WEPRIN STATEMENT ON SHOOTING AT CHABAD OF POWAY:

Assemblyman David Weprin issued the following statement on the shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue: “I was appalled to learn about the attack on worshipers at the Chabad of Poway during the last day of Passover, and saddened by the continuing rise in hate-fueled violence. We must stand united as a country to condemn these disgusting acts of anti-Semitism, and work to restrict access to automatic weapons which have been used in countless hate crimes. We must remember that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and the Poway community.”

SCOTUS ORAL ARGUMENTS IN CENSUS CITIZENSHIP QUESTION CASE:

Following hearing the oral arguments in New York et al v. Department of Commerce, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair of the House Census Caucus and author of the 2020 Census IDEA Act, released a statement. The Congresswoman led an amicus brief of 126 current and former members of Congress in support of the New York attorney general’s lawsuit against the citizenship question – a suit which resulted in a federal judge ruling that the question must be removed.

“The question at hand is simple: Does the Trump administration have the authority to manipulate and misrepresent census data for political gain? I, 18 state attorneys general, the ACLU, and the House of Representatives all say no.

“The stakes of this case could not be higher. The outcome of this case could determine the course of our nation for the next decade and maybe longer. The science and professional expertise around this issue are crystal clear; adding a question on citizenship to the decennial census will result in an undercount, estimated in the millions, and therefore runs counter to our constitutional mandate to count every single person living in our country.

“If the justices rule based on the merits of the case, they must uphold the lower courts’ opinions and order the removal of the citizenship question. However, if they do not, we should be prepared by passing my bill, the Census IDEA Act, which will remove the question and provide greater congressional oversight to ensure the census is never weaponized again.”

CUOMO ANNOUNCES SECOND PHASE OF JFK CARGO MODERNIZATION:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on April 25 the second phase of a multi-tiered cargo modernization plan at John F. Kennedy International Airport, with the signing of a long-term lease with JFK Air Cargo LLC to develop a state-of-the-art handling facility at the airport.

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners authorized the 31-year lease agreement that afternoon, a deal expected to bring $152 million in rentals and a $70 million investment by JFK Air Cargo. The Port Authority is contributing up to $13 million toward site preparation work and roadway improvements needed to complete construction, including a new truck “turnaround” that would allow additional traffic to enter and exit the North Cargo Area more easily. Located on 16.2 acres of property in the North Cargo Area, the new facility is expected to be completed in approximately 24 months.

“New York’s nation-leading infrastructure investments are fundamentally transforming our economy, and the new JFK Airport will continue this unprecedented growth,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new facility will generate significant economic output for the region, support thousands of good paying jobs and cement JFK Airport’s place as a national leader in air cargo operations.”

Across the region, the overall cargo business at the airport currently supports a total of nearly 78,000 jobs, $13.1 billion in sales and an estimated $6 billion in wages. The new facility is expected to yield an estimated 200,000 tons of additional cargo, 5,400 regional jobs, more than $1.8 billion in sales and an estimated $660 million in wages.

The plan outlined by Governor Cuomo to transform Kennedy Airport calls for a $13 billion redevelopment. Private funding is being used for $12 billion of the cost.

In February of this year, Governor Cuomo announced that American Airlines and British Airways would invest an additional $344 million to expand Terminal 8 as part of the airport’s transformation. Next month, the widely anticipated TWA Hotel, restoring the grandeur of Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 TWA Flight Center, will open its doors just outside of JetBlue’s Terminal 5.

MALONEY, MENG SLAM TRUMP FOR WEAKENED UN RES ON SEX ATTACKS:

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), House sponsor of the resolution to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), released the following statement on April 23 after the Trump administration’s veto threat forced the removal of language supporting sexual violence victims’ right to healthcare from a UN Security Council resolution on reducing and addressing sexual violence in conflicts.

“I am deeply disappointed and ashamed about what happened at the United Nations today. The Trump administration’s actions at the UN are unconscionable, and threaten the hard-fought progress made in favor of women’s and girl’s rights in armed conflict. I am ashamed that this veto threat was issued in the name of the American people. It is clear that the Trump administration’s war on women knows no borders. They have once again prioritized political ideology over the lives of women and girls.”

Maloney had written a letter on April 22 urging Secretary of State Pompeo to support a UN Security Council resolution on reducing and addressing sexual violence in conflicts, stating:

“It is important that we remember who this resolution is about: the Rohingya women and girls who are being systematically gang raped in Myanmar, the Yazidi and other minority women who have been enslaved by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and the Congolese girls who seek out comprehensive medical services, from physicians like Nobel-prize laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege, who will reportedly be present at the Security Council meeting along with fellow Nobel laureate Nadia Murad to advocate for this important resolution. Is the Trump administration’s official position that women and girls who have suffered sexual violence do not deserve medical help?

“In any conflict, women’s bodies become battlefields. Rape is used as a weapon of war. The UN recognized rape as a war crime in 2008. It is simply unconscionable for the US to block access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, including access to emergency contraception, safe termination of pregnancy and HIV prevention and treatment. To prioritize political ideology in this way endangers the lives of women living in areas of conflict.”

On April 24 US Rep. Grace Meng (DNY), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, issued the following statement in response to “the Trump administration’s latest attack on women’s reproductive health rights.”

“I am furious that the US mission to the UN stripped important references to sexual and reproductive health out of the UN Security Council resolution on ending sexual violence in conflict. This resolution was designed to bring an end to the systematic rape and assault of women and girls in war… That the Trump administration diluted such an historic resolution by rejecting the critical healthcare needs of the survivors of sexual violence in conflict is utterly shameful and an affront to our humanity. This is yet another example of the Trump administration’s willingness to throw women – this time, survivors of wartime sexual violence – under the bus in order to pursue its extreme agenda at the United Nations.”

DOJ WILL NOT FIGHT FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION:

On April 25, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY- 12) joined elected officials and Equal Rights Amendment advocates to condemn a recent US Department of Justice decision to not defend a federal law banning female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C); to call for Speaker Pelosi to step in to defend the law; and call for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Maloney is the sponsor of H.J. Res. 35, a bill to restart the ratification process of the ERA.

While the Trump administration has decided not to defend the 1996 law banning FGM/C, the House or the Senate could do so. Accordingly, Maloney wrote a letter on April 25 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to urge her to defend the law in the US Court of Appeals.

In light of a federal district court in Michigan’s November 2018 ruling that Congress does not have the constitutional authority to criminalize FGM/C, the advocates highlighted the need to ratify the ERA. Without this constitutional bedrock protecting women’s rights, courts can roll back the laws Congress passes.

“Female genital mutilation and cutting is a grotesque and extremely painful procedure that removes a portion of a woman’s sexual organs in order to exert control over her bodily integrity and sexual autonomy. The Trump administration’s decision not to protect women and girls from this horrific practice illustrates not only its unwillingness to fight for women’s rights, but also exposes large loopholes in our Constitution that allow for women’s rights to be chipped away far too easily. Activists have been fighting the same battles for decades, and without the Equal Rights Amendment any progress we achieve can be rolled back. It’s time for the ERA to finally be ratified so that the rights of women can be protected, no matter who is in the White House, who sits on the bench, or who is in the majority in Congress or state capitols,” said Rep. Maloney.

“Though we took action in New York to criminalize FGM, thousands are still at risk of being transported across state lines (19 states do not have laws against FGM) and overseas to undergo this human rights violation,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, chair of the Office of State-Federation Relations.

“The United States Department of Justice must reverse its disgraceful decision to decline appealing a Michigan federal court ruling that invalidates constitutional protections for minor female children from bar- baric genital mutilation for non-medical reasons,” said Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright.

“The recent DOJ decision not to defend the law which bans this practice is a step backwards for women’s rights. Last December I led a City Council oversight hearing on the extent and impacts of FGC in New York City, and we learned that 65,000 girls and women in the metro area are at risk,” said Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, chair of the Committee on Women.

DENDEKKER ANNOUNCES PARKINSON’S DISEASE AWARENESS EVENT:

Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) announced that there will be an “Aware in Care” Parkinson’s Disease Town Hall on Saturday, May 4, from 2 to 3 pm at the Renaissance Charter School (35-59 81st Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372). The event, which will be run by the Parkinson’s Foundation, is intended to raise awareness about insufficient medical care provided to Parkinson’s disease patients. “Three in four people with Parkinson’s disease in the hospital do not get their medication in a timely fashion,” said event organizer Marta Kowalska. All event attendees will receive an “Aware in Care” kit, which will provide those who have Parkinson’s disease tools and information they can share with medical staff during a hospital visit. “By next year, nearly one million Americans will be living with Parkinson’s disease,” stated DenDekker. “We must spread awareness about this debilitating illness so that people can be educated on proper treatment for Parkinson’s disease.”

DE BLASIO KEEPS PROMISE OF $180M FOR LIC IN HIS BUDGET:

Last October, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an investment strategy for Long Island City that included funding for improving the sewers, investing in the central business district, improving transportation, creating new upland parks and building new schools, among other things. On April 25, the Mayor followed through on his promise by including the funding in his 2020 Budget Proposal. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), who represents Long Island City, hailed the news and released the following comment:

“I am delighted that Mayor de Blasio is keeping his commitment to the Long Island City community. I have made clear to him that I believe it is critically important for the city to fix the aging sewage system in Long Island City, which backs up every time it rains, to build new parks and schools to meet a growing population, to create new affordable housing and bring jobs to this community, to support the creative community that has developed in Long Island City and to enhance our overtaxed transportation system. Today, he is making good on his promise by fully funding the Long Island City Investment Strategy, including $95 million for sewer system improvements. In the coming months, I’ll be working with the de Blasio administration to make sure the funding is invested as promised.”