Council will also vote on bill to curtail commercial tenant harassment

CITY HALL – Today the Council will vote on a legislative package requiring the City to provide feminine hygiene products in schools, correctional facilities, and shelters. The Council will also vote on legislation curtailing the harassment of small businesses and other non-residential tenants. Additionally, the Council will vote on legislation increasing transparency of the City’s Next Gen 9/11 implementation. Next, the Council will vote on legislation requiring single-occupancy bathrooms to be gender neutral. The Council will also vote on legislation to require ticket vendors in New York City to be licensed. Finally, the Council will vote on legislation to modify the date Local Law 63 takes effect.

Feminine Hygiene Products

Feminine hygiene products are essential for the health and well-being of women and girls. Inadequate menstrual hygiene management is associated with both health and psycho-social issues, particularly among low-income women. Access to feminine hygiene products has proven to be limited for certain populations, including public school students, the homeless, and incarcerated women.

Introduction 1128-A, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, and Council Member Daniel Dromm, would require the Department of Education (DOE) to make feminine hygiene products available at no cost to students in the bathrooms of school buildings that are leased by the DOE or over which DOE has care, custody, and control, serving female students in grades six through twelve. The bill would take effect 120 days after its enactment.

Introduction 1123-A, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, and Stephen Levin, would require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to provide a supply of feminine hygiene products to agencies operating, or agencies with oversight over providers who are operating, temporary shelters. The bill would also require DCAS to make available a supply of feminine hygiene products sufficient to meet the needs of youth in secure detention facilities operated by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), as well as youth in congregate care facilities operated by ACS who are awaiting placement with a licensed foster care agency. The bill would take effect 120 days after its enactment.

Introduction 1122-A, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, would require the Department of Correction to provide all female inmates with feminine hygiene products as soon as practicable upon request at the Department’s expense, and would also require the Department of Correction to provide individuals who are arrested and are detained in the custody of the Department for at least 48 hours with feminine hygiene products as soon as practicable upon request at the Department’s expense. The bill would take effect immediately after its enactment.

“Feminine hygiene products are not a luxury for women, but rather an essential part of women’s health,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Whether it’s in public schools, shelters, or even our city jails, giving women access to these products is a no-brainer, and long overdue. I’d like to thank Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and all my colleagues for their work and leadership on this crucial legislative package.”

“I am so proud that the Council will pass three pieces of sensible yet groundbreaking legislation which will guarantee access to menstrual hygiene products to tens of thousands of New Yorkers. For students who will no longer miss class because they do not have a pad or tampon to mothers at shelters and women in prison who will have access to these critical yet often overlooked products, this package makes our City a more fair place. I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Women’s Issues Chair Laurie Cumbo, and all my colleagues who again are setting a standard for equality and access for the rest of the country to follow,” said Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

“The provision of free feminine hygiene products in public schools is an important service to students who would otherwise not be able to afford them,” said NYC Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm, co-prime sponsor of Intro 1128-A. “These free tampon and sanitary napkin dispensers will ensure that girls and young women avoid the discomfort and embarrassing situations that can get in the way of learning. I am proud to work alongside Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland to make our schools safer and healthier places for our students.”

Non-Residential Tenant Harassment

Introduction 851-B, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would establish a private right of action for a commercial tenant to bring a claim of commercial tenant harassment against a landlord. In addition to any damages or injunctive relief that a court may impose, a landlord found to have committed commercial tenant harassment would be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $1000 and not more than $10,000. The bill would cover tenants occupying covered properties subject to written leases or other rental agreements, whether written or unwritten, including holdover tenancies. Covered properties would include any building or part of a building used for a lawful commercial purpose that is not subject to a residential certificate of occupancy. Such properties would include live-work spaces not subject to a residential lease.

“In my capacity as the Chair of the Small Business Committee, I work diligently with my colleagues and other city agencies to address the concerns and support the needs of the small business community. One issue that has gone unaddressed for far too long has been the harassment of small businesses by some unscrupulous property owners—this practice stops today. Intro 851 protects commercial tenants from discontinuances of essential services, frivolous court proceedings, and other techniques that landlords use to evict tenants for no other reason than greed. Now, commercial tenants have recourse against landlords who seek to skirt the law for their own profit. This legislation will impose civil penalties, such as fines, to ensure that small business owners are able to operate and grow throughout New York City,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.

Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Introduction 871-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm, requires that single-occupant toilet rooms be made available for use by persons of any gender by January 1, 2017. Such toilet rooms shall be designated by a legible sign for all genders, where applicable.

Amendments to Local Law 63

Introduction 1223 would delay the implementation of the provisions of Local Law 63 for the year 2016, in relation to reducing the use of carryout bags, by four and a half months. The new effective date will be February 15, 2017.

“Most New Yorker’s take their unfettered access to bathrooms for granted,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). “Yet, every single day, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals must grapple with the fact that their choices may lead to harassment or worse. Other cities, from Washington, DC to West Hollywood, California already recognize that designating single-stall bathrooms as all-gender is an easy way to create a welcoming environment for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. And, of course, as an added bonus, anyone looking for an unoccupied bathroom will now have more options. Simply put, single-stall, all-gender bathrooms make sense.”

Next Gen 911

Introduction 868-A, sponsored by Council Member Laurie Cumbo, would require the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to issue an annual report on the implementation of Next Generation 911, a protocol that will allow digital information such as photos, videos and text messages. The report will detail the Department’s current implementation plan, the steps taken toward that goal since the prior report, and any planned next steps

“From mass shootings and acts of terrorism to the rise in violence against women, we live in a tumultuous climate that requires the adaptation of text to 911 capabilities within the City of New York. With more than 8.4 million residents, our city is one of the largest municipalities in the United States that does not have an emergency communications system in place that would allow citizens to seek assistance by sending text messages, photos, and videos to 911 operators and police dispatchers without endangering their lives by alarming the perpetrator(s) of a crime. The passage of Intro 868 ensures that New Yorkers in dire situations will be served more effectively through the use of smart technology to create a safer and more connected city. Additionally, this bill would help expand our capacity to better communicate with youth, LGBTQ, legal and undocumented immigrants, the Deaf, speech-impaired, and mute communities. I look forward to working with the Administration, NYPD, and DoITT towards the implementation of a 21st century emergency communications system within the City of New York,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and co-chair of the Women’s Caucus.

“The implementation of Next Generation 911 (NG911) will be a giant leap forward for emergency communication capabilities in New York City,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the NYC Council Committee on Technology. “The ability to text 911 is a common-sense feature that will increase access to emergency services. Those with hearing or speech disabilities will benefit tremendously from the ability to text and connect with 911 using other digital means. In addition, it will provide alternative connection methods for those in the midst of a home invasion, a domestic violence episode, or other active situation where it might be dangerous to speak on the phone. I look forward to the full implementation of the entire NG911 system. I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito, along with Council Members Cumbo and Levine for their attention to this important bill.”

Licensing Ticket Sales

Introduction 1149-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Garodnick, would require that any individual selling tickets for any place of entertainment, mode of transportation, or sight-seeing tour in New York City obtain a ticket seller license issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The bill would allow DCA to:

  • revoke the licenses of aggressive sellers or those committing fraud;
  • require sellers to wear a vest or jacket with their license information;
  • create a rebuttable presumption that a business working with the seller is responsible for violations;
  • require DCA to study the impact of sellers on pedestrian traffic and safety.

“We are fighting back against scammers and hucksters, who prey on tourists every day with very little consequence,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “This licensing scheme is a way to bring this under control and to deal with those bad actors.”

Water Street POPS

The Council will be voting on modifications to LU 361, the Water Street POPS Upgrades. Council Member Chin has taken the extensive public testimony under consideration, and worked with the applicants for weeks to come up with a set of modifications that will allow for the core goals of the application to be realized while maintaining a public review process for the closing of large arcade spaces. These modifications include retaining the existing requirement of a special permit for some arcade enclosures, requiring an authorization for other arcade enclosures, notification to the borough president, community board and council member for events and non-ULURP actions, retaining compliance reporting, modifying the retail requirements, and other changes.

“After considering all of the viewpoints expressed by my neighbors and colleagues, I am pleased that the City Council will be voting today on an agreement that I believe meets the goal of revitalizing the Water Street Corridor, while preserving vital community and Council oversight,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “No action will be taken on Water Street without the Community Board, Borough President and City Council knowing about it. This includes events, as well as any potential changes to arcades and plazas. With this agreement, the future of Water Street is brighter than ever before. I would like to thank the residents who testified at the Council’s hearing on this proposal, and my colleagues for their thoughtful insight and consideration of modifications that will create something that truly enhances our community.”

Appointment Confirmations

The Council will vote on confirmation of the following recommended appointees:

  • Rosanna Vargas of The Bronx to the New York City Board of Elections
  • Larry Dais of Manhattan to the New York City Civil Service Commission
  • Allen Cappelli of Staten Island to the New York City Civil Service Commission