City Hall – The New York City Council on Wednesday will vote on a package of legislation aimed at protecting voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals and persons sentenced to probation by mandating that such individuals be given written notice of their voting rights. Additionally, the council will require that a voter assistance guide be created and distributed to advise formerly incarcerated individuals on their voting rights.
In addition, the Council will vote on a resolution urging the federal government to reject President Donald Trump’s proposed change to the public charge rule. The Council will also vote to authorize Speaker Corey Johnson to submit a public comment to the federal register in opposition of the rule change’s adoption.
The Council is also expected to vote on the nomination of Margaret Garnett, a former federal prosecutor, as the commissioner of the Department of Investigation.
In recognition of the cultural diversity amongst New Yorkers, the Council will vote to suspend alternate side parking on Lunar New Year’s Eve as well as on Three Kings Day.
The Council will also vote on legislation impacting the administrative operation of the FDNY, including requiring that fire alarm plans be available for submission online.
In addition, the Council will vote to commission a study into the debt problems facing taxi medallion owners.
The Council will vote to mandate that the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) provide information about resources and services relating to immigration relief and benefits for runaway and homeless youth in programs operated by DYCD.
Finally, the Council will vote on several finance and land use items.
Voting Rights Package
Requiring the Department of Probation to Inform Persons of Their Voting Rights During the Intake Process.
Introduction 367, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Salamanca, would require the Department of Probation to distribute written notices on the voting rights of persons sentenced to probation, during the intake process, for any person sentenced to probation. Such written notice is to be developed in consultation with the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee.
“I am also proud to have Intro 367 pass the Council today, a bill which will require the department of probation to inform people on probation of their voting rights. The issue of mass incarceration in our nation largely affects our black and brown communities, and with the pervasive misunderstanding of who can and can’t vote, it’s on us to educate and improve voter turnout. Integrating back into a community can begin with feeling like you have a voice – and in this case, casting a vote can be that voice. We should be encouraging participation in government,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr.
Requiring the Department of Probation to Inform Persons of Their Voting Rights Upon Release
Introduction 514-A, sponsored by Council Member Rory Lancman, would require the Department of Correction to provide written notice regarding the voting rights of formerly incarcerated persons in the state of New York upon release, along with voter registration forms. The law would require the DOC to make verbal reference to such written materials upon distribution and would mandate yearly trainings for all relevant DOC staff on, at minimum, voting laws, voter registration procedures, absentee voting, and determining eligibility to vote. Additionally, it would also require the Campaign Finance Board, with assistance from the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, to include incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons in activities they undertake aimed at encouraging and facilitating voter registration.
“We know from efforts around the country that the opportunity to vote and have a voice in government actually decreases recidivism for former offenders because of the greater investment they feel in their communities and the laws that govern them. But having the right and knowing how to use it are two different things. My bill will bring those poles closer together and as a consequence make our city more democratic, more engaged, and even more safe,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman
Creating a Voting Rights and Voting Assistance Guide for Formerly Incarcerated Persons.
Introduction 1115-A, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would require the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee to develop and distribute guidance for agencies covered by the Agency Based Voter Registration Law on the voting rights of formerly incarcerated persons. Such covered agencies would also be required, when feasible and when requested to by an applicant currently on parole, check publicly available information to inform such applicant if a restoration of their right to vote has been granted.
“There’s tremendous confusion about when a justice-involved person can vote. My bill, Intro 1115-A provides a solution to this problem by providing staff of agencies covered by the Agency Based Voter Registration law, with guidance on the voting rights of formerly incarcerated persons. The bill requires this guidance to be developed by the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, and also requires the agencies covered by the law to check, upon request, to see if a formerly incarcerated person is eligible to register and vote. I want to be perfectly clear- we need to ensure that eligible voters are never disenfranchised because lack of information or misinformation. Intro 1115-A protects voter rights and encourages civic engagement,” said Council Majority Whip Fernando Cabrera
Public Charge Rule Change Opposition
Authorizing the Speaker to Submit a Public Comment On Behalf Of the Council to the Federal Register, Concerning the Proposed Change to the Public Charge Rule
Resolution 608, sponsored by Council Member Corey Johnson, would grant the Speaker of the City Council the authority to submit a comment on behalf of the City Council body in opposition to the proposed public charge rule. The public comment period ends on December 10, 2018, after which the federal administration is required to analyze each unique comment before making a decision to enact the rule or remove it from consideration.
“The proposed change to the public charge rule is nothing but another ill-conceived move by a president who has not stopped attacking immigrant communities since stepping into the Oval Office. We are a sanctuary city. It is appalling to me that Donald Trump wants to force people to forgo vital benefits they are eligible for. We are fighting this proposed rule change until the end. As the federal government takes input from the public, I am asking my colleagues today to pass a resolution that would allow me to submit a comment opposing this inhumane proposal on behalf of the entire City Council. I look forward to submitting a public comment urging the federal government to reconsider its public charge proposed rule, as it will be devastating to New York City and the nation. If families lose access to SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare Part D, we will invariably see rises in homelessness, burdened food pantries, and higher rates of reliance on our hospitals’ emergency rooms. I would also urge my colleagues, and all members of the public, to register their own disgust with the proposal by submitting a unique comment in opposition to the rule,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Opposing the Newly Proposed Public Charge Rule and Urging the Federal Government Not to Move Forward With Its Adoption.
Resolution 609, sponsored by Council Member Corey Johnson, urges the federal government to not move forward with the rule’s adoption. If the rule change is not adopted, the current regulation which encompasses cash assistance as a factor of a public charge determination in immigration law would stand.
Fire Safety Legislation
Mandating That Fire Alarm Plan Submissions Be Made Available Online.
Introduction 1054, sponsored by Council Member Joseph Borelli, would require the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to make all components of applications for fire alarm plan examinations and inspections (e.g. required forms, plans, etc.) available for online submission. Such applications may currently only be submitted in-person.
Requiring Reporting On FDNY Staffing Ratios
Introduction 744, sponsored by Council Member Joseph Borelli, would require the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to report to the Council on the staffing ratios, by division, of FDNY emergency medical services (EMS) supervising officers to FDNY EMS stations.
Requiring Reporting On the Impact of Rezoning on Emergency Medical Services
Introduction 746, sponsored by Council Member Joseph Borelli, would require the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to annually report to the City Council on potential impacts to fire protection and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) that resulted from rezoning that took place the previous year.
This package of legislation is going to increase the efficiency of the FDNY’s administrative capacity, provide valuable metrics for the deployment of EMS resources, and identify emerging areas of need,” said Council Member Borelli. “These bills will modernize the plans-submission process and make things a whole lot easier for homeowners, construction trades professionals, and FDNY inspectors, while saving New Yorkers thousands of dollars in costs by eliminating inefficiencies like the requirement to file archaic, paper submissions in person. The city will now also report on the ratio of EMS supervising officers to EMS stations, which will provide the data necessary to plan for adequate staffing levels in the future, especially as the number of medical response runs continues to climb. I’m especially grateful to Speaker Johnson for the opportunity, and for his leadership in shepherding this package through the Council.”
Expanding the Number of Days With Suspended Alternate Side Parking
Suspending Alternate Side Parking on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
Introduction 497, sponsored by Council Member Peter Koo, would amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to suspending alternate side parking regulations on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
“Suspending alternate side parking on Lunar New Year’s Eve is a simple way for the City of New York to respect this important cultural holiday by allowing more communities to share in the great patchwork of cultures, values, traditions that make up New York City. It allows us to learn from one another and to celebrate together, and I’d like to thank the Council’s Transportation Committee for its unanimous approval and Speaker Johnson for supporting this effort,” said Council Member Peter Koo
Suspending Alternate Side Parking on Three Kings Day.
Introduction 370 – sponsored by Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. – would amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to suspending alternate side parking regulations on Three Kings’ Day
“New York City is one of the most diverse places in the world, where we respectfully acknowledge and celebrate one another’s culture,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. “For many Latinos and Christians, the Christmas season officially ends on Three Kings Day with parades, celebrations, and religious ceremonies taking place all over the five boroughs, especially in The Bronx and East Harlem. Passing my bill, Intro 370, would send a message to these communities that their celebrations and cultures matter and the City recognizes them. I want to thank my colleagues for their support on passing this bill.”
Studying the Problems Faced By Medallion Owners
Introduction 1069 – sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine – would require the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) or another agency or office designated by the mayor to study the problem of medallion owner debt.
“Independent owner-drivers who played by the rules set by the City are now enduring extraordinary financial hardships through absolutely no fault of their own,” said Council Member Levine. “After having bought an asset because they had a guarantee from the City about its underlying value, our city has failed these small business owners. Both the financial and human toll brought on by this crisis cannot be overstated. As I’ve stated before, it is the app-based taxi corporations should be the ones to shoulder the financial burden of providing financial relief to the independent medallion owner-drivers who are suffering. The study called for in this legislation will provide valuable insight in to how we can help these drivers.”
Requiring The Department Of Youth And Community Development To Create A Runaway And Homeless Youth Immigration Information And Resources Plan
Introduction 480-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm, would require the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to establish a plan to provide information about resources and services relating to immigration relief and benefits for runaway and homeless youth (RHY) in programs operated by DYCD. These resources and services would include information that would potentially allow RHY immigrants to obtain permanency status in the United States. The plan would be due by June 1, 2019 and require annual reporting thereafter on plan implementation and goals.
“My legislation will help put thousands of undocumented immigrant runaway and homeless youth on the path to citizenship,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Because many of these young people identify as LGBTQ, this bill also ensures that Department of Youth and Cultural Development service providers are trained to assist members of these communities in a culturally appropriate manner. I thank Speaker Johnson, Immigration Committee Chair Menchaca and Youth Services Committee Chair Rose for supporting this important effort which will enable city government to better serve runaway and homeless youth. Today we renew our commitment to the fight for equality and justice for NYC’s most vulnerable residents.”
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:
451-455 East 116th Street.
The purpose of this exemption, located in Council Member Diana Ayala’s district, is to preserve 53 units of affordable housing.
The City Council will also vote on the following land use items:
550 Madison Avenue
The Council will vote to approve the designation of the AT&T Corporate Headquarters Building (later Sony Plaza, now 550 Madison Avenue, a 37-story postmodern- style skyscraper.
Park and Elton
The Council will vote to approve an Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP) designation and project approval and an Article XI tax exemption. These actions will facilitate the development of two buildings containing 37 affordable housing units. This project is located in Council Member Rafael Salamanca’s district.
MEC 125 Street
The Council will vote to approve an Article XI tax exemption facilitate the development of one new building containing 404 affordable housing units, 62,204 SF of commercial space, and 5,886 SF of community facility space. This project is located in Council Member Diana Ayala’s district.