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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Better Promote Construction Site Safety, Clean Air and Government Efficiency

October 16, 2017

NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for, and signed, twelve pieces of legislation into law. Intro. 139-C adds non-tobacco shisha to the City’s Smoke-Free Air Act; Intro. 1075-A requires hookah bars to post signage warning of the dangers of hookah smoking; Intro. 1076-A raises the minimum age for purchasing shisha; Intro.1031-A requires DOT to study specific traffic congestion; Intro. 1292-A requires all city agencies, to accept electronic invoices; Intro. 1375-A requires DOT to notify certain stakeholders when it issues a permit to open any street or intersection that has been reconstructed or resurfaced within the previous 5 years; Intro. 1539-A establishes additional rights and protections for customers who are purchasing second-hand automobiles; Intro. 1540-A requires second-hand automobile dealers to display and provide consumers with a bill of rights; Intro. 934-A, which creates a real-time enforcement unit within DOB; Intro. 1359-A requires HPD to audit buildings receiving tax-exemptions to ensure compliance with affordability requirements; and Intro. 1366-A requires HPD to audit certain buildings receiving tax-emptions to ensure compliance with rent-registration requirements. Intro. 1447-C, which increases safety training requirements for construction workers.

“New York City is built on the ideals that every single person deserves a City with clean air to breathe, a City whose government works efficiently on behalf of its residents, and of course, a City whose hard-working construction workers will get the safety training they need,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “For the hard-hats in one of our city’s most dangerous jobs, this bill will help get them home to their families at night and keep the general public safe around construction sites. I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council for bringing this legislation into fruition and helping making our city even healthier, fairer and safer city for all.”

“New Yorkers deserve to have their safety looked after in any circumstance, and this legislation goes far in achieving that goal,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “From the air they breathe, to the cars they drive, to the buildings in which they dwell and the construction that made those facilities possible, residents can rest assured that their wellbeing is paramount to the work that we are doing. I thank my colleagues on the City Council for their dedicated efforts on these initiatives, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing them into law today.”

Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery‎, Citywide M/WBE Director, said, “Access is a core principle driving the City’s new M/WBE program – whether its providing minority and women business owners access to capital to take on new and larger projects, or access to the resources and tools that will increase M/WBEs’ participation and performance in the market. Intro 1447-C is another means for access, ensuring M/WBEs and small businesses have resources that provide safety training for their workers. Today’s bill signing is a critical step to building a future New York City that is fair, just and safe for all.”

Jonnel Doris, Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs), said, “The City’s building boom is not only creating immense opportunities for M/WBEs, but it is also creating the skyline of the future, and we need to ensure the safety of all workers and the public during its rapid construction. Intro. 1447-C does just that - it prioritizes the safety by mandating the proper training required to successfully and safely complete City projects. The bill also provides some common-sense relief for small businesses, which include minority and women-owned businesses, to help deliver safety training for their employees.”

“Increased safety training is vitally necessary to protect the men and women who build our city, and all New Yorkers. We look forward to working with the task force envisioned in the legislation to implement this significant new program,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE.

"Construction site safety is important for workers and the public alike," said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. "I'm proud to support this new law and pleased that our agency will help more New Yorkers access construction safety training. This training will help people in the field develop critical skills and help improve workplace safety."

“We recognize that construction safety is a crucial issue for the public and all workers, no matter where they come from” said Bitta Mostofi, Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “These new training requirements will ensure equal access for immigrants, day laborers, and workers who speak languages other than English.”

"Our construction workers are an important part of this city's workforce," said Barbara Chang, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development. "The Office of Workforce Development is proud to support this legislation as part of our mission to ensure quality, safe employment for all New Yorkers as well as safety for the public. We look forward to working with agency partners to provide equal access to training opportunities, regardless of language, education, or immigration status."

“In a city constantly under construction, worker safety is of paramount importance. For too long, though, an eroded culture of safety in the industry has led to unsafe conditions, injury, and death, with developers insulated from responsibility for these tragedies. Requiring a uniform baseline amount of safety training is a long overdue and critically important measure toward having a tangible impact on worker’s well-being and beginning to correct the culture of the industry, restoring the safety of those who build this city as the top priority. I would like to thank Council Member Menchaca and Speaker Mark-Viverito for helping to bring this bill before the Mayor today, and I thank the Mayor for recognizing the urgency of this matter and moving to address it.” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

"Construction work is as dangerous as it is important to the city. I take very seriously the safety of workers and the public, and it is clear that big changes have to be made. The most simple and effective way we can protect our construction workers and the people around them is by providing them with quality safety training. Putting people in our community in danger for the sake of profit is completely irresponsible,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “As Chair of the Committee on Immigration, I have a special responsibility to speak out on behalf of our immigrant population, in particular for immigrant workers who lack access to safety training and protections. It is our obligation to take action to end this full-blown safety crisis. As we take this critically important step by passing Intro 1447-C into law, we must continue the hard work of achieving a genuine culture of safety around construction sites."

"The Mayor today took an important step toward protecting the health of New Yorkers by signing into law three bills that regulate the use of hookah,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Many people underestimate the health risks of hookah. With or without tobacco, hookah smoke releases toxic substances that are linked to cardiovascular and lung disease, including heart attacks, decreased lung function, and can lead to premature death. These emissions can also harm people who are exposed to secondhand hookah smoke, such as employees or diners at establishments that serve hookah. The bills passed today are particularly timely as the number of venues that serve hookah have increased dramatically over the last five years, and hookah smoking is increasing in popularity among New York City youth. We applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson, and Council Members Vincent Gentile and Ydanis Rodriguez and for their vision and commitment to creating a healthier city."

"Today we once and for all ‘Clear the Air’ on the dangers of hookah smoking," said Council Member Vincent Gentile. “With this law we are adding non-tobacco hookah smoking to the Smoke Free Air Act. No longer will minors be allowed to smoke in these lounges, and no longer will communicable diseases be spread from unsterile hookah smoking paraphernalia. Moreover those who have been subject to secondhand smoke in and around hookah bars will be pleased to learn that new ventilation requirements in this bill address this issue.”

 "Forty-five minutes of smoking hookah is comparable to smoking 120 cigarettes. Bills 1075-A, 1076-A, and 139-C to regulate the use of hookah, particularly by our youth, are an effort to bust the misperception that non-tobacco shisha is healthier than cigarettes when, in fact, they are not," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "We have made so much progress in the use of cigarettes and now we are facing a similar challenge with hookah. As with cigarettes, tobacco and non-tobacco marketing target our young people, especially those in communities of color. Its prevalent use is putting the health of our city and youth at risk. Today, we are taking a clear stance in protecting the health and well-being of New Yorkers."

“Thanks to the unprecedented funding we have secured in these past three budgets, our roads are finally starting to get back to drivable condition. But that progress and the significant investment of taxpayer dollars we are making is being undermined almost every day by often unnecessary street cuts and the shoddy repairs made to them. The bill Staten Island Borough President James Oddo and I authored, which the Mayor is signing into law today, does not fix that problem, but it is a simple, common sense measure that gives us a chance to help correct or minimize the damage. It also facilitates better communication between all involved and provides much needed transparency to a process that has been anything but transparent for many years,” said City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo. “There is more to do to protect the roads that serve as a lifeline to so many residents and businesses, but this is a great start.”

"Key to improving our public transit system above ground is better understanding how delivery trucks contribute to congestion and how to better share our streets," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "Online shopping has boomed in the past few years resulting in more delivery trucks occupying the city's streets. I look forward to the task force's report and recommendations resulting from the study."

Council Member Mark Levine said, “Our city is facing a serious congestion crisis that is hurting our economy, threatening the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, and hurting the environment. This legislation is an important first step towards addressing that crisis; however, we must continue to explore additional ways to mitigate traffic and pollution, including congestion pricing, and advancing the Move NY plan. I thank the mayor for signing this bill in to law today and look forward to seeing the results of this study in the coming year."

"Procurement reform is never going to be the sexiest issue, but making sure the City contracts effectively and efficiently is an essential part of making government work. By requiring City agencies to accept electronic vouchers from vendors, Council Member Constantinides’ bill will make it easier for contractors to do business with the City, and even more important, help to ensure that the City spends taxpayer money wisely. These are exactly the steps we need to be taking to bring City contracting into the 21st century,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

Council Member Costa Constantinides said, "We must look at all the ways our city can eliminate waste as we work to become greener.  The paper we generate from vendors' invoices, receipts, and other vouchers is wasteful and unnecessary.  INT. 1292 requires that all agencies accept these documents electronically which will waste less paper, streamline businesses interactions, and save trees.  I thank Mayor de Blasio, Contracts Committee Chair Helen Rosenthal, and my Council colleagues for their support on this legislation."

“This law provides much needed transparency in an industry plagued by deceptive and illegal sales practices,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “For many, buying a car is one of the largest purchases they will ever make. By requiring second-hand automobile dealers to post and distribute a bill of rights to consumers, as well as offer a cancelation policy, we can better ensure that hard-working New Yorkers have time to evaluate their purchase and aren’t being taken for a ride by predatory dealers. DCA is committed to educating consumers of their rights, and will continue to hold the industry accountable so that those businesses that do comply with the law are not unfairly competing with those who do not.”

“Second hand auto dealers will now come to understand that while their cars may be used, our consumers will not be abused,” said NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal.  “I am proud to pass Intro No. 1539-A, which will rein in the used auto industry by increasing disclosure requirements, strengthening penalties for violators of the law, and introducing NYC’s first-ever used car contract cancellation option; allowing consumers precious time to think through their decision. The fallout from a bad car loan could be worse than the mortgage crisis, but now vulnerable New Yorkers will have the tools they need to be to empowered and make good financial choices. I thank Mayor de Blasio for continuing to support vulnerable New Yorkers and signing this bill into law.”

"Used car dealers who operate unscrupulously often target New Yorkers who are from low income, under-banked, immigrant communities," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "All consumers -- especially our most vulnerable neighbors -- must be protected, and these deceitful sales tactics must come to an end. Our new Consumer Bill of Rights will empower purchasers of used cars and clamp down on predatory practices in this industry." 

"Our residents deserve access to affordable and stable housing, especially if the landlords received tax benefits to build those units,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “It’s unconscionable that landlords are receiving millions in tax breaks to provide community benefits and are instead charging rents that push New Yorkers out of their homes. With the help of this legislation this will come to an end. I’m proud of working together with Council Member Williams to require HPD to audit properties where developers benefit from 421-A tax credits. These audits will determine whether developers have met their obligation to provide affordable or rent-stabilized units, and file timely, accurate qualifying paperwork. Properties found failing will be reported to the NYC Council and Department of Finance for revocation of tax benefits. This legislation will send a strong message —  hold up your end of the deal or pay the consequences.”

“Far too many try to bypass, bend, and break the law in pursuit of profit,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “We cannot and will not allow unscrupulous landlords to take advantage of our community. The STS package of bills goes to lengths to provide tenants the protections they deserve. Now by signing 934 into law, which establishes a real-time enforcement unit, we are putting bad landlords on notice. This specially created unit will greatly increase the protections available to tenants facing harassment. We want to let tenants facing harassment and displacement know that they are not alone in this fight – through this coalition, we are a more engaged, compassionate, and just city.  I’m proud to continue advancing the work of the Stand for Safety Coalition, and I look forward to real progress for New Yorkers everywhere.”

“For a regulation to have any positive impact, it needs to be meaningfully enforced. While I have long been critical of the 421-a tax exemption, the least we can do is to make sure that what little is promised is actually acted upon. Enacting this legislation will empower the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to take action; ensuring these regulations are being adhered to and protecting those for whom they were enacted in the first place. Tenants are being egregiously taken advantage of, and the tax exemption is being exploited without having meaningful benefit for those tenants. Signing this legislation is crucial to ensuring that this rampant exploitation can no longer take place.” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

“There is an affordable housing crisis in our city. It is important that the housing we work to create is not affordable in name only—these units should be going to those with the income range for which they’re intended. Enacting this bill will enable much-needed oversight to take place to ensure that affordable housing becomes a reality rather than a buzz word.” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

“We continue to combat tenant harassment in all of its forms, including through unwarranted or improper construction projects. Empowering the Department of Buildings to monitor, inspect, and report on compliance with construction codes is one key way we can prevent landlords from using such projects to drive tenants out,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

"I commend Mayor de Blasio for taking a real stand to protect New York City’s construction workers,” said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “There have been far too many construction related accidents and deaths. This law will help ensure that all construction workers have access to the health and safety training that has been proven to save lives, while also protecting the safety of residents and pedestrians in the communities where construction is ongoing. This is a win for New York City.”

“The signing of today's construction worker safety bill by Mayor de Blasio completes a process that prioritize the safety and well-being of construction workers and the public while at the same time being very inclusive and transparent with all stakeholders at the table,” said Pat Purcell, Executive Director, Greater New York LECET. “We thank the Mayor for signing this historical bill. He has shown that New York City can lead this nation not only in the development and construction of commercial buildings and affordable housing but that it can be done in the safest most responsible way possible.”

“Today’s historic bill signing represents the next chapter in the progressive fight for safer workplaces and their surrounding areas.  This law is a significant step in the right direction for improving worker and public safety alike and standardizing rigorous training in New York City.  We applaud Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Carlos Menchaca, as well as the entire Council and Borough President Brewer, for their steadfast leadership in making this law a reality. We look forward to working closely with the City and the real estate community to ensure the safest conditions for the public and for all workers who build our great city each and every day,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.

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