Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 3

Name of Council Member: James Vacca Name and Title of Person Completing Questionnaire: Stacy Gardener, Legislative Director

Campaign Website (if applicable): 2013 CITY COUNCIL HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONNAIRE 1. Many in the United States think of international affairs when they think of human rights. Our work emphasizes the applicability of the human rights framework here in the United States. Please share your thoughts on the domestic applicability of human rights, and discuss why human rights are important to you in the context of New York City and the City Council. I commend all of those who work on international human rights issues it is an extraordinarily important endeavor. In my capacity as a Council Member, I believe I can do great work to affect change right in my own community. As one of the most cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse cities in the world, I believe the best way the City Council can advocate for human rights in New York City is through smart, focused, legislation and active constituent services for the people of this city. Everything else that we do means very little if all residents of this city do not have basic human rights. 2. Please share briefly how you have used your role in Council to advance human rights. I am proud to have been the prime sponsor of bills that advance human rights. My most recent triumph came this past fall, when the Mayor signed into law Local Law 78 of 2013, otherwise known as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This law obligates employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to pregnant women in the workplace. My legislation filled a glaring gap in disability and discrimination laws that allowed, in some cases, for pregnant women to be forced out of work for asking for a simple accommodation, such as a bathroom break or limiting heavy lifting. This law empowers and protects women against workplace discrimination. Additionally, in my role as Chair of the Transportation Committee, I have moved and co-sponsored bills to advance the rights of visually impaired persons through legislation that established an accessible signals program, and another law that requires that all taxis are accessible to those with visual impairments. I will hear a bill that would extend this requirement to all of the new street hail liveries.

3. Legislative priorities: Please list your top 3 legislative priorities for 2013 [you may include legislation that has passed]: 1. Local Law 78 of 2013 (Introduction 974-A), in relation to prohibiting discrimination in employment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. 2. Introduction 1123-2013, A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring all HAIL vehicles be accessible to those with visual impairments. 3. Introduction 951-A, a Local Law to amend the New York City Charter, in relation to notice of final rules What will be your top 3 legislative priorities as a Council Member in the upcoming legislative session? While this is difficult to ascertain, based on the fact that all legislation is filed at the end of the session, I would like to see this legislation come to fruition: 1. (not yet introduced) A law that would prohibit smoking in the common areas of residential buildings, regardless of the number of residential units. 2. Introduction 1144-2013, a law that would require the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide notice of change orders in City Council capital project contracts 3. Resolution 1809-2013, calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign into law, A.1056/S.744, which alters the statute of limitations for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice to when a person knows or reasonably should have known of the alleged negligent act or omission rather than when the negligent act or omission took place, and calling on the Legislature to pass or amend legislation to authorize the same change for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and its employees. 4. Budget priorities: Please list your top three budget priorities of 2013: 1. Capital improvements to the new Bronx Council on the Arts building 2. Expediting the installation of security cameras in NYCHA developments in my district and throughout the city 3. Securing funding for after school programs What will your top 3 budget priorities be as a Council member in the upcoming legislative session? 1. Adding at least 1000 NYPD officers to address attrition 2. Exercise stations at Pelham Bay Park and Bronx Park in my district

3. The construction of the new Westchester Square library in my district 5. Have you used participatory budgeting to allocate your discretionary funds? Why or why not? I have not used participatory budgeting to allocate discretionary funds. I allocate discretionary funds based on the needs in my district as I see them, in collaboration with community stakeholders. 6. Please provide examples of recent legislation in Council that you believe promotes human rights. The entire City Council has taken great strides in human rights just in the past year. Aside from my bill, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, my colleagues have worked with different groups of stakeholders on a variety of legislation that has aimed to promote and advance human rights. While there are some human rights bills that have received a significant amount of public attention such as the Community Safety Act and the Earned Sick Time Act, it is also important to bring attention to other, lesser-known bills that would advance human rights. For example, there is a bill being negotiated (Int. 1052-2013) that would create enforceable standards for social adult day care establishments programs that provide for some of New York Citys most vulnerable citizens, those suffering from dementia, Alzheimers disease, and other debilitating illnesses. Another bill being considered is Int. 1108-2013, which would enhance the voting rights of absentee and military voters. 7. Legislation is only one of many ways in which Council Members can work to advance human rights. What ways other than through legislation will you advance the human rights of New Yorkers as a City Council Member? As a former Community Board District Manager, being active in the community has always been a huge priority of mine. As a Council Member, my staff and I work extremely hard to provide the best constituent services possible. I can advance the human rights of individuals by not only helping constituents navigate the city services available to them, but by advocating for those constituents when the city does not or cannot help them. Empowering people with knowledge, whether its something as simple as providing a senior with the schedule for the Reduced Fare Metro Card Bus, or guiding a young mother through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program process, is advancement of individual human rights. 8. Some advocates contend that the position of the Council Speaker has too much power over the progression of legislation. Please use this space to respond to that critique. First, I believe that the Speaker must be a balanced counterpart vis--vis the Mayor. However, it is important that the Speaker is powerful, yet judicious. I do believe that the Speaker should be more inclusive of Council Members views, and should always have the integrity and effectiveness of the legislative body in mind.