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New Bills -- Nightlife Legislation, Tighter Agency Oversight, and Disclosure on Slavery

by Josh Burd, Nov 27, 2006
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At each of the City Council's stated meetings, council members introduce bills, most of which will never become laws (for the process by which bills become laws, click here). As a regular feature, Gotham Gazette discusses some of the legislation proposed at each meeting.

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At its most recent stated meeting on November 15, members of the City Council introduced more bills that would put more regulations on nightlife, tighten oversight of city agencies, and require disclosure from businesses who profited from slavery.

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MORE ON DRINKING AND NIGHTLIFE

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Members of the city council introduced two more bills in their three-month campaign to improve nightlife safety and curb underage drinking.

Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr., who authored another nightlife bill last month, submitted Intro 479, which punishes those who knowingly allow minors to drink in their homes. Also, Councilmember Melinda Katz put forth Intro 475 to tighten restrictions against clubs that admit minors without their parents.

"Considering how everything has been going in the city of New York, it will make the nightclub establishment a better place," Katz said of her bill.

Councilmembers James Sanders, Jr. and Annabel Palma lashed out against the makers of the "Cocaine" energy drink, who market the product by comparing it to the drug. Resolution 610 calls on local stores to discontinue sales of the drink. The resolution is a request, not an actual ban on the product.

"The founder [of the drink] needs to be reminded that this plague has caused violence, death, and imprisonment in our community," Sanders said, referring the actual drug. "Is there nothing that we won't do for a dollar bill?"

OVERSIGHT ON CITY AGENCIES

Two councilmembers introduced bills aimed at increasing oversight of city agencies.

City council officials said there is a need for continued, long-term information about the health of first responders at the World Trade Center. Councilmember Joseph Addabbo proposed Intro 468, which would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue an annual report on the World Trade Center Health Registry, detailing the health status and treatment of those who are registered.

In response to several high profile child deaths in the city this year, Councilmember Bill deBlasio proposed Intro 471, a bill that would create a seven-member commission to conduct a review the city's child welfare system. The commission's duties would include examining the Administration for Children's Services' policies and procedures, case files, and ability to conduct investigations and coordinate with other agencies. Within a year of the passage of the bill, the commission would submit a report to the mayor and the speaker of the council. DeBlasio said there ultimately needs to "be greater confidence in ACS and more reason for people to report [incidents of child abuse]."

COMPANIES THAT PROFITED FROM SLAVERY

Councilmember Charles Barron submitted a bill that would require city contractors to disclose if they had ever engaged in or profited from slavery. Citing action by several major companies and similar legislation in other U.S. cities, Intro 469 calls for potential contractors "to search their past" and reveal the information as the country continues to revisit the history of slavery.


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