City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on a package of legislation aimed at improving the New York City Police Department’s interactions with sexual assault and harassment victims. The package includes sensitivity training for officers to help them deal with differences in culture, gender expression and sexual orientation and requiring reporting on staffing levels in the NYPD Special Victims Division.
The Council will also vote on a measure that allows political candidates to use campaign funds for some childcare expenses, as part of the Council’s commitment to removing barriers to seeking office. The Council will also vote on a measure that will require the Department of Buildings and the Commission on Human Rights to conduct education and outreach to increase awareness of the requirement that single-occupant toilet rooms be available for use by persons of any gender. The Council will also vote on an expansion of the building codes’ carbon monoxide detector requirements to include all business and mercantile spaces. The Council will vote to consolidate the approval processes for alternative fire extinguishing, alarm, and radio systems, by moving them under the supervision of the FDNY. Next the Council will vote on a measure clarifying the regulations that apply to large for-hire-vehicles and commuter vans, which will make it easier for the Taxi & Limousine Commission to enforce existing safety rules. The Council will then vote on a package of legislation that will mandate the Fire Department report on the areas covered by their fire and emergency services. Finally, the Council will vote on several finance and land-use items.
NYPD Training for Working with Special Victims Package
Requiring All NYPD Officers to Receive Sensitivity Training to Assist Them in Responding to Victims of Gender-Based Street Harassment and Sexual Assault
Introduction 444-A, sponsored by Council Member Laurie Cumbo, will require new NYPD recruits receive specialized training for responding to survivors of sexual assault and harassment, including sensitivity to differences in culture, gender, gender expression and sexual orientation. The bill will also require interactive refresher trainings every two years for all uniformed members of the department who regularly interact with crime victims.
Requiring the New York City Police Department to develop a comprehensive special victims training program
Introduction 785-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, will require the department to create a comprehensive Special Victims Training Program for new Special Victims Division (SVD) investigators including a core set of training components for all new SVD investigators and require current SVD investigators to demonstrate proficiency in all of these core subjects. Finally, the bill will require annual reporting on the content, the number of officers participating, and any changes made to the program.
“The legislation we are passing today is about providing justice for victims of sexual assault. As a result of my bill, every NYPD Special Victims Division investigator will have to demonstrate proficiency in a comprehensive victim-centric training program. We’re doing this so that the person who is in the darkest, most terrifying moment of their lives will be listened to and treated with respect and dignity when they make the courageous decision to come forward, so that victims are not retraumatized when they interact with the police, and so that rapists are brought to justice. It’s a meaningful step on a long journey to improving outcomes for sexual assault survivors, and we could not have gotten to this point without the incredible advocacy of survivors and their allies,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
Requiring the New York City Police Department to Utilize a Secure Case Management System
Introduction 781-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, will protect the personal information of victims and prevent potential leaks by requiring the commissioner to limit access to SVD files to individuals who need to see those case files in order to perform their job functions. It would also require the NYPD to audit the system to monitor everyone who accesses those case files and report the results of the audits to the Council.
“I am proud to see two pieces of legislation that I introduced pass at today’s stated. Int. 781 will address critical gaps in the NYPD Special Victims Division’s case management system and provide fair oversight of who is accessing the system and for what reasons. I want to thank my Council colleagues and the NYPD for their work with us on this bill, which will give New Yorkers who have experienced sexual violence more confidence in the officers working to bring their attackers to justice. In addition, I want to highlight the passage of Res. 285, which calls for Roberto Clemente’s place of death in Loíza, Puerto Rico to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. With New York State home to over one million Puerto Ricans, many still recovering from the physical and mental harm caused by Hurricane Maria, it is important that this Council is recognizing the life of a man who still inspires so many Boricuas today to rebuild and recover from one of our country’s greatest tragedies,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.
Requiring the New York City Police Department to report on staffing levels for the department’s special victims division
Introduction 784-A, sponsored by Council Member Deborah Rose, would require the department to report on the staffing and caseloads for SVD investigators, and report on the factors the commissioner considered in setting staffing levels for the SVD.
“While more than 70 percent of crimes overall in New York City are reported to authorities, only 5 to 20% of sexual assaults are reported. Among the many reasons for this unacceptably low number is the gross understaffing of Special Victims Divisions in the NYPD, with only 67 detectives available to investigate roughly 5,600 sex crimes per year. As more and more sexual assaults and past incidents of sexual abuse are reported, it is imperative that victims feel confident that their cases will be investigated move forward in a timely manner. To bring us closer to this goal, the bill we are voting on today will require the NYPD to report annually on staffing levels for Special Victims Divisions. My hope is that this important bill will help ensure that the NYPD is equipped with the necessary resources to investigate sex crimes that have not been given proper attention in the past,” said Council Member Deborah Rose.
Removing Parental Barriers to Running for Office
Permitting the Use of Campaign Funds for Certain Childcare Expenses
Introduction 899-A, sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers, will permit non-public campaign funds to be spent on childcare services for children under 13 years of age, in an election year and the year immediately preceding an election year, when the need for such services exists because of the campaign. Such childcare expenses would be exempted from the expenditure limit for the first $20,000 spent in the election year. Candidates would not be required to spend campaign funds on childcare and choosing to pay with their personal funds or receiving below market childcare would not be considered a contribution to the campaign.
“There are many costs associated with running for office, but few so impactful as to make or break a candidate’s decision to run. I am proud to pass Introduction 899-A, which changes the game for would-be candidates, especially women candidates, by allowing them to use campaign funds toward childcare. New York City can now line up with federal and state election rules around childcare expenses, and there is no doubt that this legislation will encourage new mothers and new fathers to run for office,” said Council Member Keith Powers.
“Today, we are voting on critical pieces of legislation that seek to make transformational change within systems that have not met the needs of women for far too long. From representation in leadership and public office to the ability to be heard, heal, and seek justice, we know that women live complex lives and require bold leadership and policy to provide appropriate support and resources. I am thrilled to put forth Intro 899-A, which will allow campaign funds to be used for childcare expenses when the candidate is the primary caregiver. I know firsthand the challenges of balancing family and a political career, and I would love nothing more than for other moms and primary caregivers to no longer feel like they have to choose between career and family. Additionally, I am proud to put forth Intro 444-A, which requires all NYPD officers to receive sensitivity training to assist them in responding to victims of harassment and sexual assault. My sincerest thanks to the survivors and advocates who directed us toward a better way of handling cases of sexual violence, which takes victims and their experiences with the utmost seriousness and respect that they deserve,” said Council Member Laurie Cumbo.
Building Safety Bills
Conducting Education and Outreach Regarding Single-Occupant Toilet Room Requirements
Introduction 465-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm, will require the Department of Buildings and the Commission on Human Rights to conduct education and outreach to businesses and the public to increase awareness of the existing requirement that single-occupant toilet rooms be available for use by persons of any gender, as well as the related posting and signage requirements for such toilet rooms.
“Single-stall all-gender bathrooms are the law in NYC and my bill will help ensure that all New Yorkers are aware of that. When our city commits to creating a more equitable environment for the transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) community, it needs to follow up and act. Local Law 79, legislation I passed in 2016, was aimed at ensuring that single-stall restrooms have all-gender signage. Unfortunately, building and business owners throughout the city are either unaware of the law or are flouting the requirement, with no seeming consequence. Many individuals looking to use all-gender restrooms are similarly unaware of the law. By requiring the Department of Buildings to implement an education and outreach program on Local Law 79 and to issue an annual report on its efforts, Intro 465-A will ensure that our businesses and other institutions are living up to the law’s mandate. I thank Speaker Johnson, Chair Cornegy and the many advocates who have worked with me on this effort to make NYC a more welcoming place for TGNC individuals,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm.
Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Commercial Spaces
Introduction 644-A, sponsored by Council Member Mathieu Eugene, will expand the Building Code’s carbon monoxide detector requirements to all business and mercantile spaces. In addition, this bill will make the Building Code’s carbon monoxide detector requirements retroactive, applying them to all new and existing covered buildings equipped with fire alarm systems, by January 1, 2021. Finally, this bill will require the Department of Buildings to promulgate rules addressing the installation of the specific carbon monoxide detectors required, and potential methods of alternative compliance for existing buildings.
“As a city, we must do more to protect our business and mercantile spaces from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Intro 644-A will require that carbon monoxide detectors are installed in both new and existing covered buildings that are equipped with fire alarm systems. This necessary measure will allow businesses to operate in safer environments while lessening the threat that carbon monoxide poisoning poses to spaces that are not in full compliance of the Building Code,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene
Consolidating the Approval Processes for Alternative Automatic Fire Extinguishing Systems, Fire Alarm Systems, Emergency Alarm Systems, Fire Department in Building Auxiliary Radio Communication Systems and Fire Protection Plans
Introduction 836-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, will consolidate operations for the approval processes for alternative automatic fire extinguishing systems, fire alarm systems, emergency alarm systems, fire department in-building auxiliary radio communication systems and fire protection plans. Currently, the approval processes for these plans and systems are divided between the Department of Buildings and the Fire Department. This bill will streamline this process by requiring the systems to be approved only by the Fire Department.
For-Hire Vehicle Clarification Bill
Clarification for For-Hire Vehicles and Commuter Vans with a Seating Capacity Greater than 20
Introduction 925-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, will clarify that, when a commuter van is operating in violation of a provision within TLC’s commuter van enforcement authority, TLC has the power to seize that vehicle regardless of seating capacity. Int. No. 925 would also amend the definition of “for-hire vehicle,” so that, for enforcement purposes, the definition includes vehicles with a seating capacity greater than 20. These amendments would allow for TLC to enforce against vehicles that seat more than 20 passengers, whether they are commuter vans or for-hire vehicles.
“Passing this bill will require everyone to operate within the same regulations and on a level playing field, allowing enforcement against those who violate these rules. Bad actors attempting to circumvent the law with unsafe larger vehicles present a danger to the public and to hardworking, legitimate small business owners operating in good faith and providing an important service. This legislation will combat those actions. In many parts of my district and around the city, there are transit deserts created by the lack of public transportation options. Commuter vans, which are essential in filling the need for affordable transportation in these communities, are too often overlooked and ignored. I’ve been proud to support these services throughout my career, and I thank the Speaker and my colleagues for their support today as we pass this important legislation,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams.
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 Manhattan. The Council will vote on disapproving the transfer of the following properties:
- Introduction 1179, sponsored by Council Member Diana Ayala, disapproving the transfer of 424 East 115 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1191, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, disapproving the transfer of 515 West 143 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1192, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, disapproving the transfer of 527 West 151 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1193, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, disapproving the transfer of 526 West 158 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1194, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, disapproving the transfer of 525 West 151 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1195, sponsored by Council Member Bill Perkins, disapproving the transfer of 157 West 123 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1196, sponsored by Council Member Bill Perkins, disapproving the transfer of 167 West 133 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1197, sponsored by Council Member Bill Perkins, disapproving the transfer of 67 St. Nicholas Avenue, Manhattan
- Introduction 1198, sponsored by Council Member Bill Perkins, disapproving the transfer of 286 West 151 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1203, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, disapproving the transfer of 514F East 13 Street, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1204, sponsored by Council Member Ydanis A. Rodriguez, disapproving the transfer of 2089 Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1205, sponsored by Council Member Ydanis A. Rodriguez, disapproving the transfer of 2091 Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan.
- Introduction 1206, sponsored by Council Member Ydanis A. Rodriguez, disapproving the transfer of 500 West 174 Street, Manhattan.
The City Council will also vote on the following finance item(s)…
The Council will vote on one Article XI Property Tax Exemptions at the following location:
645 Baretto Street, Bronx
The purpose of this exemption, located in Council Member Rafael Salamanca’s district, is to facilitate the preservation of 48 affordable housing units.
The City Council will also vote on the following land use items:
Long Island City Ramps (Jackson Avenue)
Approval of special permits to facilitate the construction of two new residential buildings with 481 dwelling units, 150 of which will be affordable. The project is in Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s district.
110 East 16th Street
Approval with modifications to facilitate the development of a 21-story mixed-use development in Council Member Carlina Rivera’s district.
Hunters Point South
An Article XI tax exemption and modification to a previously approved project to add deeper levels of affordability and two schools. The project is in Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s district.
Sunset Park Article XI’s
Modifications to existing Article XI tax exemptions, to extend the preservation of 408 affordable units in Council Member Carlos Menchaca’s district.
Modification to an affordable homeownership project in Council Member Ampry-Samuel’s district.
21 Arden Street
Approval an Article XI tax exemption for the preservation of 15 units of affordable housing in Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez’s district.
69-02 Queens Boulevard
A rezoning and special permit that will allow for the development of approximately 431 dwelling units, 129 of which will be affordable and includes space for a 476-Seat public school in Council Member Bob Holden’s district.
Variety Boys and Girls Club
A rezoning to allow for the redevelopment of a new mixed-use building with approximately 112 units, 34 affordable plus new space for the Boys and Girls Club of Astoria, in Council Member Costa Constantinides district.
11-14 35th Avenue Rezoning
A rezoning to allow for a mixed-use development with 74 units, of which, 22 will be affordable, in Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s district.
3901 9th Avenue
A rezoning in Council Member Carlos Menchaca’s district to facilitate development of a six- story mixed-use building.