Report to Community Board 3
May 26, 2009
Kavanagh Joins New York Chapter of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns: On May 8th, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined fellow New York State legislators as a founding member of the New York chapter of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns (SLAIG) at a summit meeting at Gracie Mansion. Hosted by Mayor Bloomberg and State Senator Schneiderman, and joined by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, NYC Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt, 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, SLAIG will aim to find common sense measures to limit criminals’ access to illegal guns. Assemblymember Kavanagh was honored to serve on the panel of speakers at the opening meeting. He discussed bill A.05696, his bill that would ensure that gun store employees who sell or handle firearms be subject to criminal background checks. Another significant piece of gun legislation Kavanagh introduced, A.03076B, passed the Assembly on April 28th as part of the Assembly gun bill package; the bill would broaden the eligibility criteria for firearm licenses to ensure that people with certain indications of mental illnesses or other limited mental capacity not be granted firearms licenses, and that all applicants for a license be required to take a safety course before the license is granted. Assembly Passes Kavanagh’s Legal Fees for Bad Faith Residency Challenges Bill: Assemblymember Kavanagh’s bill, A.00473A, 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 throughout the city, some 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 require that landlords who challenge tenants in bad faith by making false claims reimburse tenants for court costs, attorneys’ fees, and three times their monthly rent or actual damages. The Assemblymember has also introduced bill A.03912, which would address frivolous litigation in cases other than non-primary residence challenges. Kavanagh’s Tenant Key-Card Privacy Bill Passes Assembly: On May 6, 2009, the Assembly recently passed Assemblymember Kavanagh’s tenant key-card privacy bill, A.00514, which would prohibit landlords from employing key-card systems to track personal information without tenants’ consent. The bill, sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Tom Duane, would restrict the use of key-card systems that collect personal data, including photographs, names, addresses, and the dates and times tenants or their guests enter and exit their apartments. Language Access in New York, A Priority for Kavanagh: Assemblymember Kavanagh has introduced three bills this session that aim to bring language access to New Yorker’s whose primary language is not English:
- A.07390 would establish the Education Equity Act and would provide language assistance to parents/guardians who have children enrolled in public school. This legislation would encourage parents to be active participants in their children’s education by enabling them to read and interpret their children’s report cards and teacher notices. State Senator Jose Serrano is sponsoring this bill in the Senate (S.4459).
- A.00475 would add Chinese and Korean to the languages in which the General Education Diploma (GED) examination is offered. Many students who are proficient in Chinese and Korean currently are denied the opportunity to demonstrate skills tested on the GED exam because they are unable to complete the GED in any of the languages currently available. Earning a GED in another language can help non-English-proficient students to fulfill a common requirement for many jobs and educational programs. The GED is currently offered in English, Spanish, and French. State Senator Daniel Squadron is sponsoring this bill in the Senate (S.4107).
- A.07916 would authorize the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to conduct a survey among tenants to determine the percentage of non-English-proficient residents with the purpose of requiring the implementation of language assistance programs for those developments where more than ten percent of the residents do not speak English. State Senator Jose Serrano is sponsoring this bill in the Senate (S.4459).
- A.08479 would amend the public housing law to prevent the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the City of New York from using scarce housing funds to pay for sanitation services provided by the New York City Department of Sanitation. Public housing residents and NYCHA should not have scarce housing funds diverted to pay the City for basic services that are routinely provided for free to other New Yorkers, particularly in light of the financial deficit NYCHA faces. Assemblymember Kavanagh is also a co-prime sponsor of similar legislation, introduced by Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, that would prevent the Authority from making payments to the City for police services. Both bills have been introduced in the Senate by State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.
- A.08154 would increase the safety of elevators in buildings owned by NYCHA. This legislation would mandate the installation of door zone restrictors, which prevent elevator doors from opening between floors. The bill would also regulate elevator inspections – prohibiting the previous practice of the Buildings Department of delegating such inspections to NYCHA – and mandate interagency coordination and the sharing of information among city agencies regarding elevator hazards and rescue missions by the Fire Department. Finally, it would require the disclosure of all inspection data to the public, including a detailed explanation of how the elevators were graded and why the elevators received an unsatisfactory grade. The bill buildings upon the work of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, addressing the concerns raised in his September 2008 report on elevator safety. State Senator Jose Serrano has introduced this bill in the Senate.