Council to Vote on Legislation Protecting Job Security for Grocery Store Workers.

Council will also vote on Transparency Bills to Shed Light on Sexual Health Education in City Schools

City Hall – Today the City Council will vote on legislation to protect the job security of grocery store employees when a change in store ownership occurs. The Council will also vote on a legislative package increasing transparency for health services and sexual education in City schools. Additionally, the Council will vote on a bill requiring the Department of Building to increase communications with other local governing bodies regarding building construction. Finally, the Council will vote on legislation to change the way that the City communicates with New Yorkers who qualify for the New York City Rent Freeze Program.

Grocery Store Job Security

Introduction 632-B, sponsored by Council Member I. Daneek Miller, would require new owners of grocery stores to retain current employees for a period of 90 days after a change in control of the business. At the end of the 90 day period, employees must be evaluated before the new owner decides whether to offer them continued employment at the store. The Administration would designate an agency to administer this law.

This law would take effect 90 days after enactment.

“Grocery store employees provide a valuable service to their communities, and should have the opportunity to prove their worth before losing their jobs due to changes in ownership,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This City Council is committed to protecting the rights and dignity of all workers in our city, and with today’s legislation, we’re taking another step toward that goal. I’d like to thank all my colleagues for their support of this important legislation.”

“Today is a great day for thousands of hardworking men and women in our city’s grocery industry, as well as for the communities and families who rely on these workers for their nutritional needs. When we retain skilled workers to handle our groceries such as produce, poultry and meats, we help to ensure that proper food preparation, along with health and sanitation procedures, are observed,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “Through this legislation we are able to provide communities with stability that would otherwise not exist during grocery transitions. We have already seen the terrible impact that A&P’s bankruptcy had on families throughout the City, and we don’t want to see such again. I thank my colleagues at the Council, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Progressive Caucus, along with our labor and community supporters for their passionate advocacy and support of this legislation.”

Department of Education Transparency

There is a well-established connection between comprehensive sex education and positive health outcomes, such as a lower rate of unprotected sex or pregnancy among teens. While state and city laws currently mandate certain health initiatives, including a sexual health education curriculum, the Department of Education currently does not monitor whether schools are in compliance with such requirements. This three-bill legislative package will allow the City and the public to track the compliance of public schools with these requirements.

Introduction No. 771-A, sponsored by Council Member Corey Johnson, would require the Department of Education (DOE) to report information regarding information health services including:
• The number of school buildings where full time and part time nurses are employed;
• The ratio of students to nurses in a school building;
• The average number of student health encounters per nurse in a school building;
• The number of NYC FITNESSGRAMS performed including information regarding body mass index;
• Information regarding the number of students having a diagnosis of allergies or diabetes; and
• The number of school based health centers disaggregated by the type of provider.

The report would be due to the Council on April 30th, 2017 and annually thereafter on April 30th.

“One of our primary responsibilities to students in New York City schools is to ensure that they are healthy and well cared for,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Health. “If we want them to succeed academically and in life, we have to ensure that they are provided with adequate health services. Unfortunately, we have too little information about the health services our young people are receiving throughout our school system. By requiring comprehensive data collection and annual reporting from the Department of Education, this bill will give us the tools we need to help improve health services in schools across all five boroughs. I want to thank Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm for hearing this legislation and all the advocates who have worked so hard ensure the health of our students.”

Introduction 952-A, sponsored by Council Member Laurie Cumbo, would require the DOE to report information regarding health education, including but not limited to:
• The total number of students in grades six through twelve who have completed at least one semester of health education;
• The total number and percentage of students in grade six who have completed at least five lessons in HIV/AIDS;
• The total number of students in grades seven through twelve who have completed at least 6 lessons in HIV/AIDS education;
• Information regarding how the DOE tracks compliance with health education and HIV/AIDS education requirements; and
• Information regarding how the efficacy of the health education curriculum is evaluated.

The bill would also require the DOE to report information regarding health education which specifically addresses LGBTQ students and sexual health knowledge for same-sex relationships.

The report would be due to the Council and posted on the DOE’s website on December 1st, 2016 and annually thereafter on December 1st.

This law would take effect immediately.

“With 1.1 million students enrolled in over 1,800 public schools, New York City has the largest school district in the U.S. In order to curb teen pregnancy, sexually -transmitted illnesses or diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and dating violence we must empower our students with the proper knowledge to make informed decisions and cultivate healthy relationships by teaching them self-awareness, reproductive health, and how to identify their options. Intro 952, which I introduced, will address the need for transparency and accountability to ensure compliance with city and state mandated health education standards. As Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, I look forward to working with the New York City Department of Education to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our youth by implementing a comprehensive sex education program for K-12 students citywide,” Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

Introduction 957-A, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, would require the Department of Education (DOE) to report information on instructors receiving training in sexual health education, including:
• The number of licensed health instructors, full time and part time, employed by the DOE;
• The number of instructors assigned to teach at least one health education class;
• The number and percentage of instructors who received professional development training, provided by the DOE, on sexual health education in the preceding two school years; and
• The total number and percentage of instructors who attended multiple sessions of professional development, provided by the DOE, in the preceding two school years.

The report would be due to the Council and posted on the DOE’s website on December 1st 2016 and annually thereafter on December 1st.

This law would take effect immediately.

“The quality of our students’ education and health outcomes are simply too important to leave to chance. Int. 957-A brings important transparency to the qualifications of those teaching sexual health in our public schools,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “It is my hope this legislation encourages educators to focus on evidence based approaches, allows us to better evaluate the sex-ed mandate, and improves sexual health education for our young people. I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her leadership, Chair of the Committee on Education Danny Dromm for supporting this measure and allowing the bill to come forward, and my colleagues for prioritizing the health and wellbeing of the students of New York.”

Notification of Construction

Introduction 49-A, sponsored by Council Members Fernando Cabrera and Laurie Cumbo, would amend the Administrative Code to require the Department of Buildings (DOB) to notify Council Members and Community Boards on a weekly basis, by electronic mail, of applications for new building construction or substantial alterations that will require a new certificate of occupancy for a building filed, approved or rejected. In addition, DOB would be required to post this information on their website each week.

This law would take effect 90 days after enactment.

“We cannot continue business as usual when thousands of jobs are at risk, because small business owners are being priced out of their communities or employers are given no other alternative but to sell their land to the highest bidder. When our supermarkets, churches, community gardens are being boarded up without any prior notice, it puts our communities at a disadvantage because it is often too late for any intervention. We need protections that guarantee community involvement from beginning to end. I am a proud co-prime sponsor of Intro 49A, because it calls for more transparency, raises awareness on the changes that could potentially impact the quality of life for the surrounding community, allows community stakeholders to voice their concerns and/or opposition, while holding developers accountable throughout the ongoing construction,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

Rent Freeze Program

Introduction 798-B, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would require the Department of Finance to include a notice regarding legal and preferential rents on certain documents related to the NYC Rent Freeze Program. Specifically, the notice must include:
• The rent amount on which the benefit calculation was based
• An explanation of why that amount was used in the calculation
• The legal regulated rent, an explanation that the tenant may continue to pay a preferential rent even once enrolled in the program
• A statement that the tenant can obtain a rent registration history and file a complaint with the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal
• A telephone number and email address for that agency.

In addition, by 2018, the legislation would require the Department of Finance to include both the preferential and legal regulated rents of applicants to the NYC Rent Freeze Program in its database and include the preferential rent amount in the notice described above.

This law would take effect 90 days after enactment.

“By voting in favor of Intro. 798-B today, this Council is striking a blow in favor of clarity in this city’s administration of the rent freeze programs,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy. “Low income seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities shouldn’t have their fears about being priced out of their homes compounded by confusion about their eligibility for a critical safety net program. This bill commits our city to providing clear, honest responses and guidance for preferential rent tenants and their advocates. It will provide data, to help us grapple with what our constituents are actually facing, moving forward. And it should send a signal to Albany that these programs need to be improved. I’m proud to be part of a Council that’s committed to doing everything within its power to assist our most vulnerable constituents.”