform: Bail Reform, Speedy Trial, Discovery
- Congestion Pricing
- Rape Shield Law Expansion
- $27 Million for the Jose Peralta Dream Act
- $7.7 Million for Adult Literacy
- $24.7 Million for Early Voting and E-poll books
- Plastic Bag Ban
- Expansion of Workers Compensation providers
- $4 million for Workforce Development Institute
- Funding of MWBE lending program
“The New York State Budget includes historic steps to improve our criminal justice system, including bail reform, speedy trial, and discovery. The One Day Bill was also included in the budget, to keep our families together,” said Ramos.
The budget was also able to bring funding to State District 13 for local groups and community organizations, including:
- Make The Road NY
- Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities Program
- Citizens Committee for New York City
- Woodside on the Move
- Her Justice
- Consortium for Worker Education Credentials
- Langston Hughes Library
- National Association of Social Workers – NYC Chapter
- Apicha Health Center
- Neighborhood Housing Services Queens
“We were also able to secure funding for many community organizations in District 13, bringing resources home so our community can thrive,” added Ramos.
Suozzi Announces Six-Month Extension of Alternative North Shore Helicopter Route
Congressman Tom Suozzi (D–Eastern Queens, Long Island) yesterday announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has extended the alternative North Shore Helicopter Route for an additional 180 days (6 months).
In October 2018, the FAA began a six-month test of an alternative route which shifted air traffic away from Whitestone, Bayside, and northeast Queens and cut helicopter and seaplane traffic by up to 50 percent. This six-month extension, which will run through October 2, 2019, will bring much-needed relief to the residents of northeast Queens through the normally busier summer period. According to Suozzi’s office, the extension will give the area an estimated 50% reduction of helicopter noise through the Summer months.
Suozzi has worked closely with City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) and the FAA in repeatedly calling for alternative routes to improve safety and mitigate noise stemming from increased air traffic over his district, and he applauds the FAA’s decision to extend the alternative inbound procedures for helicopters and float planes.
“This 180-day extension of the alternative route will dramatically improve the quality of life for affected residents, particularly during the busier and noisier summer months. I want to thank the FAA for working with me to find solutions that will mitigate noise and provide relief for Queens residents. My hope is that after this test route is complete, this extension can be made permanent,” said Suozzi.
“Expanding this pilot program until October 2nd will give families in Bayside, Whitestone and College Point much needed relief from the onslaught of noise low-flying, chartered helicopters bring to our communities. Since day one, my office has continuously fought to protect Northeast Queens from disruptive air traffic, and this extension is another great win for our district. It is our continued hope that the FAA will consider taking this transformative program from pilot to permanent,” said Vallone.
Lancman Slams Albany’s Budget For Not Fully Ending Cash Bail
City Council member and Queens District Attorney Candidate Rory Lancman (D-) yesterday outside the Queens Criminal Courthouse to slam the State Legislature’s failure to end cash bail as part of the 2019 budget.
As part of the 2019-2020 State Budget, judges are still able to set bail – or simply send the defendant to jail without bail – for defendants charged with violent felonies, crimes of witness intimidation or tampering, violating an order of protection against a member of your household, or various other crimes. The bill language encourages judges to be deliberative if they fix bail, insisting they make “an individualized determination” for the defendant, and justify the choice on the record.
Lancman has long been a supporter of ending cash bail in its entirety. In the City Council he has been a leader in mitigating the effects of cash bail — by expanding supervised release programs, allowing cash bail to be paid online, putting ATMs in courthouses, getting courts to set bail amounts that defendants can actually afford, establishing a citywide bail fund, and requiring bail bond businesses to inform customers of their rights.
Additionally, Lancman also participated in last year’s #MassBailout with human rights activist Kerry Kennedy. The Mass Bail Out Action is a collaborative effort made up of grassroots groups and formerly incarcerated people to free women and young people in New York City who are jailed because they cannot afford to post bail. The action, which which took place in Oct of 2018, used an estimated $5 million to spring hundreds of women, 16-and-17-year-old defendants awaiting trial at Rikers— many accused of violent crimes — regardless of the charges they face.
“Of all the evils of our current criminal justice system, perhaps none is so sinister, and so easily remediable, as cash bail. We literally incarcerate thousands of people every year because they’re poor, punishing people before they’re convicted and forcing innocent people to plead guilty and get stuck with a record for the rest of their life,” said Lancman.