Meeks Statement on Tillerson Firing

    U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

    U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport), senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, yesterday expressed strong concerns and a belief in stronger Congressional oversight following President Donald Trump‘s ousting of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

    “The sudden firing of Secretary of State Tillerson is concerning though not surprising coming from President Trump, who revels in conducting the government in the most chaotic manner possible. I’m on the record asking Secretary Tillerson how he is able to conduct diplomacy and advance U.S. foreign policy interests with such obvious disconnect and discord between him and the President of the United States. Tillerson was never able to adequately answer that question, and I remain convinced that the disconnect between President Trump and his most senior advisors does immeasurable harm to our national interests at home and abroad.

    “Tillerson’s firing comes as the State Department is hemorrhaging talent and morale is low. At the same time, President Trump’s incongruent foreign policy includes his intention to conduct direct talks with North Korea while threatening to undermine the Iran deal,  and threaten a trade war with our allies while asking NATO nations to deepen their commitment to the alliance.

    “This firing and all that it entails exemplifies why Congressional oversight is crucial in the face of a White House that is focused on the whims of a fragile and temperamental President rather than the needs of the nation.”


    Kim Introduces Legislation To Protect Crytpocurrency Users 

    Assembly Member Ron Kim

    Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill) yesterday introduced new legislation (A9899) to safeguard and improve cryptocurrency exchanges in New York State.

    The bill comes after Assemblyman Kim met with industry leaders and released his own research on The Future of Bitcoin in New York. As the first comprehensive piece of cryptocurrency legislation in New York to move beyond studies and commissions, The New York Cryptocurrency Exchange Act will put the state at the forefront of technological development.

    The industry as a whole has seen remarkable growth with more than 1,000 New York based job listings in the blockchain field today. Currently there are fewer than ten BitLicenses holders in the state, providing a significant opportunity to increase revenue supply by restructuring current Cryptocurrency regulation. Blockchain related jobs are expected to exceed more than a million by 2020.

    Assemblyman Kim emphasized the importance of increasing consumer protections by setting strict security requirements, and ensuring customers’ assets are safeguarded. The proposed bill (A9899) will make amendments to Section 9 of the Banking Law that set new requirements for exchanges and issuers of Virtual Currencies. These changes include requirements to:

    • Establish security protocols to safeguard from theft;
    • Establish a fund insuring a portion of their account holders’ assets

    A digital New York State Seal of Approval will be given to all entities conducting cryptocurrency business activities that are in full compliance, giving consumers confidence that their investments are secure.

    “Cryptocurrency and more varied uses of the blockchain are exciting technological advancements. While the market is developing at a rapid pace, consumer protections have failed to match it. Earlier efforts to regulate the space have put enormous burdens on burgeoning businesses. Applications and compliance rules have left businesses unclear if certain regulations even apply to them,” said Kim.

    “What New York needs now are common-sense laws and security procedures to provide a degree of clarity for both businesses and the public. This legislation will give consumers and companies the confidence needed for widespread adoption of cryptocurrency in New York,” he added.


    Avella, Rosenthal See Progress on Waterpointe Development

    Sen. Tony Avella

    Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal

    State Senator Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) and Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal (D-Flushing, Kew Gardens, Utopia, Forest Hills, Glendale, Middle Village Corona, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Auburndale, Clearview) yesterday announced said that progress has been made in regards to the Whitestone Waterpointe project following a meeting with the developers last week.

    Also in on the meeting was Community Board 7, the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association and the state Department of Environmental Control (DEC).

    “Assemblyman Rosenthal and I were pleased that our efforts resulted in the developer agreeing to put in “unrestricted” (virgin) soil so that these future homeowners will be able to plant vegetable gardens. However, I am convinced that the current dollar amount planned for the escrow account is inadequate and will prove to be too little over time. We are pleased we have made progress with the community and the developer and we look forward to further discussions where we should be able to come to an agreement that is best for the future homeowners and community at large,” said Avella.

    “Given the history of this site, I am glad to see the current project moving forward in a transparent manner with the input of the community,” said Rosenthal. “Working with Senator Avella and the Department of Environmental Conservation has allowed us to secure sensible accommodations for future homeowners and the entire Whitestone community. I look forward to seeing the developer make the appropriate investments to ensure our families’ homes are viable and safe in the long term.”


    Addabbo Lauds Chin Re-Election To Regents Board

    Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

    State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways.), the ranking member of the Senate Education Committee, yesterday lauded the re-election of NYS Regent Judith Chin, who represents the 11th Judicial District in Queens on the State Board of Regents:

    “It was my great pleasure to cast a vote in favor of the re-election of New York State Regent Judith Chin, who first started representing the borough of Queens on the state Board of Regents in 2015. In this capacity, she is deeply involved in overseeing and guiding the State Education Department and State University system.

    “Since beginning her service on the Board, Regent Chin has been a thoughtful and effective advocate for the school children of Queens and New York State as a whole. She is a lifelong educator who worked with New York City students as a teacher, principal, and in many other vital capacities, including as a Supervising Superintendent for more than 230 schools across the five boroughs. As a product of the New York City public school system, Regent Chin is uniquely qualified to serve as a member of New York State’s primary education policy-making body.

    “I deeply appreciate Regent Chin’s deep dedication to our educational system and the future of all of our school children, and I wish her continued success as a valued member of the Board of Regents.”


    Velázquez, Maloney Say Ban Helicopter Tourist Flights

    U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney

    U.S. Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Queens, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan) along with U.S. Rep.Jerrold Nadler (Manhattan, Brooklyn) yesterday released a joint statement calling for a ban on tourist helicopter flights in the wake of the East River helicopter crash:

    “This crash is another tragic reminder that these helicopter tourist flights pose significant public safety risks to our community. At minimum, these flights should be suspended until there can be an exhaustive review of the safety hazards of operating these flights in such a congested urban airspace.

    “Not only do these helicopter flights present safety dangers, but, as we have repeatedly noted before, they also cause significant noise pollution in Manhattan and Brooklyn communities. Following this tragedy, we once again—as we have many times before—call on the FAA, the City and municipalities in New Jersey to ban helicopter flights over Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Helicopter tourism flights are simply a bad fit for airspace above the most densely populated city in the U.S.”

     

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