New York City Council Member Ben Kallos serves as Chair of the Comittee on Governmental Operations and a member of the Committees on Land Use, Courts & Legal Services, State & Federal Legislation, Women's Issues and the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses.
Council Member Kallos has authored laws and resolutions that will improve quality of life, democracy, transparency in government and championed women’s issues.
QUALITY OF LIFE ENFORCEMENT:
- Catching Scofflaws (Law 45 of ’16) – Information added to all quality of life violations will help identify who is responsible and collect fines.
- Stopping Repeat Offenders (Law 47 of ’16) – City agencies that issue quality of life violations are now required to deny, suspend, or revoke licenses and permits for unpaid fines or repeat offenders.
- Counting Every Life on the Construction Site (Law 78 of '17) - by forcing contractors to report injuries and deaths at constructions sites or face fines up to $25,000 to count every injury and every life, so that we will know the who, what, where and why around every injury or death to help make construction in our city safer.
PROTECTING NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING FROM OVERDEVELOPMENT:
- Application Requirements (Law 103 of '17) - for developers to show why zoning laws should not apply to them with fines of up to $15,000 for knowingly falsifying information.
- Financial Expertise (Law 102 of '17) - provided for the city with a state certified Real Estate Appraiser to review and analyze developers' financials.
- Protecting Neighborhood Plans (Law 101 of '17) - by designating a coordinator at City Planning Commission to defend the city's plan from unnecessary variances.
- Reporting on Variances (Law 104 of '17) - including the number of pre-application meeting requests, number of applications, number of variances approved or denied, and the average length of time for decisions.
- Map to Prevent Rezoning by Variance (Law 105 of '17) - with an interactive online map of all variances and special permits granted since 1998.
- Prohibiting Outside Income (Law 20 of ’16) – The City Council now works full time for the people without the influence of other sources of income.
- Eliminating “Legal Bribery” (Res. 980 of ’16) – Former Speakers used to reward Council Member allies with payments in lieu of compensation, or “lulus,” a practice that the Daily News called “legal bribery.” My resolution banned it from the City Council.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
- Closing Campaign for One New York Loophole (Law 181 of ’16, co-sponsor) – by limiting contributions to non-profits controlled by elected officials and disclosing donors.
- Quelling Special Interests Dollars (Law 167 of ‘16) – by ending the practice of matching funds bundled by lobbyists and special interests with public dollars.
- Online Conflict of Interest Disclosures (Law 21 of '16, co-prime sponsor) - disclosure of income, debt, property and interests of elected officials will now be available online for anyone to review.
- Early Public Fund Payments (Law 168 of ‘16) – to help campaigns that take public dollars get on the ballot and reach voters.
- Better Debates (Law 169 of ‘16) – by only including campaigns that are spending money to win.
- Voter Information Portal (Law 65 of ’16) – Will empower voters to track an absentee ballot, find poll site location, view ballots, and verify registration status and that votes were counted.
- Pro-Voter Law Expansion (Law 63 of ’14) - requires 25 city agencies to provide voter registration forms and assist individuals with completing them, so everyone gets registered.
- Online Voter Guide (Law 43 of ‘14) - saving the environment and money, while increasing access to information in off-year uncontested elections.
- Save Paper and Money on Voter Guide (Law 170 of ’16) – by allowing voters to opt-out of receiving mailers.
- Same Day and Online Registration Advocacy (Res. 1061 of ’16) – to pass state constitutional amendment.
- Teens on Community Boards (Res. 115 of ‘14) – opens community boards to our best and brightest 16 and 17-year-olds
TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT:
- Open Legislation (Res. 184 of ’14, co-sponsor) – as part of the Council’s rules reform process, I provided language requiring posting legislation online and public engagement.
- Open Mapping (Law 108 of ’15) - standardizes address and geospatial information so Open Data has location information.
- Law Online (Law 37 of ‘14, co-prime sponsor) – puts our city’s law online for you to search, download, and read.
- City Record Online (Law 38 of ‘14) – public notices from the city, previously published in a daily newspaper, are now online and fully searchable so you can learn what is happening in your community.
COASTAL RESILIENCY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE:
- Reforming Waterfront Management (Law 96 of ’16) – resuscitates an advisory board for advocates, experts, and all levels of government to use and protect over 500 miles of shoreline.
- National Women’s History Museum (Res. 354 of ‘14) – supporting Congress Member Maloney’s successful passage.
Legislative Status: Referred to Committee
Under the legislation, following a noise complaint about construction or a commercial establishment the DEP would have to send an inspector within two hours or at a later date but within an hour of the time the original complaint was received. Which means that if you make a complaint about noise from a bar Friday at 9PM, DEP should send an inspector by 11PM. If they can’t, an inspector will be sent that Saturday or the following Friday at 9PM.
Requires reporting on which schools have a GSA, whether existing clubs have a budget, what support the school is providing to the GSA, whether parents and teachers are involved, how frequently the GSA has met, and whether teachers have received GSA training.
This bill would require the Department of Education (DOE) to report to the Council and post publicly on DOE’s website a report regarding certain health services offered to students in city schools, specifically dental services, vision services, HPV vaccinations, contraception, and substance abuse counseling. The bill would also require DOE to report on outcomes for schools that offer such services compared with schools that do not. The report would be required annually, starting November 1, 2017
Any time a paper form, an operator, or website requests information like a name, email, income, or other details that information could just as easily be provided by an app through an API. Similarly, anytime the city shares information on whether you qualified for public benefits, are registered to vote, or owe taxes that could just as easily be provided by an app through an API. An Application Programming Interface or API provides a set of definitions, protocols and tools for building application software, or in general terms it provides a translation dictionary for different software to communicate to make it easier for developers to program new applications.
Light pollution can harm wildlife and make it hard to stargaze let alone for New Yorkers to get a good night’s sleep. Under new legislation from Council Member Ben Kallos, street lights would be “fully shielded” to stop them from shining up into the sky or the windows of nearby residents, instead only illuminating the sidewalks and streets intended.
“New York City may be the city that ‘never sleeps’, but that shouldn’t be because of a street light outside your bedroom window. Fully shielded light fixtures will brighten up the day with fewer sleep deprived New Yorkers walking around in a bad mood,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Fully shielded light fixtures will reduce light pollution to conserve energy, protect wildlife, improve stargazing, and help New Yorkers get a good night’s sleep.”
Unshielded Partially Shielded Fully Shielded
Types of light pollution include:
- Glare – excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort.
- Over-Illumination – providing too much lighting and wastes energy.
- Clutter – bright, confusing, and excessive groupings of light source.
- Skyglow – brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas reducing visibility of stars.
- Light Trespass – light falling where it is not intended, needed and often unwelcome.
Impacts on wild life includes removing necessary rest periods for plant life, interfering with migratory patterns of birds, reducing activity areas for nocturnal insects and animals, and more.
There are roughly 3.5 million private-sector workers in New York City, a significant percentage of whom have no access to retirement savings whatsoever. This bill would establish an individual retirement account (IRA) program for private-sector workers at businesses with 10 or more employees located in New York City that do not already offer retirement savings plans. Enrollment in the program is automatic, but employees may opt out. Contributions are handled through payroll deductions and set at a default rate, but employees may change their contribution rate. Savings accounts would be comprised of individual employees’ savings only; neither employers nor the City would contribute to individual accounts. Covered employers would be required to distribute program information to employees. The bill also sets forth a complaint procedure and civil penalties for violations.
The bill would establish a goal of zero waste in New York City by 2030.
The bill would require waste and recycling receptacles in common areas of buildings be labeled as either “landfill,” “recycling” or “compost.”
This bill would require owners to install and maintain radiator covers.
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York and the New York city charter in relation to signage in privately owned public spaces
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to penalties for violations of conditions and restrictions on privately owned public spaces
This bill would increase from $4,000 to $10,000the minimum penalty for a violation of the legal requirements applicable to a privately owned public space.
This bill would require the Department of Buildings to report on all construction accidents that result in an injury or fatality to a member of the public or a construction worker.
This bill would require that contractors working on certain projects receiving City financial assistance participate in an apprenticeship program. It would also require reporting of certain information concerning such projects.
Resolution calling upon Congress to pass and the President to sign, legislation that would establish an American Museum of Women’s History as a part of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Nearly 9,000 scaffolds that entomb 190 miles of City sidewalks may soon be dismantled, under legislation introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos. Unnecessary scaffolding also known as “sidewalk sheds” would have to be removed if seven days pass without construction work.
Sidewalk sheds are temporary structures, made of wooden planks, boards and metal pipes to protect pedestrians from dangerous conditions that are being corrected or new construction. Scaffolding is not only an eyesore but attract crime such as drug deals and provide an alternative to shelter for homeless. Many sidewalk sheds persist for years, sometimes more than a decade. There are several sidewalk sheds in Council District 5 represented by Kallos that have been up for years, over two years at 340 East 64th Street and 301 East 95th Street and over three years at 349 East 74th Street. Often times, it is much more expensive to fix a dangerous condition than to leave a sidewalk shed up indefinitely
Kallos’ legislation would set the following timeline for sidewalk sheds in place for dangerous conditions:
- 90 days for building owners to fix a dangerous condition,
- 90 additional for building owners days to fix the dangerous condition upon extension,
- After 180 days, the city would do the work to correct the dangerous condition and bill the owner for all costs.
- Work could not be interrupted for more than 7 days without a mandate to take down the sidewalk shed or face heavy penalties.
Under the same legislation, new construction would need to continue without more than 7 days of interruption until the new development is safely capped off or completed. Exemptions in the legislation provide for weather, stop work orders, time awaiting permit renewals or in cases of safety risks.
This bill would require persons who assemble or evaluate screening reports containing court history of residential tenants and applicants for residential housing to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The bill would also require that all tenant screening reports contain certain information about each court proceeding referenced in the report. Finally, the bill would grant DCA enforcement authority, would establish civil penalties for violations, and would create a private right of action for tenants and prospective tenants injured by violations.
This bill would require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (often called DCAS) to include information about which buildings are available for rental by the public in their public list of City-owned real property. It would also require the list or some other website to allow the public to reserve, rent, and make rental payments with respect to the properties where rental is permitted.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to requiring all job vacancies at city agencies to be posted online.
This bill would require the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT) to require City websites to use web analytics to help optimize their websites. Web analytics are tools used to measure a website’s use, traffic, traffic sources and analyze other web data for the purposes of improving the effectiveness of a website.
This bill would require the mayor to establish and maintain a public online database to contain certain information for every agency procurement that exceeds the small purchase limits. This information includes applicable requests for proposals or public notices, submitted responses, and details about the awarded contract (such as the name of the contractor, term of the contract, and dollar amount of the contract).
How New York City spends $82 billion would be more transparent, with a city budget that is searchable and computer readable instead of printed or in lengthy PDFs, by requiring the budget to be searchable, posted in open formats, and available for third parties to “build an app for that.”
The legislation would align New York City data standards for its budget with the Federal standards in the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) that lead to the adoption of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) so that any software built for the Federal budget could easily be used with the city’s budget like USAspending.gov.
Match Every New York City Resident’s Small Dollars
New York City’s campaign finance system matches the first $175 of contributions from residents by 6 to 1 and gives participating candidates a partial public matching grant of up to 55% of the spending limit in competitive races. This leaves more than 1/3 of the funds outstanding between the public matching grant and the spending limit, which must be reached to be competitive. The “big dollar gap” for Mayor is $2.5 million.
Introduction 1130-A by Council Members Kallos, Lander, and Cabrera, increases the public matching grant from an arbitrary partial match of 55% to a full match. Every small dollar raised from city residents would be matched 6 to 1. Candidates could still raise contributions of $4,950 for Mayor, but would be incentivized to seek small donations from many more residents by matching every small dollar.
- Reduce Big Money by filling the “big dollar gap” with small dollars matched with a full public matching grant.
- Increase the Number of Small Donors by a minimum of 50% for candidates seeking a full public matching grant.
This bill would amend the New York city charter to provide for an alternative method for candidates for the offices of mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president and member of the city council to get onto the ballot by allowing such candidates to get onto the ballot by raising the threshold amount of funding to qualify for participation in the campaign finance board’s small dollar matching program.
This bill would require the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to establish a system where a single user identification and password can be used to access all publicly accessible websites that require user identification or a password.
The legislation seeks to solve the following longstanding problems with affordable housing:
- Non-Registration – owners fail to register thousands of buildings with tens of thousands of units for which they receive hundreds of millions in tax breaks each year.
- Paper Applications – applicants must mail an application request, receive the application by mail, return the application by mail, and wait hoping nothing got lost in the mail.
- Lotteries and Rejections – three quarters of applications have been rejected in lotteries because individuals apply for the wrong affordable housing for their income.
- Waiting List Corruption – investigations revealed dozens of instances of corruption and bribery surrounding waiting lists for affordable housing.
- Numerous Individual Places to Apply – Multiple websites offered by DHCR,HPD, HDC and non-profits like Met Council as well as at individual affordable housing buildings.
The legislation would provide the following solutions:
- Owner Registration – owners of rent regulated or affordable housing receiving government subsidies would be required to register each unit online with the city on an annual basis.
- Enforcement and Fines – enforcement would be required by HPD, with a private right of action for individuals, with penalties that escalated from $100 per month per unit to $2,000 per month per unit.
- Preventing Warehousing – where is not already illegal, it would be illegal to warehouse any affordable housing unit for which a government subsidy was received.
- Protection from Illegal Rents – tenants could verify the legality of their rent by entering personal information and current rent to receive their rent history from HPD.
- Manager and Superintendent Information – currently filed by owners under the housing maintenance code, this information would be available online for the public.
- Matching Residents with Single Application for All Affordable Housing – residents could enter their financial and household information to be matched through a single online application to all affordable housing opportunities for which they qualify.
- Lotteries and Waiting List Transparency – anonymous unique identifiers for both units and applicants providing privacy protection through online tracking of the lottery process and waiting lists by all by web, email or text, along with whether an applicant received a preference and a list of the possible reasons for that preference.
- Privacy – privacy protections would be provided for victims of domestic violence with units receiving tenant based financial assistance such as SCRIE, DRIE, or HASA excluded.
The bill would require that the city conduct air quality monitoring in areas of the city close to marine transfer stations.
This bill would allow voters to opt-out of receiving a printed copy of the Campaign Finance Board’s Voter Guide, which is currently prepared and mailed to every household with a registered voter prior to local elections. It would also require the Campaign Finance Board to produce a Voter Guide, though not necessarily in a printed format, for state and federal election races.
This bill would modify the standard for contributions raised and spent by candidates who participate in the City’s public funding matching program in order to be eligible to participate in the first official debate for the office they seek. It would change the formula for eligibility from having raised 20% of the threshold for public funding for the office they seek to having raised and spent 2.5% of the expenditure limit for such office. The effect of this would be to increase the minimum funds raised to between 300% and 400% of the previous minimums.
This bill would allow for the earlier disbursement of limited amounts of public money to qualifying candidates who wish to participate in the City’s public matching campaign finance system during their campaigns. It would change the earliest possible date for disbursement from following the finalization of the candidates who qualify for the ballot to shortly after the deadline for certification for participation in the public matching program.
This bill would eliminate the possibility of matching, with public funds, any contribution to a candidate for local office that is bundled by a lobbyist or person who has, or may have, business dealings with the City.
This bill would provide that building code violations adjudicated before Environmental Control Board (ECB) in which a judgment has been entered against owners of certain residential and commercial buildings, but have not been paid by such owners, constitute tax liens on the property of such owners, which would subject the building of such to be foreclosed upon by the City if the judgment remains unpaid.
The bill as amended is the first step toward a reimagining of how government thinks about and administers public assistance programs.
- “Automatic Notices” to recipients and applicants of one public assistance program when they are likely to qualify for additional programs, along with a copy of the other application(s) and instructions.
- “Automatic Pre-filled Applications and Renewals” using information from previous applications to pre-fill other program applications for which they are likely to qualify.
- Assistance completing applications over the phone through 311, online, or in person.
- Annual Goals and Planning by Department of Social Services to enroll all individuals eligible for public assistance with reporting on the number of individuals enrolled, offered assistance, with breakdowns by program type.
A resolution introduced alongside the bill calls on federal and state governments to pass laws to enable provisions that would phase in to provide benefits automatically.
The original bill provided for new programs as federal and state laws passed to do the following:
- “Automatic Benefits” to automatically enroll residents in all public assistance programs for which they qualify, unless the resident opts out.
- “Automatic Renewal” to renew assistance program participation using tax and other information government already has in order to determine continued eligibility.
- “Automatic Notices, Applications and Benefits from Tax Filings” would be provided to tax filers with benefits for which they qualified. This would phase in when federal or state laws allowed for sharing of tax filing information between federal, state and city governments and consolidation or waiver of applications.
- “Universal Application” to combine existing public assistance applications into a single application for all programs.
- Free and Open Source Benefits Engine to minimize costs by sharing the code and technological infrastructure among governments.
In all cases individuals would be able to receive materials electronically and decline benefits.
The bill mandates that if property owners fail to perform needed sidewalk repairs, the city will issue penalties and then step in to provide the fixes and bill the party responsible. The legislation is specifically focused on the ramps that connect crosswalks to sidewalks, many of which have fallen into a state of disrepair. In a study, the Center for the Independence of the Disabled New York has found that 75% out of 1,000 curbs in lower Manhattan were hazardous for disabled residents.
This bill would require that, when an agency issues a notice of violation to an individual or entity that does not meet the standard for a valid notice of violation established by the Environmental Control Board or Office of Administrative Tribunals, as applicable, the agency amend the notice of violation if possible. The notice of violation would then be provided to the alleged violator in the same manner as an original notice of violation and a new hearing date would be assigned.
This bill would prohibit city agencies from applying to any property owned or leased by the city any chemically based pesticide.
Resolution calling upon Congress to pass and the President to sign, as well as the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign, legislation to permit a single universal application for public benefits, as well as to use tax filings or information already in an agency's possession to automatically provide eligible individuals with the public benefits.
The bill would make the New York City Administration for Child Services (ACS), which provides subsidized childcare programs to 120,000 low-income children each year, more transparent and accountable. It would require reporting on several aspects of the childcare programs, notably closures, applications, and placements, in order to ensure that they best serve the city's children.
This bill would require the Department of Education to provide data, related to student participation in various free school breakfast, free salad bar, and free afterschool meals, to the Council and on their website. The report would provide information about initiatives and programs aimed at increasing student participation in the free meals. Additionally, the data would provide the total number have a salad bar in the cafeteria.
The bill would require landlords to distribute voter registration forms, in multiple languages if requested, to every tenant when signing a new lease, as well as provide assistance in submission of the forms.
The legislation would expand New York City’s Workforce1 job centers and online information hub to include resources and training for parents returning to work after taking time off. This would include technology training, public-private partnerships, specialized resume assistance, proactive outreach and expanded online information to help parents return to work.
The bill would require the use of recycled concrete in all new street construction projects, in order to reduce carbon emissions during production. Specifically, it would require that at least 30% of the concrete used comes from recycled sources.
The bill would dedicate urban planners to each of New York City's 59 community boards. Community boards play an important advisory role in decisions over a neighborhood's growth and a dedicated urban planner for each board would provide them with vital information to help make these decisions.
Congress and the states authority to regulate the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.
Requires that the location of cars towed due to temporary parking restrictions, such as film shoots or parades, is available on the Department of Transportation website or by calling 311.
Improves upon the Young Adult Voter Registration Act, incluing by requiring distribution of registration forms to high school students in class as well as provided coded forms in order to facilitate tracking.
This bill would require each city agency that collects personal information to develop a system to protect the privacy of that information. The system of protection would include appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality of personal records and would also require the destruction of those records once the purpose of collecting that information is achieved.
This bill would require each city agency that collects personal information to develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive security program to protect that information. As part of the comprehensive security program agencies would need to develop safeguards for protecting personal information, including ongoing employee training, restrictions on physical access to information, disciplinary measures for violation of security program rules, regular monitoring of the security program operations, and periodic review of the security program components.
If the security program is electronic, the program would be required to include secure authentication protocols, unique identifier technologies, control of data security passwords, firewall security protection, and encryption of all transmitted personal information on public or wireless networks, portable media, or shared with third-party service providers
Prevent landlords from using information from housing court records to discriminate against tenants when they have satisfied the terms of an order issued in housing court. The so-called blacklists contain an estimated hundreds of thousands of names of would-be renters, and are often used by landlords to deny future housing to potential tenants. The legislation would allow tenants to file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights and fine landlords if a violation was found.
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to prohibiting hydraulic fracturing in New York City.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to early voting in municipal elections.
This bill would require the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to develop an e-hail application which would allow customers to electronically hail a yellow taxicab or a green street hail vehicle. The application would be the only application used by yellow taxicab or green street hail drivers to accept electronic hails. The bill would require that the application be capable of allowing customers to electronically hail an accessible vehicle. The bill would also require the TLC to develop a program to allow third-party applications to submit electronic hail requests to drivers through the application.
A resolution calling upon Congress to pass the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act and for the FCC to reclassify broadband as a common carrier, in order to ensure net neutrality.
Would allow residents to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot at the same time.
Requires the New York City Board of Elections to create a secure website to allow any eligible resident to submit a voter registration application.
Kids’ meals that include toys as incentives would meet specific nutritional standards that include:
- 500 calories or less;
- 600 mgs of sodium or less;
- Fewer than 35% of calories from fat;
- Fewer than 10% of calories from saturated fats;
- Fewer than 10% of calories from added sugars; and
- A serving of fruit, vegetable or whole grains.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to providing public notice of production permits.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to notification of community boards of changes of regulations relating to traffic.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to requiring that no videotape, or its contents, produced by an agency be destroyed or otherwise disposed of and that the head of each agency transmit to the municipal reference and research center such material in a timely manner.
“Public Online Information Act” (POIA) mandates that materials that are “public information” or subject to “public inspection” be made accessible to the public timely fashion and user-friendly format online through the agency’s website, a centralized website and through an open application program interface (API) to provide sharable data to empower civic hackers and developers to create their own apps. While Open Data has made great strides in making government information available warehouses full of materials are still being generated that are not making it online because they are only “public information” or are only subject to “public inspection.” This changes all that and will put materials online like:
- All city contracts;
- Department of building technical standards, accident investigations, and waivers;
- Transcripts from public hearings that are keyword searchable;
This legislation is modeled on federal bill by the same name introduced this year by Congress Member Steve Israel (D-NY) as H.R. 4312 and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) as S. 549. It also supplements Open Data, Local Law 11 of 2012, passed by former Council Member Gale Brewer, the current Manhattan Borough President.
“eNotices” will mandate that public notices be accessible online to New Yorkers while expanding and specifying the definition of “public notices.” In addition to publication in newspapers, the City Record, or posts on bulletin boards and lampposts, residents will also have access to notifications on electronically centralized websites with open application program interface (API) to provide shareable data to empower civic hackers and developers to create their own apps to disseminate items of local importance.
Free and Open Source Software Act (FOSSA), would minimize city contracts for proprietary software in favor of free and open source software (FOSS) that can be shared between government agencies and bodies instead of propriety programs that currently require the city and other municipalities, including the state, to pay private vendors over and over again for the same code. FOSS provides the city with power over the code and the freedom to study, modify, upgrade, improve, customize, maintain and redistribute within agencies and to other cities or states. Free software means code that is free from proprietary constraints, not free of charge.
Civic Commons Act, would encourage the collaborative software purchasing of free and open source software among agencies, cities and states to pool resources, avoid duplicated effort, create portable expertise, grow jobs, and reduce costs. A Civic Commons FOSS portal would be created to facilitate collaborative software purchasing and host the collaborative FOSS source code as well as FOSS projects identified as useful for government use. Civic Commons is currently a project of Code for America, a not-for-profit hosted at Commons.CodeForAmerica.org with more information available at wiki.CivicCommons.org.
“OpenMaps,” introduced by Kallos and Vacca, mandates that data sets behind government maps, like those at NYCityMap (http://maps.nyc.gov/), become open and shareable so residents, civic hackers and developers can create apps to help:
- Drivers find off-street parking at garages and lots;
- Bicyclists find CityRacks and bicycle parking shelters;
- Residents find free access to broadband and wi-fi;And government services of all kinds, including youth, aging, health, parks, cultural, and education services.
“Open GIS,” introduced by Kallos, Rodriguez and Lander, creates a new level of specificity for NYC Crime Map (http://maps.nyc.gov/crime/), specifying the exact location of the incident using GPS coordinates along with date and time for every violation, crime and arrest – including the exact location on the street where collisions occur. Current forms only record nearest intersection or street address, leaving the public without the specific corner or crosswalk on a street or pathway within a park where incidents occurred. The legislation will empower the NYPD, DOT and safety advocates in the public with the knowledge to address safety concerns with the precision necessary to prevent future otherwise preventable incidents, in line with the mission of Vision Zero.
Resolution supporting a statewide and national ban on nontherapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock production and calling upon the United States Congress to pass and the President to sign the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act (S. 1256) and the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 1150).
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to an office of food policy.
Legislative Status: Heard by Committee
This bill would amend the deadline for candidates for public office to file a disclosure report with the Conflicts of Interest Board.
The proposed legislation would require the Department of Education (DOE) to track and report information on applications, offers of admission, and enrollment citywide, disaggregated by school, and further disaggregated by grade level, community school district of residence, council district of residence and zip code. The proposed legislation would also require DOE to report on anticipated seats available citywide and at each school in the next academic year.
Consolidating Environmental Control Board (ECB) into the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH)
This bill would amend the charter and administrative code to include reference to an authorized tribunal of the office of administrative trials and hearings when making reference to the tribunal functions of the environmental control board, to reflect the consolidated tribunal structure of the office of administrative trials and hearings.
This bill would expand the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Third Party Transfer program, which allows the City to foreclose and sell distressed residential buildings to pre-qualified third parties, to include buildings whose owners have incurred large amounts of unsatisfied building violations.
Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature and the People of the State of New York to amend the State Constitution, and the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign legislation amending the Election Law to establish same-day and online voter registration.
Council Member Ben Kallos has re-introduce legislation authored by former Mayor Bloomberg that would limit the age of cranes operating in New York City with a 25 year age limit that will remove older cranes from operation and improve the safety of crane operations at construction sites. Modernization of crane inventory would reflect advances in design, technology and safety.
Mayor Bloomberg's Press Release:
Mayor Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Limandri Announce New Legislation to Limit the Age of Cranes Operating in New York City
December 10, 2013
25 Year Age Limit Will Remove Older Cranes from Operation and Improve the Safety of Crane Operations at Construction Sites
Modernization of Crane Inventory Reflects Advances in Design, Technology and Safety
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri today announced new legislation to limit the age of cranes operating in New York City as part of an ongoing effort to raise the standards for crane operations citywide. The bill would prohibit mobile and tower cranes manufactured more than 25 years ago from operating in New York City. Cranes would be removed from service based on the original date of manufacture, or based on the age of the crane’s oldest component, whichever is greater. In addition, crane owners would be required to outfit all cranes with load cycle counters to record data regarding every lift that a crane performs – which is critical to setting maintenance schedules and overall operability over a crane’s service life. Since 2008, the Department has taken steps to reduce the age of the crane fleet in New York City and discontinue the use of aging cranes. Newer crane models are generally electric, require less maintenance, have improved controls and advanced safety features, and are better for the environment. A strict limit on the service life of cranes will ensure that older models are continually phased-out and replaced with the most sophisticated and technologically advanced equipment available. Requiring crane owners to update their crane fleet and make new cranes available will help maintain New York City’s position as a worldwide leader in construction. The bill was introduced to the City Council at the request of the Mayor, following years of research on practices in other jurisdictions and extensive engagement with the City’s development and construction stakeholders.
“New York City has some of the toughest crane regulations in the world, and we enforce crane regulations more stringently than anywhere else,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since 2008, the City has adopted more than 25 new construction safety laws, conducted tougher inspections and raised licensing standards for crane operators. This legislation builds on those efforts by ensuring only state-of-the art, highly reliable equipment is transforming New York City’s skyline.”
“Imposing a limit on the age of cranes will bring our policy in line with the reality of advances in safety and technology in the crane industry,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “As building in New York City continues to accelerate, we must encourage crane manufactures to supply the construction industry with modernized equipment. In partnership with Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council, we have made impressive gains in increasing the City’s oversight of crane operations and demonstrated our commitment to making construction safer for workers and the public.”
On any construction site, cranes are responsible for delivering heavy loads throughout the property, and in a dense urban environment such as New York City, it is critical to ensure that this equipment performs to the highest standard. In 2008, the average age of tower cranes operating in New York City was 14.8 years. Today, the average age of tower cranes is 9.2 years. New York City enforces crane regulations more stringently than anywhere else in the world, and construction-related fatalities are down 84 percent this year compared to 2008 – despite an increase in construction permits. Since 2008, the Department has also issued cease-use orders for two models of cranes manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s and removed 36 tower cranes from operation. These models of cranes were ordered out of service after they were identified to have documented performance and safety issues.
Limiting the age of cranes is a major step in enhancing public safety and helping contractors and developers build more safely and efficiently. Cranes that remain in operation for a prolonged period of time are more susceptible to stress and fatigue. Older cranes develop heightened maintenance needs over time and the failure of certain parts, or defunct manufactures, make conducting proper repairs on older crane models more difficult. Newer cranes have advanced safety features and reduced maintenance needs. Cranes manufactured today tend to be electric – rather than diesel – are less noisy and produce fewer emissions. In addition, setting an age limit for cranes will allow crane owners and contractors to plan in advance for the purchase and manufacture of new cranes. It will also encourage investment in the research and design of new crane technologies that meet New York City’s high safety standards and unique needs. In recent years, similar age limitations for cranes have been implemented in jurisdictions, including a dozen European Union countries.
Since 2008, the Department has increased its oversight of crane operations across the City, including expanded inspection checklists, more training for crane inspectors, updated exams, stricter licensing requirements and several new laws and requirements, such as:
- Requirement of national certification and mandatory re-testing every five years for licensed crane operators;
- Requirement of detailed plans for the erection/dismantling of a tower crane;
- Requirement of a safety meeting before the erection, jumping, and dismantling of a tower crane;
- Requirement of tower crane workers to receive a 30-hour safety training course;
- Requirement of an inspection and certification by the engineer of record prior to jump or climbing;
- Prohibition of the use of nylon slings unless recommended by the manufacturer;
- Requirement of a third-party engineer inspection of a tower crane before an approval for erection.
Open FOIL would create a centralized, searchable database of Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests sent to City agencies. The online database would allow members of the public to both file FOIL requests and search previous ones. Information would include the date each request was filed and documentation of its progress. The site would be developed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and the Office of Operations.
Legislative Status: Adopted by City Council
Former Speakers used to reward Council Member allies with payments in lieu of compensation, or “lulus,” a practice that the Daily News called “legal bribery.” This resolution bans it from the City Council.
Resolution calling upon the United States Senate to pass and President to sign companion legislation to H.R. 863, which would establish a commission to study the creation of a National Women's History Museum.
Resolution to Amend the Rules of the Council in relation to improving the responsiveness, transparency, fairness, and inclusiveness of the City Council.
Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign into law A.2448 and S.4142, which would allow sixteen and seventeen year olds to be appointed to New York City Community Boards.
Legislative Status: Signed into Law
This bill would require the Board of Standards and Appeals to create, and post on its website, an interactive map displaying the location of all variances and special permits approved by the BSA since January 1, 1996. The map would allow a user to filter by borough; council district; community district; type of variance; date; and, for special permits, active or inactive status.
This bill would require the Board of Standards and Appeals to report information about applications for variances and special permits, and appeals of decisions regarding variances and special permits, to the Council twice per year, on dates approximately one and a half months prior to the mandated due dates for the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report and the Mayor’s Management Report.
This bill would codify minimum evidentiary requirements for zoning variance applications with respect to establishing physical uniqueness of a zoning lot and the applicant’s inability to obtain a reasonable rate of return under the existing zoning. A person who makes a materially false statement or causes a materially false statement to be made in connection with a zoning application would be subject to a $25,000 fine for every such false statement.
This bill would require that at least one staff member of the Board of Standards and Appeals be a state certified general appraiser with expertise analyzing and auditing real estate investments.
Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) Coordinator at City Planning Commission to Protect Neighborhood Plans
This bill would require the Department of City Planning to designate a Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) Coordinator and to post on its website a record of such coordinator’s attendance at BSA hearings as well as any written testimony presented by the Department or by the City Planning Commission.
This bill would require the City Council to set forth rules prohibiting Council Members from earning certain outside income and would make the position of Council Member full-time. The provisions of this bill and any rules promulgated pursuant to this bill would not apply to any Council Member who has engaged in another occupation, profession or employment during the current Council session, who intends to continue to engage in such occupation, profession or employment for the remainder of such session, and who submits a letter to the Speaker of the Council by March 1, 2016 describing such engagement and intention.
This bill would require that every public data set containing address information will present that information in the same format, along with geospatial reference data, such as latitude and longitude. It would also require the convening of a working group to develop that format standard.
This bill would require city agencies that issue notices of violation that are returnable to the Environmental Control Board for adjudication to, where the alleged violation occurred in or on a building or lot, include the borough, block and lot number and building identification number, as applicable, of the building or lot. Finally, the bill provides that a notice of violation is still enforceable even if it does not include the required identifying information.
This bill would require city agencies that issue notices of violation returnable to the Environmental Control Board (ECB) and that issue licenses, permits or registrations to promulgate rules to implement their authority to deny, suspend, terminate or revoke licenses, permits and registrations based on unpaid civil penalties imposed by ECB. The bill would require such rules to include certain factors for agencies to consider when making the determination to deny, suspend, terminate or revoke, including (1) whether the applicant, licensee, permittee or registrant has other debt owed to the city; (2) the amount of unpaid civil penalties owed; (3) whether the underlying violation is one of a series of violations and the nature of the underlying violation; and (4) whether the unpaid civil penalties were imposed due to a finding of default decision that was then vacated, or whether the applicant, licensee, permittee or registration has made a request to vacate a default and obtain a new hearing. The bill would clarify that such agencies would not be limited to the considerations required by the bill and may consider any additional factors in making a determination. The bill would exempt agencies that have adopted a rule or policy prior to the effective date of the bill that substantially meets the requirements of the bill. The bill would also require agencies to provide an annual report to the Council including the number of applications received; the number denied pursuant to such rules; the number of licenses, permits or registrations suspended, terminated or revoked; and list of the types of licenses, permits or registrations issued by such agency and the time period for which such licenses, permits or registrations are issued.
This bill would require the New York City Board of Elections to provide a secure website and mobile application that would allow users to (1) track the status of their absentee application and ballot; (2) view their registration status; (3) view the party for which they are a registered member; (4) view the federal, state, and local election districts in which they reside; (5) know whether they are required to bring any form of identification to vote; (6) view which elections held over the previous four calendar years for which they were registered to vote and whether they voted; (7) view the address at which they were previously registered to vote; (8) provide the option to receive alerts, including when there is a change in their registration status; (9) providing access to existing resources including (a) registering to vote, (b) updating registration information, (c) viewing sample ballots, (d) polling place locations, (e) voting hours, (f) signing up as a poll workers, and (g) viewing the voter guide.
Adds 15 additional agencies to the current list of agenices which are required to have, and offer, voter registration forms to anyone seeking agency services. It also required that agencies, if requested, assist individuals in filling out the forms and submit them to the New York City Board of Elections.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to the voters guide requirements of the campaign finance board.
"City Record Online” introduced with Council Member Jimmy Vacca, mandates the improvement of the existing City Record On-Line (CROL) website by mandating that all items currently in the paper copy of the City Record published by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) be included in the web version with an open application program interface (API) to empower developers to create their own apps to track the city’s contract bids and awards.