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For Immediate Release
Contact- Jake Oliver,, 347 361 9983

An analysis of over 1,700 local laws passed by the City Council in the last decade reveals that public safety legislation receives similar public input opportunities as other issues, suggesting that there is not a need for separate rules

The 2024 Charter Revision Commission is currently considering adding additional public input requirements for public safety bills

New York, N.Y. (July 8, 2024) – There is already ample opportunity for the public to comment on Public Safety bills before the New York City Council, according to a comprehensive analysis released today by Citizens Union. The report found that there were no major differences in time awarded for input on public safety bills compared with other bills; that the current Council does not provide less time for public input on public safety bills compared to previous Councils; and that high-profile public safety bills that drove the conversation took longer to approve than many other contentious bills.

This policy report was prompted by the 2024 Charter Revision Commission’s consideration of additional public input requirements for such bills. In its interim staff report, the Commission requested input on whether more time and at least one extra public hearing should be mandated before a public safety related bill can become law.

Key Findings:

  1. No Major Differences in Time Awarded for Input on Public Safety Bills Compared with Other Bills:
    The analysis of legislative timelines for over 1,700 local laws passed by the City Council over the past decade revealed that public safety legislation is not treated differently from other bills in terms of the time allocated for public input. On average, public safety bills took 292 days from introduction to Council approval, compared to 280 days for other bills.
  2. The Current City Council Does Not Provide Less Time for Public Input on Public Safety Bills Compared to Previous City Councils:
    The study showed that the current City Council (in the 2022-2023 term) provided similar or even more time for public input on public safety bills compared to previous Councils. For example, public safety bills took an average of 125 days from introduction to the first hearing and another 168 days to committee approval in the current term, which aligns with or exceeds the timelines in previous terms.
  3. High-Profile Contested Public Safety Bills Did Not Receive Fewer Opportunities for Public Input Than Other Bills:
    Analysis of the high-profile bills that were quoted as the reason behind the proposal to add more public input to public safety bills, particularly the How Many Stops Act and the ban on solitary confinement, revealed that these bills received ample opportunities for public input. These bills, which were heavily contested, took longer to pass compared to other significant bills passed in the 2022-2023 term, ensuring that there was sufficient time for stakeholder engagement and public testimony.

“While we have consistently advocated for greater transparency and public input in the legislative process, our findings indicate that public safety bills are not at a disadvantage compared to other types of legislation. The current process does not necessitate additional time or hearings solely based on the subject matter of the bill, and doing so could create a two-tier system in the City Council,” said Ben Weinberg, Director of Public Policy for Citizens Union.

Citizens Union will be testifying before the Charter Revision Commission today, Monday, July 8, to present these findings and state its position on the Commission’s proposals.

The full report, including detailed data and analysis, is available on the Citizens Union website.

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