City Council Passes Legislation to Require Certain Agencies to Enable Inspectors to Issue First-Time Warnings

Image credit: New York City Council.

The bill enables inspectors to check if violations have been issued in the past. On November 23, 2021, the City Council passed Int. 167 B-2018, a bill aimed at providing small businesses with relief from hefty fines and penalties for certain violations by making it easier for agencies to issue first-time warnings. The bill was sponsored by Council Member Alan Maisel. 

The bill requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to provide their inspectors with equipment to check whether an observed violation in the field is a first-time violation and to issue a warning for such violation if permitted by law. 

Often, inspectors in the field do not have the resources to check whether a small business has previously received a violation. Certain Administrative Code provisions allow for first-time warnings, but if inspectors are unaware if the violation is a first-time occurrence, a business may be issued a fine when a warning was possible. As businesses are continuing to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing first-time warnings can avoid a financial burden for small businesses. 

The bill is not the City Council’s first action this year to provide small businesses with relief from fines and penalties. Earlier this year, the City Council passed legislation to reduce, repeal, or provide a cure period for various violations. For CityLand’s prior coverage of this legislation, click here

The City Council unanimously voted to pass Int. 167-B, with 48 votes in approval and one absent. The bill takes effect 180 days after becoming law. 

Council Member Maisel stated, “I am pleased to sponsor Intro. 167-B which will require specified city agencies to issue warnings. Very often, minor infractions can be resolved quickly and without the need for hefty fines and repetitive violations. This common-sense law is designed to ease the burden on New York city’s small businesses.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)

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