Legislation also passed to require SuperPAC spending disclosures, help students with disabilities obtain accommodations at higher education institutions, and increase services for older adults
City Hall, NY – Today, the New York City Council voted on the “Skip the Stuff” legislation to decrease plastic waste in New York City. The legislationwould prohibit restaurants, third-party food delivery services, and courier services from providing eating utensils, napkins, condiment packets, and extra food and beverage containers to customers with their take-out and delivery orders, unless specifically requested. More than 320 million tons of plastic are consumed each year globally, with 95% of plastic only used once and 14% for recycling. The “Skip the Stuff” legislation would decrease the amount of plastic in our waste stream, and it would reduce expenses for food service establishments.
In addition, the Council voted on legislation that would require additional disclosures from SuperPACs spending on a ballot proposal, establish a program to provide transition services for students with disabilities entering higher education, provide cultural programming relevant to prevalent spoken languages at older adult centers, require a know your rights pamphlet for older adults, and create housing support programs for older adults.
“The “Skip the Stuff” legislation is a great example of smart, green policy that will allow us to reduce waste and help our city’s small businesses save on costs,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “To support our city’s older adults, the bills from the Council’s “Age in Place NYC” legislative package provide important resources for older adults in our communities to live safely and with dignity. Finally, we are focused on ensuring that all New Yorkers have the support they need to lead independent lives, and today’s legislation will help students with disabilities secure necessary accommodations to thrive. As a legislative body, we are proud to provide practical solutions that further our commitments to sustainability and equity for all New Yorkers.”
Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection
Introduction 559-A (aka “Skip the Stuff”), sponsored by Consumer and Worker Protection Committee Chair Marjorie Velázquez, would decrease plastic waste in New York City by prohibiting food service establishments, third-party food delivery services and third-party courier services from providing eating utensils, napkins, condiment packets and extra eating containers to customers with their take-out and delivery orders, unless the customer has specifically requested those items from the restaurant or third-party platform (such as GrubHub or Seamless) facilitating the order. This bill would enable restaurants to reduce the expense of acquiring and providing eating utensils, napkins, condiment packets and extra eating containers. The bill also includes a defense for food service establishments if they provide the prohibited items but were given incorrect information from third-party platforms, and the law would initially include a warning period before fully going into effect.
“Int 559, also known as ‘Skip the Stuff,’ will put money back into the pockets of our small businesses while also minimizing our City’s carbon footprint and make New York a more sustainable city,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez. “If we continue the use of single-use plastics and other additions, we will feel the negative repercussions through our environment and our local businesses. We must work together to keep and maintain a clean city, not just for ourselves, but for future generations.”
Committee on Governmental Operations
Independent expenditure committees (aka Super PACs) that spend money supporting or opposing candidates have certain disclosure requirements that do not currently apply to those SuperPACs spending on ballot proposals. Introduction 855, sponsored by Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, would require additional disclosure from Super PACs that fund advertisements supporting or opposing local ballot proposals. Specifically, these organizations would be required to report information about their funding sources to the Campaign Finance Board. In addition, they would be required to identify themselves by name, along with their top three donors, in their literature, advertisements, and other communications. By adding these new disclosure requirements, this bill would ensure that Super PACs that spend on ballot proposals are subject to the same rules as those that spend on candidates and close a loophole in the City’s campaign finance law.
“Transparency in our elections is crucial for democratic accountability,” said Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “Regardless of whether Super PACs are spending money on candidates or ballot proposals, the public deserves to know where the money comes from. Introduction 855 gets rid of an anti-democratic discrepancy in our campaign finance laws and ensures more transparency in our elections.”
Committee on Higher Education
Introduction 660-A, sponsored by Higher Education Committee Chair Eric Dinowitz, would ease the transition from high school to higher education for students with disabilities, by requiring the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) or any office designated by the mayor to establish a program to help such students in obtaining accommodations at institutions of higher education, by providing a system for students to consent to the sharing of information about their special education services, and providing student advocates for related support. The bill also requires the designated office to conduct outreach and submit an annual report on the program.
“This legislation will be transformative for students with disabilities, ensuring that they have the continuum of services necessary to succeed,”said Council Member Eric Dinowitz. “The transition to college can be challenging for many students, but it is often our students with disabilities who have the steepest hurdles to overcome. With this historic legislation, the second to ever pass out of the City Council’s Committee on Higher Education, there is now a mandate to ensure that our students with disabilities have a government that is working for them to get the support they need on day one of their college experience. I want to thank my colleagues on the Higher Education Committee for their support in moving this legislation forward. I am confident that it will improve success rates for students with disabilities, and provide them with the dignity and support that they deserve.”
Committee on Aging
The Council will vote on and pass three items related to the “Age in Place NYC” legislative package sponsored by Aging Committee Chair Crystal Hudson:
Introduction 672-A, co-sponsored by Council Members Linda Lee and Lynn Schulman, would create culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate programming at older adult centers in New York City. Nearly half of all older New Yorkers speak a language other than English. This bill would require the Department for the Aging (DFTA) to identify the top languages spoken by older New Yorkers in communities served by older adult centers and requires older adult centers to create programming in each language spoken by 20 percent or more of the older adults in each community served by each center.
Introduction 673-A would guarantee full legal representation for anyone 60 years of age and older in eviction or termination of tenancy proceedings in housing court. In addition, it would establish a housing support program for older New Yorkers at risk of foreclosure or eviction. The bill directs the Office of Civil Justice to work with older adults to educate and inform them about their rights in housing court.
Introduction 674-A would inform older New Yorkers about their rights and available resources on various topics. The bill would require DFTA to develop and post a “Know Your Rights” pamphlet for older adults on DFTA’s website and on the 311 website. DFTA would also be required to conduct outreach on the pamphlet and annually report on such outreach efforts.
“In the next two decades, New York City will see a 40% increase in its older adult population compared to a mere 3% increase in the general population,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “Simply put, we are not ready to handle this demographic change. The passage of Intros. 672A, 673A, and 674A, bills central to my Age In Place NYC legislative package, set us down a path where we will be able to better care for our older neighbors today and for our aging City tomorrow. With these laws, we’re creating a system whereby no older New Yorker will face an eviction without adequate legal representation; we’re working to guarantee older adult centers offer culturally responsive and relevant programming in the communities they serve; and we’re launching a coordinated effort to ensure every single New Yorker across the five boroughs is aware of their rights as they age. There is no reason why New York can’t be the best city in the country to grow older. Now, with the passage of these three bills today, we are one step closer to that reality.”
“Our City’s older adults deserve to live with dignity and support,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman. “Many older adults in my district and others prefer to use languages other than English and this legislation will help these individuals enjoy their later years in comfort and ease, regardless of where they originally come from.”
“New York is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse cities in the world, home to over 200 spoken languages. Language access is a necessity for our City’s older adults because, without it, they cannot access the essential resources that promote a healthy lifestyle. This is why I am proud to be a co-prime sponsor of Council Member Hudson’s bill to require the Department for the Aging to conduct programming in the prevalent languages of our City’s residents,” said Council Member Linda Lee. “As a social worker, I have seen firsthand the difference that culturally competent services and care can make in the lives of individuals and communities. I applaud the leadership of Speaker Adrienne Adams, Chair Crystal Hudson, and my City Council colleagues, for ensuring this much-needed support for our most vulnerable older adult communities.”
Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations
Following the devastation and destruction caused by Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Fiona on the Island of Puerto Rico, recent infrastructure issues, and local calls for political self-determination, the Council adopted the following resolutions:
Resolution 387, sponsored by Council Member Diana Ayala, calls on the U.S. Congress to repeal the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the “Jones Act”.
Resolution 392-A, sponsored by Council Member Tiffany Cabán, declares support for a democratically governed public entity that will provide reliable and affordable electrical power to the people of Puerto Rico and supporting the immediate cancellation of the contract with LUMA Energy.
Resolution 57-A, sponsored by Council Member Diana Ayala, calls on Congress to pass, and the President to sign, a bill in support of self-determination for Puerto Rico.
The Council also passed the following Land Use items:
97-27 57th Avenue Commercial Overlay – SWDM 57 LLC seeks a zoning map amendment to map a C2-4 commercial overlay in Corona neighborhood of Queens. The proposed commercial overlay would facilitate the mixed-use redevelopment of the existing Food Bazaar supermarket site on 57th Avenue, with an expanded supermarket, 25 supermarket parking spaces in the cellar, approximately 3,000 square feet of loading space on the ground floor, 82 residential apartments to be constructed above and 41 residential parking spaces to be constructed under the existing R6B and R6A zoning,
58-02 Northern Boulevard Rezoning – 58-02 Northern Blvd LLC seeks a zoning map amendment to change the existing R5 zoning district to an R6B/C2-2 zoning district and a zoning text amendment to designate the rezoned area as a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) area. These actions would facilitate a new two-story, 8,000-square-foot auto showroom in Woodside neighborhood of Queens. The Council will be voting on a resolution to disapprove this application in Council Member Won’s district.
The Gowanus Green Empire State Development Corporation Grant – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development requests the Council’s support for the City’s application for capital funding from the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) for the Gowanus Green affordable housing development in the borough of Brooklyn. Under the proposed application, the City will apply for up to $5 million from the Restore New York Communities Initiative to help facilitate reconstruction/development of the first mixed-use residential phase of the Gowanus Green project (Building A). The larger Gowanus Green project will include approximately six new buildings containing a total of approximately 950 units, commercial space and community facility space, a potential future school site, and approximately 1.5 acres of open space for a future park. This project has been previously approved as part of the Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning, in Council Member Shahana Hanif’s district.
34 Morningside Avenue Cluster Technical Correction – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development requests a technical amendment to Council Resolution 261 for the year 2022, related to Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP) approval pursuant to Section 694 of the General Municipal Law, and approval of a new 40-year Article XI tax exemption, pursuant to Section 577 of the Private Housing Finance Law, for the 34 Morningside Avenue ANCP Cluster, located in the Borough of Manhattan, Community District 10, Council District 9, to indicate that such tax exemption shall apply separately to each individual property comprising the Disposition Area, in Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan’s district.
The Council also passed the following Finance items:
- Pre-considered resolution: Sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, to authorize an Article XI exemption for one building in Park Slope/Gowanus.
- Transparency resolution: Approving new designations and changes of certain organizations receiving funding in the Expense Budget.