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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Increasing Transparency and Accountability Around M/WBE Contracting

September 28, 2016

Signs package of legislation expanding bike access in elevators in residential and office buildings

Also signs package of legislation regarding reporting on sex offenses, domestic violence and hate crimes

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for, and signed, 14 pieces of legislation into law – Intros. 923-A, 976-A, 981-B, 1005-A, 1019-A and 1020-A, in relation to increasing accountability and access for the city's M/WBEs; Intros. 405-A, 695-A and 795-A, in relation to foldable bicycle access in elevators in residential and office buildings; Intro. 997-A, in relation to pedestrian control signals; Intro. 869-A, in relation to reporting on sex offenses; Intro. 948-A, in relation to requiring the Police Department to report on domestic violence and hate crime statistics; Intro. 961-A, in relation to requiring the Police Department to report on intimate partner domestic violence statistics; and Intro. 968-A, in relation to requiring the Police Department to report on domestic violence crime statistics in public housing and felony crimes citywide that are related to domestic violence.

"These bills bring us one step closer to creating a level playing field for women- and minority-owned businesses and increasing both transparency and accountability around M/WBE contracting," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Minority- and women-owned businesses represent a fundamental proportion of small businesses in this city, yet have historically received fewer contracts than other small businesses. It is time to amend these differences and these accountability measures will do just that."

"I would like to thank City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her leadership and Council Member Robert Cornegy, the Chair of the Committee on Small Business, for his continual support of these initiatives. I would also like to thank Council Member Laurie Cumbo for sponsoring Intros. 923-A and 981-B; Council Member Elisabeth Crawley for sponsoring Intro. 1005-A; Council Member Helen Rosenthal for sponsoring Intros. 1019-A and 1020-A; and Public Advocate Letitia James for sponsoring Intro. 976-A," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"The City Council is proud to have ushered in legislation that will enable the City to better meet its objectives for increased government contracting with minority- and women-owned businesses," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "M/WBEs have been historically underrepresented across the board, and we are proud to have more inclusive standards signed into law. Along with our work on bicycle accessibility and pedestrian right of way, we have been working hard at giving New Yorkers the tools to sustainably thrive in our great city. I thank Mayor de Blasio and my fellow Council Members for their work in seeing this legislation passed."

The first bill, Intro. 923-A, requires the Department of Small Business Services to submit an annual report regarding the satisfaction of M/WBE goals by recipients of economic development benefits. This report must include a list of all recipients of economic development benefits; the M/WBE goals for these recipients; whether the recipient tried to identify and utilize minority and women-owned businesses to achieve goals; and reasons why M/WBE contracting goals were not met if they failed to meet such goals, as well as other reporting requirements.

The second bill, Intro. 976-A, requires training for agency chief contracting officers and agency M/WBE officers. The division is required to conduct and create mandatory trainings for chief contracting officers, while the City is required to include on its website, which agencies' M/WBE officer and if the agency's staff have been trained.

The third bill, Intro. 981-B, establishes an M/WBE Advisory Board. The board's responsibilities include: advising the Mayor on M/WBE issues and engagement, providing information on firms owned by minority and women group members, and educating stakeholders and constituents on M/WBEs. The Mayor will appoint the chair and at least 10 members of the Advisory Board. The chair is allowed to direct the board to gather and disseminate information as well as convene meetings in order to improve M/WBE issues.

The fourth bill, Intro. 1005-A, requires agency M/WBE utilization plans to be published online.

The fifth bill, Intro. 1019-A, amends reporting requirements related to M/WBE participation. This removes a requirement that such information be reported only for contracts for which an agency sets participation goals.

The sixth bill Intro. 1020-A, amends reporting requirements and agency goals related to participation of M/WBEs in procurements. This bill requires the annual M/WBE report to provide detailed explanations of the determinations made by the City Chief Procurement Officer with regards to whether to divide proposed contracts over $10 million into smaller contracts.

"This is a great day for economic opportunity in New York City. The bills signed today contain key provisions that will keep us on track toward our goal of ensuring more minority and women owned businesses than ever before can compete for City contracts, through a process that is transparent, fair, and equitable," said Deputy Mayor of Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery.

"The legislation signed today by Mayor de Blasio will ensure greater accountability as New York City continues to be a national leader in promoting diversity among city contractors," said Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services Gregg Bishop. "The Department of Small Business Services is proud to provide an array of services and supportive programs that are helping achieve the goal of having contractors who reflect the rich diversity of our city."

"Women- and minority-owned businesses are vital members of New York City's Vendor community. While we have made progress, we are continually looking to expand opportunities for M/WBE firms and to refine the way our progress is reported," said Director of Mayors Office for Contract Services Michael Owh.

"New York City can, must, and will do better to ensure an even playing field for our businesses. The M/WBE law we've passed will help ensure that when procurement decisions are made, women and minority owned businesses are not left behind. The law will require Agency Chief Contracting Officers (ACCOs) and agency M/WBE contracting officers to be trained on diversity and participation and will also institute new transparency measures. Our government must be active in supporting our businesses and strengthen the middle-class through job creation and small business ownership. This law will be an important step toward this worthy goal," said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.

"As Chair of the Contracts Committee and co-Chair of the Women's Caucus, I am proud to play a role in passing this package of bills on M/WBEs, including two bills of my own. Taken together, the information we will glean from this legislation will lay the groundwork for how the city can and will do better by our minority and women owned businesses. In particular, this legislation will support opportunities to break large contracts into component parts that will enhance competition for M/WBE bids," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

"Minority and women-owned business enterprises have been on the back burner for far too long. I am proud to have worked alongside my colleagues in government and fierce advocates to bring greater transparency and accountability procedures to the forefront, in order to support and highlight opportunities to advance M/WBEs. Intro. 923 will require the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to assess and evaluate whether contractors receiving economic development benefits have fully complied with M/WBE requirements, as well as require the Department of Small Business Services to submit a report on EDC's assessment. These requirements bring real oversight to the process and support continued development of M/WBEs. Intro. 981 marks the creation of an advisory board to enhance city procurement opportunities for M/WBEs. As Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues and co-Chair of the Women's Caucus, I am elated that Mayor de Blasio is signing several M/WBE bills into law, which are part of the precursory formula for change, a true break from the status quo. This is a significant milestone, one of many more to come, in achieving our greater goal of providing these enterprises with more openings to participate in the procurement process, and to thrive in the City of New York's business sector," said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

The seventh bill, Intro. 405-A, requires office buildings to permit the transporting of folding bicycles in passenger elevators. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill's sponsor, Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

The eighth bill, Intro. 795-A, improves and expands New York City's landmark 2009 "Bikes in Buildings" law that authorized bicycle access plans in office buildings. This bill requires access for bikes to freight elevators in office buildings in at least one designated passenger elevator when there is no freight elevator available, and makes the bicycle access plan application process more user-friendly. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill's sponsor, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

"New laws making it easier for New Yorkers to commute by bike will take cars off the road and make our city more environmentally friendly," said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. "Under Mayor de Blasio's leadership we're finding creative and effective ways to reduce the City's carbon footprint and meet the Mayor's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050."

"Biking to work is a healthy choice that isn't just good for bicyclists themselves – it's good for the entire city, reducing the strain on our transit systems, our roads, and our air quality," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Its past time we modernized our laws so modern workplaces accommodate folding bikes and remove another barrier for bicycle commuters. Thanks to Council Member Rosenthal for her partnership on this legislation."

"Biking to work is a healthy way to commute, and it helps relieve our over-trafficked streets and overcrowded buses and subways during rush hour. We're updating the law to reflect the growing trend of commuting by foldable bicycle. Presumably if a person can fit in an elevator, so can their foldable bike. I love biking to work, so I'm especially proud to have sponsored this legislation with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

"Making it easier for people to bike to work has far-reaching effects on people's health and the overall quality of the City. We can't encourage people to bike more if there are simple barriers that prevent it," said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. "Experts agree commuting by way of a bicycle will decrease the City's carbon footprint, while improving bikers' overall health."

The ninth bill, Intro. 695-A, requires owners of class R-2 occupancies to allow tenants or subtenants to use at least one designated passenger elevators to transport their bicycles to and from their apartments in addition to allowing foldable bikes in passenger elevators in all class R occupancies. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill's sponsor, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

"Easing access to bike ownership and usage is a no brainer for a city whose roads are clogged and subways are packed," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "I'm proud to be a leader in the effort to increase capacity in buildings and workplaces for cyclists and hope this will encourage more New Yorkers to commute by bike. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleagues at the Council, for helping to make this initiative a reality enshrined in law."

The tenth bill, Intro. 997-A, clarifies that pedestrians crossing the street have the right of way when a crossing signal displays a walking person, flashing hand or countdown clock. This bill requires all traffic to continue to yield to pedestrians who begin to cross the street once the signal changes to a flashing hand or countdown clock. This policy follows the goals of the Administration to make this city as safe and accessible for pedestrians as possible, and is aligned with the Administrations Vision Zero goals. The NYPD, Department of Transportation, Public Advocate James and the City Council have all come together to make this amendment a reality. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Commissioners O'Neill and Trottenberg, as well as the bills co-sponsor, Council Member Rodriguez.

"The legislation signed today extends protections for pedestrians in crosswalks and makes biking in New York City more convenient," said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "Thank you to the Council for passing these important bills."

"Every day, millions of New Yorkers cross the street. But until today, a legal loophole meant that when the countdown clock was running, pedestrians didn't have the right of way. An outdated law gave the right of way to drivers, even when the countdown clock ran or a flashing hand appeared, falsely signaling to pedestrians that it is safe to cross. Thanks to this new law, pedestrians can confidently cross the street and know that they have the right of way when the countdown clock is running. By passing this law, we are taking a common-sense step toward protecting pedestrians and making New York's streets safer for pedestrian," said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.

The eleventh bill, Intro. 869-A, requires the NYPD to report quarterly on all sex offenses, broken down by specific felony or misdemeanor. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill's sponsor, Council Member Laurie Cumbo.

The twelfth bill, Intro. 948-A, requires the NYPD to report monthly, quarterly, semiannually and annually on domestic violence, and quarterly and annually on hate crimes. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill's sponsor, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The thirteenth bill, Intro. 961-A, requires the NYPD to report quarterly and annually on intimate partner domestic violence. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill's sponsor, Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

The fourteenth bill, Intro. 968-A, requires the NYPD to report semiannually and annually on domestic violence in public housing, and quarterly and annually on the percent of reported felony crimes citywide related to domestic violence. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill's sponsor, Council Member Ritchie Torres. The data required by Intros. 869-A, 948-A, 961-A and 968-A will not only deepen our understanding of important public safety issues, but also help us identify ways to address them. These bills will also make public safety statistics even more transparent.

"The Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence applauds this new legislation that increases NYPD reporting of some domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual assault crimes. By having clearer and more accurate data around domestic violence crimes, New York City will be able to better assess the needs of victims while having more information to prevent these crimes. This is another important component of Mayor de Blasio's commitment to standing with victims of domestic violence across the City," said Commissioner Violence Cecile Noel of the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic.

"Due to fear, stigma, and under reporting, victims of sexual and domestic abuse are often over looked and underserved. This legislative package will expand the reporting requirements for critical areas and I anticipate the newly collected data will help the police department and service providers target their work and assist them in developing innovative solutions. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their leadership and commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of the people of New York," said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. 

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