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Dear New Yorker:

October was a momentous month here at the New York City Council

In addition to voting on a historic plan to permanently close Rikers Island by 2026 and replace it with a borough-based jail system, we passed a sweeping package of bills that will help make New York City a safer, more compassionate place for pets and animals.   

We also passed groundbreaking legislation calling for the City to publish a “Master Plan” for our streets every five years – one that prioritizes the safety of all street users, as well as the reduction of vehicle emissions, which is necessary as we continue to fight climate change.

And in an exciting day for the future of New York City, voters on Election Day overwhelmingly approved five amendments to the City's constitution, including ranked-choice voting, which will allow voters to rank up to five candidates by preference on their ballots in certain local elections. These changes resulted from the 2019 Charter Revision Commission, which was created with the help of the City Council.

You can read more about our work last month by clicking on the highlighted links below.

You can also follow the Council on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram for live updates and day-to-day coverage of our work throughout the year.

And don't forget: you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

In service,
Corey Johnson
New York City Council

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Speaker Corey Johnson Joins with Advocates at Rally in Support of Streets 'Master Plan' Legislation (Photo Credit: John McCarten)

At our Stated Meeting on October 30th, the New York City Council passed Introduction 1557-A, Speaker Corey Johnson’s historic and ambitious legislation for the creation and implementation of a master plan to redesign New York City’s streets.

The Speaker first unveiled this plan during his State of the City address in March 2019, along with the simultaneous release of his Let’s Go report, which, among other things, lays out a plan for taking municipal control of the City’s mass transit system.

Introduction 1557-A will require the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue and implement a transportation master plan for the City every five years to ensure that the plan continues to work for all New Yorkers. The plan’s goals are to prioritize the safety of all street users, the use of mass transit, the reduction of vehicle emissions, and access for individuals with disabilities, with each updated plan required to hit certain benchmarks.

The bill requires reporting in February of each year regarding updates on any changes to the master plan and progress towards achieving the benchmarks it lays out. The DOT will also be required to conduct a public education and awareness campaign on the benefits of each master plan.

The creation of this master plan was motivated by Speaker Johnson’s and the Council’s belief that safety is paramount for all New Yorkers, whether they are on foot, on bike, or in a car, and that all New Yorkers should have access to safe, efficient, and accessible transportation.

“The piecemeal way we plan our streets has made no sense for far too long, and New Yorkers have paid the price every day stuck on slow buses or as pedestrians or cyclists on dangerous streets. We need faster buses, safe streets infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, and more pedestrian space. We need to do everything we can to encourage sustainable modes of transportation, especially with the realities of climate change growing more dire every day,” said Speaker Johnson.

“This plan will get us there, and by doing so it will make New York City a much more livable and enjoyable place to call home.”

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Participant at City Council Hearing on Closing Rikers (Photo Credit: Jeff Reed)

Last month, the New York City Council voted on a historic plan to permanently close Rikers Island by 2026 and replace it with a borough-based jail system – one that will have more modern and humane jails and that includes substantial community investments. 

For decades, Rikers has been a stain on our city and nation; the symbol of a brutal and inhumane mass incarceration system that has primarily impacted people of color and destroyed far too many lives.

But thanks to reforms in policing and prosecution, falling crime rates, an intense campaign by advocates, and the findings of an independent commission convened by former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and chaired by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, we are finally on the cusp of a new, more humane era for our city.

Conversations with communities throughout this entire process led to significant reductions in the height and density of the planned borough-based facilities, as well as more thoughtful plans regarding the treatment of incarcerated women and those with mental illness.

The plan to close Rikers also now includes $391 million in investments to help reform our criminal justice system, address the root causes of incarceration, and keep our communities safe, including strategic local investments in communities with borough-based jail sites.

Additionally, the Council worked in tandem with criminal justice reform advocates to develop sound legislation that truly targets the issue of mass incarceration throughout New York City. This package follows our vote on a resolution authorizing the filing of a land use application to amend the City Map so that Rikers Island cannot be used for the incarceration of individuals after December 31, 2026.

Just as importantly, we voted on a bill that establishes a commission dedicated to identifying opportunities for reinvestments in communities impacted by Rikers, and we will continue to make every effort to work with those communities.   

“For decades, our City was unfair to those who became involved in the criminal justice system. We cannot undo all the mistakes of the past, but we must do everything we can to move away from the failed policies of mass incarceration,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.  

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Top Row (left to right): Council Members Helen Rosenthal, Keith Powers & Fernando Cabrera
Middle Row (left to right): Council Members Robert Holden, Laurie Cumbo & Joseph Borelli
Bottom Row (left to right): Council Members Justin Brannan, Mark Levine & Carlina Rivera (Photo Credits: NYC Council)

This past month the New York City Council passed a sweeping package of bills that will help make New York City a safer, more compassionate place for our pets and animals.

From making critical improvements to our city’s animal shelter system to implementing stronger protections for dogs, cats, and horses, our city has continued to push smart humane policy.

This legislative package builds on that work and includes the following bills:

  • Introduction No. 1378-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera, prohibits retail food establishments or food service establishments from storing, maintaining, selling, or offering to sell force-fed products or food containing a force-fed product. The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that any item with a label or listed on the menu as “foie gras” is the product of force-feeding. Violators will be subject to a civil penalty between $500 and $2,000 per offense.

  • Introduction 1202-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Carlina Rivera, prohibits non-exempt individuals from taking or attempting to take any wild bird. Exempt individuals include law enforcement employees or other city employees acting in the scope of their duties, a person authorized by law or permit, or a person attempting to rescue a wild bird. Any person who unlawfully takes a wild bird is subject to a misdemeanor and a fine of no more than $1,000.

  • Introduction 1425-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Keith Powers, prohibits carriage horses from being worked when the air temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above, or whenever the air temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above and the equine heat index is 150 or above. Equine heat index is defined as the sum of the air temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, and the relative humidity at a particular point in time.

  • Introduction 1478-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Justin Brannan, requires the establishment an Office of Animal Welfare, to be headed by a director appointed by the Mayor. The Office would be vested with the power to advise and assist the Mayor in the coordination and cooperation between agencies relating to animal welfare administration, regulation, management, and programs; review and recommend budget priorities relating to animal welfare; prepare an annual animal welfare report; serve as liaison for the City regarding animal welfare; provide outreach and education on animal welfare programs and humane treatment of animals; and perform other duties the Mayor may assign.

  • Resolution 798: This resolution, introduced by Council Member Justin Brannan, calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and on Governor Cuomo to sign, A6298/S4234, an act to amend the agriculture and markets law and the general business law, in relation to the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits. This state bill would combat irresponsible breeding and encourage adoption by prohibiting the sale of dogs, cats, or rabbits by retail pet shops, while allowing animal rescue organizations to showcase such dogs, cats, or rabbits at collaborating retail pet shops for the purpose of adoption.

  • Introduction 870-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Joseph C. Borellirequires any full-service animal shelter operated by New York City to post photographs of each adoptable animal within three days of receiving such animal, provided that the animal is medically and behaviorally well enough. It also requires the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to encourage non-full-service animal shelters to promote the placement of adoptable animals.

  • Introduction 1498-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, requires the New York Police Department (NYPD) to publish semi-annual public reports on complaints and investigation of animal cruelty allegations. Specifically, the NYPD must report on the number of animal cruelty complaints received and arrests issued.

  • Introduction 1570-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Mark Levine, will ensure that dogs entering kennels, businesses, or establishments need to be in compliance with the New York City Health Code, which requires the dog be vaccinated for bordetella.

  • Resolution 379: This resolution, introduced by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, calls for the recognition of “Meatless Mondays” in New York City. “Meatless Mondays” is an international campaign that encourages people to enjoy meat-free meals on Mondays to improve their personal and public health, animal welfare, wildlife protection, and environmental and agricultural sustainability.

  • Resolution 921: This resolution, introduced by Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and on Governor Cuomo to sign, A286, which would provide a tax credit to each taxpayer who adopts a household pet from a shelter. This state bill would provide a $100 maximum tax credit to each taxpayer who adopts a dog or a cat from a shelter, and would cover a maximum of three pets per taxpayer.

  • Resolution 977: This resolution, introduced by Council Member Robert Holden, calls on the United States Congress to pass, and the President to sign, R. 724 and S. 479, the Preventing Animal Cruelty Torture Act, otherwise known as the PACT Act. This federal legislation would revise and expand federal criminal provisions with respect to animal crushing, which is defined as actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.

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Council Member Antonio Reynoso (left) & Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. (right) (Photo Credit: NYC Council)

The New York City Council recently voted on a package of legislation that will establish commercial waste zones throughout the City and regulate the trade waste industry. 

In 2016, the de Blasio Administration released a study that found, among other things, that the current commercial waste collection system is highly inefficient; that a commercial collection zone system would significantly reduce harmful air emissions linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses; and that small customers pay approximately 38 percent more than larger customers for their trash removal, largely because there is little transparency in rates and because smaller customers have reduced bargaining power.

After the study’s release, the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) worked with a variety of stakeholders to determine the framework for implementing a commercial waste collection zone system. The City Council then worked closely with DSNY and many different stakeholders to create a package of legislation that addresses the key concerns reported in the study.

The package of legislation that we voted on includes the following bills that together will help make the trade waste industry safer for all New Yorkers:

  • Introduction 1574-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, mandates the establishment of commercial waste zones. DSNY will be responsible for designating these zones and entering into agreements with as many as three private carters in each zone. Five carters will be authorized to provide containerized pickup citywide. The bill will also protect workers by requiring worker retention in the case of a merger or acquisition, and the department would make available a displaced employee list to companies.

  • Introduction 1573-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Antonio Reynoso at the request of Mayor Bill de Blasio, adds enforcement of environmental, safety, and health standards to the powers and duties of the NYC Business Integrity Commission (BIC). Some private carters have a history of operating unsafely in the City, but continue to remain licensed by BIC. This clear statement of the BIC’s authority to act on unsafe practices in this industry will allow the agency to consider a business’s practices more broadly upon license renewal. Additionally, the bill adds violation of law relating to the safety of the general public to the reasons a trade waste license could be suspended.

  • Introduction 1082-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr., requires Global Positioning Systems (GPS) on waste hauling vehicles that are used to collect waste in commercial waste zones. GPS on private carting trucks can provide information to DSNY and BIC to allow them to properly monitor waste hauling vehicles operating in the City.

  • Introduction 1083-A: This bill, introduced by Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr., requires a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum fine of $10,000 for carting companies that receive a violation for an unreported employee. This will help ensure that carting companies are properly reporting their employees, thereby reducing the risk that those employees should not be operating in this industry or that they have not been properly trained or licensed.

“Companies in the private carting industry are currently engaged in a race to the bottom in which workers are denied training, and old diesel trucks are used to travel impossibly long routes that zig-zag inefficiently across our City. Today, we are putting an end to the private carting industry’s horrific practices and the devastating impacts they have had on workers, community members, and our environment,” said Council Member Reynoso, who serves as the Chair of the Council’s Committee on Sanitation & Solid Waste Management.

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Council Member Margaret Chin, the Chair of the Council's Aging Committee, at Joint Hearing on Age Discrimination in the Workforce (Photo Credit: John McCarten)

On October 8th, the Committee on Aging, chaired by Council Member Margaret Chin, and the Committee on Civil and Human Rights, chaired by Council Member Mathieu Eugene, held a joint oversight hearing on age discrimination in the workforce.

Although New York City has some of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country, older adult workers continue to face discrimination and harassment due to their age. For example, of the 193 age-related inquires made by New Yorkers in 2017 to the NYC Commission on Human Right (NYCCHR), 119 of these were regarding age discrimination in employment. Notably, these figures are significantly low for a city of more than 1.1 million older adults. According to NYCCHR, the low number of inquiries may be due to the fact that age discrimination often occurs during the hiring stage, which is more challenging to prove.  

During the hearing, which was in follow up to a previously held joint oversight hearing on the same topic, the Committees questioned city officials about the progress they have made to ensure that instances of age discrimination in the workforce are being reported by older adults and that such discrimination is being effectively addressed.

The Committees also heard the following bills aimed at addressing ongoing issues related to age discrimination in the workforce:

  • Introduction 1684 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Diana Ayala, would require NYCCHR to create a poster on age discrimination and provide additional age discrimination resources on its website. It would also require city agencies to display the poster in employee common areas.
  • Introduction 1685 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Diana Ayala, would require NYCCHR to develop training and complementary materials that would help identify, prevent, and eliminate age discrimination in the workplace.
  • Introduction 1693 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Margaret Chin, calls for the creation of an Age Discrimination Task Force to study the instances and consequences of age discrimination in the workplace and to submit a report with recommendations related to how the City can establish mechanisms, resources, and services to help older adults who were subject to discrimination.
  • Introduction 1694 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Margaret Chin, calls for the creation of an Office of Older Adult Workforce Development to assist older adults in joining or re-joining the workforce.
  • Introduction 1695 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Margaret Chin, would require NYCCHR to establish an age discrimination in employment testing program.

“Despite the Administration’s efforts citywide, seniors are enduring age discrimination in the workforce and many of them are still not reporting these injustices. We cannot allow the current trends to continue," said Council Member Chin during her opening statement. 

We look forward to continuing to work with advocates and the Administration to build a truly age-friendly city where older workers feel safe and supported in their jobs.

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Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez (left) & Public Safety Committee Chair Donovan Richards (right) Conduct Oversight Hearing on Vision Zero, Cyclist Safety & Police Department Enforcement (Photo Credit:John McCarten)

The Committee on Transportation, Chaired by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, and the Committee on Public Safety, Chaired by Council Member Donovan Richards, held a joint oversight hearing on October 24th entitled “Vision Zero, Cyclist Safety, and Police Department Enforcement.” They also considered a package of legislation to help ensure that New Yorkers are better protected as they move about the City.

The Council has made safer streets a priority by passing numerous related bills over the years and conducting oversight of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024, especially those involving pedestrians and bicyclists. The Mayor’s plan, implemented by the NYC Department of Transportation, details a number of ways to achieve this ambitious goal, including redesigning streets to build more protected bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, and raised crosswalks.

The oversight hearing was held in part to examine why, despite these efforts, there has been an increase in cyclist deaths even as the number of cyclists on the road has been on the decline. This may be due to inadequate infrastructure, such as protected bike lanes, as well as a lack of sufficient enforcement for motor vehicle operators who are speeding or otherwise failing to observe traffic laws.

During the oversight hearing, the Committees also heard a number of bills aimed at keeping New Yorkers safe during their daily commutes, including:

  • Introduction 769 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Carlos Menchaca, would allow notices of violations issued to bicyclists for operating a bicycle without equipment required by state and local law to be canceled if the bicyclist can show that the bicycle contains the required equipment within 48 hours of the notice of violation being issued.
  • Introduction 1354 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Robert Holden, would require all concrete mixing trucks and volumetric concrete mixers operating in New York City to be equipped with chute shutters or similar devices to prevent the spillage of concrete and materials used to mix concrete by no later than January 1, 2020.
  • Introduction 1435 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, would create a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of up to $50 for back seat passengers sixteen years or over not using a safety belt and/or for drivers who fail to ensure safety belt use of their back seat passengers sixteen years or over, other than those drivers transporting passengers for hire pursuant to a Taxi and Limousine Commission license. The proposed legislation would exempt buses, including school buses, and authorized emergency vehicles, mirroring provisions in State law. It would also exempt passengers with a physically disabling condition duly certified by a physician that would prevent safety belt use, and provide an affirmative defense for passengers of for hire vehicles that the vehicle in which they are a traveling lacks a visible, accessible, and working back seat safety belt.
  • Introduction 1763 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, would require operators of motor vehicles to maintain a minimum distance of three feet when overtaking cyclists, and would make a violation of this section a traffic infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $50.
  • Introduction 1789 – This bill, introduced by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, would require all large vehicles operated pursuant to a contract with the City to be equipped with side guards by January 1, 2021. Side guards are vehicle-based safety devices that prevent pedestrians, cyclists, and others from being caught in the otherwise exposed space between the front and rear axles of large vehicles. The proposed legislation would also expedite existing timelines for side guard implementation in the City fleet and for trade waste hauling vehicles from January 1, 2024 to January 1, 2021.

“This hearing is not about cyclists versus drivers versus pedestrians. It’s not about assigning blame to one group or another. It’s not about us versus them,” said Council Member Richards during his opening statement. “This hearing is about the fact that 26 people have been killed this year while riding their bikes and what the City plans to do to resolve the problem.”

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(Image Credit: 2019 Charter Revision Commission)

On November 5th, New Yorkers hit the polls to vote on a number of amendments to the City Charter, among other things. The 2019 Charter Revision Commission was the first such commission in modern history to be created by the New York City Council. It was structured to be independent: for the first time, each elected city office appointed representatives to the Commission, with no one office holding a majority of seats. This allowed the Commission to work for more than a year on proposed amendments to the City’s constitution, which New Yorkers then had the opportunity to vote on.

Specifically, the Commission was created through Local Law 91 of 2018, which was co-sponsored by the Speaker, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Letitia James, the former NYC Public Advocate and current Attorney General of New York State. After embarking on an extensive public engagement process and outreach effort that included a series of public hearings and meetings in every borough where the Commission heard input from various experts, advocacy groups, and every-day New Yorkers, the Commission laid out ballot questions in five categories: Elections, Police Accountability, Ethics and Governance, the City Budget, and Land Use.

All five amendments passed overwhelmingly, including the groundbreaking ranked-choice voting, which will allow voters to rank up to five candidates by preference on their ballots in certain local elections. Ranked-choice voting is widely believed to help strengthen democracy by encouraging a diverse candidate pool and avoiding costly, low turnout runoff elections.

Speaker Johnson, who was a vocal supporter in urging New Yorkers to weigh in on the City Charter, celebrated the passage of these amendments as a win for the future of our City.

“It has been nearly 30 years since a Charter Revision Commission examined the checks and balances in our City. A balanced system equals a healthy democracy,” said Speaker Johnson. “I thank my colleagues in government, NYS Attorney General and former NYC Public Advocate Tish James, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for supporting the Council in establishing this commission.”

The ballot questions were proposed after the Commission’s year-long examination of the City Charter and the subsequent release of their final report, available here. You can learn more about the City Charter by visiting the Commission’s website here.

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Speaker Corey Johnson (left), Hospitals Committee Chair Carlina Rivera (middle) & Health Committee Chair Mark Levine (right) at Oversight Hearing on Universal Health Access in NYC (Photo Credits: NYC Council)

The Committee on Health, chaired by Council Member Mark Levine, and the Committee on Hospitals, chaired by Council Member Carlina Rivera, held a joint oversight hearing on October 31st on universal health access in New York City.

Although the Affordable Care Act provided insurance to millions of Americans, roughly 4.7 percent of New Yorkers remained uninsured in 2018. This lack of health insurance can have a devastating impact on individuals, their families, and communities, forcing many to forgo needed care and services. 

During the hearing, the Committees questioned city officials about the work being done by the de Blasio Administration to help provide access to health care to the uninsured, including through its most recent initiative NYC Care, which relies on the City’s Health + Hospitals (H+H) system to provide low-cost and no-cost services to New Yorkers who don’t qualify for health insurance.

The Committees also heard the following legislation aimed at bolstering our health care safety net:

“I know the difference great health care can make,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who lost his job and health care shortly after being diagnosed with HIV when he was 22. “And that’s why I’m sponsoring Intro. 1668 with Council Members Levine and Rivera. It would create a health access program that goes beyond the H+H system and connects anyone who participates to coordinated, personalized care in their communities.”

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Resiliency & Waterfronts Committee Chair Justin Brannan (left) & Environmental Protection Committee Chair Costa Constantinides (right)  (Photo Credit: NYC Council)

On October 29th, the Committee on Environmental Protection, chaired by Council Member Costa Constantinides, and the Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts, chaired by Council Member Justin Brannan, held a joint oversight hearing on the seventh anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

Superstorm Sandy, which hit New York on October 29, 2012, caused high winds, a 14-foot storm surge, and an estimated $19 billion in losses in the City. Along with damage to residential and commercial property, the storm impaired critical city infrastructure and services, with close to 2 million people losing power at some point during the storm.

While the City has undertaken various initiatives and projects to help ensure we are better able to withstand such a powerful storm, concerns have been raised about the pace and scope of these efforts, especially as we expect to experience more extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy as a result of climate change.

During the hearing, the Committees questioned city officials about the resiliency measures that have been implemented thus far, as well as the City’s long-term plans going forward.

“Without additional investments in our infrastructure, New York City’s coastlines remain vulnerable to the next superstorm,” said Council Member Constantinides during his opening statement. “Our resiliency preparations need to be better.”

The Committees also heard the following bills aimed at addressing the triple threats of climate change, sea level rise, and sunny day flooding:

“It is projected that the likelihood of another Sandy-type storm is now a one-in-a-25-year event. Yet seven years after Superstorm Sandy, many of the Administration’s proposed projects are still in the planning phase and many of them are based in lower Manhattan. Why?” questioned Council Member Brannan. “We need to be much more proactive and on a faster pace to protect the City against a similar future event.”

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Council Members Robert Holden (left), Robert Cornegy, Jr. (middle) & Rafael Espinal (right) (Photo Credit: NYC Council) 

On October 7th, the Committee on Technology, chaired by Council Member Robert F. Holden, the Committee on Housing and Buildings, chaired by Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., and the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, chaired by Council Member Rafael Espinal, held a joint oversight hearing on facial recognition technology and biometric data collection in businesses and residences.

Facial recognition technology is becoming more valuable, less expensive, and readily available in both the public and private sectors, including commerce and the residential and commercial rental markets. As a result, landlords in New York City and elsewhere around the country have been installing keyless entry systems, such as facial recognition technologies, thereby enabling resident access to their buildings without the use of traditional mechanical keys.

While the rapidly expanding commercial use of facial recognition technology, particularly when combined with the increasing availability of personal information, provides new opportunities for personalized services, safety, and security, it also raises complex questions related to consumer privacy, data security, and surveillance. There have also been several incidents of compromised data where information has been traded with or accessed by third parties or otherwise not properly secured. Compounding this is the fact that many businesses and property owners neither ask for consent nor inform their customers and tenants about the use of facial recognition software and the use of collected biometric data.

During the hearing, the Committees heard testimony from city officials, industry experts, and community advocates about the steps that can be taken to help mitigate any adverse impacts of this technology on our communities and possible solutions going forward.

The Committees also heard the following bills:

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Council Member Deborah Rose, Chair of the Committee on Youth Services (Photo Credit: Emil Cohen)

On October 8th, the Committee on Youth Services, chaired by Council Member Deborah Rose, conducted an oversight hearing on youth employment opportunities and programs.

Youth employment can result in lifelong benefits for young people, with studies showing those who enter the workforce early being far more likely to secure better, higher-paying jobs later in life. Along with the positive economic impacts, youth employment has also been shown to boost self-esteem and even reduce crime. Indeed, students who participated in a youth employment program tend to have better attendance rates and were more academically engaged during the school year.

That’s why the New York City Council created the Work, Learn & Grow Employment Program (WLG). Now in its fifth year, WLG offers a 25-week, school-year employment program to alumni of the City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) aged 16 to 21 who are still enrolled in school.

During the hearing, the Committee questioned city officials about the City’s employment and workforce development programming for youth, including where there are service gaps and how outcomes can be improved.

“Through Workforce Connect, DYCD [the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development] coordinates six main programs that provide youth with work experience and applicable skills. These programs include SYEP, of which I am a proud alumna,” said Council Member Rose during her opening remarks.

“They also include New York City Ladders for Leaders, Train and Earn, Learn and Earn, Intern and Earn, and Work, Learn and Grow. As each program represents a different population of need, DYCD’s expansive list of programming offers youth in New York City with a wide array of employment opportunities, but is this enough? How many youth are we turning away from these programs and what more can DYCD do to meet the employment needs of our youth?”

We look forward to continuing to work with the de Blasio Administration, advocates, and our city’s young people to help ensure that we are meeting the employment needs of our youth and providing them the best possible future.


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(Image Credit: @NYCSpeakerCoJo)

New York City tenants recently won stronger protections under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 passed by the New York State Legislature this past summer.

Now, the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants has launched a new ad campaign and website to help make sure New Yorkers know about their new rights under the Act.

This historic legislation shows the power of grassroots advocacy and will help protect millions of New Yorkers as we continue working to create more affordable housing and tackle our city’s homelessness crisis.

For more information, visit or call 311.

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Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo Speaks at Press Conference Announcing Expansion of Project Reset (Photo Credit: NYC Council)

On October 2nd, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, the Center for Court Innovation, and criminal justice advocates to announce the citywide launch of the alternatives to incarceration pilot Project Reset. The press conference took place at the Brooklyn Museum, one of the program’s newest partners.

Project Reset is a diversion program that aims to address mass incarceration by offering eligible low-level, non-violent offenders the opportunity to avoid prosecution, jail time, and a criminal record by participating in community-based programming that includes group workshops, restorative justice circles, arts programming, and individual counseling sessions.

Programs such as this are helping New York City move away from a system that is overly punitive to one that is more humane and fair, something that Speaker Johnson and the City Council are committed to. In his address on criminal justice reform in May 2019, the Speaker proposed, among other things, expanding Project Reset to all five boroughs, based on the positive results the program had already seen in its Brooklyn and Manhattan pilots.

“We’re talking about a real revolution in terms of how we create a better New York City,” said Council Majority Leader Cumbo, expressing her support for Project Reset and other alternatives to incarceration programs.

In the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget, the City Council reached an agreement with the de Blasio Administration to include funding to expand Project Reset citywide, with a $710,000 allocation from the Council, and a $3.2 million allocation from the Administration. So far, the funding has allowed expansion to other areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as in the Bronx, with Staten Island and Queens expected to welcome the programming in the coming months.

The funding helped facilitate a partnership with the Brooklyn Museum, which created art-based programming for participants to learn more about the Museum’s permanent collection and engage in discussions on the artwork, inspiring them to think critically about abstract concepts like justice and accountability. Participants also have the opportunity to channel their creativity by producing artwork of their own.

“All of us here are committed to more alternatives to incarceration programming,” Speaker Johnson said during the announcement. “Last May during my criminal justice speech, I laid out my proposals to reform the system, including both expanding Project Reset across the city and expanding alternatives to incarceration programming. And I am very happy to say today that we are doing it.”

You can learn more about Project Reset by visiting their page on the Center for Court Innovation’s website here.

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(Image Credit: NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development)

Heat season is now in effect. That means, between October 1st and May 31st, building owners are required to provide tenants with heat according to the following rules:

  • Between 6 AM and 10 PM, if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Between 10 PM and 6 AM, the inside temperature must be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. There is no outside temperature requirement.

(Hot water must be provided 365 days per year at a constant minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.)

For more information on the rules governing heat provision, visit the NYC Department of Housing Preservation's website.

Also, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Council Member if your landlord isn’t providing adequate heat during this time period. You can find contact information for that individual by entering your home address on the Council’s website here.

Additionally, Daylight Savings Time ended on November 3rd. NYC Emergency Management and the FDNY are using the opportunity to remind New Yorkers about two important emergency preparedness tips:

  • Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries: Check and change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s quick and easy, and it saves lives.
  • Update your Emergency Supply Kit: Restock any items you may have used, and replace any items that may have expired.


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(Image Credit: @Vanessalgibson)

On October 24th, the New York City Council, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) and community advocates, once again marked National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by wearing purple.

The sixth annual event, known as NYC Go Purple Day, is held each year to raise awareness about domestic violence (DV) and provide information on resources and services that are available to survivors in New York City.

Purple is the color traditionally associated with the movement to end domestic violence, which continues to occur at alarming rates throughout the City, regardless of demographic factors such as race, age, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or income level.

According to reports from the New York Police Department, they responded to an average of 300 intimate partner-related domestic incidents each day in 2018 – a number that, while alarmingly high, may not fully reflect reality since some residents call the police while others don’t for cultural and personal reasons. And while the City’s murder rate has significantly and steadily decreased over the last 25 years, domestic violence homicides have not shown similar rates of decline.

This year, in addition to wearing purple, the Council took a more community-focused approach. Council Members and DV service providers approached local business owners in their communities and asked them to prominently display information about DV resources that they provided.

Members were also encouraged to include information about DV resources in their communications to constituents throughout October. This material included flyers directing survivors to the NYC Family Justice Center and NYCHope, information on the NYC Healthy Relationship Training Academy, and a National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Digital Toolkit.

And, of course, Council Members, their staffs, and community activists wore purple on October 24th and posted pictures on social media using the hashtags #NYCGoPurple, #DVAM2019, #NYCHOPE, #DVAM, and #AwarenessHelpHope.

While dedicating a month to raising awareness of DV is important, the Council remains committed to ending DV year-round.

In fact, earlier this year, the Council passed two important bills to address DV incidents: Local Law 39 of 2019, which requires ENDGBV to conduct outreach to cosmetologists to help them recognize signs of domestic violence; and Local Law 38 of 2019, which requires ENDGBV to report on DV prevention initiatives.

Additionally, in Fiscal Year 2020, the Council enhanced its commitment to DV services, providing a total $12.2 million for the following initiatives:

  • Domestic Violence and Empowerment (DoVE) Initiative ($9.8 million) – This initiative supports more than 100 community-based organizations in their efforts to provide a range of services, including case management, crisis intervention, referrals, counseling, empowerment workshops, legal advocacy, and referrals;
  • Supportive Alternatives to Violent Encounters (SAVE) Initiative ($2.4 million) – This three-pronged, community-based initiative supports comprehensive wrap-around services for DV victims, including prevention, community training, direct legal representation and legal advice, counseling, and referrals.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, visit, or call the City's 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) for immediate safety planning, shelter assistance, and other resources. The New York City Family Justice Center also provides free and confidential assistance for victims and survivors, with offices in all five boroughs.


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Council Member Carlos Menchaca Hosts 2020 Census Jobs Fair (Photo Credit: CM Menchaca's Office)

During the week of October 20th, to support the launch of the U.S. Census Bureau’s nationwide 2020 Census recruitment campaign, City Council Members hosted job fairs across the five boroughs where New Yorkers could apply for 2020 Census jobs. Fourteen Council Members held job fairs in their districts, with more planning to hold fairs in the near future.

The Census Bureau needs to recruit 84,000 applicants in New York City to conduct the 2020 Census. To ensure New York City gets a complete count, it is crucial that census jobs, especially door-knocking jobs, go to New Yorkers who reflect the demographics in their communities. At a time when distrust of government is high, census takers must be able to communicate with and have the trust of the neighbors they are counting.

Until recently, only U.S. citizens were eligible for census jobs, a requirement that could have potentially hamstrung recruiting efforts in diverse cities like New York, in particular efforts to recruit staff with specialized language skills critical to reaching hard-to-count communities. Council Members Carlos Menchaca and Carlina Rivera, who serve as Co-Chairs of the New York City Council’s 2020 Census Task Force, sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management urging that the Census Bureau be permitted to hire non-citizens for critical outreach positions that may be hard to fill with qualified U.S. citizens. The letter was signed by two-thirds of the City Council. On October 22nd, the Census Bureau announced that non-citizens with work authorization can be hired for specific language needs in the absence of a qualified citizen in the applicant pool.

New Yorkers can apply NOW to be part of the 2020 Census field operation. Census taker, recruiting assistant, office clerk, and office supervisor positions in NYC will pay $20-27.50/hour based on position. The field positions are part-time and have flexible hours. Paid training is provided, no prior skills are necessary, and a 2020 Census job could be an entry point to a career with the Census Bureau.

To apply, go to or call 1-855-JOB-2020 (call 800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII). Click here for more information on how to apply. To apply for professional and managerial positions, go to


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Council Member Chaim Deutsch, Chair of the Council's Jewish Caucus (Photo Credit: William Alatriste)

This year, for the first time ever, City Hall hosted a Sukkah, which was open to the public, in honor of the Jewish holiday Sukkot

The Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which began on the evening of October 13th, commemorates the time the Jewish nation spent in the wilderness after G-d freed them from slavery in Egypt.

Sukkot is a time to give thanks for the blessings of freedom and to remember the fragility of life.  

One facet of the holiday is a tradition in which observing Jews build a “hut” or “Sukkah” – a temporary structure that may serve as a second home during the festival.  A Sukkah is used for eating, sleeping, and spending time with family and friends, and is meant to imitate the huts built by the Jewish people during their 40-year sojourn through the desert. 

Special thanks to the New York City Council Jewish Caucus and Chair Chaim Deutsch, the Mayor’s Office, the NYPD, and Rabbi Shmuel Butman, Director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for their assistance in helping to make this first-ever Sukkah at City Hall happen.

News Coverage:


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Participant at Rally Denouncing ICE Activities in the Rockaways (Photo Credit: John McCarten)

Given the recent threats of mass immigration raids and increased enforcement, we want to remind all New Yorkers that you have certain rights that cannot be violated when interacting with agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). To learn more about your rights and what to do during such an encounter, visit

The City has made significant investments to ensure that New Yorkers have access to free and safe immigration legal help in multiple languages, regardless of their immigration status. Individuals can access city-funded providers through ActionNYC by calling the hotline at 1-800-354-0365.

Additionally, the New York City Council is a proud funder of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), the nation’s first public defender system for detained immigrants in deportation proceedings. The Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society, and Brooklyn Defender Services provide a free attorney to those who are unrepresented at Varick Street Immigration Court.

On September 10th, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca, along with immigration attorneys and activists, announced a $16.6 million allocation for NYIFUP in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget – a $5 million increase over last year – in response to the federal administration’s efforts to ramp up immigration enforcement.

The City Council also funds the Immigrant Children Advocates' Relief Effort (ICARE) Coalition, which supports nonprofit organizations (Catholic Charities, Central American Legal Assistance, The Door, The Legal Aid Society, and the Safe Passage Project) that provide advice, legal representation, and social services to children and families in deportation proceedings in New York City.

For additional information about these and other important resources for our immigrant communities, visit


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Please join us on Thursday, November 21, 2019, as we celebrate Albanian Independence at the New York City Council. 

There will be traditional song and dance, special appearances by our guest honorees, and more! 

The flyer below contains additional details about the event, which is scheduled to begin at 6 pm inside the Council Chambers at New York City Hall. (Doors open at 5:30 pm.) 

To RSVP, please visit our Council events page or call (212) 482-6749 by Tuesday, November 19th.

For questions about accessibility, please call (212) 482-4124 or email To request additional accommodations, please contact us at least three business days before the event. 

We look forward to seeing you there!



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