Gotham Gazette

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New York City Council Stated Meeting Report

Every two weeks the New York City Council meets for its Stated Meeting to introduce and pass legislation. As a regular feature, Searchlight covers these meetings and posts a summary of the bills passed.

STATED MEETING - September 30, 2003

Quote of the Day:

"Does anyone know the score?" - City Council Speaker Gifford Miller inquiring about the afternoon playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. The meeting was brief so that the speaker could attend the game.

Meeting Summary:

The New York City Council marked the beginning of the Major League Baseball playoffs and the first game of the American League Division Series for the New York Yankees by passing a bill (Intro 482-A) that makes trespassing on the playing field of a professional sporting event a "Class A" misdemeanor.

The legislation stems from a series of incidents in which fans have run onto the field and assaulted coaches and umpires in Chicago. It only applies to professional sporting events, and college, high school, and recreational sports are exempt from the law. Those who violate the law could receive up to a year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.

"This legislation protects not only participants on the field, but also those watching a sporting event, from lawlessness and disorder," said Speaker Gifford Miller. The bill passed by a vote of 42 to 1 (8 members were absent), with only Brooklyn Councilmember Charles Barron voting against it.

The council also unanimously passed a bill (Intro 195-A) to create a 15-member advisory board for the Taxi and Limousine Commission, consisting of drivers, members of the public, owners, organizations advocating for drivers, and agencies enforcing commission rules. The mayor and the council speaker will appoint the members and supporters hope that the board will be a constructive way to address taxi issues in the city.

"This is something that will bring a voice to many drivers who don't have a voice... and it improves the safety of the industry," said Washington Heights Councilmember Miguel Martinez, who once worked as a cab driver.

The City Council also passed a measure renaming 77 streets in the city, most for police officers and firefighters who died on September 11, 2001. Streets were also named for New Yorkers who died in combat in Iraq and for Celia Cruz, the salsa star.

The next Stated Meeting is scheduled for October 15.

For an archive of past meetings and council votes, visit Gotham Gazette's Searchlight.