The Council will also vote to expand the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises program

City Hall – The New York City Council on Thursday will vote to expand the City’s Human Rights Law to include coverage of freelancers and independent contractors. This will give those workers key employment protections, including protections against sexual harassment, as well as race, religious and age discrimination, among others.

The Council will also vote on legislation expanding the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program, including a bill that adds Native American-owned businesses in all procurement categories and Asian-American-owned businesses to the professional services category. Asian American businesses are already in the other procurement categories. This is the first time that Native American-owned businesses have been included in the program.

In addition, the Council will vote on education and wellness bills, including one that calls on the Department of Education to ban processed meats from being served in public schools and another that calls for a task force to study later start times for New York City adolescents. 

The Council will also vote on legislation that would provide support to New Yorkers potentially impacted by the Trump Administration’s new rule regarding inadmissibility on public charge grounds.

Finally, the Council will vote on several land use items, including a new 3,079 seat school in Woodside. 

Expanding the City’s Human Rights Law

Introduction 136-A, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, would extend the protections of the City’s Human Rights Law to include freelancers and independent contractors. It would also ease the four-employee threshold. Currently, the City’s Human Rights Law only applies to employers with four or more employees. This bill expands the time period for counting employees. If an employer employs four or more employees at any time during the period beginning twelve months before the start of a discriminatory act, the Human Rights Law would apply to such employer. An employer’s parent, spouse, domestic partner or child if employed by an employer would now also be included in the employee count.

“Corporations have shifted to rely more and more on independent contractors and freelancers. But these workers have been cut out of fundamental protections like the right to be free from harassment and discrimination in their work. Together with workers, and in partnership with Freelancers Union, we are clawing back the rights and expanding protections that all workers deserve. Closing the loophole that left independent contractors without sufficient recourse for discrimination or harassment builds on the Council’s ambitious work to win protections for gig-economy workers. New York City’s new laws — including our 2018 living wage for for-hire drivers and the 2017 Freelance Isn’t Free Act to protect freelancers from being stiffed out of payments they’ve earned — have already secured hundreds of millions of dollars for hard-working New Yorkers,” said Council Member Brad Lander.

Supporting Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBEs)

Amending the Definition of Minority Groups

Introduction 1293-B, sponsored by Council Member Debi Rose, would amend the definition of “Minority Group” for purposes of the city’s M/WBE program to include Native Americans in all covered procurement categories and add Asian Americans in the category for professional service contracts. The bill would also update citywide procurement goals for all minority groups across all procurement categories in accordance with the findings of the most recent citywide disparity study.

“In an attempt to correct historic racial, ethnic and gender-based disparities, New York City created outreach and procurement goals for minority- and women-owned business enterprises, or MWBEs. But our current goals contain glaring omissions, and this bill attempts to correct them. Int. 1293 will add Native American-owned businesses and restore Asian American professional services to the list of business owner categories who can register as an MWBE in New York City. This bill will also update citywide procurement goals for all historically underrepresented groups across all procurement categories. It is a significant step toward righting past wrongs and expanding business opportunities to more New Yorkers,” said Council Member Debi Rose.

Improving Agency Performance in Meeting M/WBE Contract Participation Goals

Introduction 1452-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would improve agency performance in meeting M/WBE contract participation goals. This bill would require the Director of Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (“MOCS”) and the Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs (“OMWBE”) to enable minority- and women-owned businesses to compete more effectively in city procurement. This would be achieved via additional training of agency contracting staff and outreach to the city’s M/WBE community.  The bill would also empower contracting staff at city agencies to identify M/WBEs that could be available for certain contracts. Lastly, the bill would enable MOCS to exempt portions of certain contracts from the M/WBE program if it is determined that there are no eligible M/WBEs available.

Education and Wellness Bills and Resolutions

Creating a Pilot Program to Review School Start Times to Reduce Adolescent Sleep Deprivation

Introduction 560-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Treyger, would require the Department of Education (DOE) to report on its school start time pilot program. The report would include the names of participating schools, the start times, community outreach engagement and key findings. The report would also include whether the DOE plans to continue or expand the pilot program.

“As a former teacher, I know how hard 7:30 am classes can be, especially considering the length of students’ commutes, which can include train delays and multiple transfers. It’s time to evaluate how our schools can better serve our students. My bill, Intro 560-A, requires the DOE to report on its school start time pilot program and review school start times to reduce sleep deprivation. Early start times can have disruptive impacts that can affect a student’s entire day—including lunch programming. Because of early start times, there are schools that serve lunch in the morning, and with this reporting bill, we will learn what steps can be taken to adjust scheduling. I want to thank Speaker Johnson and my colleagues for supporting this important step to helping our students excel in the classroom,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

Requiring the Department of Education to Report Information Regarding Sexual Health Education

Introduction 1348-A, sponsored by Council Member Laurie Cumbo, would require further disaggregation of the information required by Local Law 14 of 2016 by grade level, as well as require the DOE to report on how it solicits feedback from students regarding health education. The bill would also require reporting on health instruction including the number of full-time and part-time licensed health instructors at each school, and information regarding health instructors teaching on an incidental basis pursuant to state law.

“I proudly support sexual education mandates in our public schools. As a growing and thriving community rooted in transparency and acceptance for all, comprehensive sexual health education will promote healthier and safer environments. I am confident that this new legislation will empower our youth to make educated decisions, and lead healthy, happy lives,” said Council Member Leader Laurie Cumbo.

Calling Upon the New York City Department of Education to Adopt All Of The Policy Recommendations Of The Mayor’s Sexual Health Education Task Force And Provide Comprehensive Sexual Health Education On A Regular Basis, Across All Grade Levels

Resolution 716-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, calls on the DOE to implement the Sexual Health Education Task Force’s policy recommendations. Recommendations include HIV/AIDS lessons in elementary schools and condom demonstrations in high schools.

Calling Upon the New York City Department of Education to Create a Diabetes and Prediabetes Health Based Curriculum

Resolution 632, sponsored by Council Member Inez Barron, calls upon the DOE to create a diabetes and prediabetes health-based curriculum.

“According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 40% of elementary school children are overweight, which puts them at risk for diabetes. As a former educator and principal, I know the importance of educating children about preventative measures, that will impact their health. I look forward to the passage of Resolution 632 and partnering with the Department of Education to implement this bill. I thank my colleagues and Speaker Corey Johnson for supporting this bill,” said Council Member Inez Barron.

Calling Upon the New York City Department of Education to Ban Processed Meats from Being Served in New York City Public Schools

Resolution 238, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, calls upon the DOE to ban processed meats from being served in New York City public schools.

“This is legislation that is about the health and well-being of our children.  Almost one million meals are served every day to New York City public school students. Processed meats, like pepperoni, hot dogs and deli meats are often included in these meals.  These meats have been found to cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illnesses and the World Health Organization has classified processed meats as a Group 1 carcinogen for humans.  For far too many of New York City kids, the food they receive in public school is the ONLY full meal they eat on any given day.  The scientific evidence and our own first-hand experience tells us that we cannot continue to serve these foods to our children.  Borough President Eric Adams, co-sponsor of this resolution, and I, have both adopted plant-based diets after experiencing life-threatening health events related to eating processed meats.  We must stop giving unhealthy food to kids in school and help them adopt healthy eating habits now, to ensure lifelong health,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.

Public Charge Awareness Bills

Distributing Educational Materials about the Federal Regulations Relating to Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

Preconsidered Int 1711, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would require the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) to create educational materials on the new public charge rule and the Department of Education would be required to distribute these materials and make them available in every DOE school for students and parents.

“I am proud to be passing legislation today that will ensure that students and parents are aware of the effects and scope of the proposed public charge rule by the Trump administration. In a time of widespread fear, directly fueled by the federal government, it is crucial that families have access to the facts and know about other services the city can offer them as well. I stand with my colleagues in City Council against this threat to our immigrant communities and the weaponization of public benefits. We will continue to do everything we can to support immigrants who call this city home and fight this climate of hate and bigotry,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

Requiring the Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration to Provide Legal Assistance Providers Information

Preconsidered Int 1690-A, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would require the Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration to develop and provide materials to legal services organizations with which it contracts to inform individuals about public benefits in relation to the federal regulations relating to public charge grounds. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs would be required to provide a dedicated telephone number for referrals to legal services for assistance with questions regarding the federal regulations.

“With the Public Charge rule change coming online on October 15th, we need to act quickly to protect people who could be affected.  This is a very complex rule and people are understandably fearful of how this rule change could affect them or their families.  Giving them access to safe, accurate and free immigration legal services is critical.  This bill would require HRA to develop and provide materials to its contracted legal services organizations to inform people about federal inadmissibility regulations related to public charge.  It would also require the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to provide a dedicated telephone number to refer people to legal services for help with questions regarding the federal regulations.  We want to prevent people from disenrolling from their benefits if they don’t have to.  The best way to do this and oppose the negative intent of this rule is to provide accurate, free information and trusted legal services.  This is exactly what this bill will do,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.

Requiring Training for Certain Employees of the City of New York on Federal Regulations Relating to Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

Preconsidered Int 1707-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlos Menchaca, would require the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to conduct training on the provisions included in the new public charge rule to employees in the Human Resources Administration (HRA), the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The training would also be made available to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

“The Trump Administration’s so-called public charge rule is cruel, arbitrary, and inhumane. If implemented next month, it will force our immigrant neighbors to make a devastating choice – either keep public benefits they are legally entitled to, or give them up to pursue the American Dream. Clearly, the goal is to scare immigrants into giving up as many benefits as possible. To protect our immigrant neighbors from making this false choice, my colleagues and I have introduced a package of legislation that will prepare City agencies for the rule. We will train frontline staff, use schools to inform parents and students, and notify every SNAP beneficiary on how they can recertify. With a dedicated hotline for providers set up, we will send a clear message to every New Yorker – don’t be afraid, we have your back,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

Distributing Information on Local Emergency Feeding Programs

Preconsidered Int 1708, sponsored by Council Member Francisco Moya, would require the Human Resources Administration (HRA) to distribute information by mail or email regarding all city-funded emergency food programs to individuals who have closed SNAP cases as of or after January 1, 2016. The bill would also require that a notice about emergency food programs be disbursed to all individuals before their benefits recertification deadline. Information about emergency food programs would need to be made accessible on the HRA website and available via mobile applications.

“I will never begrudge someone who comes here in search of the American Dream and works through blood, sweat, and tears to turn that into a reality, but that’s exactly what the Trump administration is doing. The White House’s ‘wealth test’ for whom is deemed a ‘public charge’ will have a chilling effect on legal immigrants — the very people living the quintessential American story of perseverance through adversity. This rule change will deter immigrants from seeking the help they need to support themselves and their families. As American citizens, they’re entitled to federal assistance the same as anyone lucky enough to have been born within our borders. My bill will ensure that those who dis-enroll from SNAP or whose SNAP benefits are set to lapse will be given information on emergency feeding programs. I want to thank Speaker Johnson and my colleagues for supporting this bill and the package of legislation to fight the public charge policy change. It’s incumbent on us as elected officials to take care of all our constituents, regardless of their national origin or economic status,” said Council Member Francisco Moya.

Calling upon U.S. Congress to Take Legislative Action to Stop the Enactment of the New Rule Entitled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds”

Preconsidered Res 1047, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, calls upon the U.S. Congress to take legislative action to stop the enactment of the new rule entirely “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.”

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

3,079- Seat High School

Site selection of a new 3,079- Seat High School located at 51-30 Northern Boulevard in Woodside Queens, in Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s district.  The new facility would house three different high school programs, including a District 75 program.

“This new, 3,079-seat high school on Northern Boulevard in Woodside will be a welcome and great addition to our community,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “It’s a great victory for our growing community that will help alleviate overcrowding and provide new opportunities for Queens children and families. And I am proud that this project marks the 14th new school that has been funded or built in my district since I took office.”

273 Avenue U 

Proposed applications would facilitate the development of a four-story mixed-use building with nine dwelling units Council Member Mark Treyger’s district.