News in New York – NYS 2022 Session Ends, NYC Legislation, and “City of Yes”
June 6, 2022
June 6, 2022
New York Concludes 2022 Legislative Session
Last week, New York State concluded its 2022 legislative session, with the State Legislature passing many pieces of legislation in the finals days. Driven by democratic supermajorities in both houses, the Legislature passed a slew of bills to strengthen voting rights, abortion access, gun control, street safety, and more. Among these bills are the New York Voting Rights Act, legislation to protect medical providers from misconduct charges for performing abortions, and a package of gun control measures. For housing, lawmakers also passed legislation to create the NYCHA Preservation Trust, as well as a bill that will make it easier for distressed hotels to be converted into affordable housing. In regards to crypto, the Legislature passed a two-year, limited moratorium on digital currency mining at fossil fuel power plants. The Legislature passed only a two-year extension of mayoral control of city schools, with a costly mandate he has resisted for the city to bring down class sizes, a significant blow to NYC Mayor Adam’s education agenda.
However, many hotly contested issues were not passed before the Legislature concluded the 2022 session. The 421-a real estate development tax break, a key part of city housing policy, has been left for dead for the time being, as well a ban on gas hookups in newly-constructed buildings. In addition, Good Cause Eviction was not able to make it through the Legislature, and neither were two parole reform bills known as the Elder Parole Bill and the Fair and Timely Parole Act. Several bills passed the Senate but did not make it through the Assembly, including the Build Public Renewables Act and the Clean Slate Act. All in all, state lawmakers passed 1,007 bills in both houses, the first time since 1986 in which over 1,000 bills were passed.
NYC Council Passes and Introduces Legislation
Last Thursday, the NYC Council convened a stated meeting, where they passed and introduced multiple pieces of legislation. The Council passed a bill that will require inspections for self-closing doors in residential buildings, complementing the recently passed legislative package of bills that will strengthen fire city measures in NYC residences. The Council introduced legislation which would require payment of prevailing wages for city-contracted human service workers. They also introduced a bill that would create a temporary exemption from the payment of the commercial rent tax for certain retail stores and food service establishments. In addition, the Council introduced legislation which would require the City to establish a pilot program reimbursing small businesses for purchasing panic buttons. You can find all of the bills that were passed and introduced here.
Mayor Adams Outlines Vision for “City of Yes”
Last Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams outlined his vision for New York City to become a “City of Yes”. Speaking in front of government and business leaders at an Association for a Better New York power breakfast, Adams laid out a plan to use citywide zoning initiatives to support small businesses, create affordable housing, and promote sustainability. The first citywide text amendment – “Zoning for Economic Opportunity” – will allow small business to repurpose their space for a post-pandemic city. The second citywide text amendment – “Zoning for Housing Opportunity” – will encourage the creation of more affordable housing throughout the city. The third and final citywide text amendment – “Zoning for Zero Carbon” – will help NYC reach its zero carbon goals. In addition to these three zoning initiatives, the Mayor also announced the Building and Land Use Approval Streamlining Task Force (BLAST), as well as the launch of the New York City Strategy for Equity and Economic Development (NYC SEED) Fund. BLAST is a coordinated effort across a dozen agencies to cut red tape and streamline processes for economic recovery, and the NYC SEED fund will provide neighborhood-wide capital investments in areas where those funds will have the greatest impact in creating jobs, housing, and economic opportunity for New Yorkers. These initiatives follow the release of the Mayor’s “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent” blueprint for NYC’s economic recovery.
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