New York, NY – An “Anti Tenant-Blacklist” City Council bill to be introduced today would protect tenants named in housing court from being placed on “blacklists." The legislation, sponsored by Council Members Ben Kallos, Rory Lancman, Alan Maisel, and Mark Levine would prevent landlords from using the information to discriminate against tenants when they have satisfied the terms of an order issued in housing court. The so-called blacklists contain an estimated hundreds of thousands of names of would-be renters.
High School students in public and private schools will be required to receive voter registration forms during class under new legislation that would improve upon the decade long-unenforced Young Adult Voter Registration Act (YAVRA), if Council Members Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal and Fernando Cabrera have a say.
New York, NY – Following the New York Court of Appeals' decision in Wallach vs. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein vs. Town of Middlefield to allow municipalities to ban fracking within their limits, Council Members Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal and Costa Constantinides have introduced a bill for New York City to stand in solidarity with Otsego County’s Middlefield and Tompkins County’s Dryden in banning hydro-fracking. The move is a strong statement from New York City against fracking in the city, surrounding areas and the state.
According to FracTracker.org, New York City would be joining 80 municipalities with a ban, 100 with moratorium in place, and 87 making a push for a ban or moratorium. Though there are many unknowns about hydrofracking, it has already been shown to pose serious dangers to human health and the environment, including:
New York, NY – New Yorkers may soon be able to vote early, according to a bill being introduced today by City Council Members Ben Kallos and Costa Constantinides with support of members of the City Council's Progressive Caucus. The bill would allow residents to vote in municipal elections early, from the second Tuesdayprior to the election to the Friday prior to the election from 8am-8pm during the week and from 9am-5pm on the weekend in at least one polling place in each of the fifty-one council districts.
Two-thirds of US States and Washington, D.C. offer early voting to residents. New York State, however, currently only allows early voting through absentee ballots with an excuse such as an unavoidable absence or an illness. In those cases, one can vote by mail or in person at the Board of Elections Office. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, 27% of nonvoters said that the reason they did not vote was because they were too busy or could not get time off.
“New Yorkers should be able to vote when it is convenient for them, not when it is convenient for elected officials,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, which oversees the Board of Elections. “It should be easier for more New Yorkers to participate and to vote, so we can raise our city’s participation rates from one of the lowest in the nation. One step is removing the barrier to voting created by having elections on only one day.”
The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan):
New York, NY – City Council Member Ben Kallos today introduced a bill to create a free Universal E-Hail App to allow New Yorkers to e-hail any of the 13,637 yellow cabs and 6,000 green cabs that participate. The Universal E-Hail App would be contracted or created by the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). It would not alter existing apps and would also allow for any third party app like Uber or Lyft to e-hail yellow and green cabs.
“City taxis need an app of their own to compete, and New Yorkers need to be able to get a cab in the rain without having to worry about surge pricing.” said City Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer who used his expertise to propose the app called for in the legislation. “New York City must support our tech sector: Instead of making new technologies illegal, or regulating them out of business, we should provide a level playing field with fair competition so that companies, drivers and riders all win.”
Statement From Council Member Ben Kallos on Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision
New York, NY -- An Expanded Agency-Based Voter Registration bill passed the City Council today. The bill adds seven more agencies to those required to provide voter registration forms and strengthens the mandate to assist residents in filling out and mailing the registration forms to the Board of Elections.
New York State’s Pro-Voter Law, passed in 2000, required 18 agencies to keep the forms and did not mandate agencies to actively assist residents. An additional bill, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, to improve reporting and compliance with the 2000 law, also passed the Council.
"America is a nation of immigrants, from the pilgrims to today. We have always welcomed 'your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free' from all over the world to our nation of opportunity. We must continue to give our newest residents an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "I am glad that this nation, that once provided safe harbor for refugees from Anti-Semitism, like my wife and grandparents, will become a safe haven once again."
New York, NY -- Council Member Ben Kallos released the following statement applauding the MTA today for releasing more data sets for developers to use: "Historical Bus Time datasets released today demonstrates a government empowering New Yorkers to use data to improve our lives. Thanks to the MTA for prioritizing open information, which I have been working with them and the Civic Tech community on using to improve service," said Council Member Ben Kallos, a civic free and open source software developer.