Council to Vote to Provide No-Cost Telephone Services for Incarcerated Individuals

Council will also vote on bills reporting the use of Department of Corrections’ staff administering electric shock and regulating short term residential rentals

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on providing no-cost telephone services for incarcerated individuals. The Council will also vote to require the Department of Correction to report when Correction Officers administering an electric shock to inmates and detainees. The Council will then vote to regulate short term residential rentals. Next, the Council will also vote to require bail bond agents to provide disclosures and the disclosure of premium or compensation charged by bail bond agents. In addition, the Council will vote to reduce permitted capacity at solid waste transfer stations in overburdened districts. The Council will then vote on one bill related to senior center reporting and one related to health inspections of senior centers and social adult day cares. Finally the Council will vote on several finance and land use items. 

No-Cost Telephone Services for Incarcerated Individuals

Introduction 741-A, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, would prohibit the city from collecting revenue and require the city to provide telephone services for incarcerated individuals making domestic calls at no cost or to those incarcerated and the recipients of those calls.

“Families and friends of incarcerated individuals should not have to choose between hearing from their loved ones and paying their bills just because these individuals cannot afford to pay for phone calls. Introduction 741-A will guarantee that individuals who are in custody in our jails do not have to pay to stay in touch with the people who support them and ensure the City does not make any money off these phone calls. I thank Criminal Justice Committee Chair Keith Powers and all my Council colleagues for their support on this bill,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

Requiring the Department of Correction to Report on Use by Department Staff of Any Device Capable of Administering an Electric Shock

Introduction 779-A, sponsored by Council Member Donovan Richards, would require the Department of Correction (DOC) to issue quarterly reports on the use of devices capable of administering an electric shock.

 “We should be using every tool in our disposal to limit attacks on our Corrections officers and emergency service workers, but at the same time, we should be keeping a close eye on the use of electric shock devices in our jails to ensure an increased use doesn’t result in increased abuse. Int. 779-A, would require the Department of Corrections to report on their officers’ use of Tasers and provide the public with the necessary transparency that should come along with any use of force by law enforcement. I’d like to thank Speaker Johnson and Council Member Powers for this support on this legislation,” said Council Member Donovan Richards.

Regulating Short-Term Rentals

Introduction 981-A, sponsored by Council Members Carlina Rivera, Laurie Cumbo and Speaker Corey Johnson, would provide the City with an additional tool to enforce laws prohibiting illegal short-term rentals throughout the five boroughs. Studies of short-term rentals have shown that they reduce the availability of affordable housing in the City and pose safety and security risks to both building residents and the short-term renters themselves. The bill would require that online short-term rental platforms that provide booking services for a fee disclose certain information about those transactions to the City’s Office of Special Enforcement.

 “I worked for years as a housing organizer fighting back against landlords who illegally converted countless rent-controlled apartments in the Lower East Side into hotel rooms and starved our neighborhood of desperately needed low-cost housing. That’s why I’m so proud that one of the first pieces of legislation I introduced – to finally give our city the enforcement capabilities it needs to crack down on theses bad actors – will pass today with nearly the entire Council’s support. It’s clear that after years of fighting, the cries of housing organizers have finally broken through. I want to thank the Speaker, my colleagues, and the advocates for their tireless support. But most of all I have to thank the New Yorkers who came to the rallies, who made phone calls and sent emails, and who never gave up against the billion dollar companies trying to starve our city of affordable housing. This victory is for you,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

Requiring Bail Bond Agents Make Certain Disclosures

Introduction 724-A, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, would require bail bond businesses to provide consumers with a “consumer bill of rights” prior to entering a contract and to post signage at the place of business. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) will create a flier that informs consumers what a bail bond business is and how the process of obtaining bail with a bail bond business works, including responsibilities the bondsman owes a consumer, how to make a complaint regarding a particular bail bond business, and explanations of commonly offered services and commonly used industry terms, such as “premium” and “collateral.”

 “Bail bond businesses have a duty to be transparent; otherwise we will make sure they face the proper consequences. Introduction 724-A would require bail bond businesses share with consumers a bill of rights. I thank Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing Committee Chair Rafael Espinal and all my Council colleagues for their support,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

Requiring the Disclosure of Premium or Compensation Charged by Bail Bond Agents

Introduction 510-A, sponsored by Council Member Rory Lancman, would require bail bond businesses to conspicuously post signage designed by the Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”). The sign will disclose: (1) the maximum premium or compensation that can be charged for giving bail bond or depositing money or property as bail; (2) that such premium or compensation represents the maximum amounts, excluding collateral, that a bail bond agent can charge for services; and (3) that a consumer may make a complaint to DCA or the relevant state agencies if such premium or compensation charged is in conflict with the State’s insurance law.

“People desperate to get their loved ones out of Rikers Island will sign contracts, pay premiums, and put down collateral, often without realizing what laws regulate those companies or are supposed to protect them as consumers. My bill is an important step forward towards treating bail bonds as the dangerous consumer financial products they have always been and informing vulnerable New Yorkers of the laws that already protect them. The city must do everything in its power to ensure that bail bond businesses follow the rules the state has already laid out,” said Council Member Rory Lancman.

Reducing Permitted Capacity at Solid Waste Transfer Stations in Overburdened Districts Introduction 157-C, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, would reduce the permitted capacity of putrescible solid waste, containing organic matter, and non-putrescible solid waste for each transfer station in these overburdened districts. The permitted capacity for transfer stations in community district one in Brooklyn would be reduced by 50% and the permitted capacity in community districts one and two in the Bronx, and 12 in Queens would be reduced by 33%.

“The passage of Intro 157 is a momentous achievement in the fight for environmental justice and the reform of our City’s private waste management system. Currently, low-income communities of color handle a staggeringly disproportionate amount of our City’s waste. Residents are exposed to dangerous truck traffic, elevated air pollution, and hazardous environmental impacts— contributing to historical inequities in resource distribution along economic and racial lines. Intro 157 will finally deliver environmental justice to frontline communities and ensure that no other neighborhood suffers the same fate, while setting a historic precedent for the fair share distribution of burdensome and polluting facilities in the City of New York. This is a first, crucial step toward reforming the City’s commercial carting industry,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

Requiring the Department for the Aging to Report on Senior Centers

Introduction 399-B, sponsored by Council Member Paul Vallone, would require Department for the Aging (DFTA) to annually report to the Speaker, post on its website, and provide data about the participants, programming, services, costs, and budgets of each of DFTA’s 249 senior centers.

 “The fact that the core of Department for the Aging’s service portfolio is the agency’s citywide network of 246 contracted senior centers frequently providing educational programs, congregate and home delivered meals, recreational programming, along with a variety of essential services, truly speaks to the importance of these centers and the population they serve. This bill will provide not just greater transparency, but also better understanding and insight for our senior centers in the hope that we can help adequately provide essential services to the population that needs it the most,” said Council Member Paul Vallone.

Reporting Inspections for Social Adult Day Cares and Senior Centers

Introduction 411-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret Chin, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to conduct health inspections at senior centers and social adult day cares (SADCs) that are considered food service establishments under the New York City health code and to publish the results of such inspections on DOHMH’s website. The bill would also require DFTA to annually provide DOHMH with a list of all senior centers and SADCs registered with the department, update any changes made to the list on a monthly basis, and provide information about any health inspection results on DFTA’s website.

“For many of our city’s older New Yorkers, a meal at their neighborhood senior center or Social Adult Daycare is more than just a meal. It’s an entry point through which they can access specialized services, enriching programming and a supervised socialized setting – all of which are vital to maintaining full and healthy lives. By requiring annual Department of Health and Mental Hygiene inspections and calling on DOHMH and the Department for the Aging to make inspection results publicly available, Intro 411-A would strengthen our City’s efforts to expand seniors’ access to quality, nutritious meals that are in compliance with the New York City health code, and empower families and caregivers to make informed decisions for their loved ones. I thank Speaker Corey Johnson, my Council colleagues and fellow aging advocates for their partnership to build a city that puts our seniors first,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.

Third Party Transfer Legislation

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD’s) Third Party Transfer Program (TPT), created pursuant to Local Law 37 of 1996, allows the City to convey tax delinquent residential properties to third parties rather than have the City manage them.  The Council may disapprove the transfer of any property within 45 days of receiving official notice from the Department of Finance of the list of properties scheduled to go through the TPT program. This round of TPT involves properties in Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.  The Council will vote on disapproving the transfer of the following properties:

  • Introduction 1022, sponsored by Council Member Inez Barron, disapproving the transfer of 721 Van Siclen Ave, Brooklyn;
  • Introduction 1021, sponsored by Council Member Inez Barron, disapproving the transfer of 737 Sheffield Avenue, Brooklyn;
  • Introduction 1033, sponsored by Council Member Mathieu Eugene, disapproving the transfer of 413 E. 23rd Street, Brooklyn;
  • Introduction 1034, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, disapproving the transfer of 1103 Franklin Avenue, Bronx;
  • Introduction 1040, sponsored by Council Member Andy King, disapproving the transfer of 1314 Oakley Street, Bronx;
  • Introduction 1039, sponsored by Council Member Andy King, disapproving the transfer of 3732 Laconia Avenue, Bronx; and
  • Introduction 1025, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, disapproving the transfer of 2015 Grand Avenue, Bronx.

Calling for the passage of the Keep Families Together Act (S.3036)

Resolution 459, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, calls on the U.S. Congress to pass, and the President to sign the Keep Families Together Act (S. 3036), to immediately stop the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the U.S. border, except with express directive from a child welfare expert, and for additional legislation that would end family detention as an unsafe and harmful alternative.

 

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

The Council will vote on two Article XI Property Tax Exemptions:

645 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn

The first exemption, located at 645 Gates Avenue in Council Member Robert Cornegy’s district, would support the construction of 112 units of affordable housing.

90 Sands, Brooklyn

The second exemption, located at 90 Sands in Council Member Stephen Levin’s district, would support the preservation of 508 units of affordable housing.

 

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

Coney Island (Riegelmann) Boardwalk, Brooklyn

The Council will vote on the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)’s application for the designation of the Coney Island (Riegelmann) Boardwalk as a scenic landmark, located in Council Member Mark Treyger’s district.

The Council will also be voting on two applications submitted by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) for Article X1 tax exemptions for properties that were included in Round 10 of the Third Party Transfer Program. The tax exemptions will facilitate their removal from the TPT program:

490 East 181st Street, Bronx

To facilitate the preservation of a 24 unit cooperative building for low-income households, located in Council Member Ritchie Torres’ district; and

1103 Franklin Avenue, Bronx

To facilitate the preservation of 20 unit cooperative building for low-income households, located in Council Member Vanessa Gibson’s district.

Friendset Apartments, Brooklyn

The Council will vote on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD)’s application for an Article XI tax exemption to facilitate the preservation of  a 259-unit affordable housing project, located in Council Member Mark Treyger’s district.

 233 Dyckman Street, Manhattan

The Council will vote on a sidewalk café located at 223 Dyckman Street, located in Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez’s district.

 

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