November 5, 2014
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed into law Introductions 82-A, 403-A, and 438. Intro. 82-A requires the posting of signs in TLC vehicles informing passengers about the penalties for assaulting drivers; Intro. 403-A mandates the Department of Education to report information on guidance counselors and social workers in schools; and Intro. 438 establishes the West Shore business improvement district on Staten Island.
“The laws we’re enacting today will improve the quality of life for New Yorkers across the five boroughs—from helping keep more drivers behind our wheels safe and expanding access to much-needed guidance services for students at our City’s schools, to supporting local businesses on Staten Island through the creation of its second businesses improvement district,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m grateful for the hard work and dedication of the City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Mark-Viverito, for shepherding these pieces of legislation through and helping this administration create real, tangible change for New Yorkers.”
“The Council is proud of the bills being signed into law today,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “From ensuring a safer work environment for taxi and livery drivers to monitoring access to guidance counselors for students, to establishing the West Shore Industrial Business Improvement District, the Council is working to make New York City a better home for all of our residents. I thank Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Rory Lancman for their work on these legislative items and Mayor de Blasio for signing these bills into law.”
The first piece of legislation, Intro. 82-A, will help keep drivers safe by requiring vehicles licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission to post signs informing passengers about the penalties for assaulting a driver—including the maximum penalty of 25 years in jail. Just this past summer, two drivers were tragically killed on the job. This bill aims to curb such assaults and protect drivers’ safety behind the wheel.
“Taxi and livery drivers make our economy move, yet they risk their lives each and every time they pick up a fare. Drivers need to know that we take their safety seriously, and every person stepping into a taxi or livery cab needs to know that assaulting the driver will have serious consequences. I want to thank my colleagues, particularly Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodríguez and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, for shepherding this legislation through to passage,” said Council Member Rory Lancman.
“Taxi and livery drivers know that the City Council has their back. Our taxi and livery drivers need to feel safer behind the wheel in order to drive safer on our roadways. We have seen great results by posting the penalty for assault in buses, and we know those results will translate. I commend the Mayor and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for allowing for their aid in the passage of this vital legislation,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez, Chair of the Transportation Committee.
The second bill the Mayor signed into law today, Intro. 403-A, requires the Department of Education to report information on school guidance counselors and social workers each year, helping to ensure all students have access to quality guidance services at their schools. This information will include the number of guidance counselors, the ratio of guidance counselors and social workers to students, the number of guidance counselors who work in more than one school, the number of guidance counselors and social workers providing services due to an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and other metrics related to school guidance.
“Guidance counselors provide a number of valuable services, including ensuring that students are ready for college. However, studies have shown that the ratio of students to counselors in the majority of New York City high schools is so high that the counselors are unable to effectively provide students, especially those who are struggling, with the individualized attention and services that they need. When I was in school, I was lucky enough to have a guidance counselor who was able to give me lots of attention, and it helped me get where I am today. I want my experience to become the norm for all New York City students. This bill will help us to analyze the data, so we can take steps toward regulating the system such that all students are receiving the counseling services they need to help them succeed,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
“Knowing how many guidance counselors we have in our school system is vitally important to improving our student support system,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Education Committee. “Guidance counselors help our students get into college, give emotional support, and do many other things to make sure our students thrive. I want to congratulate Council Member Reynoso on this legislation—his first to have passed the City Council and be signed by the Mayor.”
The third bill, Intro. 438, formally establishes the West Shore Industrial Business Improvement District—the first of the de Blasio administration—on Staten Island. This BID will provide support to local businesses like sanitation and maintenance, signage and streetscape improvements, and security services.
“I am proud to have been involved in the creation of the West Shore Business Industrial Business Improvement District from Day One. I want to thank the Mayor for his support. The BID will empower entrepreneurs in the Bloomfield and Chelsea sections of Staten Island to get the services they need to turn those neighborhoods into attractive areas in which businesses can operate. I believe that the Staten Island’s first Industrial BID will help turn the West Shore into a Jobs Shore of our borough,” said Council Member Steven Matteo.
“The Finance Committee is taking measures to support real people, real businesses and fuel their economic engines. The establishment of the West Shore Business Improvement District marks the beginning of a new phase of growth for those 42 Staten Island businesses. I’m proud to stand with Councilman Matteo in the passing of this community-strengthening legislation, and I hope to join the Mayor in many more,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, Chair of the Finance Committee.
Learn more about the bills: