Legislative Update

Volume CV, No. 11November, 2005

Heather Beaudoin


City Council overrode Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the Healthcare Security Act. This pioneering legislation will require employers in the city’s grocery and food retail industries to provide health care to their employees. This legislation will also apply to “big box” stores, such as Wal-Mart, which sells groceries. The bill will provide employers with broad flexibility in how they institute the health care requirement.

Proponents of the bill have argued that employers in the grocery, construction, laundry, and hotel industries are declining to provide health care coverage for their employees in order to compete with those that have already done so.

“Today’s override of the Healthcare Security Act is a significant — and unfortunately necessary — step towards ensuring hardworking New Yorkers are provided with the healthcare they need. This is a pro-business measure that saves taxpayers money and reduces the strain on our city’s public health facilities,” said Health Committee Chair Christine Quinn. “Securing access to healthcare for all New Yorkers is one of the most important responsibilities we have, and the Healthcare Security Act is a considerable and noteworthy step in fulfilling that responsibility.”


There are two easy-to-overlook ballot proposals in the general election on Nov. 8. The New York State AFL-CIO has been advocating for union members to vote yes on both Proposal #1 on budget reform and Proposal #2 on the transportation bond act.

The first proposal would reform the budget process by giving transparency, accountability and certainty to the budget; restore balance to the budget process; ensure that state legislators have more input in the process itself; create a contingency budget to end late state budgets; and create an independent budget office. The League of Women Voters is also a strong proponent of this proposal.

The second proposal would provide transportation projects $2.9 billion in funding over five years. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority would get half of the funding, $1.45 billion, for the following:

  • $450 million to complete the 8.5 mile Second Avenue subway line.
  • $450 million for a new Long Island Rail Road tunnel to Grand Central Terminal and a new station in Queens, providing needed East Side access.
  • $100 million for the JFK rail link from JFK airport to Manhattan.
  • $450 million for core infrastructure needs.


Mayor Bloomberg and State Assembly Member Vito J. Lopez announced that the city will provide up to $8 million in capital funds and the city and state will generate $17 million in housing tax credits for construction of 117 units of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families at Palmer’s Dock at Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The plan creates 10,800 new units of much-needed housing, and through a powerful combination of zoning incentives, housing programs, and city-owned land, 3,500 of those units will be affordable due to inclusionary zoning.

“Our administration has looked to underused and abandoned stretches of our city’s shoreline as the source of new affordable housing, new parks, and thriving new businesses — the keys to a greater New York,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Because of our groundbreaking inclusionary zoning — the most aggressive of its kind in the nation — we will be able to build up to 900 units of housing on the site, of which 117 is to be set aside for low- and moderate-income families. The affordable housing at Palmer’s Dock is part of the most ambitious and successful effort in actually creating affordable housing in a quarter century.”

The 117 affordable units at Palmer’s Dock are a part of the approximately 900 units to be built for the development. Construction of the affordable units at Palmer’s Dock, located at 164 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, is to begin August 2006 and will be completed in 2008.