FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION AMENDING NEWSRACK REGULATIONS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Law
"The next bill before me today is Introductory Number 363-A, sponsored by the Chair of the Transportation Committee, Council Member John Liu, along with Council Members Recchia, Fidler, Comrie, Nelson, Weprin, Gonzalez, and Gentile. This legislation amends Local Law 23 of 2002, which established a legally sufficient framework to allow DOT to regulate the maintenance and placement of newsracks throughout the City, while permitting the use of public space by publishers to make their materials available to the public.
"While DOT has made much progress in the implementation of Local Law 23, this bill presented an opportunity to fine-tune the regulatory scheme, which is still in its relative infancy. The Administration worked with the Council on crafting amendments to the original law to reinforce its safety provisions while simplifying provisions related to non-safety issues such as aesthetics so that both publishers and the Department could redirect resources.
"Specifically, this bill establishes a self-certification process for the cleaning and removal of graffiti and other unauthorized writing. This self-certification provision, together with targeted enforcement efforts by DOT, will ensure that owners use best efforts to maintain the appearance of their newsracks. This provision eases the burden on publishers that are regularly maintaining their racks, retains a mechanism to go after those who are not, and enables DOT to reallocate its resources to concentrate on public safety.
"This bill strengthens and streamlines provisions related to registration and insurance. It requires owners to register their newsracks annually, as opposed to the current quarterly registration. This will reduce the burden of compliance on newsrack owners, and DOT's monitoring of compliance with registration requirements will be more focused. Since the registration and insurance provisions provide the foundation on which all other aspects of enforcement are predicated, penalties have been increased to foster greater compliance.
"I want to reiterate this Administration's top priority with regard to newsracks is ensuring the safety and welfare of the people using the City's sidewalks. Our goal is to balance the right to disseminate information with the safe and orderly use of the City sidewalks that we all share.
"I would like to thank the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, Iris Weinshall and her staff for their work and assistance on this legislation. I would also like to thank Susan Forsyth from the Law Department for her hard work on this bill. Thanks also to Council Member Liu and the other Council Members who sponsored the bill and assisted in guiding this bill through the legislative process."
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
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