Legislation will require full disclosure of vehicle prices

City Hall – Today the Council will vote on legislation to require full disclosure of vehicle prices at used car dealerships. Additionally, the Council will vote on reporting requirements related to Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C in New York City. The Council will also vote on legislation requiring the Department of Buildings to inform local communities of planned hotel development. Finally the Council will vote on legislation requiring the creation of a citywide cultural plan for New York.

Used Car Price Transparency

Introduction 178-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would amend the administrative code to require that price displays advertising a used car for sale at a car dealership accurately reflect the total selling price of the vehicle, exclusive of any taxes or fees for securing a registration or certificate of title. This bill would ensure that an advertised price which attracts a customer into a dealership reflects the complete price of the vehicle being advertised. The bill would require that the price be displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle or on a sign displayed alongside the vehicle.

In addition to requiring clear display of the total selling price of the vehicle, the bill would require that the dealership display the costs of any add-on products that are available for purchase with the second-hand automobile and disclose that the purchase of such add-on products is optional. A first offense violation of this law would be subject to a penalty of $500. A second offense committed within one year of the first offense would be subject to penalty of up to $750. A third or other subsequent offense committed within one year of the first offense would be subject to a penalty of up to $1000.

The local law would take effect 120 days after enactment.

“Consumers deserve to know what they’re paying in advance when purchasing a vehicle,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This bill will ensure that used car dealerships give accurate information when advertising the cost of any vehicle in their showroom, and allow buyers to make an informed and responsible purchasing decision.”

“I want to thank the Speaker, Chair Espinal, and the Council for passing this legislation. Sometimes, the best legislation comes from personal experience, said Council Member Jumaane Williams. “As someone who has purchased a used car, I had the experience of being hit with a series of undisclosed fees that I would have liked to have known before being suckered into discussions. This legislation will bring much needed transparency into vehicle buying by requiring used car dealers to disclose all fees, upfront, to buyers.”

Reporting on Hepatitis

Introduction 51-B, sponsored by Council Members Margaret Chin, Corey Johnson and Peter Koo would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to issue an annual report regarding Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis can cause chronic, persistent infection, which can lead to chronic liver disease. These two illnesses are generally underreported. There are about 100,000 HBV infected people in the City, many of whom are immigrants who contracted the infection in their country of origin where there was limited access to the HBV vaccine or from mothers who were not vaccinated. Additionally, there are approximately 150,000 New Yorkers livings with Hepatitis C, with high rates among baby boomers, and higher rates among African-Americans than any other racial or ethnic groups.

This bill would require the Department to provide a variety of information relating to HBV and HCV, including data on prevalence, demographics and treatment and care. It would assist the Council and the public in obtaining data on these diseases, which can in turn help advocates and policymakers design interventions.

Annual reports would be submitted to the Council and available on DOHMH’s website.

“Today we’re taking a huge step forward in combatting hepatitis B and C in New York City. It’s a move that will help us save lives,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “The detailed data required in this annual report will help us raise greater awareness around these destructive diseases, especially in the communities where they have a disproportionate impact. The annual report will also help our city to more accurately and effectively direct funding and resources to the community-based healthcare providers who are on the front lines of treating and preventing the spread of hepatitis B and C.”

Cultural Plan

Introduction 419-A, sponsored by Council Members Levin and Van Bramer, would require the creation of a cultural plan for New York City. The Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) would be required to submit to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council a comprehensive cultural plan (the plan) on or before July 1, 2017.

The bill creates a Citizens’ Advisory Committee to advise DCLA with respect to development of the plan, gathering community input for the plan, and implementing the plan.
Before the plan is released, the Committee would meet as often as needed but no less than quarterly. After the plan is released, the Committee would meet as needed, but not more than semiannually, to review the biannual reports.

The plan would require analysis of the availability of cultural activities throughout the city, the relationship between cultural activities and social and economic health and welfare in the city, the role of the community outreach process in the development of the plan, feedback from a robust community outreach process, the needs of artists with respect to affordable housing and affordable long-term and temporary studio, office, and rehearsal space, increasing arts education and cultural activities in New York City public schools, how cultural activities can be incorporated into community development, economic development, and land use planning process and policies, the needs of artists and communities with respect to the creation of public art in public settings, and how city agencies should coordinate with respect to cultural activities.

“New York City is the cultural capital of the world and it is important that we do everything we can to ensure that it stays that way,” said Council Member Steve Levin. With the passage of this legislation, New York City will soon create its first-ever comprehensive cultural plan and will create a roadmap to making New York a more artist-friendly city and ensuring that we are able to exhibit the rich culture found in every borough. I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, all of the advocates and cultural groups, and a special thank you to Commissioner Finkelpearl and the Department of Cultural Affairs for working with us on this exciting and important legislation.”

“Today with the passage of Introduction 419 we will solidify our City’s presence for decades to come as the world’s premiere destination for culture by initiating – for the first time in the City of New York – the development of a comprehensive Cultural Plan,” said New York City Council Majority Leader and Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee, Jimmy Van Bramer. “Together with Council Member Steve Levin and cultural advocates from around the New York City we crafted a Cultural Plan that allows us to develop an all-inclusive strategy to increase access, equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers to engage in the arts and culture in every neighborhood. For nearly three years we have been working to develop sound cultural policy that ensures children and families in every corner of our City are afforded increased access to cultural and the arts. And today we make that a reality for all here in our City. I want to thank Speaker Melissa-Mark-Viverito, my colleagues, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, the Administration and the tireless cultural advocates for supporting this transformative bill and helping make this day possible.”

Hotel Development

Introduction 181-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would ensure that communities are made aware when new hotels are developed within their neighborhoods. The bill would require that DOB, upon receiving an application for a new hotel, provide notice to each affected Borough President, Community Board, Borough Board and Council Member.

This local law would take effect 180 days after enactment.

“Whenever a new hotel is planned to be cited anywhere within the city, it has the potential to bring with it a strain on local resources and upheaval on a community not used to the hotel industry,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams. “Such was the case in my district when I first introduced this legislation. I thank the Speaker for working with me to pass this bill so that going forward, Council Members, Community Boards and, where applicable, Borough Board will be aware of, and be able to notify residents when plans develop a hotel occur.”