It’s been an active couple of weeks for City Council member Margaret Chin, who represents the Lower East Side at City Hall. This morning, she introduced legislation before the committee on public service and labor to expand New York’s paid sick leave law. The proposed legislation, backed by Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, is opposed by a variety of business groups, A hearing on the issue is taking place at this hour.
In other news from her office, Chin last week introduced proposed legislation that would require building owners to pay relocation expenses when the city issues “vacate orders.” On the Lower East Side and in Chinatown, many residents face displacement due to fires and unsafe conditions in aging tenements. The city generally picks up the bill for temporary relocation and then tries to recoup the costs from property owners after the fact. The legislation would give the city the power to compel owners to place funds in escrow “equivalent to at least ten percent of the rent roll for five years prior to the vacate order.” Previous versions of the bill did not go anywhere, but Chin hopes a new, tenant-friendly speaker and mayor will make a difference this year.
Chin, a member of the Council’s newly empowered Progressive Caucus, is also making her feelings known about some early policy initiatives from the de Blasio administration. The Council member, who was recently appointed to head the aging committee released a statement yesterday praising the mayor’s preliminary budget proposal:
Council Member Margaret Chin applauded the baselining of $20 million for the New York City Department of the Aging (DFTA) in the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s FY15 Preliminary Budget Proposal. These guaranteed funds will restore resources to several programs and initiatives for seniors that had faced severe cuts in recent years.
In the statement, Chin drew attention to five areas she said are in “dire need” of financial support, including: funding for social workers’, more support for NORC’s (Natural Occurring Retirement Communities) and the expansion of adult day care centers.
And finally, Chin and fellow City Council member Rosie Mendez praised de Blasio’s decision to end the NYPD’s practice of charging the New York City Housing Authority $70 million each year for police protection. In a statement, they wrote,
This is a major victory for the residents of public housing, for whom funding deficits often mean broken elevators, derelict walls, and unreliable heating systems… These payments have been a needless drain on an already tight budget, and we are pleased that the Administration is proactively looking for ways to make taxpayer dollars work for the New Yorkers who need them most.”