Anti-“Scratchiti” Legislation will Require Etching Acid Vendors to Maintain Purchasing Information
City Hall, May 6, 2009 – At today’s Stated Council meeting, the members of the City Council will vote on legislation to track the sales of etching acid by requiring sellers to keep records of purchasers for one year. These records would be made available to the police to help enforce anti-graffiti legislation. Additionally, the Council will vote on a bill to identify New York City’s remaining wetlands and develop a comprehensive protection strategy. The members of the Council will also vote on resolution in support of a Congressional bill to Resolution amend the Federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to increase the maximum eligible age for services to 24 years old and recognize the unique needs of LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth.
ETCHING ACID LEGISLATION
Providing the NYPD with further tools to combat pervasive “scratchiti” problems around the five boroughs, the Council will vote to require vendors of etching acid to maintain records of those purchasing etching acid for one year. These records would be made available to the police for the purposes of enforcing anti-graffiti legislation and would require vendors to obtain the following information:
Purchaser’s name and address
Type of identification presented
Amount of acid dispensed
Date of purchase
Unlike graffiti done with spray paint, which can be cleaned or painted over, etching acid “scratchiti” permanently ruins glass surfaces. “Scratchiti” is becoming increasingly prevalent on local merchants’ windows, forcing small business owners to replace ruined storefront windows. Current law prohibits the sale of etching acid to minors and requires that it be kept behind the counter in stores to discourage shop-lifting.
“The illegal use of etching acid is extremely frustrating for the many New Yorkers whose store windows are being targeted. It’s hard enough to open and run a small business in these difficult times, the last thing a storeowner should have to contend with is vandalism.,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “This bill will give the NYPD extra tools to curb vandalism and prevent scratchiti.”
“I want to applaud my colleague Peter Vallone Jr. for his leadership on this issue,” stated Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie, chair of the Consumer Affairs Committee. “By regulating the purchase and possession of etching acid, it will hopefully deter vandalism and safeguard city residents from exposure to this dangerous industrial product.”
“Etching acid destroys whatever it touches whether it is glass or a human finger,” said Public Safety Committee Chair Peter Vallone Jr. “This reasonable request for information will make vandals think twice before using it and gives police another tool with which to combat graffiti.”
Addressing changes in climate conditions and wetland composition, the Council will vote on comprehensive legislation to identify remaining wetlands in the five boroughs and develop and implement a strategy to protect them. The goals of the strategy include conservation, protection, enhancement, stabilization, restoration and expansion of wetlands and associated buffer areas in the City. This strategy is intended to avoid and minimize wetlands losses and achieve no net loss of wetlands in the City.
“New York City’s remaining wetlands are priceless, irreplaceable assets that provide much more than aesthetic value – they provide critical aquatic and wildlife habitat, natural filtration of pollutants, flood control, and protection from the effects of climate change and sea level rise due to global warming,” said Environmental Protection Committee Chair James F. Gennaro. “New York City needs a comprehensive and effective wetlands protection strategy and a policy of no net loss of wetlands – this good bill will provide both. As a coastal city in the age of global warming, these precarious times demand this bill. More important, our children deserve this bill.”
To assure that the goals of this strategy are carried out, the strategy includes reporting mechanisms, including a schedule and milestones for implementing the strategy and a public education program to increase awareness about the ecological, economic, aesthetic and other values of wetlands. Finally the strategy includes an initial review in three years after the strategy has been developed and then every four years thereafter.
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Resolution
The Council will vote on a resolution calling on Congress to amend the Federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to increase the maximum eligible age for services to 24 years old and to recognize the unique needs of LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth.
The resolution also calls upon the New York State Legislature to amend the State Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and to implement state regulations to increase the maximum eligible age for services to 24 years old. Furthermore, the resolution calls upon the State to allow the maximum length of stay for youth in transitional independent living programs to be calculated independently of their 21st birthdays, to ease the 24-hour staffing requirement for residential programs, and to provide start-up grants for State certification applicants to use during the certification waiting period.