(Albany, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris hailed the Senate passage of the Gianaris/Aubry Queens Library Reform Bill (S.6893-B), which will now move to the desk of Governor Cuomo, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
“I am thrilled the Senate so overwhelmingly passed my bill and look forward to it becoming law so we can end the abuses that plagued our library system,” said Senator Gianaris. “Once enacted, my bill will rein in the excesses revealed in recent reports and provide a long-term blueprint for an efficient, transparent and accountable library system of which every Queens resident can be proud. I am thankful for the way just about everyone in Queens came together to fight for these much-needed reforms, which says a lot about our borough’s desire for transparency and accountability when it comes to public funds.”
(Astoria, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris took pride in announcing a major step forward in the deconstruction of the Charles Poletti Power Plant in Astoria. For the first time in recent memory, smokestacks have been eliminated from western Queens after the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has removed the second of the power plant’s two smokestacks, as deconstruction of the entire facility continues. The deconstruction of the aging, inefficient and less clean power plant, which used outdated technology from the 1970s, is the result of an agreement between the community and NYPA reached after years of tireless work by Senator Gianaris, Queens leaders and community groups.
“The smokestacks of the Poletti power plant were symbols of the pollution that haunted our neighborhood for too long, and I am happy to see them go,” said Senator Gianaris. “The progress we have made improving our air quality is a key reason so many New Yorkers are coming to western Queens to live and work. More remains to be done in terms of rooting out pollution, but the deconstruction of the Poletti plant is a major milestone in taking our neighborhoods from being plagued by smokestacks to the family-friendly communities full of green space and parks to which we aspire.”
(Astoria, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris, elected officials, and cultural institutions from Astoria and Long Island City urged the MTA to adopt a proposed plan under consideration at its Monday meeting that would institute increased service on the Q103 Bus line. Under this plan the Q103, which connects the two Queens waterfront neighborhoods along Vernon Boulevard, would see expanded weekday service hours and would finally run on weekends thanks to an MTA trial program that would begin in June. The plan, long advocated by local leaders, still requires final approval from the New York City Transit and Bus Committee of the MTA Board on Monday April 28th.
“At long last, weekend service on the Q103 bus line is in sight,” said Senator Gianaris. “I urge the MTA to approve this service increase and recognize that our community’s need for better mass transit is pressing. The need for more public transportation in our area will only continue to grow, especially on weekends, as more people flock to our waterfront to visit our restaurants, parks, and cultural institutions. Astoria and Long Island City have become hubs for the arts, and New Yorkers should finally be able to travel between them on the Vernon Boulevard bus lines on Saturdays and Sundays.”
(Queens, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris invited local residents to nominate veterans from the community whose service on behalf of our nation warrants induction into the New York State Veteran’s Hall of Fame.
This online Hall of Fame is designed to pay tribute to New Yorkers whose gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces is complemented by service to their communities.
“Each year one of the greatest privileges I have as a member of the New York State Senate is to honor a member of my community who has not only served our nation but returned home and worked to improve the lives of our neighbors,” said Senator Gianaris. “Though all of us are eternally grateful to our nation’s veterans, the Veteran’s Hall of Fame allows us to say a special thank you, and I urge anyone with a veteran in mind to come forward with a nomination.”
Following the release of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero Report, Senator Michael Gianaris issued the following statement in support of the Mayor’s Vision Zero efforts.
“I am pleased Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Report includes support for my bill to increase penalties on suspended and unlicensed drivers,” said Senator Gianaris. “Too many lives are needlessly lost at the hands of reckless drivers who should not be on our streets. I look forward to working with the Mayor to make our streets safer for all New Yorkers.”
(Albany, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris joined Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Senate Democratic Conference in announcing a legislative package that would ensure better pay for hardworking New Yorkers. Senator Gianaris, Deputy Leader of the Senate Democrats, co-sponsored three bills that would enable local governments to raise the minimum wage in their localities and expedite an increase of the state’s minimum wage.
“Hard working New Yorkers deserve a wage that allows them to provide for their families,” said Senator Gianaris. “Last year’s minimum wage increase was too low and too slow. There is no reason to delay these measures and I call for immediate action to ensure that New Yorkers earn a fair wage as soon as possible.”
(Maspeth, Queens) In the wake of yet another deadly crash in Queens involving a driver with a suspended license, Senator Michael Gianaris brought together elected officials, community groups and transportation safety advocates to push for swift passage of his legislation cracking down on chronically reckless drivers with suspended licenses. This renewed effort followed the tragic death of Angela Hurtado, who was on her way to play bingo when she was killed by a driver with a suspended license making an illegal turn.
Days after a crash involving a truck driver with a suspended license tragically took the life of an 8 year old in Woodside, Senator Michael Gianaris introduced legislation that would make it a felony for drivers who drive with suspended licenses and kill or seriously injure someone in the process. A second bill would give law enforcement the authority to immediately impound the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license.
“Noshat Nahian and Angela Hurtado are only the latest of many victims whose lives have been cut short by drivers who should not have been on the road in the first place,” said Senator Gianaris. “These are preventable tragedies. We need to enact these important proposals before any more lives are lost.”
“Our fast-growing western Queens neighborhoods require increased mass transit options, not ones that are being slashed. The people of Long Island City and Sunnyside deserve better than 22 weekends of 7 train closures, and I will fight to ensure the MTA reduces weekend closures, improves local bus service, and increases transit alternatives like free shuttle bus service," said Senator Michael Gianaris.
At PS 152, surrounded by elected leaders, community activists, and the families of deadly car crash victims, Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a plan to make our streets safer. In support of Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in our city to zero, Senator Michael Gianaris called for the swift passage of his legislation that would make it a felony for drivers who drive with suspended licenses and kill or seriously injure someone in the process.
Senator Gianaris proposed this bill, as well as one that would immediately impound the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license, after a crash involving a truck driver with a suspended license tragically took the life of 8 year old Noshat Nahian while he was on his way to the Woodside school.
Senator Michael Gianaris was proud to lend a hand as Urban Upbound and local donors, including the Greek-American Homeowners Association, provided hundreds of turkeys for residents of Astoria Houses. For years, Urban Upbound and Senator Gianaris have celebrated Thanksgiving by making it easier for those in need to enjoy the holidays with their families.
“There is no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by giving those in need the ability to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones. I thank Urban Upbound for making this event possible and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving,” said Senator Gianaris.
(Woodside, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris joined the American Red Cross, the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky at a community forum at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside. Woodside is home to a large Filipino neighborhood affectionately known as Little Manila.
Since the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, Senator Gianaris has worked to aid the Filipino community in finding loved ones back home and organizing relief efforts. At the forum, Senator Gianaris, the Red Cross and NAFCON shared information on how all New Yorkers can help those affected by this catastrophic typhoon.
“As New Yorkers, we take pride in the diversity of our neighborhoods, and we take pride in the thriving Filipino community in Woodside,” said Senator Gianaris. “In times of disaster we come together to recover and I am proud to see the recovery efforts already underway here in Queens. I will continue to work with NAFCON and the Red Cross to spearhead recovery efforts in our neighborhood, and I urge everyone to do what they can to help.”
(Queens, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris, a leading environmentalist throughout his career in the State Legislature, earned high marks on an environmental scorecard published by EPL/Environmental Advocates. Senator Gianaris, along with several of his fellow Senate Democrats, was rated highest among all members of the New York State Senate.
(Astoria, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney hosted an Open House to celebrate their new District Offices in the heart of Astoria. Local residents and community leaders from Astoria, Long Island City, Ridgewood, Sunnyside, Woodside and Woodhaven were joined by elected officials from all over Queens at the new offices on Newtown Avenue.
“It was a pleasure to host so many friends and community leaders who share our dedication to improving Queens,” said Senator Gianaris. “My door is always open to the people of Queens and this Open House was the perfect way to welcome them to an office that is as much theirs as it is mine.”
(Woodhaven, NY) Senator Gianaris hosted a mobile office on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven this week. Recently Senator Gianaris launched a districtwide series of mobile offices to celebrate the diverse array of Queens neighborhoods he represents, and to better understand the unique issues and concerns of each community.
“I had a great time talking to Woodhaven residents about the issues that matter most to this community,” said Senator Gianaris. “I am glad the issues at the forefront of my agenda are the same ones that are important to people here, and I look forward to working with everyone in Woodhaven to strengthen public safety and preserve the character of this neighborhood.”
(Queens, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris announced that he will launch a series of mobile offices this week covering every corner of his district from Woodside to Woodhaven and also including the neighborhoods of Long Island City, Sunnyside and Ridgewood. Recognizing that each neighborhood he represents has unique issues and concerns, Senator Gianaris is eager to hear from Queens residents on the issues that matter most to their community. The mobile offices will take place over the next few weeks.
“I am proud to represent such a diverse array of Queens neighborhoods,” said Senator Gianaris. “These mobile offices will be a great opportunity for people from Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Ridgewood and Woodhaven to communicate their concerns to me so we can work together to improve our community. I look forward to hearing firsthand about the issues that matter most in all areas of my district.”
- Automated Announcements Will Tell N and Q Train Riders How Long Until the Next Train -
(Astoria, NY) Life will get easier for straphangers on the N and Q trains in Astoria. In response to years of advocacy by Senator Michael Gianaris, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit will implement Real Time Information, an automated system that will announce how long riders have until the next train arrives, in five Astoria stations. Senator Michael Gianaris has advocated for Countdown Clocks in western Queens Subway stations since the fall of 2010.
“I am pleased the MTA listened to our community and made the daily commute of N and Q train riders easier,” said Senator Gianaris. “Countdown Clocks were a great idea three years ago, and although it took some time, I am pleased to see that western Queens will now be able to enjoy Real Time Information. I thank the MTA and New York City Transit for realizing the need for service improvements and I hope this is a sign of things to come for Astoria and other rapidly developing western Queens neighborhoods.”
(Albany, NY) Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill authored by Senator Michael Gianaris and carried in the State Assembly by Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, which will increase cancer prevention and reduce the dangers of sun poisoning for children. The law will strengthen existing regulations regarding the application of sunscreen in schools and summer camps to ensure that children are able to apply sunscreen when spending time outside.
The New York State Department of Education and the Federal Food and Drug Administration include sunscreen on their list of over-the-counter drugs, previously requiring a note from a doctor before a child would be allowed to use it during school hours. Summer camps also follow these guidelines.
Understanding how important it is for children to protect themselves from sunburn and overexposure to the sun, Senator Gianaris’ newly passed law will only require a note from a parent.
“Our first responsibility is to protect our kids, and we fail to do that when illogical regulations force schools to put our children in danger. Our schools should be encouraging sunscreen use, not preventing it,” said Senator Gianaris. “I am pleased Governor Cuomo signed this common sense measure into law, allowing us to rest assured that our children will not be at risk when they play outside at school or at summer camp.”
(Astoria, NY) Senator Gianaris is pleased to announce that the Department of Transportation has agreed to include Astoria in future plans for Citibike, the city’s new bike-sharing program. Since Citibike’s debut, Senator Gianaris has worked with DOT to ensure that Astoria and other western Queens neighborhoods will be included in the program. Senator Gianaris, a lifelong Astoria resident who regularly bikes around the neighborhood, is pleased that Citibike is on the horizon for Astoria.
“Citibike will be a great addition to Astoria, which has a growing cycling community and is already one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the city,” said Senator Gianaris. “Bike share will allow people to enjoy the neighborhood in a fun and healthy way and will help people more easily travel around western Queens, an area in dire need of better mass transit. I look forward to the day when all of western Queens will enjoy the benefits of Citibike.”
(Astoria, NY) For the second time in as many rounds of MTA service restorations, the MTA did little to nothing to relieve the transit problems faced every day by the residents of western Queens. At the 30th Avenue N and Q station in Astoria, Senator Gianaris continued to advocate for mass transit options in western Queens and repeated his call for the MTA to improve service in Queens neighborhoods.
“For the second time the MTA has seen fit to restore service across the city but has ignored western Queens. The MTA’s drastic cuts in 2010 hit our area particularly hard, and since then western Queens has continued its dramatic growth as home to New York’s hottest neighborhoods,” said Senator Gianaris. “As western Queens continues to grow, our transit infrastructure must keep pace. Right now mass transit in our area is being left behind.”