New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Signed into Law

Introduction 1176-2016: Open Budget for New York City

How New York City spends $82 billion would be more transparent, with a city budget that is searchable and computer readable instead of printed or in lengthy PDFs, by requiring the budget to be searchable, posted in open formats, and available for third parties to “build an app for that.”

The legislation would align New York City data standards for its budget with the Federal standards in the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) that lead to the adoption of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) so that any software built for the Federal budget could easily be used with the city’s budget like

Introduction 1069-2016: Full Time Legislature

This bill would require the City Council to set forth rules prohibiting Council Members from earning certain outside income and would make the position of Council Member full-time. The provisions of this bill and any rules promulgated pursuant to this bill would not apply to any Council Member who has engaged in another occupation, profession or employment during the current Council session, who intends to continue to engage in such occupation, profession or employment for the remainder of such session, and who submits a letter to the Speaker of the Council by March 1, 2016 describing such engagement and intention.

Introduction 810-2015: Unpaid Civil Penalties Imposed by ECB Can Affect Licensing

This bill would require city agencies that issue notices of violation returnable to the Environmental Control Board (ECB) and that issue licenses, permits or registrations to promulgate rules to implement their authority to deny, suspend, terminate or revoke licenses, permits and registrations based on unpaid civil penalties imposed by ECB. The bill would require such rules to include certain factors for agencies to consider when making the determination to deny, suspend, terminate or revoke, including (1) whether the applicant, licensee, permittee or registrant has other debt owed to the city; (2) the amount of unpaid civil penalties owed; (3) whether the underlying violation is one of a series of violations and the nature of the underlying violation; and (4) whether the unpaid civil penalties were imposed due to a finding of default decision that was then vacated, or whether the applicant, licensee, permittee or registration has made a request to vacate a default and obtain a new hearing. The bill would clarify that such agencies would not be limited to the considerations required by the bill and may consider any additional factors in making a determination. The bill would exempt agencies that have adopted a rule or policy prior to the effective date of the bill that substantially meets the requirements of the bill. The bill would also require agencies to provide an annual report to the Council including the number of applications received; the number denied pursuant to such rules; the number of licenses, permits or registrations suspended, terminated or revoked; and list of the types of licenses, permits or registrations issued by such agency and the time period for which such licenses, permits or registrations are issued.

Introduction 659-2015: Online Voter Information Portal

This bill would require the New York City Board of Elections to provide a secure website and mobile application that would allow users to (1) track the status of their absentee application and ballot; (2) view their registration status; (3) view the party for which they are a registered member; (4) view the federal, state, and local election districts in which they reside; (5) know whether they are required to bring any form of identification to vote; (6) view which elections held over the previous four calendar years for which they were registered to vote and whether they voted; (7) view the address at which they were previously registered to vote; (8) provide the option to receive alerts, including when there is a change in their registration status; (9) providing access to existing resources including (a) registering to vote, (b) updating registration information, (c) viewing sample ballots, (d) polling place locations, (e) voting hours, (f) signing up as a poll workers, and (g) viewing the voter guide.

Introduction 1015-2015: Affordable Housing Registration and Application

The legislation seeks to solve the following longstanding problems with affordable housing:

  • Non-Registration – owners fail to register thousands of buildings with tens of thousands of units for which they receive hundreds of millions in tax breaks each year.
  • Paper Applications – applicants must mail an application request, receive the application by mail, return the application by mail, and wait hoping nothing got lost in the mail.
  • Lotteries and Rejections – three quarters of applications have been rejected in lotteries because individuals apply for the wrong affordable housing for their income.
  • Waiting List Corruption – investigations revealed dozens of instances of corruption and bribery surrounding waiting lists for affordable housing.
  • Numerous Individual Places to Apply – Multiple websites offered by DHCR,HPDHDC  and non-profits like Met Council as well as at individual affordable housing buildings.

This local law would create an affordable housing internet portal. It provides requirements for both the portal itself and for units that would be listed on the portal.


Introduction 988-2015: Voter Guide Mailer Opt Out

This bill would allow voters to opt-out of receiving a printed copy of the Campaign Finance Board’s Voter Guide, which is currently prepared and mailed to every household with a registered voter prior to local elections. It would also require the Campaign Finance Board to produce a Voter Guide, though not necessarily in a printed format, for state and federal election races.


Introduction 987-2015: Clarifying Eligibility for Municipal Debates

This bill would modify the standard for contributions raised and spent by candidates who participate in the City’s public funding matching program in order to be eligible to participate in the first official debate for the office they seek. It would change the formula for eligibility from having raised 20% of the threshold for public funding for the office they seek to having raised and spent 2.5% of the expenditure limit for such office. The effect of this would be to increase the minimum funds raised to between 300% and 400% of the previous minimums.


Introduction 986-2015: Early Public Funds Payments in Local Elections

This bill would allow for the earlier disbursement of limited amounts of public money to qualifying candidates who wish to participate in the City’s public matching campaign finance system during their campaigns. It would change the earliest possible date for disbursement from following the finalization of the candidates who qualify for the ballot to shortly after the deadline for certification for participation in the public matching program.