March Legislative Updates from NYC
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Posted by: James Versocki
In New York City, our team constantly advocates on behalf of the hospitality industry at City Hall, before the City Council, and with numerous City agencies. Here is our monthly recap of what’s going on in the New York City political scene for the month of March.
The Council Gets Active
The new City Council has introduced a slew of new bills that would impact the hospitality industry. By the end of March, the Association was tracking and commenting on bills introduced in the council, including:
- Installation of Carbon Monoxide detectors in commercial establishments;
- Limiting the issuance of notices of violations to food service establishments during certain times;
- Posting of signs for wheelchair access at inaccessible buildings;
- Braille and large print menus available upon request;
- Sufficient receptacles for waste;
- Providing hand sanitizer dispensaries in close proximity to buffet stands;
- Retaliatory personnel actions by employers and wage transparency; and,
- Reduction of carryout bags.
As you can see, the Association will have its hands full with City Hall and the Council. Here are more details on key issues from the past month:
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The Association and the REBNY appeared and testified in support of major revisions to the council’s proposed carbon monoxide detector bill. The council was receptive to changes and a new version of the bill has been shared. We believe the new law can strike a balance in favor of public safety at a reasonable cost.
Fine Reductions, Finally
On March 21, 2014, the Council and the Mayor’s Office announced a new set of regulations were being proposed that would have the net effect of bringing Letter-Grade fines to pre-2010 levels. These rules have been released for public review and comment but hearings will not take place until April 29th and May 7th so don’t count on those reductions just yet.
Earned Sick Time Act, Paid Sick Leave Begins
April 1st brings the start date for the “new” paid sick leave law. Almost every restaurant will be impacted by this law so please make sure to put up necessary postings. Our team produced a white paper with the help of allied member Jackson, Lewis LLP, NYC Restaurant Guide: Earned Sick Time Act, that answers your questions on the law. We will continue hosting seminars in partnership with the DCA and Jackson, Lewis LLP. View our event calendar for more details.
Now that Commissioners are being appointed and the council members have their staffs, the Association staff and the NYC Board of Directors will be conducting meetings with senior administration staff and council members. These meetings will reinforce the importance of the hospitality industry and the need for further common sense reforms to the letter-grade system and reductions in the City’s cost of doing business as usual tax. Those interested in attending meetings with our team can contact us to learn more.