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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Expanding Administration's Labor Policy Efforts to Continue Supporting Caregivers

August 31, 2016

Also signs package of legislation coordinating efforts to address communities’ quality of life, and to support individuals released from prison

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed 10 pieces of legislation. Among the legislation signed were Intros. 1081-0A and 1084-A, two bills which will expand labor policy efforts to support caregivers.

“Intros. 1081-A and 1084-A allow us to address the needs of some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers – paid and unpaid caregivers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By requiring the Department for the Aging to develop and conduct a survey of unpaid caregivers, and by establishing a new Division of Paid Care, we will work to identify the needs of some of the most vital members of New York City’s workforce. I’d like to thank Council Members Chin and Cohen for sponsoring these bills, and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito for her leadership.”

“From supporting New York City’s vulnerable caregivers, to helping the formerly incarcerated, to ensuring all New Yorkers are educated on consumer protection laws, this City Council is committed to uplifting all residents across the five boroughs,” said Council Speaker Mark-Viverito. “This package of legislation will help pinpoint needs and provide resources to New Yorkers who have historically been marginalized and underserved, and I thank my Council colleagues and the Mayor for supporting these bills.”

“Every day, more than 1.3 million unpaid caregivers work hard to alleviate pain and prolong quality of life for family members, friends and neighbors of all ages. For too long, these caregivers have performed important tasks for people with Alzheimer’s, disabilities, and other care-intensive medical conditions without adequate support,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging. “This legislation requires our City to survey unpaid caregivers so that we can provide more services for these unsung heroes of our healthcare system – many of whom are women who struggle to manage work and family responsibilities. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Rose for their advocacy on behalf of unpaid caregivers throughout our City.”

The first bill, Intro. 1081-A, requires the Department for the Aging to develop and conduct a survey of unpaid caregivers. As a result of the survey, DFTA will submit a plan on how to address the needs of unpaid caregivers, and will report on progress made in accordance with that plan in two years. This report will be updated every five years.

“Nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spends 41 hours or more each week providing care, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP – and many of them don’t self-identify as caregivers. If paid, their work would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado. “Supporting these caregivers is not only a moral imperative, but an economic one as well.”

The second bill, Intro. 1084-A, establishes a new Division of Paid Care within the Department of Consumer Affairs' Office of Labor Policy and Standards. The Division will focus on the needs of paid caregivers, such as domestic workers and home health aides, who are often women and immigrants, and are in need of a trusted resource and specialized education efforts. The Division will be responsible for assisting the Director of the Office of Labor Standards with developing policies and programs that apply to paid care workers; conducting public outreach and information campaigns for paid care workers, employers, and care recipients; engaging in and promoting research on the paid care industry; and coordinating with appropriate stakeholders to provide development programming and training. This will expand upon the Administration’s labor policy and enforcement work and will, for the first time ever, establish a dedicated City resource to addressing the specific needs of paid caregivers, who are among the most vulnerable members of New York City’s labor force.

“Through our enforcement of New York City’s Paid Sick Leave Law over the last two years, we have seen that workers in lower-wage industries, such as home health aides and other paid care workers, often are not afforded important protections to which they are legally entitled. These workers are in particular need of a trusted resource and specialized education about their rights,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Thanks to the leadership of the Mayor and Speaker Mark-Viverito, paid care workers will now have one place where they can learn about these rights, as well as about how and where to seek assistance. Both the establishment of the Division of Paid Care and the passage of legislation requiring DCA to develop and distribute consumer protection materials specifically targeted towards immigrants, women, and seniors demonstrates the Council’s commitment to helping the agency fulfill our mission to educate and empower all New Yorkers in the marketplace – be they consumers or working families.”

"The creation of a Division of Paid Care with a coordinator and an advocate within the Office of Labor Standards will empower paid care workers against the risk of exploitation and abuse. The individuals who care for our most vulnerable populations are often the most hard-working, underpaid and compassionate people in our society. The services they provide are vital, even so far as to take care of another's basic human needs when he or she is unable to. This division will protect the ones who look out for our children and home-bound loved ones from being taken advantage of," said Council Member Andrew Cohen.

“Home care workers have the knowledge and experience to take care of our loved ones who cannot take care of themselves, and I am confident Intro.1084 will ensure these workers also have the support they need to take care of their families as well” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “As the City’s population rises, these critical services to our aging population will be even more important, I am pleased that we are taking this positive action to ensure these individuals are not taken advantage of. I would like to thank Council Member Andrew Cohen, my colleagues in the City Council, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for signing this legislation into law.”

"Establishing a Division of Paid Care within the New York City Office of Labor Standards is a crucial step to uphold the rights of the paid care workforce," said Irene Jor, New York Organizer with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. "It is this care workforce, made up largely of immigrant women of color that takes care of what is most precious to many New Yorkers – our children and our elders."

The third bill, Intro. 1085-A, requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide outreach and education on consumer protection issues that affect women. DCA will provide information regarding short- and long- term financial planning, including planning for retirement and the navigation of public benefits programs. Additionally, the agency would provide information about the prevalence of gender-based pricing, how to avoid deceptive business practices and predatory consumer and financial products, as well as the availability of counseling services at our Financial Empowerment Centers. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

“Every woman in New York City must have access to information about short and long-term financial planning, navigating public benefit programs and protecting herself from discriminatory business,” said Azadeh Khalili, Executive Director of the Commission on Gender Equity. “A 2015 Department of Consumer Affairs’ report on gender-based pricing, Cradle to Cane, found that on average women pay $1,351 more than men for the same services and products as men each year. The Commission on Gender Equity plans to work closely with DCA and our legislative colleagues to ensure that gender-based pricing for products is added to the existing local ban on gender-based pricing for most services and to ensure that New York City’s women and girls are empowered with the tools they need to address these issues.”

"The City of New York is home to thousands of domestic violence survivors, many of whom are unknown and their stories untold, fearing the stigma that they cannot step into the light because of financial dependency from their abuser. Supported by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment, Intro. 1085 will provide women in the city an opportunity to take advantage of valuable resources, through increased awareness, outreach and financial literacy workshops that address some of the unique challenges faced by women, domestic violence survivors and immigrants. While money does not equate independence, it surely can assist in one's journey to becoming a confident and whole person again. Thank you to my co-primes on this bill, Council Member Rafael Espinal and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for your vision and support," said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues and Co-Chair of the Women's Caucus.

The fourth bill, Intro. 1086-A, requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide seniors with outreach and education regarding consumer protection issues. DCA will provide seniors information regarding telemarketing and internet fraud, Social Security, Medicare, and healthcare fraud, reverse mortgage products, investment schemes, and the services available at our Financial Empowerment Centers. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Chaim M. Deutsch.

“Adults over the age of 60 lose billions of dollars each year to fraud. Phone scams plague one in every five seniors,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “This legislation, which will mandate the Department of Consumer Affairs to do outreach in senior centers and Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities to alert and educate older adults about how to take preventative measures, by recognizing and knowing where to report scams. This is an important step towards empowering those who are often targeted because of qualities that make them more susceptible to those looking to cause harm for personal gain. I thank New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleague, Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs Council Member Rafael Espinal for their support, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for signing this bill into law.”

The fifth bill, Intro. 1087-A, requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide outreach and education on consumer protection issues that affect immigrants. DCA will provide immigrant New Yorkers information regarding IDNYC, including how it can be used to open bank accounts, the risks and consequences of using non-bank institutions such as check cashers, money transfer companies and other similar financial institutions, information about state and local laws regulating employment and immigration assistance services, federal and state laws regulating tax preparers, and the services available at our Financial Empowerment Centers. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Rafael Espinal. Intros. 1085-A, 1086-A and 1087-A ensure that the City is doing everything it can to protect New York City’s consumers and workers with respect to addressing variety of challenges: from facilitating financial planning and guarding against fraud, in addition to being aware of rights under our City’s expanding labor laws, including the Paid Sick Leave and Commuter Benefits Laws.

“One of my top priorities as Chair of the Consumer Affairs Committee is to empower New Yorkers by giving them the tools they need to make sound consumer related decisions,” said Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr. “Last year the committee passed a bill creating a consumer empowerment campaign focused on the needs of young adults. The package of legislation being signed today builds upon the success of that campaign by creating additional consumer outreach and education campaigns on issues that are specifically tailored to women, seniors and immigrants; segments of our population that are usually targeted by fraudulent and unscrupulous actors. With the enactment of these bills, we continue to show that we are strongly committed to empowering all New York City consumers.”

The sixth bill, Intro. 1135-A, relates to improving “quality of life” conditions in designated communities through inter-agency collaboration. Based on input from community representatives, a coordinating agency will develop a list of at least 3 community areas that would benefit from inter-agency collaboration to address and improve “quality of life” conditions in those areas. Quality of life conditions may relate to sanitation, social services, transportation, public health or public safety. The coordinating agency will work with other agencies to address the quality of life conditions in the identified areas, and provide annual written reports about implementation. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito.

The seventh bill, Intro. 1150-A, establishes the Municipal Division of Transitional Services in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. This office will ensure the availability of effective reentry services for those who have been incarcerated. It will also issue an annual report on its services, outreach efforts, and the populations and neighborhoods it has served. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Corey Johnson. Intros. 1135-A and 1150-A coordinate efforts to support individuals released from jail and prison.

“Both crime and the size of the jail population continue to fall to historic lows in New York City. By connecting eligible individuals to the right services before and after jail, we can further reduce reoffending and unnecessary incarceration,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “We look forward to working with partners citywide to improve targeted diversion and re-entry programming. As the City more precisely understands what services work, and for whom, we will reduce the costs of jail and improve public safety for all New Yorkers.”

“This legislation is going to make our City a safer and more compassionate place,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “By improving social and health services for those who have been released from our correctional system, we can help break the cycle of incarceration. When our City makes a positive impact on the lives of these individuals, it has the power to help lift up entire communities and benefit all New Yorkers. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who have been tireless leaders on this front, as well as my colleagues in the City Council for overwhelmingly supporting this important legislation.”

“I congratulate Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Corey Johnson on the passage of their bills, both of which will improve the safety of our streets by addressing public safety through a holistic approach. As Public Safety Chair, I applaud their efforts, look forward to the implementation of neighborhood support teams and the Municipal Division of Transitional Services, and thank Mayor de Blasio for his ongoing support of innovative approaches to keeping New Yorkers safe,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.

The eighth bill, Intro. 507-A, reconstitutes our City’s Waterfront Management Advisory Board (WMAB). The WMAB advises the City on the most effective ways to revitalize and protect waterfront and coastal communities. This bill expands membership of the Board to include 18 members of the public, appointed by the Mayor and the Speaker. They will include representatives of local community organizations and advocates who want to see greater development along the waterfront. That could mean anything from more housing to more recreational opportunities. Through OneNYC, the City has already made great progress across the City’s 520 miles of coastline. The City has begun half-hour round-the-clock SI ferry service while also investing in a new citywide ferry service. In addition, the City is creating the BQX to connect more neighborhoods to more jobs as well as strengthening public housing in flood-prone areas. As this Administration builds a more sustainable, resilient and equitable waterfront across the 5 boroughs, it will also be counting on the voices of New Yorkers to help. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Ben Kallos and co-Prime sponsor Deborah Rose, Chair of the Committee on Waterfronts.

“New York City’s waterfront includes 520 miles of recreational opportunities, natural ecosystems and job opportunities. It also plays a key role in our response to the risks of climate change,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the Mayor’s Office. “Today’s reform of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board represents an opportunity to strengthen our management of the waterfront and ensure that it continues to serve all New Yorkers. We thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Rose and Kallos for their leadership. We look forward to working with the City Council and the board as we build a more sustainable, more resilient and more equitable waterfront across the five boroughs.”

“Rising sea levels will have a direct impact on New York City’s waterfronts, and with millions of New Yorkers living along 520 miles of shoreline, a Waterfront Management Advisory Board is more important than ever,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “The Waterfront Management Advisory Board can not only plan ahead, but keep our city on track between ten year plans, so that our waterfront is resilient and ready for climate change. I want thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this into law and also thank you to Waterfronts Committee Chair Debi Rose for her leadership and support on this legislation.”

"When I was appointed Chair of the Committee on Waterfronts, I learned that this board had been inactive for far too long. That was unacceptable to me, especially in light of all the development taking place along our waterfronts in my district and across the city. Expanding the WMAB to include community stakeholders alongside members of the maritime industry will help us better oversee development on our waterfronts and improve their overall upkeep, ultimately enhancing and increasing access for all New Yorkers. I thank my colleague Council Member Ben Kallos for joining me on this bill, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing it into law today," said Council Member Deborah Rose.

The ninth bill, Intro. 446-A, will help protect our harbor water from oil and natural gas waste. It bans certain oil and natural gas-related wastes from being released into any “surface” body of water in our city – including our rivers and bays. It also prohibits using such waste on any city road or real property, and in any city landfill. Waste created from oil and natural gas production, including hydrofracking, is a threat to our environment and health. So it has no place anywhere in this city. New York City does not use these harmful byproducts for anything, including snow removal or de-icing. While New York State’s hydro-fracking ban was necessary to preserve the City’s water quality and infrastructure, this bill will further protect our water from toxic chemicals. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Steve Levin.

“New York City has invested billions of dollars to improve the health of our Harbor and testing confirms that the water is cleaner and healthier today than it has been in more than a century,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “By signing this bill into law, Mayor de Blasio and the bill’s sponsors will provide additional layers of protection and ensure that hydrofracking waste cannot be brought into the five boroughs and reverse all of the progress that we have made in improving the health of our waterways.”

“The Department of Sanitation is committed to ensuring that potentially harmful wastes are disposed of properly,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “We are committed to using safe and effective products, like road salt and calcium chloride, to keep our streets clear of snow and ice during winter weather.”

“Today, New York City breaks new ground by enacting the first comprehensive municipal ban on the discharge or use of waste products associated with all methods of oil and gas extraction. This legislation will protect New York City communities from toxic pollutants and ensure cleaner water for generations to come – and I hope that other legislative bodies will follow suit. I thank the Mayor for his support, as well as Chairman Constantinides and the advocates who built momentum around this bill. All New Yorkers will benefit from their steadfast commitment to protecting our environment,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee, said, "As we work to combat climate change throughout our city, Intro. 446 will keep our environment clean and maintain our public health. With this vital piece of legislation, our city has ensured that fracking and other types of waste byproducts will not be used or disposed in our city. These hazardous substances do not belong on our streets or in our landfills. I thank Council Member Levin for his leadership on this important issue."

The tenth bill, Intro. 1194, makes a technical change to Local Law 57 clarifying the responsibilities of youth baseball leagues with respect to defibrillators. Local Law 57 of 2016 required defibrillators at baseball fields where youth leagues play. It also required the City to provide the defibrillators to these leagues, as well as training on how to use them. This clarifies that this requirement only extends to leagues that receive a sufficient number of automated external defibrillators and training courses from the City free of charge. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Steven Matteo.

“Parks is thankful that the City Council and Mayor de Blasio have taken these steps to make youth baseball in our parks that much safer,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “This bill goes a long way in supporting our daily efforts to make sure that young people in our city get the chance to safely participate in sports and fitness activities.”

“Defibrillators can save lives, if they are in the right place at the right time,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “I applaud all of those that have worked on and advocated for this important piece of legislation, which could save the life of a young baseball player or spectator should the need ever arise.”

“Earlier this year, we passed historic legislation that will provide thousands of little leaguers in this city with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and training free of charge. This additional clarifying bill that Mayor de Blasio is singing today ensures that if a team is unable to get a free AED from the City, for whatever reason, that team would not be mandated to purchase one on their own dime. This legislation is just another step in City Council Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson and my commitment to making more of these life saving devices readily available to New Yorkers – whether through subsequent legislation or programs such as our Beating Hearts initiative, which provides hundreds of free AEDs and training to organizations across the city. I want to thank Council Member Johnson for his partnership, and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the administration for their support of this important legislation,” said Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo.

“I’m glad that the Council came together to work out these specifics,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. “This amendment is going to ensure that our AED legislation is on good footing to make our ballfields safer. This legislation has the potential to save lives, and by clarifying and refining the law, we’re making sure that it can be implemented swiftly. I thank Council Member Matteo, who has been an exceptional leader on public safety issues, as well as my colleagues in the Council for strengthening this legislation.”

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