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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Easing Restrictions on the Sale of Plants and Flowers During Lunar New Year

January 27, 2017

Also signs legislation reauthorizing the City of New York’s tax lien sale program for four years

NEW YORK––This evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed two pieces of legislation – Intro. 1061, in relation to the sale of plants and flowers during the Asian Lunar New Year, and Intro. 1385-A in relation to the sale of tax liens.

“For many Asian cultures, flowers and plants for the Lunar New Year symbolize good luck and good fortune. With this bill, New Yorkers celebrating the holiday will have greater access to the distribution and purchase of flowers and plants to fully embrace Lunar New Year,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I would like to thank the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Margaret Chin. I also would like to thank Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the rest of the City Council for passing this legislation.”

The first bill, Intro. 1061, mandates that on Asian Lunar New Year and the week before, people may sell flowers or plants without acquiring a vending license. This bill allows New Yorkers who celebrate Lunar New Year to carry on with this tradition without fear of penalty.

“Too many members of our community have faced the threat of large fines, and even arrest, for the ‘crime’ of selling flowers in the days leading up to Asian Lunar New Year. This legislation will correct this injustice, and ensure that vendors selling flowers during the Asian Lunar New Year season will be able to do so without fear of enforcement agents. I thank the Mayor for signing this legislation, and for acknowledging the specific enforcement concerns of our community,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.

The second bill, Intro 1385-A, reauthorizes the City of New York’s tax lien sale program for four years. This bill will allow more flexibility for payment plans, giving struggling homeowners a greater opportunity to pay back taxes and keep their homes.

Jacques Jiha, Commissioner of the Department of Finance, said, “We are very committed to making sure that we provide important information and vital resources to homeowners to ensure that they stay in their homes. This legislation is important to advancing such efforts.”

“I’d like to thank the Council, the Departments of Finance and Housing Preservation and Development, and the Mayor’s Office for partnering with us to pass this important legislation,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “This new law will help DEP keep water rates as low as possible, particularly for our most vulnerable communities, including seniors and lower income customers.”

“I am proud of the reauthorization of the City’s Lien Sale Program because of the reforms it will put in place to help protect property owners: offering flexibility in payment and lower interest rates; and connecting property owners to financial counseling among other improvements. This is an impactful bill and the Finance Committee is committed to continuing to improve the Lien Sale Program so that it does not unintentionally harm struggling property owners. I thank Council Members Cornegy and Rose and all the members of the Lien Sale Task for their diligent work to improve this program and pass this legislation,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

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