City Council Votes to Set Nutritional Standards for Beverages in Children’s Meals

The Council will also vote to increase oversight into the City’s cooling towers to prevent Legionnaires’ Disease

City Hall – The New York City Council on Thursday will vote to set nutritional standards for the default beverages offered with children’s meals by restaurants throughout the city. The legislation would make water, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice the default beverage option instead of beverages with added sugar.

Additionally, the Council will vote to allow individuals to request that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene redact the name of a physician from a birth record under certain circumstances.

The Council will also vote on a package of bills that would increase oversight into the city’s cooling towers. This legislation includes bills that would require that cooling tower inspection results be made available to the public, that the Department of Buildings distribute information regarding cooling tower maintenance, cleaning, and inspections to building owners, and that the city conduct a year-long assessment of potential sources of Legionnaires’ disease in the city.

In addition the Council will vote
to increase fines for specific commercial vehicles that are parked overnight on
a residential street. 

Finally, the Council will vote on eleven resolutions related to the legalization, regulation, and sale of marijuana.

Setting Nutritional Standards for the Beverages Included in Children’s Meals

Introduction 1064, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, would require that restaurants in New York City only offer water, sparkling water, flavored water, nonfat or one percent milk, non-dairy milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or fruit or vegetable juice combined with water or carbonated water as the default options included with children’s meals. The bill would impose monetary penalties on restaurants that violate this law.

“Giving parents a healthier default drink option in their child’s fast food meal is a welcome and much needed change,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “This change will hopefully set a precedent for current parents and future generations to make better choices overall in the kinds of beverages they consume when they visit a fast food establishment. I want to thank Council Member Kallos for his work on this bill and would also like to thank the health advocates for their unwavering commitment to keeping New Yorkers healthy.”

“Healthy drinks with kid’s meals will be the new normal in New York City no matter where our kids are eating,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “While parents can still order whatever they want the default will now be a healthier drink. The data is in, we know this change will do a lot to keep sugary drinks away from our children, helping them avoid childhood obesity and grow up to be healthy adults. Thank you to Speaker Corey Jonhson for his tremendous support in getting this legislation passed. New York City and our children will be healthier because of it.”

Allowing for the Redaction of a Physicians Name from a Birth Record

Introduction 1308, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, would allow an individual to request that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene redact the name of a physician from a birth record when that physician’s license has been surrendered or revoked by the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct.

“We can never undo the damage done by abusers who exploit the vulnerability of women in an OB/GYN’s office. The least we can do is not subject survivors–and their children–to the pain of seeing their abuser’s name on a document as foundational and meaningful as a birth certificate. This legislation is a small but important step towards justice for brave women like Marissa Hoechstetter, and sends a clear signal that our government is here to support survivors in any way we can. I’m pleased the administration reversed their position on this bill, and I’m grateful to Speaker Johnson for his support in passing it,” said Council Member Mark Levine.

Relating to the Submission and Public Availability of Cooling Tower Inspections and Certifications

Introduction 1149, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to send owners and operators of cooling towers an electronic reminder prior to the filing deadline for annual certifications with a link to where these certifications can be submitted. This bill would also require cooling tower inspectors to report to DOHMH in real time when certain inspections occur. Finally, this bill would require building owners to make cooling tower inspection results available for public examination.

“When it is you, your aging parent, or your child on the line, you want to know that every cooling tower is being inspected properly to prevent Legionnaires’ before it can spread and kill anyone,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I hope that reminding building owners coupled with immediate enforcement for failing to inspect every 90 days will succeed in preventing any more New Yorkers from being sickened with Legionnaires’ Disease. Thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson for his leadership and support in getting this vital piece legislation passed in the City Council.”

Requiring Information Sessions be Held for Building Owners Regarding Cooling Towers

Introduction 1158, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, would require the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in consultation with the Department of Buildings, to hold information sessions at least twice annually for building owners regarding maintenance, cleaning, and inspections of cooling towers, and to post the information online.

Requiring Reporting on the Results of Building Cooling Tower Inspections.

Introduction 1164, sponsored by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to report annually to the Council on the results of building cooling tower inspections and make such results available online.

“What happened last year with the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease could have been prevented with better transparency and consequences for those buildings not properly cleaning and maintaining their cooling towers. We compromised the public health of Northern Manhattan and the city of New York by not having stronger regulations for inspections of the cooling towers. I thank Speaker Johnson for bringing this bill package forward today for a vote and my Council colleagues for taking immediate action to mitigate the impact of the outbreak,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Studying Potential
Determinants of Legionnaires’ Disease.

Introduction 1166, sponsored
by Council Member Rafael Salamanca,
would require the Department of Health
and Mental Hygiene to conduct a year-long assessment of potential sources of
Legionnaires’ disease in the city other than cooling towers.

“The last few summers have shown just how dangerous Legionnaires’ disease can be,” stated Council Member Rafael Salamanca. “Outbreaks in the Bronx and Manhattan sickened hundreds and proved fatal for more than a dozen New Yorkers. With global warming contributing to warmer, longer summer seasons, the conditions are perfect for Legionnaire’s disease to thrive. To impede future outbreaks, my bill requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to conduct a yearlong, comprehensive review of potential causes and risk factors associated with Legionnaires’ disease, as well possible action the City can take to prevent the spread of the disease. Once completed, DOHMH will make their findings public.”

Increasing Penalties for Commercial Vehicles Parked Overnight on Residential Streets

Introduction 1010, sponsored by Council Member I. Daneek Miller, would create a higher fine for commercial vehicles that are tractor-trailer combinations, tractors, truck trailers or semi-trailers parked overnight on a residential street. The fine for a first violation is currently $250, and for a second violation within a six-month period it is $500. This bill would create increased fines adjudicated through OATH in the amount of $400 and $800 for the first and second offenses, respectively.

“Introduction 1010 – the first pillar of my Commercial Truck Abuse Act – would establish a costly civil penalty in the respective amounts of $400 and $800 for parking 18-wheel big-rigs overnight in residential areas,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “The drivers of commercial tractor-trailers routinely abuse our City’s parking regulations, and degrade the quality-of-life of communities throughout the five boroughs by parking next to homes and other inappropriate locations, leaving pollution and debris in their wake. The current fines imposed on big-rig drivers have not been effective in curbing their abusive practices, which they deem the cost of doing business, but, in actuality, the greatest expense is the health and safety of our communities. Now, we will send a clear message to the bad actors operating within the trucking industry that the price for such flagrant abuses will be steep. I thank Speaker Johnson and my colleagues for supporting the enactment of this measure. The time has come to bring the force of law to bear on those who routinely flout the rules and engage in commercial truck abuse, and this legislation only represents the beginning of that endeavor.”

Resolutions Related to the Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana

Resolution 734, sponsored by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, calls on the New York State legislature to ensure that any law passed to legalize the market for the adult use of cannabis allows the city to enact its own regulatory measures on issues unique to its location including the home delivery and cultivation of cannabis in New York City.

Resolution 737, sponsored by Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, calls for the passage of legislation that grants New York City agencies the authority to regulate local licensing of the adult-use cannabis market in the city.

Resolution 738, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, calls for the passage of legislation prohibiting vertical integration and promoting small business growth in the recreational marijuana industry.

Resolution 741, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, calls for the passage of legislation that prioritizes individuals with prior marijuana convictions in issuing licenses to sell recreational marijuana and requires other applicants for marijuana licenses to support the hiring of such individuals.

Resolution 742-A, sponsored by Council Member Donovan Richards, calls for the passage of legislation that grants localities the authority to regulate public consumption of marijuana within their jurisdictions, including the authority to determine whether to enact any penalties and how to enforce such penalties.

Resolution 743, sponsored
by Council Member I. Daneek Miller ,
calls on Congress to pass and the
President to sign S.1689, known as the “Marijuana Justice Act of
2017,” which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide for a
new rule regarding the application of the Act to marijuana, and for other
purposes.

Resolution  744, sponsored by Council Member I.
Daneek Miller,
calls for the passage of legislation that remedies disparate
burdens placed on people of color in the enforcement of marijuana prohibition
by reinvesting tax revenue generated from legal marijuana in their communities
and encouraging their participation in the legal marijuana industry.

Resolution 745, sponsored
by Council Member Francisco Moya,
calls for the passage of legislation
related to the reclassifying of THC and all other marijuana based products from
a controlled substance to the equivalent of flower marijuana.

Resolution  641, sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams,  calls on the coordination of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the New York State Office of Court Administration, and New York City District Attorneys to expunge the records of all city misdemeanor marijuana convictions.

Resolution 296, sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, calls on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to add unlawful possession of marijuana and criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth and fifth degrees to its list of “overlooked offenses,” and stop considering these offenses as grounds for termination of tenancy.

Resolution 75-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, calls on the New York State Legislature to pass the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which would legalize, regulate, and tax the sale of marijuana in New York State.

Additionally, the Council will be voting on an expense budget modification and a revenue budget modification for Fiscal 2019, including a $1.6 million allocation to fund the New York Immigration Family Unit Project to provide legal representation for New Yorkers facing deportation and face the expansion of the caseloads because of the new courtrooms added to the Immigration Court on Varick Street.  

Also, the Council will vote on the following finance items:

The Council will vote on its operating budget as prepared by the Council’s Administrative Services division.

The Council will also vote on the following Article XI property tax exemptions at the following locations:

369 East 8th Street in Council Member Carlina Rivera’s district will provide a full, 32-year exemption, to facilitate the preservation of 29 units of affordable housing.

Glendale Apartments in Council Member Robert Holden’s district will provide a partial, 40 year exemption, to three buildings to preserve 72 units of affordable housing.

The Council will also be voting to approve the following two tax exemptions:

Cooper Square MHA Phase 1 in Council Members Chin and Rivera’s district to facilitate a multi-phase renovation project through HPD’s Green Housing Preservation Program.

167 West 133rd Street in Council Member Perkins district to facilitate the preservation of 15 units of low income co-op housing.

Finally, the Council will vote on the following land use items:

63 Stockholm Street and 332 Eldert Street applications, in Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael  Espinal’s districts in Bushwick. These Urban Development Action Area Projects will facilitate the construction of two buildings with 24 units of affordable housing by local not-for-profit developers.