East Elmhurst, NY — Today, State Senator Jose Peralta and the New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) demanded a full investigation into the death of Edgar Pazmino, a construction worker killed at his workplace in Jamaica, Queens, on March 13. Pazmino, an Ecuadorian immigrant and member of NICE, was crushed against a wall by a forklift on 89th Avenue and 150th Street, a high-rise luxury construction site.
Additionally, Senator Peralta called on his colleagues in the New York State Senate to pass Carlos’ Law (S.4373B), legislation that would protect workers from employers who do not comply with safety protocols at construction sites. Under the proposal, which is co-sponsored by the Senator, fines and penalties will increase when an employer or supervisor “ignores, disregards or fails to comply with workplace safety by protocols or procedures, and that contributes directly to bodily injury, serious physical injury or the death of a worker.”
The legislation was named after Carlos Moncayo, a migrant worker who was killed in an accident at a construction site. Since Congress enacted the Occupational Safety Health Act (OSHA), there were more than 400,000 workplace fatalities. In 2016 alone, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 5,190 work-related deaths, a 7% increase from the 4,836 fatalities reported the previous year.
“My heart goes out to the family, friends and co-workers of Edgar, a hard-working immigrant who lost his life while working at a construction site. Enough is enough. We must tackle this epidemic once and for all. It was troubling to find out that this particular construction site is plagued with safety violations, and that there were several stop work orders issued. In fact, last September there was a partial stop work order because a construction worker fell from the 8th to the 7th floor. Latino workers are disproportionately affected by accident in the workplace that result in death or serious injuries. It is time to put an end to this. It is my hope my colleagues in the Senate take note and finally pass Carlos’ Law,” said Senator Peralta.
“Our community is heartbroken by Edgar’s death. He will be remembered for his sense of humor and eagerness to participate,” said Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a worker center in Jackson Heights, Queens, of which Edgar was a member of. “Edgar’s memory must be honored by ensuring this does not happen again. His death could have been avoided.”
He added, “we believe New York can be doing much more to protect workers. With nearly 500 construction related deaths in the past decade, this is a crisis that must be addressed urgently. We implore our representatives to support Carlos’ Law – legislation that could have helped Edgar and many others. Finally, we ask for prayers and support for the family in their time of mourning.”
According to published reports, the site has 37 open violations issued by the Environmental Control Board. The Department of Buildings issued a full stop work order on December.
East Elmhurst, NY — Today, the New York State Senate passed Senator Jose Peralta’s bill that will include a space on applications for student loans and aid programs to voluntarily sign up for the Donate Life Registry. The proposal (S.6196) will increase opportunities for New Yorkers to register as organ donors. Currently, New York State ranks third in the nation with the highest need for donors, and it is second to last in the nation per capita when it comes to registered organ donors.
Donate Life, a nonprofit donor organ organization in the country, pointed out that nearly 9,500 New Yorkers throughout the state are waiting for organ transplants. Over 1,600 New Yorkers have been on a waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant for more than five years. In 2017, more than 2,200 New Yorkers received a lifesaving organ transplant.
“Signing up for the organ donation registry is the highest form of solidarity with others. One organ donated is one life saved. Unfortunately, far too many New Yorkers are waiting for organs. Simply put, this proposal will increase the number of New Yorkers who become organ donors by including an option to check if you want to be included in the donate life registry on student loan forms,” said Senator Peralta. “This is a common-sense approach to increasing the number of people who register as organ donors.”
Under the legislation passed by the Senate, the student loan and student aid applications will include the question: “Would you like to be added to the Donate Life Registry? Check box for ‘yes,’ or check the box ‘skip question.’ Currently, New Yorkers who want to become organ donors can only do so by signing up for the Donate Life Registry at the Department of Motor Vehicles, when applying for health coverage through the New York State health exchange, on voter registration forms, and separate stand-alone forms.
Senator Peralta urges the New York Assembly to follow suit and pass his proposal to make it easier for New Yorkers to sign up for the organ donor registry.
East Elmhurst, NY — Last night, State Senator Jose Peralta and the Dominico-American Society of Queens (DAS) hosted the Dominican Heritage Month at La Boom, in Woodside. During the celebration, which included live performances by Frankie Fernandez, La Mezcla, Ballet Mestizo and Grupo Recogi2, Senator Peralta and DAS honored the work and success of several Dominican and Dominican-Americans leaders who made great contributions to the community. Additionally, Senator Peralta presented on Tuesday a resolution on the New York State Senate to mark the 174th anniversary of the Dominican independence.
“Dominicans and Dominican-Americans make enormous contributions to the city, state and the nation. As we celebrate Dominican Heritage Month, this is a very special moment for me as I am the first Dominican-American to be elected to the New York State Senate. I am proud to serve all the New Yorkers who call our district, the United Nations of all Senatorial Districts, home,” said Senator Peralta. “The Dominican population is continuing its growth and is now the largest Latino group in New York City, which includes more than 30,000 Dominican and Dominican-Americans in my district, and fifth largest in the United States.”
Jose Tejada, Executive Director of DAS, said, “As a Dominican-American, I am proud to have celebrated Dominican Republic’s 174 years of independence alongside those of varying ethnicities and backgrounds. Our passionate music, beautiful culture and delicious food have been on display at this year’s extravaganza. We want to truly thank our New York State Senator, Jose Peralta and our elected officials for their continued support in helping our communities. This event would not have been possible without them and the community.”
Senator Peralta presented the 2018 honorees with a proclamation: Ana Alaimo, owner of Santo Domingo Car Limo Services; Francisco Diaz, owner of Addictive Wine & Tapas; Soraya Sussman, Executive Director of Quality Control and Vice President of Practice Transformation at Somos Community Care; and Tairy Ynoa, reporter with Telemundo 47.
He also presented a proclamation to the Dominico-American Society of Queens, which was “originally founded to serve the needs of residents living in Queens, and it has evolved over to decades to serve the needs of families located throughout New York City.” According to the proclamation, DAS “serves thousands of individuals and families each year,” and “tires to help those failing or struggling to achieve” the American Dream.
East Elmhurst, NY — Today, State Senator Jose Peralta, the Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens (NHS) and advocates called for more tenant protections to tackle increasing rents and the lack of affordable housing units. In addition, they will be fighting back president Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Amid unfair and unreasonable rent hikes across the City, Senator Peralta and NHS hosted a seminar under the title “How to find and apply for affordable housing,” to inform the community about housing programs available for New Yorkers. The educational workshop provided information and resources with regard to comprehensive rental services ranging from understanding Housing Connect, a tool to search and apply for affordable housing, to financial preparedness.
Furthermore, Senator Peralta said that he will continue to push for legislation aimed at protecting tenant’s rights and to prevent his constituents from being forced out of their communities. One of the bills he is urging his colleagues in the State Senate to pass (S. 6527) will prohibit increases in the preferential rent upon the renewal of a lease. He pointed out that in three areas of his district, Jackson Heights, Corona and parts of Woodside, the rate of preferential rent units is about 37%, one of the highest rates in the city.
Senator Peralta also highlighted the need to eliminate the so-called vacancy bonus (S.1593), which allows landlords to increase rents by 20% every time a tenant moves out. Additionally, Senator Peralta pointed out the need to repeal vacancy decontrol (S.3482), and the urgency of addressing major capital improvement (MCI) recovery provisions (S.4312). “If landlords make repairs in their buildings and tenants pay part of the expense in the form of a rent hike, that increase has to go as soon as the renovations are paid for,” said Senator Peralta.
“Rent regulation was established to protect tenants and maintain our strong, vibrant communities affordable by preventing unreasonable rents or rent increases,” Senator Peralta said. “We need to preserve and increase the number of affordable housing units and protect tenants from landlord harassment. It is time for a real rent and housing reform that will help and protect hard-working New Yorkers and their families.”
Yoselin Genao-Estrella, Executive Director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens CDC, Inc. said, “Housing is paramount for healthy and sustainable neighborhoods. We currently face an affordable housing crisis in New York City. And these much-needed housing services are being threatened at a federal level by proposed draconian cuts. We are thrilled that so many community residents attended the event as this is a testament of the affordable housing crisis in our neighborhoods. I am glad we were able to assist.”
As a HUD certified housing counseling agency, NHS of Queens CDC provides the tools to our neighbors so they can buy, keep, and maintain their homes. Helping neighborhood families has real life impact and assists in generational upward mobility. By establishing strong and sustainable neighborhoods and families we preserve the vibrancy and diversity of Queens. Wanting to be nimble to the needs we see and experience first-hand we are pleased to provide educational workshops that seek to empower our community with knowledge and resources. For this reason, NHS of Queens is part of the HPD Housing Ambassador Program.
“HANAC’s intention is to always provide affordable housing for all members of the community, especially for seniors. As our population grows older, more units are needed for our seniors to have a permanent place to call home. Waiting lists for senior housing are growing and HANAC wants to provide as many units as possible reason why we support all efforts made from our legislators to ensure the development of more affordable housing units and tenant protection plans,” said Paola Duran, Hanac’s Director of Housing and Community Development .
East Elmhurst, NY — State Senator Jose Peralta urged the State Senate to include $15.3 million in the final Fiscal Year 2018-19 Executive Budget to support Adult Literacy Education (ALE) programs. The current allocation for ALE classes in the proposed Executive Budget is $6.3 million. Changes to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) have resulted in $8 million that was previously available for English Language Civics to be allocated for other purposes. This will put 17,000 adult New Yorkers at risk of not been able to access these critical programs.
Modifications in the federal funding stream particularly hurts beginner-level and undocumented learners. Additionally, despite the spike in the immigrant population in New York, investment in ALE programs has remained unchanged for the past 10 years. More than two million adult New Yorkers lack a high school diploma and 2.3 million lack English proficiency.
In a letter sent to the State Senate and signed by a number of his colleagues, Senator Peralta pointed out that “only 2.5% of those in need of language development skills are able to participate in State-funded classes. It is estimated that over 50,000 New Yorkers are currently on waiting lists to access adult literacy classes.”
ALE programs are designed to help New Yorkers increase their language skills and credentials to improve their earning and employment potential. Classes are provided through community-based organizations, libraries, community colleges and volunteer groups. “Simply put, they are a springboard to a brighter future, with greater opportunity,” Senator Peralta wrote.
Senator Peralta, describing these programs as “lifelines to thousands of New Yorkers,” added in the letter that “a renewed investment in New York’s ALE programs will allow us to capitalize on the potential of hardworking New Yorkers who are seeking to build better lives for themselves and tier families.”