Wonder what City Council has been up to since Election Day? It’s surprisingly difficult to find out. The 17 Council members meet every week of their five month session, often to consider important legislation that could affect every resident of the city. Here, your guide to what’s happening at City Council this week, what bills they’re discussing, why they matter and what we can do about them.
Committee on Licenses and Inspections
Gender Price Discrinimation
This bill would forbid dry cleaners from charging different prices for cleaning similar articles of clothing based on gender. In short, it should cost the same to dry clean a woman’s suit as it should a man’s, all else being equal.
Business Owners Responsible for Nuisance Behavior
Bass, Jones, Blackwell, Henon, Squilla
This bill would hold business owners responsible for “nuisance behavior” occurring on their premises. Such behavior includes illegal drug activity, sidewalk obstruction, public urination, and more. In addition to fines, a business would be subject to having its Commercial Activities License revoked.
Special Assembly Occupancies
Establishments that regularly have certain forms of entertainment (dancing, live music, etc.) must obtain a $100 license from L&I. (Note: this bill has nothing to do with the controversial bill put forward by Councilman Squilla earlier this year.) This bill would increase the license fee from $100 to $200, and would make streaming audio or video as a performance subject to the license. Currently, the list of activities that requires a license is: “singing, disc jockeying, rapping, dancing, playing musical instruments, and/or acting.”
Committee on Streets and Services
Aside from a lot of very minor adjustments to the city plan, there two big pieces of news...
Buffered Bike Lanes
This bill would create a buffered bike lane on Tyson Avenue from Roosevelt Boulevard to Frankford Avenue by removing a lane of traffic in each direction.
SEPTA Digital Ads
This bill would authorize SEPTA to install 14 new digital screens outside of subway stops along the Broad Street Line in anticipation of the DNC.
Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs
This bill would require all City-owned parks to have play areas for children with special needs, including “children in wheelchairs, children with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, or hearing or vision impairments.” It would also require all playgrounds to provide adult fitness areas. This would only apply to parks that are undergoing renovation and rebuilding, which means that no park has to change until the City does work on it.
Committee on Labor and Civil Service
Minimum Wage Floor
Currently, the City sets the minimum wage for employees working under city contracts based on a formula. That formula is $12/hour, multiplied by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) multiplier. The CPI multiplier is basically a measure of inflation. The goal of the law is to make sure that the minimum wage tracks inflation so that workers’ buying power doesn’t decrease. However, it’s possible in a recession for the CPI multiplier to result in a lowering of the minimum wage. This bill would prevent that by requiring that the minimum wage can never be below the prior year’s minimum wage.
Time for more budget hearings, which means it’s time for more soda tax talk!
Approval of Final Bills
A lot of bills that have previously had hearings will be up for a final vote to approve or reject them.