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.
Quote of the Day:
"You are not a real Staten Islander unless you’ve experienced the mad dash [for the ferry] and had those doors close on you as it pulls away. It’s sounds something like this `Aaaghhhhh, Wait for me!’” â€“ Staten Island Councilmember James Oddo.
On December 7, the New York City Council overrode Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of a bill (Intro 207-A) that would require one nurse or health worker for every private and public school with more than 200 students.
The mayor argues that school health programs are adequate, and he recently allocated an additional $8 million to fund additional school nurses. The council says that the mayor’s action does not go far enough, and that nurses will be threatened in future budget negotiations.
In 2002, the Bloomberg administration cut funding for nurses in private schools. Last year, the mayor proposed eliminating nurses from summer schools as a way to help close a budget deficit. Currently, some nurses now travel between various small schools.
"This is a matter of principal: Should every child have a nurse or not?” said Council Speaker Gifford Miller.
The council’s proposal would cost $3 million more than what Bloomberg has proposed and would add about 80 nurses to serve private and parochial schools. State law requires that the city supply nurses to private schools, but does not mandate the ratio of nurses to students.
The council also passed a bill (Intro 94-A) that sets a minimum schedule of service for the Staten Island Ferry. The measure requires that the ferry run at least every 30 minutes on weekdays.
A recent council report (available in pdf format) argues that the area’s population has grown by 30 percent in last quarter century, but ferry service has not kept pace. Staten Island officials are worried that service could be cut as the city looks to cut a close a $3 billion budget deficit next year.
The council also approved new business improvement districts in Queens Plaza and on Fordham Road in the Bronx and renamed 83 streets, many for firefighters and police officers who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
All of the bills passed by a vote of 46 to 0.
The next Stated Meeting is scheduled for December 15, 2004.
For an archive of past meetings and council votes, visit Gotham Gazette's Searchlight.