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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Better Promote Safety, Fairness and Transparency for All New Yorkers

May 30, 2017

Signs legislation to give food carts letter grades, create a fairer workweek, give voters their voter history prior to elections, and increase safety for all vehicles on the road

NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for, and signed, 28 pieces of legislation into law. Intro. 1396 establishes general provisions governing fair work practices and requiring certain fast food employers to provide advance notice of work schedules to employees and to provide a schedule change premium when hours are changed after required notices; Intro. 1388 regulates consecutive work shifts in fast food restaurants involving both the closing and opening of the restaurant; Intro. 1395 requires fast food employers to offer work shifts to current employees before hiring additional employees; Intro. 1384 provides fast food employees the ability to make voluntary contributions to not-for-profit organizations of their choice through payroll deductions; Intro. 1387 prohibits on-call scheduling for retail employees; Intro. 848 sends voters their voter histories; Intro. 951 requires all public phone lines be able to dial 911 directly; Intro. 1028-B creates a Sexual Health Education Task Force; Intro. 1346-A requires storm water management and control of discharges into storm sewers; Intro, 1456-A requires mobile vendor letter grades; Intro. 722-A increases the minimum apartment temperature that must be maintained by a landlord during nighttime hours; Intro. 823-A requires the city to issue a report regarding illegal conversions of dwelling units; Intro. 1218-A relates to illegal conversions; Intro. 1586 relates to the preservation of certain hotels; Intro. 518-A requires secondhand automobile dealers to disclose whether automobiles have been recalled by the automobiles’ manufacturers; Intro. 1117-A expands current delivery cyclist protections to all commercial cyclists; Intro. 1177-A requires feasibility of interval crossing systems at high-crash intersections; Intro. 1285-A requires a study on locations with significant pedestrian traffic; Intro. 1305-A relates to notice parking restrictions related to removal of trees; Intro. 282-A relates to community involvement in decisions of the BSA; Intro. 418-A relates to written responses by the BSA; Intro. 514-A relates to the expiration of variances granted by the BSA; Intro. 1200-A relates to proof of service of certain required mailings for applications the BSA; Intro. 1390-A requires Dept. of City Planning to designate a BSA coordinator; Intro. 1391-A relates to appraisals regarding BSA‎ applications; Intro. 1392-A relates to applications for variances and special permits before the BSA; Intro. 1393-A requires BSA to report on variances and special permits; Intro. 1394-A relates to adding zoning variance and special permit information on a map on a city website.

“Today we have 28 bills that to improve job conditions and scheduling practices, bills that give voters more information, and bills that make tenants, motorists, and cyclists safer – just to name a few,” said Mayor de Blasio. "I would like to thank Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the sponsors of these bills for continuing to fight for a fairer, safer, and more livable New York for all."

The City Council is proud to be submitting multiple packages guaranteed to go far in keeping New Yorkers feeling safe and secure in their homes and workplaces,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The Fair Work Week initiative will improve employment conditions for thousands of residents in the fast food and retail industries, while a set of reforms to the Board of Standards and Appeals ensures that contentious development projects will receive the comprehensive reviews they need. I applaud my colleagues for their work on these essential measures, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing them into law today.”

“Today we celebrate legislation that will improve the quality of life for thousands of New Yorkers,” said New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.  The increase in the minimum required overnight heat temperature to 62 degrees represents the first change in heat requirements since 1967, and will help all city residents, particularly seniors, children, and those with health conditions weather the cold winter nights. I want to thank City Council Housing Chair Jumaane Williams for working closely with HPD on this issue.”

“DOT strongly believes in cycling safety, so the safety requirements of NYC’s commercial cyclist law should of course cover all delivery cyclists, be they working for a brick-and-mortar store or an online app,” said DOT Commissioner Trottenberg. “Those key safety requirements, including retroreflective clothing, a helmet, lights, a bell, and public display of the business and the individual cyclist, are all in addition to the completion of a required safety course. We commend Majority Leader Van Bramer and the Council for extending these requirements.”  

“DOT shares the Council’s interest in protecting pedestrians by implementing crossing times that are free from conflicting vehicle movements,” said Commissioner Trottenberg. “Since no two New York City intersections are exactly alike, we approach intersection design with an open mind, always looking for the design that will get us the best and safest results. We have already gotten started on the report on the topic required under the Council’s bill -- and look forward to sharing it soon.” 

“With record jobs creation, tourism and population, New York City’s sidewalks and crosswalks are busier than ever,” said Commissioner Trottenberg. “What began as the transformation of Broadway in Times Square has continued through DOT’s Plaza Program, through which we have created the equivalent of twenty football fields’ more room for pedestrians across the city. Meanwhile, we have expanded sidewalks on Main Street in Flushing, with plans for wider sidewalks on Seventh Avenue in Midtown and as the Mayor recently announced, on Thompson Avenue near LaGuardia Community College, used by thousands of students every day. And on Broadway in Manhattan between 24th and 25th Streets, we are implementing NYC’s first official operational ‘shared street.’ We look forward to continuing to study needed improvements as required by the Council’s legislation -- and implementing those improvements.”

“The five commissioners of the Board of Standards and Appeals wield enormous power and make consequential decisions that affect neighborhood character and affordability," said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. "I am proud to have authored a bill and co-sponsored eight other bills signed into law today that will strengthen community input into the decisions of the Board of Standards and Appeals and bring a new layer of transparency and public accountability to the Board’s decisions. I thank the Mayor, the Speaker, Council Member Kallos, and my colleagues in the City Council for their support and work to give power back to our communities in the fight against developers.”

“At every hour of every day, delivery cyclists used by businesses of all kinds race through our city delivering meals and products right to our door. With the rapid and continuing growth of services like UberEATS, Amazon, and Seamless, it is important that our city adapts to protect the safety of all commercial cyclists, who often work in dangerous traffic and through inclement weather.” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “A loophole in the current commercial cyclist law allows certain businesses to unfairly and dangerously avert important safety measures required by law. I’m proud to have authored legislation signed into law today that will close this loophole, and I thank the Mayor, the Speaker, and my colleagues in the City Council for joining me in this important work to save lives and improve cyclist safety throughout our city.”

“Currently, developers are able to work on structures that do not conform to zoning regulations and despite racking up fines for variances that have long expired, and there is no system to notify them that they must re-apply for these variances. Legislation I introduced will fix that problem, and, along with this package of BSA reform legislation, will help bring better oversight and a stronger enforcement to a process that often circumvents the public will,” said City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo.

“Community and Borough Boards spend significant time and effort on special permit applications brought before them for review,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. “Public hearings, community outreach, special committees and full board review are common when considering special permits. Community and Borough Boards should not feel that their recommendation on a matter was cavalierly and casually discarded by the Board of Standards and Appeals. Intro 418-a would require the BSA, in granting or denying an application before them, to respond to any relevant recommendation filed by a community or borough board regarding such application.  I was proud to sponsor this important legislation which gives a greater voice and significance to community decisions.”

“I cannot imagine someone not looking for a restaurant’s letter grade from our City’s Health Department before deciding whether or not to patronize a restaurant,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. “The ‘A, B, C or GRADE PENDING’ carries with it real significance. The letter grade has become absolutely essential and critical as it relates to restaurants. Yet, every day, countless numbers of people in New York are expected to purchase food from a street vendor without knowing to a general degree the cart’s compliance with the NYC Health Code. The customers who buy food from a street vendor deserve to have the same ability to make an informed decision as patrons of restaurants. Intro 1456-A would mandate that the Health Dept. expand letter grading to street food vendors and that it should mirror the restaurant grading system as closely as possible.  Everyone who handles food should be subject to the same rules.”

"Direct telephone access to 911 is a vital and potentially life-saving capability that had been previously overlooked," said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the New York City Committee on Technology. "Without direct telephone access to 911, it could be difficult, if not impossible to reach emergency services if you are in a building with an unfamiliar phone system. Common examples are clients in office buildings or visitors staying in hotels. In these situations, a medical crisis or small fire that would otherwise be promptly responded to could turn into a deadly tragedy due to the inability to quickly contact 911. This legislation would require all phone systems be able to directly dial 911, eliminating the need to know the specific code to make outgoing calls. Council Member Crowley has been an excellent advocate in guiding the bill to passage. I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this bill into law."

"Now all NYC public school students will have access to quality sexual health education," said NYC Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. "The sexual health needs specific to LGBT and gender non-conforming youth are often overlooked in health class, putting these students at greater risk of being stigmatized and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.  The sexual health education task force will right this wrong by reviewing what is being taught and by recommending improvement, expansion or replacement of curricula.  I am proud to work alongside Council Member Cumbo and Speaker Mark-Viverito on this historic effort and thank the Mayor for his support."

"Across the City of New York, youth ages 12 and under are making mature, life-changing decisions about relationships and their sexuality based on peer pressure and misinformation from mass media. As a city, we must empower our students to make informed choices by standardizing sexual health education in our classrooms and ensuring that our curriculum is comprehensive; age-appropriate; compliant with state law; reflective of our student body; taught by qualified and trained educators. As the prime sponsor of Intro 1028-B, I am proud that this bill will brings us one step closer to charting a new course for youth of all ages and backgrounds to engage in meaningful conversations. This taskforce has the opportunity to infuse new ideas and voices to create an educational tool that celebrates the diversity of New Yorkers, particularly those who identify as LGBTQIA, that live and thrive here," said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

“This law requires businesses and City agencies to provide direct access to emergency 911 calls, eliminating any need to dial a code to reach an outside line. It also requires telephone systems be configured to provide notification of a central location for which emergency personnel can respond to 911 calls. This legislation is one more measure in making New York City safer, and ensuring everyone has equal access to help that could ultimately save lives." said Council Member Crowley.

“Through Vision Zero, we’ve made some important improvements over the last four years.  But we’ve set our sights on truly safe streets--on reaching zero fatalities. And so on behalf of all New Yorkers, we can’t be content even for a moment with incremental progress. This new law challenges us to think bigger--to unmake the mistakes of 50 years of car-exclusive street design. This administration and this Council are putting pedestrians back where they should be -- in control of our streets,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

"Buying a vehicle can be a very exciting time for someone, but nothing can crush that excitement like having that vehicle break down due to a serious flaw that could have been fixed,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Int. 518-A will ensure that second-hand dealers are honest with their customers when selling a vehicle that has had a recall. It is our job as elected officials to stand up for those who have been taken advantage of or were misinformed. We must hold dealers accountable when they withhold vital information that could affect a consumer’s decision or put lives in danger. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and DCA Commissioner Salas for working with my office to provide these protections for consumers looking to buy a used vehicle.”

“Int. 1200-A will ensure that the Board of Standards and Appeals does its fair share of accountability when it comes to developers notifying communities and elected officials about applications in their neighborhoods,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “It was shocking to hear that the BSA does not track these instances where developers do not follow through on this required step in the process. This requirement will ensure that the BSA is working with communities and elected officials and not against us. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for all of their work on improving accountability at the BSA.”

"Sufficient heat is a quality of life issue that cannot be ignored in the larger conversation of tenants' rights. Currently, outdoor temperatures have to be 40 degrees to require a landlord to turn on the heat, and even then the minimum indoor temperature mandates is only 55 degrees," said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. "I don't think many people realize just how cold that is. There are a lot of seniors and young people who cannot deal with 55 degrees, which ends up exposing them to health risks. I'm pleased that I was able to work with the Administration and my colleagues to get this bill passed that will impact thousands of New Yorkers during this next winter season."

Council Member Costa Constantinides said, "Our waterways are our greatest natural resource.  Protecting our waterways from unnecessary environmental hazards brings benefits to marine life, the water's ecosystem, and our entire environment.  Intro. 1346 ensures that our city regulates activities that potentially contribute to water pollution. It provides our city with legal authority to implement a Stormwater Management Program that will reduce pollution in stormwater that reaches our waterways.  The bill also requires that the feasibility of incorporating green infrastructure into any major capital project must be considered by the appropriate city agency.  I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and my Council colleagues for their support on this legislation."

“This legislation was a community driven effort aiming to provide a simple fix to an issue that can affect all of us in our daily lives,” said Council Member Salamanca. “Ensuring that a community gets ample notice of when off-street parking will be affected by tree maintenance simply makes sense, and I’m proud this bill does just that.”

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