Council to Vote on Expanding Protections and Services for Justice-Involved Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, Non-Binary, and Intersex Individuals

The New York City Council on Wednesday will vote on a package of four bills that would expand protections and services for transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNCNB) and intersex individuals who are involved in the justice system.  

The first in this package of bills, which coincides with LGBTQ Pride Month, would require the Board of Correction (BOC) to convene a task force to address policies related to the treatment of TGNCNB and intersex individuals within the Department of Correction (DOC). Two bills would ensure equal access to health care and substance abuse treatment in the transgender housing unit (THU) at Rikers. The last bill would bring greater transparency to the THU application process by requiring reporting on housing requests made related to gender identity. 

The Council will also vote to rename the 126th St. Stretch in Queens between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue – to Seaver Way, in honor of Tom Seaver, the 12-season New York Mets pitcher. This renaming will officially change the address of Citi Field to 41 Seaver Way in honor of “Tom Terrific,” who was instrumental in the Mets 1969 World Series win.  

Additionally, the Council will vote on a bill requiring the Department of Investigations to report on New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) procurement contracts and on overtime paid to NYCHA employees.  

The Council will also vote on two bills that would expand the availability of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Another bill would require public messaging on healthy eating to be displayed in restaurants. In addition, there is a bill amending and clarifying Local Law 97 in relation to greenhouse gas emissions.  

Finally, the Council will vote on several land use items.  

Requiring the Board of Correction to Convene a Task Force to Address Policies Related to the Treatment of Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, Non-Binary, and Intersex Individuals in the Department of Correction   

Introduction 1535-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would require the BOC to convene a taskforce composed of representatives of DOC, the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), NYC Unity, Correctional Health Services, formerly incarcerated individuals, local service providers, local and national experts on TGNCNB and intersex policy, and people who were formerly incarcerated in the THU, to the extent practicable. The taskforce would be responsible for publishing yearly reports containing recommendations on DOC policies regarding TGNCNB and intersex individuals. 

“Today, we are taking essential steps to better protect transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and intersex people in our custody and ensure that tragedies like the death of Layleen Polanco never happen again. My legislation establishes a task force to review Department of Correction policies relative to this particularly vulnerable population and make recommendations for immediate improvement. Critically, the task force will bring people with lived experiences to the table, as well as experts in transgender policy, to ensure safe, humane, and respectful treatment of TGNCNBI persons in custody. This is one step of many that are necessary to reform our broken criminal justice system. I thank Speaker Johnson and Chair Powers for their leadership, and all the advocates and service providers who worked with me to make sure we got this legislation right,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal

In Relation to Mental Health Treatment for Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, Non-Binary, and Intersex Individuals    

Introduction 1513-A, sponsored by Council Member Diana Ayala, would ensure that individuals in the THU not only have the same access to mental health treatment as do individuals housed elsewhere, but also that all health professionals treating individuals who are transgender have specialized training in transgender and gender-affirming care. 

Requiring Access to Substance Abuse Treatment for Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, non-binary, and intersex individuals   

Introduction 1514-A, sponsored by Council Member Diana Ayala, would require that those housed in the THU be afforded the same access to substance use treatment as those housed outside such a unit. Passage of this law will ensure that transgender individuals never again have to choose between receiving appropriate substance-use treatment and living in a transgender housing unit. 

“Introductions 1513 and 1514 will help ensure transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary individuals never again experience a gap in accessing comprehensive mental health and substance treatment within a Department of Correction facility. I am proud to be advancing these two critical pieces of legislation, which reaffirm my commitment to protecting trans women and people — especially those impacted by our city’s criminal justice system,” said Council Member Diana Ayala.   

Reporting on Housing Decisions Made for Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, and Intersex Individuals   

Introduction 1530-A, sponsored by Council Member Francisco Moya, would require the department to issue an incident-level report to the Council and to the BOC on housing requests made related to gender-identity on a biannual basis, and to issue an aggregate report to the public on an annual basis. This legislation will bring greater transparency into the application and appeals process for those who seek housing within the DOC that is responsive to their gender identity.  

“The horrors visited upon transgender and gender non-conforming people in prison are antithetical to decency and justice. Transgender and gender non-conforming prisoners are 10 times more likely than other prisoners to be assaulted by an inmate. This focused and bigoted violence is simply apalling and New York City must take the lead in protecting this population. My bill would require the Department of Corrections to track and report to the City Council how many prisoners submit requests to be placed in specialized housing, or housing in accordance to their gender identity, and the outcomes of these requests. Tracking such requests will reveal how many TGNC prisoners are speaking up and if the corrections department is hearing their voices. The first step to addressing this issue is understanding the scope of it and this legislation will provide that insight,” said Council Member Francisco Moya.  

Renaming One Thoroughfare and Public Place in the Borough of Queens, Seaver Way, and to Amend the Official Map of the City of New York Accordingly  

Introduction 1549, sponsored by Council Member Francisco Moya, would rename 126th Street between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, Seaver Way, and amend the official City map accordingly. Tom Seaver is a Hall of Fame Major League Baseball pitcher who played 20 seasons total, and twelve for the Mets from 1967 to 1977 and again in 1983. He is one of only two pitchers in the history of baseball to have 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts and a career ERA of under 3.00, and he was instrumental in the Mets’ victory over the Orioles the 1969 World Series. 

“Tom Seaver may not have laid the bricks of Citi Field but he helped set the foundation this franchise is celebrated for. Whether you were fortunate enough to watch Tom Seaver lead the Amazins to a World Series championship in 1969 or you grew up in the glow of that greatness, Queens residents have always known their ballpark was built on his right arm. So it’s only fitting for Citi Field to now reside on 41 Seaver Way. It’s an honor and childhood dream come true to immortalize one of the greatest Mets of all time with this street renaming,” said Council Member Francisco Moya 

Reporting Regardig New York City Housing Authority Overtime and Small Procurement Contracts   

Introduction 1331-B, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the Department of Investigation (DOI) to issue an annual report to the Council on total overtime hours recorded and total overtime paid to NYCHA employees for the prior calendar year. The bill would also direct DOI to issue an annual report to the Council on any small procurement contracts, as defined by NYCHA procurement rules, awarded during the prior year, including an analysis regarding whether any housing development may have awarded small procurement contracts to avoid compliance with NYCHA procurement rules.  

Requiring Automated External Defibrillators and Trained Personnel at All City Pool Facilities   

Introduction 1009-A, sponsored by Council Member Steven Matteo, would require the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to provide an automated external defibrillator (AED) at every large swimming pool facility under its jurisdiction, and require that at least one DPR employee trained to use an AED be present during all hours of pool operation. An AED is a medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and can deliver an electrical shock, known as defibrillation, which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm in situations where a cardiac arrest has occurred. This bill is necessary because numerous DPR pool facilities are currently without an AED on their premises, so this bill would enhance public safety by ensuring that more pools have an AED ready to use in case of an emergency. 

Distributing Excess Automated External Defibrillators from Youth Baseball and Softball to Other Sports   

Introduction 1042-A, sponsored by Council Member Steven Matteo, would permit the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation to distribute any extra automated external defibrillators (AED) they have to additional youth sports leagues after they have first fulfilled their obligation to provide AEDs to youth baseball and softball leagues. An AED is a medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and can deliver an electrical shock, known as defibrillation, which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm in situations where a cardiac arrest has occurred. This bill is necessary because it would potentially expand the availability of AEDs to more youth sports leagues, thereby lessening the possibility of life-threatening injury. 

“Since I entered office, I have worked to dramatically expand access to automated external defibrillators – or AEDs – across this city for one simple reason: AEDs save lives. But AEDs cannot save lives if they cannot be reached quickly. A bill I authored and the City Council is passing today will help to fix that problem by requiring AEDs be made readily available at City-owned pools used by thousands of residents each year. It will also require that at least one Parks employee properly trained to use an AED be present during all hours of City pool supervision. A second bill I authored, also passing today, will expand on the groundbreaking legislation Speaker Johnson and I passed that has made AEDs and training available, free of cost, to thousands of little league and youth softball teams across the city, by allowing the City to expand this successful program to other youth sports at their discretion. With these bills and our Beating Hearts initiative, which provides each Council Member with free AEDs to distribute, we are continuing to build on the foundation laid by my predecessor, former Minority Leader and current Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, to provide more of these lifesaving devices to more and more New Yorkers. I want to once again thank the Speaker for his partnership, and my Council colleagues for their support in this endeavor.” said Council Member Steven Matteo

Requiring Public Information Messaging on Healthy Eating   

Introduction 5-B, sponsored by Council Member Inez Barron, would require that restaurants in New York City display information messaging on healthy eating for individuals with diet-related conditions including, but not limited to, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. This messaging will include information on the risks of excessive sugar and carbohydrate intake, and will be available in a variety of languages. This legislation would require DOHMH to conduct a one-year outreach campaign to ensure restaurants are aware of their requirements under this bill, before the penalty provisions take effect. 

“I’m pleased and exciting about the passing of this bill. We know that a number of NYC residents struggle with chronic diseases such as prediabetes/diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. The intent behind Intro 5 is to assist NYC residents by providing them with the necessary information that will help assist them in their efforts to manage their diets and make healthier eating options. We will continue to work with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as they develop this signage and messaging in restaurants and ensure that business owners receive the information in a timely manner to avoid being penalized. I would like to thank Speaker Corey Johnson, Chair Mark Levine and the co-sponsors of this legislation,” said Council Member Inez Barron.    

In Relation to Greenhouse Gas Emissions   

Introduction 1619, sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides, would make several technical amendments to Local law 97 of 2019, including defining capacity resource and amending the definitions of the terms city building, clean distributed energy resource, covered building, distributed energy resource, financial hardship (of a building), and rent regulated accommodation. This bill would also update the greenhouse gas coefficient for certain occupancy groups in 2030 and ensure deductions would extend past 2029, make clarifying amendments to accounting for fuel cells emissions, time of use emissions accounting upon the owner’s request, and would clarify that buildings that participate in project-based federal housing programs will be mandated to complete the list of prescriptive measures in Article 321. 

Resolution Declaring a Climate Emergency    

Resolution 864-A, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, would declare a climate emergency and calls for accelerated actions to address the full range of ecological threats we are facing.  

“We are in the midst of a climate crisis. New York must take bold steps in protecting its citizens, or we will suffer more sea level rise, more climate injustices and more Hurricane Sandy’s. We must face the climate crisis head-on and look at the overall systemic issues that have put us here, as that is the only way to fully confront the issues. Thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson for his support of this Resolution and to Council Member Costa Constantinides for his continued leadership on climate issues in New York City,” said Council Member Ben Kallos

“Declaring a climate emergency is the next step in creating a brighter, greener, safer future. This only solidifies why the City Council needed to enact the Climate Mobilization Act this spring, as well as serve as the guiding principle as we pass additional life-saving legislation,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides

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

Bay Street Rezoning  

The Council is voting on a comprehensive plan for the Bay Street Corridor in Staten Island in CM Rose’s office.  The Council Member has secured more than $100 million is new City funding for various projects and initiatives.  

Some of the critical commitments are listed below: 

  • More than 1,800 new homes are projected for the corridor, with more than 450 homes permanently affordable through Mandatory Inclusionary Housing. In addition, HPD has committed to financing more than 100% affordable housing on city-owned sites, bringing 850 more affordable homes at a range of incomes. 
  • Cromwell Recreation Center will be fully reconstructed at the site of Lyons Pool.  
  • The completion of the Tompkinsville Esplanade, creating a continuous waterfront esplanade between Lighthouse Point and the New Stapleton Waterfront 
  • Major renovations to Stapleton Playground 
  • Repairs to Tappen Park, including improvements to historic Village Hall 
  • SCA will build a new public school at the New Stapleton Waterfront and a new elementary school at 155 Tompkins Avenue.  
  • DOT is investing more than $39 million in pedestrian and intersection improvements along the Bay Street Corridor.  
  • $15 million will go to upgrading sanitary sewers in and around the Bay Street rezoning area, plus another $45 million for new sewers, streets and utilities at the New Stapleton Waterfront.  
  • A comprehensive drainage plan will monitor underground infrastructure needs and a storm-water management study will plan for future sea-level rise.  

Haven Green Senior Housing  

This project will result in the development of 123 affordable units of senior housing, on a City-owned parcel currently leased to the Elizabeth Street, Inc. in Council Member Chin’s district.   

Among the commitments to address the open space concerns of this project are the following: 

1) Increase the hours of access to the open space from 9AM to 5PM to 7AM – 7PM from  

April 15 – October 31 and 8AM – dusk from November 1 to April 14. 

2) Work with the DeMatteis Organization, the owners of the adjacent building, 21 Spring Street, to create a contiguous open space by combining their existing 14,000 square foot courtyard with the new open space being proposed as a part of this project.  A combined open space across these two sites would be over 20,000 square feet.  

The Council thanks the DeMatteis organization for their commitment in writing to the Council to work together on this issue and their willingness to maintain their building as affordable housing and will do its part to secure the necessary resources to fund a contiguous open space.            

3) Create a community advisory committee to help provide essential input into the design and programming of the new open space. 

4) HPD will collaborate with the Council and development team on a building re-design toward a goal of achieving a total of 50% publicly accessible space on site (approx. 10,055 sf), removing approximately 1,700 of space on ground floor.   

2 Howard Avenue will facilitate the development of a six-story building with 30 residential units including 8 affordable units in Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel’s district. The Council is modifying the application to remove MIH Option 2 and map the Deep Affordability Option. 

Brook 156 will facilitate the development of a 100% affordable housing project in Land Use Chair Rafael Salamanca’s district. The Council is modifying the application to remove MIH Option 2.  Court Square Text Amendment will reduce the height of a proposed 70 story as-of-right development to 45 stories in Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s district.