Report to Community Board 6

May 13, 2009

Kavanagh Joins Newly-Formed New York Chapter of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns: On May 8th, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined fellow New York State legislators as founding members of the coalition at a summit meeting at Gracie Mansion. Hosted by Mayor Bloomberg and New York State Senator Schneiderman, and joined by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and legislators from around the country, the group announced its intentions to cultivate practical means by which to keep guns away from criminals. Modeled after Mayors Against Illegal Guns, chaired by Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the new group, which has 51 members to date, will aim to find common sense measures to limit criminals’ access to illegal guns. Assemblymember Kavanagh was honored to serve on a panel of speakers at the opening meeting. He discussed how his two bills would strengthen protections against gun violence. A.5696 would require that gun store employees who sell fire arms be subject to criminal background checks just as gun purchasers are. A.3076B, which passed the Assembly on April 28th as part of the Assembly gun bill package, would broaden the eligibility criteria for firearm licenses and institute a safety course requirement.

Kavanagh Participates in Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Meeting: On May 2nd, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilmember Dan Garodnick at the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association meeting held at MS 104. Assemblymember Kavanagh heard from hundreds of tenants, and reported on some of the legislation and issues he has been working on both in Albany and in the community. Of particular interest was Assemblymember Kavanagh’s legislation that focuses on tenant issues such as ending MCI charges once the cost has been recovered, disallowing MCIs when landlords receive large government subsidies or tax abatements, repealing vacancy decontrol, and raising high income decontrol. The meeting was followed by numerous tenants visiting Kavanagh and many of his colleagues.

Assembly Passes Kavanagh’s Legal Fees for Bad Faith Residency Challenges Bill: Assemblymember Kavanagh’s bill, A.473A, which passed the Assembly on May 6th, would allow rent-stabilized and rent-controlled tenants to recover attorneys’ fees and damages from landlords who challenge their primary residency in bad faith. In the 74th Assembly District and around the city, landlords have attempted to evict tenants on the grounds of non-primary residence through false allegations. Often, these measures are applied indiscriminately in the hopes of generating vacancies in apartments that can then be decontrolled and rented at market rates. Kavanagh’s bill would discourage these bad-faith challenges by requiring that landlords reimburse tenants for court costs, attorneys’ fees, and three times their monthly rent or actual damages. The Assemblymember has also introduced bill A.3912 that would address frivolous litigation other than non-primary residence challenges.

Kavanagh’s Tenant Key-Card Privacy Bill Passed Assembly: Assemblymember Kavanagh’s bill, A.514, that would prohibit landlords from employing key-card systems to track personal information without tenants’ consent passed the Assembly on May 6th. The bill, also sponsored by State Senator Tom Duane, would ban the collection of personal data, including photographs, names, addresses, and the dates and times tenants or their guests enter and exit their apartments, onto electronic key-card systems, where the information could be shared or become public.

Kavanagh Introduces Anti-Idling Bill on World Asthma Day: Assemblymember Kavanagh and State Senator Daniel Squadron introduced legislation on May 5th that would mandate idling time for all heavy-duty vehicles statewide be no more than 1 minute. Not only would the reduction of idling time lessen air pollution, but it would also combat respiratory illnesses like asthma that poor air quality can trigger. With approximately 1.1 million adults in New York State suffering from asthma, as well as 370,000 children, broad solutions are needed to address the congestion of our streets. This legislation would reduce the harmful effects of the pollution and allow all New Yorkers to breathe more easily as they live, work and play in our communities.

Governor Paterson Signs Rockefeller Drug Reforms Into Law: On April 24th, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined Governor Paterson, advocates, members of the law enforcement community and other colleagues in government as the Governor signed sweeping reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws into law. The reforms, which were enacted as part of the 2009-10 budget, eliminate the harsh sentences that the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandated by giving judges authority to divert non-violent addicts to treatment and greatly expanding drug treatment programs. Judges are authorized to sentence certain lower-level, first felony drug offenders and lower-level, second-time, non-violent drug felons to probation, local jail time, or both. Additional provisions of the agreement require a statutorily defined, uniform drug diversion program while maintaining authority for existing prosecutor-sponsored Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison (DTAP) programs. The ceremonial signing was held at Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities, Inc., a New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) funded drug treatment facility in Queens.

Annual It’s My Park Day: On May 16th, communities will come together to celebrate, care for, and enjoy New York City parks. Activities include clean-up and planting projects (supplies provided), free events and relaxing outdoors time. It's My Park Day at Stuyvesant Park will take place from 10am to 4pm, when volunteers will plant flowers and tend to the garden in the park area west of 2nd Avenue between 15th and 17th streets. For more information, call (212) 477-4476 or visit the It’s My Park Web site.