Council to Vote to Improve Access to Resources to Help Families Report Incidents of Bullying and Amend the Definition of Harassment

Council will also vote on amendment to change definition of sexual orientation, NYPD reporting bills and diaper changing accommodations requirement

City Hall – Today, the Council will vote on bills implementing reporting requirements and improving access to resources to help prevent bullying, including requiring the Department of Education to post contact information for each school related to reporting incidents of bullying, harassment, intimidation and discrimination and to report information on student-to-student bullying, harassment, intimidation and discrimination. Next, the Council will then vote to expand the definition of harassment to include discriminatory threats and requests for proof of citizenship status. In addition, the New York City Council will vote on legislation amending the definitions of sexual orientation and gender in the City’s Human Rights Law. The Council will also vote on NYPD reporting bills including the submission of reports on clearance rates of index crimes and the report on number of arrests and summonses returnable to the Transit Adjudication Bureau for subway fare evasion. In addition, the Council will vote on a bill requiring the installation of diaper changing stations in both male and female bathrooms in assembly and retail occupancies. Next, the Council will vote on a bill that would increase the assessed value limitation for eligibility of J-51 improvements to $32,000 per dwelling unit, and would increase each year by the cost-of-living adjustment percentage. The Council will then vote on legislation requiring the Department of Investigation to conduct public outreach campaigns, issue yearly reports and complete city vendor name checks. The Council will also vote on a bill requiring English classes for certain children in foster care. The Council will then vote on requiring an annual report on electricity and fossil fuel use in city owned buildings. In addition, the Council will vote on bills requiring the disclosure of information on the workforce of contractors performing construction work for the City. The Council will also vote on a bill creating a task force on open algorithms. Next, the Council will vote on amending the name of properties in the Bronx. The Council will also vote on the establishment of the Morris Park BID. Finally, the Council will vote on a number of land use items including publishing and reporting requirements for urban renewal plans, requiring the City to establish a website on nyc.gov by July 1, 2018, to promote commercial and community based agriculture uses in the City of New York and constructing a new school in Brooklyn.

Requiring the Department of Education to Post Resources and Report Relevant Information Related to Incidents of Bullying, Harassment, Intimidation and Discrimination

In September, the City was stunned as a student was fatally stabbed and another critically wounded by a fellow student at a school in the Bronx. Early reports indicated that the student who allegedly committed the act is a victim of bullying. The Council immediately acted by holding an oversight hearing to examine DOE’s efforts to address bullying in City schools and introducing legislation to increase transparency about the DOE’s policies.

Introduction 1538-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm would require the Department of Education (DOE) to post on its website information regarding how to report incidents of bullying, harassment, intimidation or discrimination, including information about to which school staff such reports may me made; email addresses designated by DOE to receive reports of such incidents; and information guiding students, parents and staff members to visit their individual school websites for more information. It would also require DOE to include on each individual school’s website information regarding how to report incidents of bullying, harassment, intimidation or discrimination; the name, email address and phone number of the school’s dignity act coordinator; and any email addresses designated by DOE to receive reports of such incidents.

“This legislation will give students, parents and others a quick and easy way to report school bullying, holding the DOE responsible for ensuring that our students receive the quality education that is their due. Bullying wreaks havoc on our schools, creating a toxic environment where it is nearly impossible for young people to learn.  Tragically, LGBTQ students, Muslim students, students with disabilities, those who are overweight, and many others experience or witness bullying on a daily basis. When enacted this bill will make principals and other administrators aware of bullying inside of their schools—the first step toward addressing the issue. I thank the Speaker and my colleagues for supporting this important effort,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm.

Introduction 1757-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Treyger, would require the Department of Education (DOE) to report every six months on the number of material incidents of student-to-student bullying, harassment, intimidation or discrimination in violation of Chancellor’s Regulation A-832, as well as the number of complaints received, disaggregated by community school district and individual high school. The bill would also require the DOE to annually report on supports it provides related to preventing, reporting, and addressing such incidents, any trends seen in the data, any recommendations the DOE has to address such trends, and, for each school, whether the school has completed the training required pursuant to Chancellor’s Regulation A-832. The bill would also require reports to include information regarding notices sent to parents of both students who have been targeted by bullying behavior and those who have been engaged in bullying behavior.

“As a former educator, I’ve seen firsthand the physical, emotional, and psychological impact that bullying can have on students and families. Bullying has taken on new forms because of social media, and is likelier than ever to carry over into the home lives of students. Too many New Yorkers have tragically lost their lives recently because of incidents rooted in bullying. This legislation is designed to help us learn how bullying begins, where bullying persists, and whether or not schools have sufficient resources to tackle school climate issues. My bill also examines how effectively schools engage with parents in the wake of bullying incidents involving their children. Bullying is a complex issue that requires multi-level interventions, both at school and at home. The more we know about bullying, the better prepared we are to stop it immediately. I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and my colleagues for their support,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

Amending the Definition of Harassment to Include Discriminatory Threats and Requests for Proof of Citizenship Status

Introduction 1678-B, sponsored by Council Member Peter Koo, would expand the definition of harassment to include threats based on a person’s actual or perceived status in a protected class, including threats to report immigrant tenants to ICE. The bill also adds to the definition of harassment requests for identifying documentation that would disclose a person’s immigration status, when the person has already provided the owner with a current form of personal identification.

“The message this legislation sends to bad landlords is clear: if you harass your tenants, you will face consequences. As New Yorkers, we will not stand for harassment against immigrants in any form.  Unfortunately, many immigrants don’t know their rights under the law. By amending the Housing Code’s definition of harassment, we will make it easier for tenants to retaliate against these forms of discrimination by giving them the power to file claims directly against the landlord,” said Council Member Peter Koo.

Amending the Definitions of Sexual Orientation and Gender in the New York City Human Rights Law

Introduction 1186-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm, would update the language in the Human Rights Law, to better capture the current understanding of sexual orientation and gender, recognizing that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum. Since the definitions of sexual orientation and gender in the City’s Human Rights Law were drafted, society has evolved its understanding of sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.

“This legislation will build upon our Human Rights law so that many more New Yorkers are shielded from harassment and discrimination. The NYC Human Rights law remains one the Council’s crowning achievements.  LGBT people have especially benefited from the protections it offers.  But as our understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression evolve, so too must laws that safeguard civil rights.  I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and my colleagues for supporting this historic expansion.  By bringing our laws in line with the spirit of the current NYC Human Rights law, this legislation will save lives,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm.

Requiring the New York Police Department to Submit Reports

Introduction 1611-A, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the NYPD to report on a quarterly basis the number of index crimes by borough where at least one person has been arrested and charged with the commission of the offense. This information would assist us evaluating staffing levels so that boroughs that experience more crime and would need more detectives and investigators.

“When it comes to solving a crime, time is of the essence. The longer a case goes unsolved the harder it becomes to solve it. In places with high rates of violent crime but with few detectives, we must rectify that disparity in order to serve the public safety interest of residents. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and this bill will shine a spotlight on the disparities in solving crimes in order to spur change,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

Introduction 1664-A, sponsored by Council Member Rory Lancman, would require the NYPD to report on a quarterly basis the number of theft of services arrests and fare evasion offenses returnable to the Transit Adjudication Bureau that occur in the New York City subway system disaggregated by age of the offender/arrestee, subway station in which the offense took place, the transit bureau of the offense and, in the case of a criminal enforcement, whether the individual was issued a desk appearance ticket or whether the arrestee was processed through central bookings. In addition, the department would be required to publish their policy with respect to determining whether an individual is issued a summons returnable to the Transit Adjudication Bureau or a criminal summons.

“What we know is that the Mayor’s insistence on using arrests and criminal prosecution for fare evasion, all while a civil alternative is readily available, has disproportionately impacted brown and black New Yorkers. However, what we do not know is how the NYPD is focusing its fare evasion enforcement and which precincts are spending most time and resources chasing after fare beaters. My bill will change that by providing the public with the data needed to understand the extent to which communities of color are over-policed when it comes to fare evasion. Sound public policy is only possible with complete data,” said Council Member Rory Lancman.

Requiring Diaper Changing Stations to be Accessible to all Genders

Introduction 1241-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal, would require diaper changing stations in assembly and retail occupancies for both male and female occupants.

“More often than not, public restrooms do not have dedicated spaces for families to care for their children. After witnessing a father changing his daughter’s diaper on an unsanitary sink in a public space, I thought it was important for diaper changing stations to be a requirement in all public bathrooms. Moms and dads should have equal access to sanitary and safe spaces when changing their baby’s diapers. I am proud NYC is building upon the work of President Obama when he required federal buildings to have this requirement. Now, every public building in NYC will have to create a space to allow parents to change their child’s diaper with dignity,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal.

Increasing J-51 Exemption

Introduction 1764-A, sponsored by Council Member Barry Grodenchik, would increase the assessed value limitation for eligibility of J-51 improvements to $32,000 per dwelling unit, and would increase each year by the cost-of-living adjustment percentage.

“Co-op and condo residents have for years been treated unfairly by the real property tax system. “While their taxes are still too high, raising the J-51 eligibility level is a step in the right direction and will help co-ops and condos across the city to maintain their properties in a state of good repair,” said Council Member Barry Grodenchik.

Requiring the Department of Investigation to Conduct Research and Submit Reports and Vendor Name Checks

Introduction 1618-A, sponsored by Council Member Vincent Gentile, would require annual public outreach campaigns, to educate the public on how to identify and submit complaints regarding different forms of government corruption, fraud, and waste.  Additionally, the bill includes yearly reporting on the number of complaints received, the mechanism through which the complaint was submitted, and a summary of relevant outreach efforts undertaken by the agency in the previous year.

Introduction 1633-A, sponsored by Council Member Vincent Gentile, would require that whenever practicable, DOI must complete a Vendor Name Check of a prospective vendor for a City contract, 30-days prior to the commencement of the contract between the City agency and the vendor.

“Intro. 1618A will utilize the public– a valued and vigilant resource– to help combat corruption, waste, fraud, and misconduct all across the City via annual public outreach campaigns. Tracking and reporting on the complaints received by the Department of Investigation will measure the efficacy of the outreach efforts as well as help fine-tune departmental procedures for years to come. Intro. 1633A will require the Department of Investigation to complete Vendor Name Checks for prospective City vendors thirty-days prior to commencement of a City contract ensuring taxpayer dollars are being allocated to trustworthy government partners. Together these pieces of legislation will improve information sharing, codify important government procedures, engage the public, and in general improve New York City Government’s daily functions. I am proud that they will be passing the Council today,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile.

Exploring ACS’ Ability to Provide Foster Care Children with Language Classes in their Family’s Native Language

Introduction 1062-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret Chin, would require that by January 1, 2019, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) would complete a study regarding its ability to provide access to language classes for any child between the ages of 3 years and 12 years who was removed from the custody of parents or guardians that are limited English proficient individuals and who has been in the custody of ACS for at least 6 months. The bill would require the study to include: (1) the number of children in the foster care system meeting the criteria; (2) the languages spoken by the children; (3) the languages spoken by the individuals from whom the children were removed; (4) strategies to assess the language needs of such children; and (5) barriers to addressing the needs.  Proposed Int. 1062-A would also require ACS initiate a process to identify and track whether parents or guardians of children removed pursuant to article 10 of the family court act are limited English proficient individuals.

“Our City must work to ensure that language would no longer be a barrier for families in the foster care system to reunify, and my legislation would help us better understand the universe of children in the foster care system who came from non-English speaking families, as well as the resources they need. By requiring ACS to produce a feasibility study for language classes and initiate a process to illuminate the universe of foster children from non-English families, Intro 1062-A would serve as a pivotal new tool to bring immigrant families back together,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.

Reporting on Electricity and Fossil Fuel Use in City Owned Buildings

Introduction 1651-A, sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides, would require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to provide an annual report on electricity and fossil fuel use in certain City-owned buildings, including identifying whether such buildings have been fitted with equipment for monitoring energy usage in near real-time. This bill would also require DCAS, in conjunction with other appropriate city agencies, to coordinate the installation of energy usage equipment and any necessary software in all city buildings that DCAS identifies as appropriate to receive such installation.

“Int. 1651 will require annual reports on energy use in city buildings.  The report will use different tools to measure electricity and fossil fuel use, including whole-building assessments and equipment that measures power use in real-time.  This data will provide a benchmark for city buildings and help our city prioritize which improvements should be implemented to improve energy efficiency and conservation.  Knowledge is power – with this necessary knowledge, our city will be better equipped to meet our goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050.  Thank you to Speaker Mark-Viverito and my Council colleagues for their support on this important bill,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides.

Reporting Information on Workforce of Contractors Performing Construction Work for the City

Introduction 1382-B, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would require certain contractors employed to work on city-funded construction projects to disclose to an agency designated by the mayor, the zip code of their employees’ primary address; the address, block, and lot number of the city-funded construction project; and whether such contractor is certified as a minority-owned or women-owned business enterprise. This bill would also require the designated agency to make such disclosures public after the data collected is sufficiently anonymized as well as to report on observable trends in the data.  This bill would also create recordkeeping requirements for such contractors and would give the authority to enforce the provisions of this bill to the designated agency.

“For too long, people of color have been underrepresented in the construction industry. Intro. 1382-B will require contractors employed to work on city-funded construction sites to report the demographic information of persons employed on the worksite. This information will add much-needed accountability to the awarding of large contracts to developers who promise a diverse workforce, and will ensure that we in government are meeting our commitment to create a fair and equitable city for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.

Introduction 752-C, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, would require contractors employed to work on city-funded construction projects to disclose certain information regarding the demographics of employees working on those projects, in addition to other administrative information.

Creating a Task Force on Open Algorithms

Introduction 1696-A, sponsored by Council Member James Vacca, would require the creation of a task force that provides recommendations on how information on agency automated decision systems, otherwise known as algorithms, may be shared with the public. The task force would also provide recommendations on how agencies may address instances where people are harmed by agency automated decision systems.

“New Yorkers produce large amounts of data while going about their everyday lives and accessing government services. This data is fundamental to the City’s operations and to make use of this data, City agencies deploy advanced analytics and algorithmic tools. While it’s undeniable that these tools help City agencies operate more effectively, they are not without issue. Algorithms seem to offer objectivity, but we must be cognizant of the fact that they are simply a way of encoding assumptions. Introduction-1696 ensures that our City addresses this reality, and develops procedures to prevent bias and ensure accountability. I thank the Speaker and the staff for all their support on this proposal,” said Council Member James Vacca.

Amending the Name of Properties in the Bronx

Introduction 270, sponsored by Council Member Annabel Palma, would permanently change the name of two thoroughfares in the Borough of the Bronx to East 177th Street, and amends the New York City Map accordingly.

“The renaming of part of the Cross Bronx Service Road is a logical amendment that my constituents have long sought. This change is emblematic of our city’s commitment to addressing all concerns, no matter the magnitude,” said Council Member Annabel Palma.

Establishment of Morris Park BID

Introduction 1737, sponsored by Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Council Member James Vacca, would establish the Morris Park business improvement district in the Bronx.

“The Morris Park Business Improvement District will make an already great neighborhood even better. Anybody who visits Morris Park can see its unique charm of family owned restaurants, small shops and a vibrant community of residents and merchants. The Morris Park BID will benefit the community as whole, building on the successful model that has led to the improvement of commercial strips throughout the city. I thank the merchants for all their hard work along with the Speaker for her consideration of the legislation,” said Council Member James Vacca.

The City Council will also vote on the following land use item(s)…

 Publication and Reporting Requirements for Urban Renewal Plans

Introduction 1533-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret Chin, would empower elected officials and their constituents with tools they need to advocate for zoning and land use policies in neighborhoods that are currently and were formerly designated urban renewal areas (URA).

Introduction 1533-A would make information about URAs and URPs and their relationship to applicable zoning more transparent by requiring the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), in coordination with the Department of City Planning (DCP) to:

  • Provide one year’s advance notice of the expiration of an URP to the speaker of the council and each borough president, council member, and community board whose district contains real property within the affected URA and the status of any pending application to change any applicable LSRD special permit within such URA;
  • Establish a publicly accessible website to provide information about all currently and formerly designated URAs in the City, including downloadable copies of the applicable URPs and all amendments thereto, linked to resources for researching URAs including the City’s online Zoning and Land Use Map (ZoLa), the City Register, and DCP’s online land use application and CEQR tracking system;
  • Report to the mayor, the speaker of the council, the borough presidents, the affected council members, and the community boards information about all URAs in the City and notice that upon expiration of an URP, existing zoning regulations may allow as-of-right development subject to less restrictive use, density, and design requirements; and
  • Include an attribute for every lot on ZoLa that links to the website established pursuant this bill for researching URAs and URPs.

“The lack of public access to urban renewal plans has left too many communities in the dark and, when these plans expire, can open the door for enormous development to threaten vulnerable neighborhoods. For the first time ever, Intro 1533-A will provide public access to the urban renewal plans that changed the shape of New York City for decades. By requiring HPD to notify the public about where urban renewal areas exist and when they are about to expire, this legislation would empower communities to take strategic action to protect their neighborhoods,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.

Establishment of Website to Promote Commercial and Community Based Agriculture Uses

Introduction 1661-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal, would require the City to establish a website on nyc.gov by July 1, 2018, to promote commercial and community based agriculture uses in the City of New York.

In relation to commercial agricultural uses, the bill would require the Department of Small Business Services to work in cooperation with relevant agencies and stakeholders to prepare content for such website, including:

  • zoning regulations for agricultural uses, including farms, greenhouses, nurseries and truck gardens;
  • information about how to obtain information about specific properties;
  • a link to ZoLa or its successor resource; and
  • other existing business resources relevant to urban agriculture.

In relation to community urban agriculture uses, the bill would require the Department of Parks and Recreation  to work in cooperation with relevant agencies and stakeholders to prepare content for such urban agriculture website, including:

  • a list of existing urban agriculture spaces and city-owned spaces which are available and potentially suitable for community urban agriculture uses, including community gardens and urban farms;
  • information about how to establish and support such spaces; and
  • information about how food grown in such sites can be distributed within communities.

“Our bill creates for the first time a resource for urban farmers and community gardeners to start-up and grow an urban farm. Our urban farmers are operating in an ambiguous and grey area, not receiving the support and information they needed from our city government. Smart, innovative urban-farming techniques are leading the food revolution and supplying healthy locally grown food to our communities. It is time NYC step up and support this movement with our own digital tools to make it easier for these entrepreneurs and acknowledge our commitment to this industry. This is only a first-step in my undivided commitment to growing this vital sector, and I look forward to working with all stakeholders to develop more influential policy in the near future,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal.

Proposed School in Council District 38

Proposed site selection for a new, approximately 404-seat public primary school facility serving Community School District 15.  Under the proposed project, the SCA plans to acquire the privately owned property and to construct a new, approximately 404-seat primary school facility serving students in Community School District 15.

 

###