Governor Cuomo Signs Weprin Body Scanner Bill

    Assemblymember David Weprin

    Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D–Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill) announced yesterday the Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signing of his legislation permitting the use of body image scanner devices in correctional facilities in New York City as part of an effort to reduce illegally smuggled contraband at city correctional facilities.

    A 6838 (Weprin) – S 5337 (Hannon) seeks to combat a rash of slashing and stabbing assaults involving the use of ceramic blades and exacto knives, which are undetectable with the use of regular metal detectors. The bill also includes safeguards against the over use of body scanning equipment including requirements for the operation of body scanner equipment relating to training of operators, limitations on exposure, registration and inspection requirements for body scanning equipment. Matching legislation was previously passed the State Senate earlier in the year.

    “In light of the endemic violence at Rikers Island and the increasing use of ceramic blades as weapons among the inmate population, it is important to safeguard staff and inmates from the immediate and widespread threat of slashing,” said Weprin.

    “This legislation strikes an even balance between protecting inmates from the horrific physical and psychological effects that come with being a victim of a slashing while awaiting trial, while ensuring the secure use of body scanning equipment. I thank Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for supporting the legislative effort to make New York’s jails safer for inmates, correctional employees and others,” he added.

    Sanders Brings Financial Counselor To Community Clergy Breakfast

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) last week brought Jamal Smith, Senior Financial Counselor with Urban Upbound as his guest speaker at his monthly Community Clergy Breakfast at the Faith Assembly Church in Richmond Hill.

    Smith’s organization is dedicated to breaking cycles of poverty in New York City public housing and other low-income neighborhoods.

    The topic for the breakfast was money management for faith-based leaders and the presentation included information on how to create a budget, how to prioritize financial goals (short-term and long-term), attitudes about money, household goals, separating wants from needs, and assessing your current financial situation.

    “I think everyone in this room already knows the importance of saving money,” Sanders said. “It can provide financial security in case of emergency situations, help achieve goals such as home ownership and most importantly lead to the creation of generational wealth. What we may not know, or what we may be struggling with, is how to save money, and that’s what we are here today to learn.”

    “Money is a tool not a problem,” Smith said. “It’s not about sacrifices, it’s about choices. You are choosing to save that money so that you can meet goals and achieve a desired quality of life.”

    NYC Advisory Commission On Property Tax Hold Queens Public Hearing Tonight

    Members of the New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform will hold a public hearing in Queens tonight to listen to people who pay property taxes directly or indirectly.

    To ensure the Commission hears from all those interested, speakers will be given no more than three minutes to present testimony or comments. Commission members may use additional time to ask questions.

    Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Johnson, formed the joint commission in May to develop recommendations to reform New York City’s property tax system to make it simpler, clearer, and fairer, while ensuring that there is no reduction in revenue used to fund essential City services.

    The hearing is slated for 6:30 p.m., tonight, Oct. 3 at York College – Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in Jamaica.

    Katz Continues Conviction Sealing Workshops This Month

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz/via Facebook

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and The Legal Aid Society will partner to host another series of “Know Your Rights Week: Closing Cases, Opening Doors” public workshops across the borough from October 24 – 26, 2018.

    At no cost, attendees can meet with lawyers to confidentially discuss how to apply to seal their non-violent criminal conviction records and clean up their rap sheet.

    “Queens is pleased to present another series of conviction sealing workshops with the Legal Aid Society to equip New Yorkers of their rights,” said Katz, an attorney by trade. “The burden of a past, non-violent mistake should not ruin or impede future opportunities for the rest of one’s life. If we eliminate barriers to opportunity, we can reduce recidivism rates, boost our economy and change our city, our communities and our lives for the better. Thank you to the Legal Aid Society and our community partners for this commitment to uplifting families across Queens.”

    Any kind of criminal conviction can hinder a person’s ability to secure employment, housing, financial aid, professional licenses and more. New York’s conviction sealing law* that went into effect on October 7, 2017 is based on the belief that non-violent offenders who have turned their lives around for the better should no longer have to bear the stigma of a conviction or face unnecessary barriers to opportunity and employment.

    Individuals may be eligible to have their criminal records seals if they have one or two criminal convictions total, the convictions are more than ten years old, and they have no more than one felony (violent and certain other serious felonies are not eligible for sealing).

    All services and legal consultations provided during the week are free and confidential. RSVPs are strongly recommended at or 718.286.2661.

    The following are when and where the workshops are being held this month:

    Wednesday, October 24 from 4:00 – 6:00pm

    Ocean Bay Community Center with Rock Safe Streets

    @ 57-10 Beach Channel Drive in FAR ROCKAWAY

    RSVP: or call 718-286-2661

    Wednesday, October 24 from 7:30 – 9:00pm

    Redfern Houses Community Center with Fathers Alive in the Hood

    @ 1544 Hassock Street in FAR ROCKAWAY

    RSVP: or call 718-286-2661

    Thursday, October 25 from 4:00 – 6:00pm

    Transitional Services for New York, Inc. with LIFE Camp, Inc.

    @ 90-27 Sutphin Boulevard in JAMAICA

    RSVP: or call 718-286-2661

    Thursday, October 25 from 7:30 – 9:00pm

    South Jamaica Cornerstone Community Center

    @ 109-04 160th Street in JAMAICA

    RSVP: or call 718-286-2661

    Friday, October 26 from 4:00 – 6:00pm

    696 Build Queensbridge

    @ 10-31 41st Avenue in LONG ISLAND CITY

    RSVP: or call 718-286-2661

    Van Bramer Hosts 9th Annual Hispanic & Latinx Leadership Awards

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills) will co-host and celebrate the 9th annual Hispanic & Latinx Leadership Awards Night later this month.

    “We will be honoring true community leaders in Western Queens in what is sure to be a fun night, featuring a special musical number from Thalia’s dragQUEENS show,” said Van Bramer in his newsletter. “Join us for a night of celebration in honor of outstanding Hispanic & Latinx community leaders as well as a special presentation of our Distinguished Public Service Award to [State Senator-elect] Jessica Ramos.

    This year’s honorees include:

    Janice Quiles-Reyes, PS 150Q Parent Coordinator

    Janneth Calle, Girl Scout Troop 4079 Leader

    Eleazar Rubi, Girl Scout Troop 4079 Leader

    Oscar Escobar, LGBTQ Community Activist

    Nora Gomez-Straus, Director of Digital at Public Art Fund

    Ruben Ramales, Managing Director at AIA Queens

    Adolfo Steve Vazquez, Founder of Queenscapes

    Claudia Corcino, Founder Ciclistas Latinoamericanos de New York

    Felix Figueroa, Shop Steward, Local 32BJ, SEIU – Social Justice Leadership Academy

    The event is slated for 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15 at the Thalia Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Ave, Sunnyside. To RSVP contact Jack Bernatovicz at or (718) 383-9566 ext 1.

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