Meeks Applauds Passage Of First Step Act

    U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

    U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport) yesterday applauded Congress’ passage of the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that would reduce mandatory minimums of “war on drugs” era policies, increase “good time credits” that inmates could earn, allow inmates to receive “earned time credits” for participating in rehabilitative programs and allow prisoners to be incarcerated closer to home, among other changes.

    “There is no doubt that the war on drugs and the policies that disproportionately targeted minorities have greatly contributed towards making America the incarceration capital of the world. As a former prosecutor, I know that there is a great deal of people behind bars who’ve been subjected to extreme minimum sentences, who aren’t violent, and who could contribute to their community if given the chance. The time is long over-due to effect meaningful change in our justice system, to right some of the wrongs, and focus on reducing recidivism and the scale of the prison-industrial complex in our nation,” said Meeks.

    “The First Step Act is just that, a first step, and I was proud to be a co-sponsor of the original House version of this bill. By reducing some mandatory minimums and making some reforms retroactive, and by increasing the amount of earned time credits while allowing prisoners to earn credits through rehabilitation, the First Step Act will allow thousands of prisoners who’ve done their time a chance to re-enter life outside bars, many on the very day this law goes into effect.

    “This historic bill shows that bipartisanship is still possible in the often partisan halls of Congress. Great credit is owed to the restless work of advocates and this legislations leaders in both the Senate and House, like Senators Cory Booker (NJ-D) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens). I look forward to working after this bill’s passage on additional common sense reforms to reduce prison overcrowding and make our justice system more just.”

    Moya, Donovan Help Council Approve Measure For Hotel Special Permits

    City Councilmember Francisco Moya

    City Council Member Donovan Richards

    City Council Members Francisco Moya (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing Meadows, Lefrak City, LaGuardia Airport) and Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens) yesterday applauded the Council’s vote yesterday approving a new City Planning Commission (CPC) Special Permits for hotels in light manufacturing zones (M-1).

    Under the legislation, a CPC Special Permit would allow for the consideration, on a site-specific basis, of the appropriateness of hotel development in these areas.

    “After years of failing to adequately respond to our manufacturing districts’ needs, I’m proud to be the chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises when the council finally moved to protect of the jobs and character of these areas,” said Moya.

    “Requiring prospective hotels to secure a special permit to set up shop in a light manufacturing area will allow the city to preserve ready job-creating industrial areas while also exposing hotel development to our public land use review process. I proudly stand with my colleagues in adopting this amendment,” he added.

    Richards said requiring special permits for hotels in M1 zones provides necessary protections for industrial business zones who have been on the losing end of the battle for land for too long, while also ensuring local council members play a role in securing the needs of their local districts throughout the permit process.

    “Industrial businesses provide skilled, well-playing jobs to communities of color, helping to lift them up into the middle class, which is why the City needs to focus on stabilizing land use opportunities in addition to the recommendations in the Industrial Action Plan. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio and City Planning Chair Lago for responding to the needs of local communities and addressing the need for more oversight in the process,” said Richards.

    Weprin Sees Hundreds of Toys Donated In His Annual Holiday Toy Drive

    Assemblymember David Weprin

    Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Richmond Hill, Fresh Meadows)) sustained a successful holiday tradition by hosting the 24th Assembly District’s 5thannual Holiday Toy Drive this year.

    Weprin distributed hundreds of new toys and toys in good condition to the children of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens and HeartShare Cuomo First Step Early Childhood Center in Richmond Hill on Wednesday, December 19, just in time for the holidays.

    Weprin collected toys over the past several weeks at both of his district offices and at Irwin Altman Middle School 172 in Glen Oaks with the help of Principal Jeffery Slivko and the student community. A majority of the toys were collected by the students and the rest were donated by generous constituents across the district.

    The annual toy drive was dedicated in honor of local community member Jason Weinstein in 2017 after his sudden passing that year. The Weinstein family asked that all donations in honor of their son be directed to Heartshare Human Services of New York and the assemblyman was inspired by their act of generosity. As a result, hundreds of children across Queens will get a special surprise this holiday season in memory of Jason.

    “I want to thank Principal Jeffery Slivko, the students of Irwin Altman Middle School 172, and all the community members who found it in their heart to donate gifts. Each year the toy drive is more successful than the last and it would not be possible without kind-hearted people of our community,” said Weprin. “I am sure that the late Jason Weinstein would be happy to know that we were able to bring so many children a little bit of holiday joy in his honor.”

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