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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Regarding the Department of Correction, Bail Bonds, Senior Centers, and Short Term Rentals

August 6, 2018

NEW YORK—Today, Mayor de Blasio signed seven bills aimed at making New York the fairest city in the nation: Int. 741-A requiring the city to provide free domestic telephone service to individuals within the custody of the Department of Correction; Int. 779-A requires the Department of Correction to issue reports on the use of tasers; Int. 510-B and Int. 724-A requiring the disclosure of information regarding the rights of those seeking bail bond services;  Int. 399-B and Int. 411-A regarding Senior Centers; and Int. 981-A, requires online short-term rental platforms to report data about those transactions.

Department of Correction

Int. 741-A requires the city to provide free domestic telephone service to individuals within the custody of the department of corrections, and prohibits the city from collecting any revenue for providing said telephone service.
“This piece of legislation will ensure that no incarcerated person will have to pay to reach their loved ones on the phone and maintain crucial connections to the support networks key to their rehabilitation,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“Today we take a major step forward in the areas of criminal justice reform, public safety, and affordable housing. No one should have to choose between speaking to their loved ones and paying the bills and I am proud to say that New Yorkers with loved ones who are incarcerated will no longer have to make this decision. In addition, legislation to rein in illegal hotels and shady operators using Airbnb to the detriment of everyday New Yorkers will increase public safety and help preserve our affordable housing stock. I thank my colleagues in the Council for supporting these common sense measures and I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing them into law,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

“Free access to telephone service will help people in custody maintain strong ties with friends and family and will play an important role in supporting their successful transition back into our community,” said NYC Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann.

Int. 779-A requires the Department of Correction to issue quarterly reports on the use by Department staff of any device capable of administering an electric shock (Tasers).

“These pieces of legislation are a step forward for reform of the criminal justice system. Intro. 741 ensures those who are incarcerated have a line of communication with the outside world, at no cost to them. And Intro. 799 allows an appropriate check on the use of force inside our city jails. As Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, I thank Speaker Johnson and Council Member Richards for stewarding these important bills, and the Mayor for recognizing their merit and signing them into law,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Chair of the Criminal Justice committee.

“We should be using every tool in our disposal to limit attacks on our Corrections officers and emergency service workers, but at the same time, we should be keeping a close eye on the use of electric shock devices in our jails to ensure an increased use doesn’t result in increased abuse,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “Int. ­779-A will require the Department of Corrections to report on their officers’ use of Tasers and provide the public with the necessary transparency that should come along with any use of force by law enforcement. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and Council Member Powers for their support in making a more accountable and transparent DOC.”

Bail Bond Consumer Bill of Rights

Int. 510-B requires bail bond agents to post a sign prepared by DCA containing information regarding maximum premiums or compensation under state law, and how to file a complaint  with DCA.

Int. 724-A requires DCA to produce a consumer bill of rights for those seeking bail bond services, requires bail bond agents to post a sign containing the information about the business, and adds additional protections for consumers seeking bail bond services.

“For far too long, New Yorkers have turned to the bail bond industry, which has a history of exploiting those who are economically disadvantaged and coming to them during a time of need, said NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Earlier this year, we took action against bail bond agent Marvin Morgan for engaging in deceptive and unlawful trade practices. These two new bills will allow us to continue to protect the economic lives of New Yorkers by requiring bail bonds businesses to provide customers with a bill of rights and to disclose information regarding charges, which will further hold bail bonds businesses accountable.”

“Today New York City takes a meaningful step forward towards treating bail bonds as the dangerous consumer financial products they have always been. My bill requires bail bond businesses to post the rules they are required to follow so that vulnerable New Yorkers are informed about the laws that protect them,” said Council Member Rory Lancman. “The city must do everything in its power to ensure that bail bond businesses follow the rules the state has already laid out.”

Senior Centers and Adult Day Cares

Int. 399-B requires the Department of the Aging to report annually on participant attendance, services, budgets, costs, and rates of utilization at senior centers.

Int. 411-A requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to ensure that all senior centers and social adult day cares that are food service establishments under Article 81 of the New York City Health Code are inspected on an annual basis.

“For many of our city’s older New Yorkers, a meal at their neighborhood senior center or Social Adult Daycare is more than just a meal. It’s an entry point through which they can access specialized services, quality care, enriching programming and a supervised socialized setting – all of which are vital to maintaining full and healthy lives,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Chair of the Committee on Aging. “By requiring annual Department of Health and Mental Hygiene inspections and calling on DOHMH and the Department for the Aging to make inspection results publicly available, Intro 411-A will strengthen our City’s efforts to expand seniors’ access to nutritious quality meals that are in compliance with the New York City health code, and empower families and caregivers to make informed decisions for their loved ones. I thank Mayor De Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, and fellow aging advocates for their continued partnership to build a city that puts our seniors first.”

“The fact that the core of Department for the Aging’s service portfolio is the agency’s citywide network of 246 contracted senior centers frequently providing educational programs, congregate and home delivered meals, recreational programming, along with a variety of essential services, truly speaks to the importance of these centers and the population they serve,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “This bill will provide not just greater transparency, but also better understanding and insight for our senior centers in the hope that we can help adequately provide essential services to the population that needs it the most.”

Short Term Rentals

Int. 981-A requires online short-term rental platforms that provide booking services for a fee to report data about those transactions to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement. The report shall be submitted on a monthly basis. The bill creates a per-listing fine of $1,500 a month for each month of inaccurate reporting, or the total fees collected during the previous 12 months, whichever is greater.

“We look forward to working with our partners in the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement to help deter illegal short-term rentals,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE.

“This law provides the City with the critical data it needs to preserve our housing stock, keep visitors safe, and ensure residents feel secure in their homes and neighborhoods. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his leadership on this important issue that impacts all New Yorkers,” said Christian Klossner, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement.

“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for standing with the New York City Council, advocates, and tenants as he signs Int. 981 into law. Years before I was a member of the Council, I worked as a housing organizer on the Lower East Side, where I heard countless stories from tenants and organizers about illegal short-term rentals jolting them out of the security and stability of an affordable home. Now, with Int. 981, we will finally address this crisis by requiring short-term rental services to report vital data to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, allowing them to pursue more effective oversight and action over the bad actors that exist throughout this largely unmonitored market,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

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