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Amendment to Sightseeing Bus Rules

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Department of Consumer Affairs is proposing to amend the sightseeing bus rules to implement Local Law 176 of 2018 relating to sightseeing buses and sightseeing bus drivers. 

 

Local Law 176 of 2018 (“LL 176”) requires SSB drivers to possess a valid commercial driver’s license (“CDL”) and forbids SSB businesses from employing drivers who: (1) are disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle pursuant to federal law, (2) have had their CDL suspended or revoked two or more times within the past five years, (3) have accumulated nine or more points on their driving record for acts that occurred within an eighteen month period, unless a statutory exception applies, and (4) have been convicted of any alcohol or drug-related offense pursuant to article 31 of the vehicle and traffic law or any similar offense under the laws of any other jurisdiction within the past three years.  LL 176 also sets SSB business compliance terms for the company’s SSB drivers, sets accident reporting standards, and SSB driver driving record recordkeeping requirements.

 

Finally, the Department is proposing certain amendments to update and modernize its sightseeing bus rules. Specifically, the Department is proposing to:

·         Remove an outdated provision requiring Departmental approval of advertising materials (§ 2-211(a)). This removal will ease the regulatory burden on sightseeing bus owners.

·         Delete provisions requiring sightseeing bus drivers to, among other things, possess English language skills, be of “sound physique”, and have his or her “physical condition” examined by the Department.  These provisions are outdated, do not increase safety, and are an unnecessary burden on drivers.  (§§ 2-211(r) and (s)).

·         Change the number of hours a driver may operate a sightseeing bus to better align with federal regulations.  Currently, the rules prohibit a driver from operating a vehicle for more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period.  Federal regulations found in 49 C.F.R. § 395.5 prohibit operating commercial passenger vehicles for more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off-duty.  These proposed amendments would make the Department’s rules mirror the federal standard.  

 

Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, and Sections 20-104(b) and 20-384 of the New York City Administrative Code authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to make these proposed rules.

 

New material is underlined.

[Deleted material is in brackets.]

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Repeal of Home Improvement Salesperson Requirement

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

As part of its consumer protection mission, the Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) licenses and regulates individuals and entities that perform work on private residences. Until now, DCA has issued separate licenses for home improvement contractors, who carry out such work, and home improvement salespersons, who sell jobs and negotiate contracts.

In February 2020, the City Council passed Local Law 31 of 2020, which, among other provisions, eliminated the home improvement salesperson license in the New York City Administrative Code. DCA is now proposing amendments to the Rules of the City of New York that would similarly eliminate all references to the home improvement salesperson license. Local Law 31 repealed the home improvement salesperson license because it was duplicative of, and redundant to, the home improvement contractor license. These proposed amendments will implement the law and eliminate unnecessary regulations in this industry.

The continued licensing of home improvement contractors will remain in place to regulate industry and protect consumers. New material is underlined. [Deleted material is in brackets.]

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Proposed Rules Regarding Rulemaking Petitions

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing to add new rules to implement Section 1043(g) of the New York City Charter, which permits any person to petition a city agency to consider the adoption of any rule and requires each agency to have rules creating a procedure for such petitions.

Specifically, these proposed rules would set forth the procedures that petitioners must follow in petitioning the Department to consider a new rule. These proposed rules would also set forth the procedure the Department must follow in considering and responding to petitions. Additionally, these rules would require the Department to deny or approve petitions within 60 days and would set forth a procedure for rejecting or adopting petitions.

DCA’s authority for this rule is found in Sections 1043, 2203(f), and 2203(g) of the New York City Charter.

Adopted Rules Regarding the Prohibition of Cashless Establishments

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA” or “Department”) is proposing to add new rules to implement Local Law 34 of 2020 (LL34), which prohibits food stores and retail establishments from refusing to accept payment in cash and further prohibits food stores and retail establishments from charging a higher price to consumers who pay for commodities with cash, rather than through a cashless transaction. The intent of LL34 is to ensure that all New Yorkers, including those who are unbanked or underbanked, can make retail and food purchases using cash.

 

Specifically, these proposed rules would add presumptions that a food store or retail establishment is in violation of the prohibition on cashless establishments if it displays a sign representing that it does not accept payment in cash from consumers, or if an employee or agent of such food store or retail establishment represents that it does not accept cash.  These proposed rules would further add presumptions that a food store or retail establishment is in violation of the prohibition on cashless establishments if it displays a sign representing that it charges a higher price for consumers who pay with cash rather than through a cashless transaction, or if any employee or agent of such food store or retail establishment represents that it charges a higher price to consumers who pay for commodities in cash. These presumptions are necessary to allow the Department to effectively enforce the cashless establishments law.  Without these presumptions, the Department would be required to conduct test purchases of commodities using cash to establish whether food stores or retail establishments are refusing to accept cash.  Such test purchases are too costly and inefficient to perform. 

 

These proposed rules would also add a penalty schedule for the new prohibitions on cashless establishments.  The penalties are provided by section 20-840(d) of the New York City Administrative Code. 

 

DCA’s authority for this rule is found in Sections 1043 and 2203(f) of the New York City Charter, Sections 20-104(b) and 20-702 of the New York City Administrative Code, and Section 2 of Local Law 34 of 2020.