Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

More than 230 pieces of legislation were introduced in 2008, most of which won't ever become law.

We waded through some of those bills to give you a roundup of the more recently proposed. In December and January, council members have suggested bills that span the policy spectrum, from banning the sale of dust remover to minors to regulating parking permits for teachers.

Parking Grace Period

In an attempt to do away with "gotcha" tickets, Councilmember Simcha Felder introduced legislation ( Intro 907) reinstating a five-minute grace period for people who violate meter and alternate-side parking rules.

The move is a response to the increase in tickets given to parkers immediately after their meters expire. According to Felder, about 10 percent of tickets issued last year for alternate side violations were issued within two minutes of the time to move the car.

In a prepared statement, Felder said: "Enough is enough. Tickets should be issued to encourage compliance, not to generate revenue for the city."

The Bloomberg administration has balked at the bill, saying traffic enforcement agents are there to enforce the law.

Cleaning Recyclables

Councilmember Darlene Mealy introduced legislation (Intro 908) codifying rules by the Department of Sanitation that require food merchants at street fairs to recycle. The bill also increases fines for violators, which would range from $250 to $500. It would also require the proper trash bins for street events and the proper disposal of recyclable materials.

Energy Volatility Task Force

Legislation (Intro 891) introduced by Councilmember Tony Avella would create an energy task force to review energy prices, their peaks and plummets, in order to propose, revise and review the city's energy policy. Members would be selected by the mayor and the speaker of the City Council.

Getting Gas

Councilmember Maria Baez introduced two bills (Intro 892 and Intro 893) regulating the gasoline industry in the city. The first would require quarterly inspections of gas stations, and the second allows the city to shut down stations for between three to five days if they have more than four violations in a 24-hour period.

Teacher Parking

In response to a crackdown by the Bloomberg administration early last year, Baez introduced legislation (Intro 894) that requires every teacher for the Department of Education to be issued a parking permit.

At the beginning of the school year, the administration cut teacher permits from about 63,000 to 11,000, citing the lack of spaces surrounding city schools.

Baez's office received complaints that teachers were abandoning classrooms to go feed parking meters. The bill, said Baez's Deputy Chief of Staff Domingo Flores, ensures teachers can park during the school day.

Hot Turf

To keep bare feet from the fiery surface of playgrounds, council members Bill de Blasio and Jessica Lappin introduced legislation (Intro 896) that requires warning signs be posted at all city playgrounds with rubber mats.

According to city officials, playground rubber mats can reach temperatures as high as 166 degrees. Five years ago, said officials, a child was hospitalized with second-degree burns from these mats.

"The current signs saying 'footwear should be worn' just don't cut it," said Lappin in a prepared statement. "The temperature of these mats can reach 165 degrees. They can severely burn children and parents and caretakers need to be appropriately warned."

The legislation would require the following warning at any playground: "WARNING - SAFETY SURFACING MAY BE HOT. SHOES SHOULD BE WORN AT ALL TIMES."

Muni-Meter Tickets

Councilmember Daniel Garodnick introduced legislation (Intro 897) that would give drivers the opportunity to challenge tickets if they have a valid muni-meter receipt for the corresponding time period.

If drivers did not show their parking receipt on their dashboard as required, they could mail in the receipt to have the ticket repealed under this bill.

Parking Spots for Car Sharing

Legislation (Intro 901) introduced by Councilmember John Liu would require city parking garages dedicate 10 spaces or 10 percentof their spaces, whichever is less, to cars used for car sharing programs like Zipcar.

Car companies will be required to pay a small fee for the spaces under the bill.

Restricting Dust Remover

A bill (Intro 903) initially introduced by former Councilmember Michael McMahon, now a U.S. representative, would ban anyone under the age of 17 from purchasing dust remover, which has been used by adolescents for "huffing".

Store owners could receive up to 10 days in jail and a $250 fine for a violation.

Crimes Near Schools

Under a bill (Intro 904) introduced by Felder, the New York Police Department would have to notify schools of a crime that occurred against a minor within 1,000 feet of school grounds.

Novelty Lighters

Legislation introduced by Councilmember Miguel Martinez (Intro 884) would ban the sale of novelty lighters -- those shaped like toys that can be enticing to children -- in the city.

Publishing Tax Exemptions

This legislation (Intro 883) introduced by Councilmember Letitia James would require the city compile a list of all recipients of the J-51 tax exemption, which allows landlords to make capital improvements without their assessments changing on affordable units.

The list of recipients would have to be made public on the city's Web site under the bill.

Banning Ghetto

Following up on trend to ban the n-word and the b-word, Baez introduced a resolution (Reso 1723 ) that would symbolically ban the negative use of the word "ghetto," arguing it links "a racial or ethnic group to terminology used to describe a state of poverty (which) only serves to further dehumanize and disenfranchise that particular group."

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