Signs legislation to improve access to SNAP for low-income seniors, facilitate tipping in for-hire vehicles, and study pedestrian safety measures around schools and parks.
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed seven pieces of legislation into law—Intro. 671-A, in relation to pedestrian countdown displays; Intro. 1000-B, in relation to NYPD reporting for seized property data; Intro. 1234-A, in relation to notifications for muni-meter installations; Intro. 1411-A, in relation to pedestrian access to park facilities; Intro. 1519-A, in relation to SNAP enrollment and recertification for seniors; Intro. 407-A, in relation to notice of changes to Parks capital projects; and Intro. 1646-A, in relation to gratuity for for-hire vehicles. The Mayor also held a hearing for Intro. 214-B, in relation to providing legal services for tenants.
“These bills enrich the lives and ensure the safety of New Yorkers, by improving transparency and access to government services. This Administration is committed to helping low-income New Yorkers and making this a fairer city for all,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Thank you to Speaker Mark-Viverito and the sponsors of these bills for their tireless efforts to improve the lives of all New Yorkers.”
“The legislation being signed represents essential quality of life improvements for New Yorkers,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “With some of the highest rates of food insecure seniors nationally, increasing coordination between the Department of Social Services and the Department for the Aging to increase awareness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a vital initiative to be taking on. Similarly, requiring the option to tip for-hire vehicles helps ensure that our residents are that much more empowered to provide for themselves. I thank my colleagues on the City Council for their work in developing these items, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing them into law today.”
The first bill, Intro. 1000-B, requires the NYPD to issue regular reports about property they have seized. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Torres.
“The civil forfeiture process has stripped many low-income citizens of their property and belongings without due process and in violation of their constitutional rights. This first-of-its-kind transparency legislation will shed light on the reasons why the NYPD has seized someone’s property, whether revenue is generated from property seizure, and if an individual has been able to get their property back. The legislation will help ensure that the civil forfeiture process is used legitimately,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.
The second bill, Intro. 1234-A, requires that the Department of Transportation notify Council Members and community boards at least 10 days before a muni meter is installed in their district and provides an opportunity for public comments on the installations. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Salamanca.
“Empowering our communities when it comes to the siting of things like muni-meters only works to benefit all of us, which is why I initially proposed this legislation and was proud to see it unanimously pass the Council last month,” said Council Member Salamanca. “I’m proud to see the Mayor sign this bill into law today.”
The third bill, Intro. 1519-A, will further enable the enrollment of low-income New Yorkers in SNAP food assistance at senior centers. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Koslowitz.
“Currently couples with a pre-tax monthly income of $1736 receive a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit of $357. It is readily apparent how critical this benefit is. Yet, we have too many needy seniors who are not availing themselves of this SNAP benefit. I believe this bill is an important step in expanding the nutritional safety net for seniors in our city,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.
The fourth bill, Intro. 1646-A, requires a tipping option for for-hire vehicles through the same method that riders use to pay their fares. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Rodriguez.
The fifth and sixth bills, Intro. 407-A, requires that the Parks Department notify Council Members if there is a price change of at least 10 percent for construction projects costing more than $500,000. Intro. 1411-A mandates that all athletic facilities are safely and directly accessible from roads via sidewalks and paths. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bills’ sponsors, Council Members Vacca and Borelli.
“When my colleagues and I fund capital projects in our communities, we want to see them completed in a timely and efficient manner,” said Council Member James Vacca. “Unfortunately, there are frequently massive cost overruns in Parks projects and it feels like we are allocating funds into a bottomless pit. We need accountability when it comes to the public’s money and my bill increases transparency by requiring the Department of Parks to proactively notify Council Members when there are changes to projects we have funded. By being made aware of these change orders, we can effectively exercise our oversight role and make the entire capital process run more effectively.”
“Intro. 1411 was derived of the frustration of countless parents and children who, in trying to safely enter their local parks for weekend soccer matches, have had to carry equipment and push strollers on Arthur Kill Road because no sidewalks were ever installed to provide safe pedestrian access from the street. Over the last year, I’ve worked with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the administration, and a host of other municipal stakeholders to ensure that the issue would be resolved and the solution would be feasible for the city to implement. I’m grateful for the support of Council Member Levine, whose staff has been an asset throughout this process, I’m glad we’ve reached our goal, and I hope to continue to expand safe access to our city’s parks in the future,” said Council Member Joseph Borelli.
The seventh bill, Intro. 671-A, requires the Department of Transportation to study the potential impact of pedestrian countdown timers near schools and parks and install them where appropriate. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Vallone.
“I’m proud to stand with our principals, teachers, parents, students and seniors in our combined fight for safety around our schools and parks. This is an issue that must be addressed before another child or senior is injured just crossing a public street, in our community and throughout the city,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “The well-being of our children should be our number one priority and this bill will provide a major boost for the safety of all students and their families.”