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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Hearing and Signs Intros 1898-A, 1908-B, 1914-A, 1916-A, 1932-A, 1936-A, 1940-A

May 26, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Alright, well, we're here for a hearing and bill signing, gathering and obviously this looks and feels different than any such hearing, any such bill signing event you've ever seen because this is the first time in New York City history that we are doing this remotely. And to say the least, we all appreciate innovation but we wish we were not doing something different because of the crisis we're in, but we are, so we're all working together to find ways to do things. I want to thank my colleagues from the City Council and everyone who is participating today for working with us to make this work in a new way. And I must say, I look forward to the day when we can all be back together in person. And we will all keep working together to get to that day.

So, today we hold the hearings and signings for seven bills – Intro. 1898-A, Intro. 1908-B, Intro. 1914-A, Intro. 1916-A, Intro. 1932-A, Intro. 1936-A, and Intro. 1940-A. Now, this crisis we've been going through, it is the worst health care crisis in a century in this nation and we also know it's the worst economic crisis in 80 years, and is hurting everyone so deeply. And it is particularly hurting folks who don't have a lot of income and that includes folks whose businesses are their own, small businesses, mom-and-pop stores, businesses built by families, that often struggled to build them up from scratch and keep them going. And that was before the coronavirus hit. Since the coronavirus has hit, so many small businesses are struggling, so many are worried they may not be able to survive. They are crucial to this city, they are crucial in every sense. They are part of who we are as New Yorkers, they are part of the identity of our neighborhoods. So many people, their jobs are actually in small businesses even down to the smallest businesses. We depend on them, we need them. So, this crisis has really, really thrown small business for a loop and we need to help in every way we can.

And we have to look at anything and everything that will help. And one way to fight back against the challenges, one way to do something different is to address third party delivery services and their fees which are often very burdensome for small business. And again, that was a challenge before the coronavirus. And the last thing small businesses need is another challenge in the midst of the coronavirus. So, right now the only way a lot of restaurants and bars are keeping going in any way, of course, is through takeout and delivery. Delivery is crucial but the fees from the delivery apps are causing such a burden and that's what the City Council sought to address and I appreciate their good work on some of the legislation here today. And that's the small business side.

A number of pieces of legislation, as you heard – one of the other crucial elements of today is the focus on tenants, the focus on tenants who are dealing with some unprecedented problems because of the coronavirus, dealing with some landlords – and they are not the majority – but some landlords who unfortunately are taking advantage of this crisis and using it as a time to harass or mistreat tenants. Legislation today also addresses that crucial issue. So, I want to thank the City Council for really responding to this moment in history and responding rapidly, coming up with new ways to protect New Yorkers, protect tenants, protect small businesses as we go through this crisis together.

Now, here are the pieces of legislation we are addressing today. Intro. 1898-A protects restaurants by preventing third party delivery services from charging a fee for telephone orders, if the phone call between the restaurant and customer did not result in an actual sale. Intro. 1908-B puts a cap on fees food delivery apps can charge restaurants during a state of emergency and for 90 days following. Intro. 1914-A makes threatening a commercial tenant based on their status as a COVID-19 impacted business a form of harassment. Intro. 1916-A suspends the collection of fees for outdoor sidewalk cafes from restaurants from March 1st, 2020 through February 28th, 2021, and suspends fees for indoor sidewalk cafes for the duration of the executive order. Intro. 1932-A temporarily prohibits the enforcement of personal liability provisions in commercial leases or rental agreements involving a COVID-19 impacted tenant. Intro. 1936-A expands the definition of tenant harassment to protect tenants from threats based on their status as an essential employee or being impacted by COVID-19. And Intro. 1940-A codifies Emergency Executive Order 107 which suspends renewal requirements for licenses and permits from City agencies during the duration of the emergency and extends suspension for an extra 45 days.

I want to thank upfront the City's Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson, the Director of the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement Christian Klossner, our Commissioner for the Department of Worker and Consumer Protection Lorelei Salas, our Commissioner for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development Louise Carroll. Thanks, all of you and your agencies for the good work you did on this legislation. And I want to thank, of course, Speaker Corey Johnson, and all of the Council members who introduced legislation for today's hearing – Council Member Gjonaj, Council Member Moya, Council Member Adams, Council Member Cohen, Council Member Rivera, Council Member Torres, and Council Member Matteo. And finally, thanks to so many advocates and activists who raised these concerns and worked with the Council, worked with the administration to get us to today. Thanks to all of you.

So, now we will start with Intro. 1898-A – and it is my pleasure to welcome and invite to speak Council Member Mark Gjonaj, the sponsor of that introduction and the Chair of the Small Business Committee.


Alright, everyone, we have heard the public testimony. I'm just going to give a very, very brief summary of what we're doing here today in Spanish –

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

Okay, with that, we will now sign these bills – and one per each. Okay, that's different. We're definitely doing something different today. Okay, first, we will sign Council Member Gjonaj's 1898 –

[Mayor de Blasio signs Intro. 1898-A]

This one is Council Member Moya, Intro. 1908 –

[Mayor de Blasio signs Intro. 1908-B]

Council Member Adams, Intro. 1914 –

[Mayor de Blasio Signs Intro. 1914-A]

Council Member Cohen, Intro. 1916 –

[Mayor de Blasio Signs Intro. 1916-A]

Council Member Rivera, Intro. 1932 –

[Mayor de Blasio Signs Intro. 1932-A]

Council Member Torres, Intro. 1936 –

[Mayor de Blasio Signs Intro. 1936-A]

And Council Member Matteo, Intro. 1940 –

[Mayor de Blasio Signs Intro. 1940-A]

Okay, these bills are all law, and we have concluded the first-ever remote hearing for legislation in the history of New York City. Thank you, everyone, for participating. Congratulations to all the Council members who sponsored legislation. Thank you to the City Council for their leadership and thank you to all who joined us today. Take care, now.

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