Assembly Member Ari Espinal (left), Council Member Francisco Moya (center) and car wash worker Ernesto Salazar called on the Department of Labor to end the tip credit. // Photo courtesy of Francisco Moya

Moya, Workers’ Rights Advocates Demand End to Tip Credit

Workers’ rights advocates and labor unions joined Council Member Francisco Moya at City Hall Tuesday to demand an end to the “tip credit” system, which enables employers in various industries to pay less than minimum wage.

“The livelihoods of restaurant servers, car wash workers, nail salon employees or any tipped worker should not be dependent on tolerating sexual harassment and discrimination but our two-tiered minimum wage system incentivizes silently suffering these indignities,” Moya said. “It’s time for New York to join the seven other states that have eliminated the tipped credit and provide tipped workers with the stability that comes from being guaranteed a living wage.”

A tip credit is the amount of tips earned by an employee that the law allows his or her employer to count as a credit against the minimum wage requirements for that industry, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

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The Queens Detention Facility, NYC’s lone private prison, would not be affected by an Assembly bill designed to prohibit private prisons.// Google Maps

Jamaica Jail Prompted Private Prison Prohibition Bill, But Would Go Unscathed

A new Assembly bill that would prohibit the operation of private prisons on state property will have no impact on New York City’s lone private jail, a facility located amid an industrial zone in Jamaica.

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. The bill was inspired by stories of abuse inside the Queens Detention Facility, a spokesperson for bill sponsor Ari Espinal, a Corona assembly member, told the Queens Daily Eagle.

But the jail is located on private property and will not be affected by the bill, a reality that has frustrated Espinal.

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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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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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Barros’ daughter Eileen holds a sign that says “Give me back my dad” as she stands with Council Member Francisco Moya and demonstrators on the steps of City Hall Friday. Photo courtesy of Francisco Moya.

Judge Halts Deportation of Maspeth Taxi Driver, Father of 2

A federal judge issued a stay of deportation for Edisson Barros, a Maspeth taxi driver and father of two, just hours before he was scheduled to be deported, according to Telemundo and attorneys from Legal Aid.

Edisson Barros, an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, was detained inside Hudson Correctional Facility in Kearny, NJ and was first scheduled to be deported more than a week ago, but he was instead transferred to a jail in Louisiana to await the final decision.

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Council Member Francisco Moya//Courtesy of Francisco Moya's office.

Queens Lawmakers Demand Speed Cams 1 Day Before Program Expires

David Brand Queens Daily Eagle With school speed cameras set to disappear Wednesday, Queens lawmakers have kept their foot on

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