Tag Archives: New York Assembly

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Light snow this morning giving way to partly cloudy conditions this afternoon. High near 30. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low around 15. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Mid-Winter Taste for City Harvest

This food tasting event at  Resorts World Casino showcases over 30 food purveyors, and all proceeds will benefit City Harvest. Entry at 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NY Assembly passes Dream Act providing tuition aid

New York’s Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would open state tuition assistance programs to students in the country illegally, and now the measure moves to an uncertain future in the Senate. Read more: AP

NYC Council follows mayor’s Lead, steps away from St. Patrick’s Parade

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the council won’t have an official presence at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade because of rules that prevent gay and lesbian groups from identifying themselves while marching. Read more: CBS New York/AP

New Yorkers favor letting cities boost local minimum wage

A new statewide poll shows a large majority of New Yorkers support giving municipalities authority to raise the minimum wage locally, something Gov. Cuomo opposes. Read more: New York Post

NY Assembly contracts for $210K outside counsel on sexual harassment policy

The state Assembly has entered into two contracts worth $210,000 for an outside counsel to handle sexual harassment policy development and investigations after a high-profile scandal. Read more: NBC New York

Snow likely every day for the next 3 days, then again on the weekend

Snow is likely to fall every day for the next three days as arctic air settles over the tri-state region, where it will stick around through the weekend. Read more: NBC New York

 

10 years after deadly staged accident, family wants Alice’s Law passed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The family of the 71-year-old Queens woman killed 10 years ago in a staged car accident said bureaucratic delays have held up justice — and a proposed law to stiffen penalties in such cases.

“It should have passed,” said Daniel Ross, 56, of Bayside. “I don’t want another family to go through what we went through.”

His mother, Alice Ross, died in 2003 when her car was struck in Bellerose by another vehicle.

According to the district attorney, Waurd Demolaire of Brooklyn intentionally rammed his car into hers to collect insurance money under the state’s No-Fault Law. He was convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy in 2006 and released on probation last October.

“The perpetrator got off with a very reduced sentence, considering the fact that he murdered my sister,” said Alice’s brother, Don Peters. “Now he’s free to walk the streets of New York again.”

Legislation dubbed Alice’s Law has been proposed in the State Senate and Assembly. Both bills would impose tougher criminal penalties on people who engage in staged accidents. But legislators said failure to compromise on two different versions of the law has stalled the ratification process.

The Assembly wants to classify staging accidents to defraud insurance as a class E felony, the lowest felony offense. It carries a prison sentence of one to five years.

A bill passed in the State Senate would make the crime a class D felony and upgrade it to class B if the accident causes serious injury or death to another person. That could mean a prison sentence of five to more than 25 years.

“It’s continually frustrating that there seems to be a philosophical difference between the State Senate and Assembly,” said State Senator Tony Avella, a cosponsor of the Senate bill. “Increasing penalties for any sort of crime, [the Assembly] just won’t do it.”

Assemblymember David Weprin, a sponsor of the bill in the lower house, said he is optimistic that both houses will reach a compromise and get the legislation passed this year.

The legislature has less than one month to resolve differences and get one bill approved in both houses before the session ends June 20.

Last year, the State Senate passed its bill in March and sent it to the Assembly. But according to records, the Assembly’s amended bill reached the Senate on June 19 — too late for action by the upper house.

Alice’s Law was first proposed in 2007 and has been reintroduced every year since 2010.

“It’s been too long in coming,” said Peters, 78, of Saratoga Springs. “The process has been much too slow. I wish it would become law. I think it would be a very appropriate recognition of that anniversary.”

Daniel Ross showed The Courier a copy of a letter from authorities saying the man responsible for his mother’s untimely death was now free.

“That was murder,” he said. “It could have been anybody’s mother.”

 

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Assemblymember Goldfeder announces Summer Reading Challenge


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder

Kids can keep their minds sharp this summer with another chapter of the state Assembly’s Summer Reading Challenge.

The program looks to beat the “summer slide” in which kids may not keep up with reading while school’s out. Sponsored by Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, this year’s theme is “Dig into reading” for children; for tweens it’s “Beneath the Surface.”

Students can pick up materials at their local schools in the 23rd Assembly District, or at Goldfeder’s Ozone Park and Rockaway offices.

Youngsters who read with a parent for at least 15 minutes a day for 40 days through July and August get an official Assembly certificate personally delivered by their representative.

Around 250 students from P.S. 232 in Lindenwood took part in the program last summer, according to Goldfeder’s office.

Principal Lisa Josephson said students who took part last year came back in September with keen minds, ready to learn.

“Our students at P.S. 232 who do their active reading during the summer months return to school prepared,” she said. “And they get rewarded for their efforts by Assemblymember Goldfeder.”

“Learning shouldn’t stop when the last bell rings at the end of the school year,” said Goldfeder. “The Assembly’s Summer Reading Challenge offers a fun and exciting way for families to spend quality time together while parents help their children expand their imaginations and learn.”

For more information, visit www.assembly.state.ny.us/goldfeder or call 718-945-9550.

 

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Redistricting battle: Court steps in


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


Inaction by lawmakers has prompted a federal judge to recommend court intervention in New York’s redistricting process.

Judge Dora Irizarry said on February 13 that federal courts should be placed in charge of ensuring the state’s election process for Senate, Assembly and Congressional districts adheres to state and federal law, and suggested a special master be appointed to redraw district lines.

Irizarry, a judge in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, cited the “current state of inaction” in redrawing the lines and the upcoming Congressional primaries — slated to begin June 26 — as grounds for her reasoning.

Judge Gary Sharpe complicated matters on January 27 by ruling that primary elections for Congressional seats be moved up from September to June in order to allow military voters sufficient time to receive absentee ballots for the general election.

Irizarry also referenced instances of court interference which have expedited the process previously.

In her ruling, the judge noted, “In 1992 and 2002, the New York State Legislature acted only after there was judicial intervention.”

Irizarry’s decision came in response to a lawsuit filed on November 17 by a group of six civic leaders, calling for a special master to be given authority over the mapping.

Daniel Burstein, who represents the plaintiffs along with Richard Mancino, believes the ruling is a “giant step forward in our efforts.”

“The ruling recognized that time has run out for the New York Legislature to draw district lines in time for the primary elections and period for petitioning, which begins in March,” Burstein said. “When the Legislature fails to act in a timely manner, then it is up to the courts to protect the voters of the state.”

Due to the decision, a three judge panel, composed of Irizarry and Judges Reena Raggi and Gerard Lynch, has been appointed by the Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to make a final verdict. If a majority of the panel believes in the need for a special master, one will be appointed to draw the lines — after which the map will require approval from the court.

“Given Judge Irizarry’s recommendation, we do anticipate that a special master will be appointed,” said Burstein.

The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR), which drew up the current controversial lines, is holding public hearings across the state. Their maps, which would eliminate a number of incumbent senatorial Democrats, have been criticized by numerous politicians and good-government groups for being politically partisan.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also intends to veto the lines, according to spokesperson Matt Wing.

“At first glance, these lines are simply unacceptable and would be vetoed by the governor.”