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Times Ledger: Mute Swan Bill Passes Senate a Second Time

A bill that seeks to protect mute swans from a state Department of Environmental Conservation plan to eradicate the population in the state passed the state Senate last week. An earlier version of the bill was vetoed last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The bill, introduced by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), would impose a two-year moratorium on the DEC plan.

Since the DEC announced the plan in 2013, on the grounds that the species is “invasive,” both animal rights activists and numerous lawmakers have voiced their opposition.

Avella called on the DEC to consider a non-lethal method for controlling the mute swan population, which is currently about 2,200 birds throughout the state, including the Rockaways.

May 6, 2015
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Release: Avella Gives $210,000 Grant to Udalls Cove Preservation Committee

(QUEENS, NY) On Saturday, April 25th, State Senator Tony Avella was proud to present a check for $210,000 to the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee.

The money was allocated by Senator Avella from this year’s state budget and is part of more than $1.3 million he secured for programs and organizations throughout Queens. The money will allow the organization to purchase another portion of the wetlands reserve, further protecting the area from destruction or development.

April 28, 2015
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Times Ledger: Avella, Park Advocates Appeal Willets Megamall Case

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and park advocates say they are hopeful after a panel of judges heard arguments last week in the case of a proposed megamall on the former site of Shea Stadium.

The appeal filed by Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Club of New York, Queens Civic Congress, several members of Willets Point United and nearby residents and business owners against the Willets West mega-mall proposal was argued before the state Appellate Division.

The Willets West mall project is part of the Queens Development Group’s $3 billion redevelopment of Willets Point into a new neighborhood with commercial, retail and residential space.

April 24, 2015
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Times Ledger: Avella, Homeowners Group Want Landmarking for Broadway-Flushing

Residents of the Broadway-Flushing neighborhood want the Landmarks Preservation Commission to recognize the neighborhood as a historic district.

The association has been fighting for the designation for the last 11 to 12 years, according to Robert Hanophy, the association’s president.

The designation would prevent the city Department of Buildings from letting developers take on projects in the neighborhood that violate the area’s restrictive covenants, which are deed restrictions put in place in 1906 that prevent the construction of walls or fences within 20 feet of the property lines and streets, prohibit flat roofs and mandate minimum lot sizes and construction costs for homes.

April 24, 2015
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Queens Chronicle: Poppenhusen Gets $100,000 Grant

Call it coincidence, but the $100,000 grant state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was able to give the Poppenhusen Institute for expenses is the same amount it cost to build the historic site 147 years ago.

Avella announced the grant at the College Point building Monday. The funding, which is the largest single expense grant the institute has ever received, will help Poppenhusen cover operational costs.

The money was obtained by the senator as part of more than $1.3 million he successfully allocated for programs and organizations throughout his district and across Queens.

April 24, 2015
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Times Ledger: Briarwood Gets Subway Stop Named Solely for Neighborhood

After decades of confusion, Queens residents can now rejoice in the clarification of the Briarwood subway station. State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) , Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) and Seymour Schwartz announced the renaming of the Briarwood-Van Wyck subway station to simply Briarwood after a 14-year battle.

Avella and Weprin both introduced legislation that required the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to remove “Van Wyck Boulevard” from all signage at the stop. The bill was passed but later vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. MTA was then directed to make the changes.

Avella recognized what a victory this was for Briarwood residents.

April 24, 2015
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NBC New York: NY Senator Proposes New Law to Clarify Sex Offender Residency Rules

New York State Sen. Tony Avella has introduced new legislation demanding more uniform sex offender residency laws after NBC 4 New York's I-Team discovered a discrepancy in how far from a school offenders can live.

Last week, the I-Team exposed a legal loophole that allowed level 2 and 3 sex offenders on parole or probation to live at the Bellevue Men's Shelter over the last several years, despite a state law saying they must live at least 1,000 feet from any school.

The private Churchill School and Center is just around the corner from the shelter, and depending on how someone measures the distance from the men’s city shelter on 30th Street, that distance can be above or under the mandatory 1,000-foot rule.

April 23, 2015
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Release: Avella Marks Earth Day by Introducing Battery Recycling Bill

(ALBANY, NY) Today, State Senator Tony Avella was joined by Eliot Seol, an 11-year-old student from Queens, to introduce a bill (S.4522) that would require New York State to establish a recycling stewardship program for all “single use” batteries. The bill was drafted by Senator Avella, who serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, after Eliot brought the idea to the Senator’s attention.

April 22, 2015
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Release: Senate Passes Avella's Mute Swan Bill

On Earth Day, State Senator Tony Avella announced that the New York State Senate passed his bill aimed at protecting mute swans.

For the second year in a row, the Senate passed Senator Avella’s bill (S.1555) that would place a two year moratorium on the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) plan to completely eradicate New York State’s entire mute swan population. Since DEC announced the controversial plan in 2013, declaring the species “invasive,” it has been met with criticism from animal rights activists and various lawmakers. Senator Avella has led the fight by calling on DEC to rethink their eradication plan and instead implement a non-lethal method for controlling the mute swan population, which currently amounts to 2,200 birds throughout the state.

April 22, 2015
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Release: Avella Denounces Plans for Vacant Whitestone Lot

(QUEENS, NY) State Senator Tony Avella today called on the developer of a vacant lot in Whitestone to immediately abandon recently-announced plans to construct more than 100 townhomes on the property.

Edgestone Group, LLC, which owns the 15-acre lot located at 151-45 6th Road, announced at a meeting Tuesday night that the company plans to build 107 townhouses on the empty site, formerly known as the Bayrock property. This plan would bring a total of 203 new residential units to the neighborhood, nearly four times the number of units that was agreed upon in 2008 when the community board and City Council negotiated a plan for 52 single-family homes to be constructed at the site.

April 22, 2015
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Legislative Gazette: Senator Avella worried about lobbyists in consultants' clothing

According to the new chair of the state Senate's Ethics Committee, Tony Avella, and a recent news report, public relations firms are playing two positions in the field of government influence.

The Queens Democrat says the dual-role these firms are fulfilling is an ethical issue that needs to be addressed.

A member of the breakaway Democrats in the Senate, Avella, is drafting legislation that would hold public relations firms to the same disclosure standards as lobbyists.

Avella released a statement April 2 expressing concern about the possibility that some PR firms may have extra pull over elected officials.

April 14, 2015
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Capital NY: Avella proposes lobbying ban for political consultants

ALBANY—In light of a report that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has met with a political consultant and campaign strategist who also represents organizations that lobby City Hall, State Senator Tony Avella has introduced a bill that would bar lobbyists from also being political consultants.

“If you're a lobbyist, you can't be a campaign consultant because there's an inherent conflict of interest when you have people who are running elected officials' campaigns and then representing clients who are lobbying that same legislator,” Avella, a Queens Democrat, told Capital.

April 10, 2015
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CBS New York: Proposed Bill Would Ban Import, Sale of Five Endangered African Species in NY

Legislation has been introduced in New York that would ban the import, possession, sale or transportation of the remains of five endangered species native to Africa.

State Sen. Tony Avella was joined Wednesday by animal rights advocates on the steps of City Hall to announce the bill, which covers elephants, leopards, lions, black rhinoceroses and white rhinoceroses.

All five species are currently facing extinction and are further threatened by illegal poaching and sport hunting, advocates said.

“We’re supposed to be the stewards of these species and shame on us if we allow them to become extinct because of sport hunting,” Sen. Avella told 1010 WINS.

April 10, 2015
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EARTH DAY 2015 POSTER CONTEST: DISTRICT 11

Dear Students,Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the New York State Senate’s Earth Day Poster Contest.  This year we received many outstanding posters that exemplify the creativity of the young people in the 11th Senatorial District. Each entry from my District displayed tremendous originality and vision as well as obvious concern for the ecological future of our communities and our state.  I am proud of your work and that of your classmates, and encourage you to continue to study and learn more about the serious challenges that face our environment.I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 2015 Earth Day Poster Contest from my District is: Jiayu Yan3rd GradeP.S. 94Q School

April 10, 2015
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Release: Avella Introduces Bill Prohibiting Import, Possession, Sale or Transport of "Big Five African Species"

(NEW YORK, NY) Today, State Senator Tony Avella was joined by activists from Friends of Animals, League of Human Voters, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal rights groups as he announced the introduction of a bill (S.4686) that would ban the import, possession, sale or transportation in New York of the “Big Five African Species.”

April 8, 2015
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New York Observer: Senator Says He Will Push Bill to Require More Disclosure From Political Consultants

State Senator Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, said today he will push legislation that would require disclosure for all political consulting firms that have “substantial contact” with both elected officials and other clients.

April 3, 2015
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Photo release: Avella donates matzos for Passover

(FLUSHING, NY) Today, ahead of the Passover holiday beginning, State Senator Tony Avella donated matzos to Temple Beth Sholom in Flushing.

April 2, 2015
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Statement by Senator Tony Avella in Response to NY1 Report Highlighting Lack of Transparency in Public Relations and Strategic Communications Firms’ Dealings with Government Officials

“As Chair of the Ethics Committee, I was shocked to learn that public relations and strategic communications firms are not subject to the same registration and disclosure requirements as lobbyists. The fact of the matter is that these firms are meeting with government officials, all the while advocating their outside clients’ interests.

April 2, 2015
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Release: Avella Applauds Queens Library Budget Meeting

(QUEENS, NY) State Senator Tony Avella today applauded the Queens Public Library for holding its first-ever public budget hearing, cementing a major step in library reform.

March 31, 2015
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TimesLedger: City seeks to modernize rules to bolster affordable housing

Community leaders are up in arms about the city’s plans to update existing zoning regulations to accommodate its affordable housing goals, which they say will undo more than a decade of progress in zoning.

In May, the city released the Housing New York plan, which identified the need for 200,000 affordable housing units over the next decade.

Among the issues identified in the plan is the need to upgrade outdated zoning regulations that impede the production of affordable housing, according to the city Department of City Planning.

“Certain units may be too large at the moment,” said city planner Stephen Everett.

March 31, 2015
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