Assembly Member Ari Espinal introduced three new bill designed to solidify hate crime laws and end private prisons and probation. // Photo courtesy of Ari Espinal

Espinal Moves to Ban Private Prisons

Assembly Member Ari Espinal introduced a slate of bills designed to solidify hate crime laws and erode privatization in the criminal justice system this week.

One bill, known as the Michael Sandy Act, would prevent defendants charged with a hate crime from arguing that they themselves are members of the same protected class as the victim.

The bill is named for Michael Sandy, an black gay man who was killed in 2006 by four white men who attempted to rob him. One of the defendants said he was also gay and thus immune to charges of committing a hate crime against another gay man.

The Private Prison Elimination Act would prohibit the state from leasing or granting state-owned property to be used for the operation of private correctional facilities.

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White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner ‘s family real estate company was fined $210,000 by NYC regulators on Monday after an AP investigation earlier this year that showed it routinely filed false documents with the city claiming it had no rent-regulated tenants in its buildings when it, in fact, had hundreds. // AP Photo by Andrew Harnik

Kushner Cos. Fined $210K For False Docs

By Bernard Condon Associated Press The Kushner family real estate company was fined $210,000 by New York City regulators on

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Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County President Catalina Cruz (in blue blazer) received the endorsement of NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer in the race for the District 39 Assembly seat on Monday. // Photo courtesy of Catalina Cruz

Stringer Backs Latino Lawyers President in Quest for Assembly

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer visited Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights Monday to announce his endorsement of Catalina Cruz in the race for the District 39 Assembly seat.

Cruz, the president of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County, came to Queens as an undocumented immigrant from Colombia at age 9. She eventually became a U.S. citizen and graduated from CUNY School of Law. She has represented low-income tenants facing eviction from their rent-stabilized apartments and served in various levels of government.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attends the ceremony marking Billy Joel's 100th performance at New York's Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Cuomo Signs Law Expanding Rehab and Diversion for Opioid Abusers

On Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a new law designed to address the opioid epidemic by funding diversion programs for opioid abusers involved in the criminal justice system.

The state will expand funding for diversion models, including law enforcement assisted diversion, known as LEAD.

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Activists hold signs that say “Children Are Going to Die” during a speed camera demonstration outside a school in Woodside. // Photo courtesy of TransAlt

Van Bramer Is Latest Lawmaker to Clock School Speeders

The site of local lawmakers gripping radar guns to clock drivers outside Queens schools has become a familiar one for motorists cruising through Queens school zones this summer.

Ever since the State Senate allowed the school speed camera program to expire last month, Assembly Members, Senators and Council Members have united with advocacy organizations to keep the issue front and center in the minds of senate Republicans, constituents and drivers

With schools set to open for classes in less than three weeks, District 26 Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer headed to the Razi School on Queens Boulevard yesterday.

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Council Member I. Daneek Miller (pink shirt) and Council Speaker Corey Johnson (blue tie) participate in a prayer at the Islamic Circle of North America in Jamaica. // Photo courtesy of I. Daneek Miller

As Hate Crimes Surge, Miller Announces $250K to Support Muslim Community

Last Friday, Council Member I. Daneek Miller joined Council Speaker Corey Johnson to announce a $250,000 commitment to local Muslim organizations, in conjunction with the New York Immigration Coalition.

The money is part of the city’s commitment to establishing a Muslim Empowerment Initiative.  

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Airplane noise may be limiting life expectancy for northeast Queens residents, according to a new study. // Stock photo

Noisy LGA Routes May Actually Lower Life Expectancy

Residents of northeast Queens just found out that the noisy planes they have complained about for years aren’t just affecting their quality of life — they may also limit their life expectancy, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health examined the impact of noise on health as well as the economic benefits of more efficient plane routes. They found that prolonged exposure to loud sounds could increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease and anxiety and trim a whole year off a person’s life. They published their report, which used routes out of LaGuardia Airport as a case study, on Aug. 15.

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Queens Civil Court // Photo by YoungKing11

Advocates Praise Bill Ensuring Free Divorce Lawyers For DV Survivors

By Rob Abruzzese, David Brand and Paula Katinas A City Council bill that would mandate free legal representation for victims

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