New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Passing 40 Laws

Council Member Ben Kallos Passing 40 Laws

We've passed more than 40 laws from ethics and campaign finance reform, to affordable housing and tenant protection, to education, and the environment. See our laws for yourself and you'll know why I've been consistently ranked as one of the best Council Members.
 
Ethics Reform

  • Prohibiting Outside Income (Law 20 of ’16) – The City Council now works full time for the people without the influence of other sources of income.
  • Eliminating “Legal Grease” (Res. 980 of ’16) – Former Speakers used to reward Council Member allies with payments in lieu of compensation, or “lulus,” a practice that the Daily News called “legal grease.” My resolution banned it from the City Council.

Campaign Finance Reform

  • Full Public Match Campaign Finance System (Law 128 of ’19) – raised the cap on public funds received by participating candidates to establish a full public match, further limiting the impact of “Big Money” in local elections.
  • Getting Big Money Out of Politics (Law 1 of ’19) – making question 1 of the 2018 Charter Revision (8 to 1 match) effective for all special elections prior to 2021.
  • Closing Campaign for One New York Loophole (Law 181 of ’16, co-sponsor) – by limiting contributions to nonprofits controlled by elected officials and disclosing donors.
  • Quelling Special Interests Dollars (Law 167 of ‘16) – by ending the practice of matching funds bundled by lobbyists and special interests with public dollars.
  • Early Public Fund Payments (Law 168 of ‘16) – to help campaigns that take public dollars get on the ballot and reach voters.
  • Disclosing Conflicts in a Timely Manner (Law 211 of '17) - by requiring candidate to disclose within 25 days of filing to get on the ballot.
  • Better Debates (Law 169 of ‘16) – by only including campaigns that are spending money to win.

Affordable Housing and Tenant Protection

  • Affordable Housing Applications, Tracking, and Enforcement (Law 64 of '18) - centralized applications, waitlists, tracking, registration of units, and enforcement for all city-subsidized affordable housing.
  • Stand for Tenant Safety in Buildings in Large Buildings (Law 153 of '17) - tenant protections from slumlords in large buildings.
  • Stand for Tenant Safety Quality of Life Protections (Law 152 of '17) - any quality of life violation may be counted towards establishing a distressed property for transfer from a slumlord to tenants or a responsible owner.

Education

  • Students Admissions Tracking (Law 72 of '18) - counting every child who applies, is rejected or accepted, enrolls, and attend for every school.
  • School Seat Need Transparency (Law 167 of ’18) – the basis for school seat need must be disclosed in order to ensure proper planning.
  • End School Hunger (Law 215 of '17) - set goals and report on participation in breakfast, breakfast-after-the-bell, lunch, snacks, and supper.
  • Students with Disabilities Services Transparency (Law 17 of ’20) guarantees that students with disabilities receive necessary services by increasing reporting from an annual basis to three times a school year.
  • LGBT training and GSA (Law 231 of '17) - LGBT training for teachers to support GSAs.
  • School Transportation Transparency (Law 33 of ’19) – bus routes for parents ahead and test runs ahead of the school year to avoid bad routes.
  • GPS on School Buses (Law 32 of ’19) – GPS for parents and schools to track buses.

Public Health

  • Happy Healthy Meals (Law 75 of ’19) – children's meals must offer water, 100% juice, or milk as the default options on the menu.
  • Office of Food Policy (Law 41 of ’20) – establishes the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy to oversee multi-agency food policy and promote access to healthy food.
  • Cooling Tower Inspection Reporting (Law 76 of ’19) – landlords must report every 90-days during the cooling season in time to stop the spread of Legionnaires' Disease.
  • Water Tank Inspection Electronic Filing (Law 85 of ’19) – water tank inspection and cleaning filings must be done online.
  • Automatic Benefits Study (Law 60 of '18) - to provide human services such as Medicaid, SNAP, rental assistance and more automatically using existing government information.

Quality of Life

  • Catching Scofflaws (Law 48 of ’16) – Information added to all quality of life violations will help identify who is responsible and collect fines.
  • Stopping Repeat Offenders (Law 47 of ’16) – City agencies that issue quality of life violations are now required to deny, suspend, or revoke licenses and permits for unpaid fines or repeat offenders.

Construction Safety

  • Turning Down the Volume on Construction Noise (Law 53 of '18) - by half, eliminating requiring noise measurement from within a home, inspection at times when the noise is likely to occur, and the power to issue a stop-work order.
  • Counting Every Life on the Construction Site (Law 78 of '17) - count every injury and every life, at construction sites, or face fines up to $25,000.
  • Crane Modernization (Law 3 of '18) - retire cranes after 25 years to prevent equipment failure and collapse.

Protecting Neighborhood Planning From Overdevelopment

  • Application Requirements (Law 103 of '17) - for developers to show why zoning laws should not apply to them with fines of up to $15,000 for knowingly falsifying information.
  • Financial Expertise (Law 102 of '17) - provided for the city with a state certified Real Estate Appraiser to review and analyze developers' financials.
  • Protecting Neighborhood Plans (Law 101 of '17) - by designating a coordinator at City Planning Commission to defend the city's plan from unnecessary variances.
  • Reporting on Variances (Law 104 of '17) - including the number of pre-application meeting requests, number of applications, number of variances approved or denied, and the average length of time for decisions.
  • Map to Prevent Rezoning by Variance (Law 105 of '17) - with an interactive online map of all variances and special permits granted since 1998.
  • Opening Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) (Law 250 of '17) - signage for POPS indicating amenities with 311 listed for complaints, a website listing POPS, and increased violation of up to $10,000 for repeat offenses.

Elections Reforms

  • Online Voter Registration (Law 238 of '17) - register to vote online with a digital signature.
  • Voter Information Portal (Law 65 of ’16) – Will empower voters to track an absentee ballot, find poll site location, view ballots, and verify registration status and that votes were counted.
  • Pro-Voter Law Expansion (Law 63 of ’14) - requires 25 city agencies to provide voter registration forms and assist individuals with completing them, so everyone gets registered.
  • Online Voter Guide (Law 43 of ‘14) - saving the environment and money, while increasing access to information in off-year uncontested elections.
  • Save Paper and Money on Voter Guide (Law 170 of ’16) – by allowing voters to opt-out of receiving mailers.
  • Same Day and Online Registration Advocacy (Res. 1061 of ’16) – to pass state constitutional amendment.
  • Teens on Community Boards (Res. 115 of ‘14) – opens community boards to our best and brightest 16 and 17-year-olds

Transparency in Government

  • Online Budget (Law 218 of '17) - place all city budget documents online.
  • Open Legislation (Res. 184 of ’14, co-sponsor) – as part of the Council’s rules reform process, I provided language requiring posting legislation online and public engagement.
  • Open Mapping (Law 108 of ’15) - standardizes address and geospatial information so Open Data has location information.
  • Law Online (Law 37 of ‘14, co-prime sponsor) – puts our city’s law online for you to search, download, and read.
  • City Record Online (Law 38 of ‘14) – public notices from the city, previously published in a daily newspaper, are now online and fully searchable so you can learn what is happening in your community.

Coastal Resilience for Climate Change

  • Reforming Waterfront Management (Law 96 of ’16) – resuscitates an advisory board for advocates, experts, and all levels of government to use and protect over 500 miles of shoreline.

Women’s Issues

  • National Women’s History Museum (Res. 354 of ‘14) – supporting Congress Member Maloney’s successful passage.

 


Best Council Members

As my first term wrapped up City and State created “a comprehensive ranking of the best – and worst – members of the New York City Council.” There are 51 Council Members that represent New Yorkers in the City Council who were rated on attendance, the number of bills introduced, the number of bills passed and even how responsive each office is to the press and to constituents. I am proud to report that whether it was best overall attendance, or bills introduced and passed into law, my office and I consistently ranked among the best as the top 5 Council Members for my first term. This year, I continued to be ranked as one of the City’s best council members. Read the complete list and story by City and State.


City and State’s Power 100 and Non-profits and Manhattan 
 


I was honored to be recognized by City and State as one of the 100 most powerful Manhattanites in 2019, as they wrote:

"This Upper East Side reformer has carved out a niche as a fierce advocate for increased government transparency and bolstering the city’s campaign finance system. This year, Ben Kallos has been grabbing headlines for his push to implement larger matching funds for political candidates, a measure that was approved on the 2018 ballot. The second-term councilman is also a champion of education, affordable housing and public health – and he invites constituents to engage him in conversation."
 
Nonprofits are vital to getting New York City residents the services they need. As Chair of the Committee on Contracts, I get to work closely with non-profits and see better than anyone else how important the work they do is. That is why I have been committed to making sure nonprofits get paid on time by the City and that MWBE’s get their fair share. In late 2019, City and State recognized my work in this Committee by placing me in the top 20 powerful figures in New York City within the nonprofit sector. Thank you to City and State for recognizing the work and giving nonprofits the recognition they deserve. For more information read City and State.