New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

WNYC: New York Public Radio

WNYC: New York Public Radio As Cooling Tower Owners Flout Legionnaires' Law, City Council Looks to Crack Dow by Sean Carlson

As Cooling Tower Owners Flout Legionnaires' Law, City Council Looks to Crack Dow

Owners of cooling towers are currently required to have them inspected quarterly and immediately have them cleaned if they show a certain amount of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' Disease. Cooling tower owners then must submit an annual report documenting the inspections and cleanings.

The new law would require inspection results to be submitted to the city almost immediately after they're received. It would also require the city to send electronic reminders to cooling tower owners of upcoming dates.

"As the Health Department issues violations to bring towers into compliance, many buildings with cooling towers are still failing to report the results of their inspections, leaving us to wonder if inspections are occurring at all," bill sponsor Councilman Ben Kallos said.

WNYC: New York Public Radio City Election Officials Consider Online Voter Registration by Brigid Bergin

City Election Officials Consider Online Voter Registration

Currently, the only way to register to vote online in New York is through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The catch is you need to have a driver's license or a non-driver id card to use that system — a system that has experienced some hiccups.

City Councilman Ben Kallos said voter registration should be as easy as calling for an Uber. He sponsored a bill to create an online portal through the website of the city's Campaign Finance Board.

"New York City residents would be able to go online, put in all of their information and they could sign on a piece of paper and take a picture, or just sign with their finger or with a stylus," said Kallos.

The key here: the voter registration forms would rely on digital signatures. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued an opinion last year saying they're legal, paving the way for online voter registration.

"The bill sponsored by Councilman Kallos marks a key step forward in the fight for more accessible elections, allowing New York City to begin to bring our electoral process into the 21st century," Schneiderman said in a statement.

WNYC: New York Public Radio The Takeaway: NYC Fights Poverty and Stigma With Free School Lunches for All by Todd Zwillich

The Takeaway: NYC Fights Poverty and Stigma With Free School Lunches for All

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced this week that the city's 1.1 million public school students will receive free lunch. This program comes as the city changed the way it reports its data to the Washington, making it eligible for the lunch expansion at no additional cost to taxpayers.

While individual families are set to save roughly $300 a year on school lunches, the issue touches on much more than cost. Incidents of "food shaming" have been reported at schools around the country, as students are often targeted on the lunch line for their family's inability to pay off their meal debt.

Could this new program serve as a model to districts around the country? New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents New Yorkers in the Upper West Side and Roosevelt Island, joins The Takeaway to discuss the importance of ensuring that every student receives lunch at school.

This segment is hosted by Todd Zwillich.