Monday, December 26, 2016


Also signs package of legislation to reform campaign finance

   Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed 29 pieces of legislation into law – Intros. 1132-A and 1182-A, in relation to creating a public list of City planning commitments and creating a process for the modification or removal of certain deed restrictions; Intros. 980-A, 985-A, 986-A, 987-A, 988-A, 990-A, 1001-A, 1002-A, 1349-A, 1350-A, 1351-A, 1352-A, 1353-A, 1354-A, 1355-A, 1356, 1358, 1361, 1362-A, 1363-A, and 1364-A, in relation to legislation that reforms the City of New York’s campaign finance system; Intro. 1345-A, in relation to a bill that regulates contributions to organizations affiliated with elected officials; Intros. 1260-A, 1261-A and 1262-A, in relation to the Department of Correction’s practices around transporting inmates, waiving cash bail fees and provision of non-uniforms for inmate court appearances; and Intros. 1099-A and 1193-A, in relation to reporting by the Department of Education on career programs and computer science education in New York schools, respectively.

“With this tracker, we are using technology to be more transparent about progress on our commitments,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Delivering on promised public investments to support projects like affordable housing is good policy and shows New Yorkers that they can count on the City’s word. 

“This package of reforms to the New York City campaign finance system is the product of months of discussions with stakeholders,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “It addresses issues both large and small, from improving voter guides to reducing the influence of money from persons doing business with the City. These reforms close loopholes and level the playing field to ensure a transparent campaign finance process for all New Yorkers. I commend Mayor de Blasio for signing this package into law, and thank my colleagues at the City Council for their diligent work in developing this essential legislation.”

The first bill, Intro. 1132-A, creates a neighborhood commitment tracker. A year ago, the City committed to approaching capital planning in a more robust and integrated way for neighborhoods that are being rezoned. The City also committed to increasing transparency and accountability around the commitments made to neighborhoods. With Intro. 1132-A, the public will have an accessible and searchable online list of land-use commitments.

The second bill, Intro. 1182-A, relates to the modification and removal of certain deed restrictions. This bill sets forth a process for the removal or modification of a deed restriction by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. The process includes obtaining appraisals, seeking public input and conducting an extensive review prior to approving any change. Under the new process, requests will also be reviewed by a committee as well as the Mayor or the Mayor’s designee for a final determination as to whether the modification or removal is appropriate and furthers the best interests of the City. 

The third bill, Intro. 980-A, sets limits on contribution amounts for transition and inauguration entities for local office at the same level as the campaign contribution limits for that office. This bill will help clarify what a candidate can raise and spend during the transition period. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Fernando Cabrera.

The fourth bill, Intro. 985-A, eliminates the matching of public funds for contributions that are bundled by people who are doing business with the City. This bill will ensure that lobbyists and those doing business with the City will not be able to match any public funds for any contributions to a candidate.

The fifth bill, Intro. 986-A, allows for the disbursement of limited amounts of public matching money to qualifying candidates at an earlier stage in the elections. This bill moves this date closer to the completion of the qualifying process.

The sixth bill, Intro. 987-A, modifies the standard for contributions raised and spent by candidates who participate in the City’s public funding program to determine their eligibility to participate in the first debate. The new modifications require candidates to have spent 2.5 percent of their expenditure limit for such office. 

The seventh bill, Intro. 988-A, allows voters to opt-out of receiving a printed copy of CFB’s Voter Guide. This bill also requires the CFB to produce a Voter Guide for state and federal election races. 

The eighth bill, Intro. 990-A, extends prohibitions for contributions from non-registered political committees to candidates who are not participating in the City’s public matching program. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Andy King.

The ninth bill, Intro. 1001-A, requires disclosure of entities that own entities that do business with the City. 

The tenth bill, Intro. 1002-A, requires the COIB to keep records of compliance with the annual conflict of interest law for those candidates who participate in the public matching campaign program. These records would be provided to the CFB upon any request. 

The eleventh bill, Intro. 1349-A, strengthens the requirements that the CFB’s software be compatible with the State Board of Election software. This bill also requires that the CFB be fully compatible with state laws. 

The twelfth bill, Intro. 1350-A, gives the candidates the right to select a hearing before a tribunal of OATH for alleged violations and proposed penalties. This would allow both the CFB and the candidate to bring forward cases to the CFB. 

The thirteenth bill, Intro. 1351-A, extends the time that contributions can be deposited, from 10 to 20 business days. However, cash contributions would have to be delivered within 10 business days of receipt.

The fourteenth bill, Intro. 1352, repeals the requirement that inquiries be made of each contributor whether they do business with the City. Additionally, this bill requires that only candidates or campaigns have a form that sets forth the doing business limits. 

The fifteenth bill, Intro. 1353, allows candidates to return certain campaign contributions at any point in order to protect a reputational interest. 

The sixteenth bill, Intro. 1354-A, requires the CFB to provide a review of all disclosure statements 30 days after report is due. This will allow campaigns to make corrections as needed. 

The seventeenth bill, Intro. 1355-A, specifies what documentation is necessary for making contributions. This bill additionally allows campaigns to fill out a required contribution card as long as the donor signs the card completed card. 

The eighteenth bill, Intro. 1356, treats participating and non-participating candidates the same in permitting transfers of contributions from any authorized committee filing disclosure statements with the CFB to the candidate’s principal committee.

The nineteenth bill, Intro. 1358, permits the use of campaign funds for activities related to holding office, such as purchasing food for a meeting. This bill also stipulates that funding from public funding cannot be used for this purpose. 

The twentieth bill, Intro. 1361, requires that the “doing business database” provide the dates the person on the list is considered “doing business.” This bill also states that those who have been removed from this list over the last five years must be posted in the city’s website. 

The twenty-first bill, Intro. 1362-A, requires that contributions in a special election be counted the same as contributions in the primary or general election. 

The twenty-second bill, Intro. 1363-A, allows candidates to rescind their written certification of participation in the matching funds programs. This bill gives candidates until the ninth Monday preceding the primary election or until they have received public funding, whichever comes first, to rescind their written certification. 

The twenty-third bill, Intro. 1364-A, prohibits CFB staff from attending executive sessions of the Board. This bill will only allow an independent counsel hired for the specific purpose to attend these executive sessions.

The twenty-fourth bill, Intro. 1345-A, sets forth certain reporting requirements for non-profits that are affiliated with an elected official or their agent, with limited exceptions for specified entities. This information would be available on the website of the Conflicts of Interest Board, which would be responsible for administering the law. For affiliated non-profits that spend or expect to spend 10 percent or more of their expenditures on public-facing communications involving the elected official, this bill would prohibit donations above $400 per year from anyone other than a natural person, or from any person doing business with the City as defined in the bill. 

The twenty-fifth bill, Intro. 1260-A, requires that the Department of Custody to determine whether an inmate has pending court appearances for any case and ensure that the inmate is transported to those additional appearances. 

The twenty-sixth bill, Intro. 1261-A, authorizes the Department of Finance to waive fees from the collection of cash bails. This bill would mean fees of up to three percent, which are currently collected under cash bail, would be waived.

The twenty-seventh bill, Intro. 1262-A, regulates the use of uniforms by the Department of Correction for court appearances. This bill allows inmates who are appearing before trial or grand jury to access their clothing prior to being brought to their court appearance. 

The twenty-eighth bill, Intro. 1099-A, requires the Department of Education to report information on Career and Technical Education programs in New York city schools. This report must be submitted annually and will include the number of CTE schools and programs available to students; graduation rates from CTE-designated high schools; and the number of students who applied to and enrolled in a CTE-designated high school. 

The twenty-ninth bill, Intro. 1193-A, requires the DOE to report information on computer science education in New York City schools. This report must include the number of Computer Science programs being offered in each school, the number of students who are enrolled in these programs and the number of STEM certified teachers in each school. 

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