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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Better Promote Environmental Justice Through the Work of City Agencies

April 25, 2017

Signs legislation to better protect consumers from immigration services fraud, and holds a hearing to prohibit employers from asking for candidates’ salary history

NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed seven pieces of legislation into law – Intro. 564-A in relation to reviewing the feasibility of establishing online applications for all permits, licenses, and registrations issued by city agencies; Intro. 1112-A in relation to requiring the Parks Department to post on its website information relating to various tree maintenance activities; Intro. 1454, in relation to establishing the New Dorp Business Improvement District in Staten Island; Intro. 886-A in relation to identifying and addressing environmental justice issues; Intro. 359-A in relation to an environmental justice and online portal; Intro. 746-A in relation to imposing stricter guidelines for providers and further protect customers against immigration services fraud and unauthorized practice of the law; Intro. 708-A in relation to establishing a disconnected youth task force; and held a hearing for Intro. 1253-A in relation to prohibiting employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s salary history.

“These bills recognize the historic injustices that have disproportionately fallen on low-income residents and communities of color – the burden of pollution and the effects of climate change -- and offer a different path forward. While our sustainability and resiliency programs have been driven by the need to create environmental justice, the City, with these bills, will now have new and stronger tools to empower communities as we build a more equitable city to meet the challenges of climate change,” said Mayor de Blasio. "I would like to thank Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the sponsors of these bills for continuing the fight for environmental justice for all New Yorkers."

“Bringing New Yorkers justice in all its forms is a priority for city leadership, and that commitment is especially apparent in the legislation being signed into law today,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The existence of salary history inquiries directly relates to gender-based income inequality. Unscrupulous actors posing as qualified legal professionals directly impacts the ability of our immigrant residents to achieve legal status. Intervention and outreach efforts directly affect whether or not a disconnected youth will find their way back into society, and environmental justice considerations directly influence just how sustainable that society itself will be. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for supporting the Council in its efforts to address these challenges, and I thank him for signing our initiatives into law today.”

The first bill, Intro. 564-A, will review the feasibility of establishing online applications for all permits, licenses, and registrations issued by city agencies. It will also examine the feasibility and timeline for establishing a single web portal for these applications.

“DoITT is dedicated to making sure that NYC runs on user-friendly technology, and working towards a comprehensive online permit portal will help do just that,” said Anne Roest, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “I thank Council Member Vacca for his diligence on this issue, and I look forward to the results of this review.”

“Anyone who has tried to open a restaurant, health club, or other small business knows the difficulty of navigating the City’s permitting process,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Technology. “Currently there are dozens, if not hundreds, of permit applications strewn across the websites of different agencies, making it difficult to find the permit you need. This bill will examine the possibility of creating a central permitting portal, where all the applications can be housed in one virtual location. A permitting portal cuts through the morass of city bureaucracy and makes government more efficient.  I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this bill into law.”

The second bill, Intro. 1112-A will require the Parks Department to post information relating to the times, dates, locations and work statuses of various tree maintenance activities online.

“NYC Parks shares the Council’s vision of greater transparency in Parks operations and planning, and we were pleased to work with the City Council on this legislation. Similar to Parks-led efforts such as expanded community scoping sessions, the Capital Projects Tracker, and the new Street Tree Map, we believe that enhanced, regularly updated public information about street tree maintenance will invite New Yorkers to learn more about how we plan and care for our parks and urban forest,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.

“Now that New York City has 650,000 street trees, it is more important than ever to invest in their care and maintenance. This is not merely a matter of aesthetics, it also about enhancing safety. This new law will give the public the tools to track this important work for the first time, and I applaud Minority Leader Matteo for his leadership in pushing this critical issue forward,” said Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine.

The third bill, Intro. 1454, establishes the New Dorp Business Improvement District (“BID”) in Staten Island.

“Business Improvement Districts strengthen neighborhoods and help small businesses succeed. I applaud the mayor and the New Dorp community for the creation of this new BID,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “With a network of 74 BIDs across the city, New York has the most robust network of BIDs anywhere in the country. Our department was pleased to offer guidance and technical assistance to community leaders during the BID formation process.”

“These two bills the Mayor signed today, Intros 1112-A and 1454, will help make government more transparent and responsive to the public and to local businesses. Intro 1112-A will bring much-needed oversight to the city's tree and sidewalk repair program, providing key information online - including where and when repairs will be taking place and which trees or sidewalks are being prioritized for this work. The second bill, Intro 1454, will formally create the New Dorp Business Improvement District (BID), which will provide support to a great commercial district in the heart of Staten Island. This will be the second BID we have created since I took office three years ago, and is part of my ongoing efforts to change the dynamic between small business and government to one of more trust and collaboration. I want to thank my colleague, City Council Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine, for his partnership on the tree maintenance legislation; Maria Esposito, the chair of the New Dorp Merchants Group, for her yeoman work on bringing this BID together; and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her support,” said City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo.

The fourth bill, Intro. 886-A, sets up an Interagency Working Group to create a citywide Environmental Justice Plan that provides guidance on incorporating environmental justice concerns into City decision-making, identifies possible Citywide initiatives for promoting environmental justice and provides specific recommendations for City agencies to bring their operations, programs and projects in line with environmental justice concerns. The bill also establishes an Advisory Board consisting of residents and experts to assist the Working Group.

The fifth bill, Intro. 359-A, requires the new Interagency Working Group to conduct a study to identify and address environmental justice concerns, and to make recommendations for measures to advance environmental justice goals. The environmental justice information will be made available to the public through a web portal that will provide easy access to relevant maps, data and Agency programs.

“Today, the Mayor signed legislation establishing New York City as a leader in promoting environmental justice,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the NYC Mayor’s Office. “Facing a lack of federal leadership, and with the impacts of climate change growing, this legislation ensures that New York City is stepping up to ensure that environmental justice is at the heart of our work.  We look forward to working with city agencies and communities to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and that communities are empowered as we continue to work to protect the safety and health of all New Yorkers.”

These two pieces of legislation further embed the principles of justice into the foundations of our great American city by ensuring that no NYC community bears a disproportionate environmental burden or is denied fair environmental benefits,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

“As the recent executive order on climate shows, the Trump administration will choose fossil fuels over our public health and safety.  In honor of Earth Day and the People's Climate March on Washington, our cities must make combating climate change and reducing pollution a top priority.  INT. 359 and INT. 886 make up the most comprehensive environmental justice legislative package of any city in the nation and will be a role model for other cities to follow.  For far too long, environmental justice communities have had more sources of pollution and fewer environmental amenities in their neighborhoods, leading to adverse health effects.  This legislative package will more equally distribute environmental benefits throughout all communities in our city.  Thank you to my colleague Council Member Barron for her partnership and to Mayor de Blasio for his support of these bills,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee.

“Environmental justice means the fair treatment and involvement of all persons, with respect to the development, implementations and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, policies and activities and with respect to the equitable distribution of environmental burdens and benefits. I am pleased to have introduced 886-A, which was first introduced fourteen years ago, by my predecessor, my husband, now Assembly Member Charles Barron. This law will promote public engagement, transparency and participation regarding environmental justice concerns and will maintain disaggregated data for the area surrounding facilities or sites expected to have a substantial environmental, human, health or economic effect on the surrounding population. I thank the African American Environmentalist Association which proposed the legislation and the Mayor for signing this bill into law and believe that this legislation is a model that will be replicated around the nation,” said Council Member Inez Barron.

The sixth bill, Intro. 746-A, will impose stricter guidelines for providers and further protect customers against immigration services fraud and unauthorized practice of law.

“Our City agencies are committed to protecting all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, through increasing education and providing access to free, trustworthy services,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “By signing Intro. 746-A, the Administration has taken an important step toward ensuring that our immigrant communities are not being defrauded, cheated, or otherwise taken advantage of by providers claiming to offer services that should only be provided by an attorney.”

The seventh bill, Intro. 708-A, will establish a disconnected youth task force.

“As Chairman of the Youth Services Committee, I want to commend the Mayor for supporting Intro 708-A. The city of New York has so many resources available to help our disconnected youth, and this task force will be an important part of putting those resources to work. I would also wish to thank the many city agencies who have worked hard to make this task force a reality; I am confident that we are taking the right steps to insure a better future for our children,” said Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, Chair of the Youth Services Committee.

The eighth bill, Intro. 1253-A, will prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s salary history.  He will be signing this bill at a later date.

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