Assemblymember Dan Quart (D-Murray Hill, Lenox Hill) started off the latest legislative session with a bang, introducing a slew of new legislation.
Quart is one of eight candidates in the crowded race for Manhattan District Attorney, the only one who currently serves as an elected official.
The bills, which total 55, cover topics ranging from the sale of property for use as a garden to the implementation of purple lights on rapid transit buses to the decriminalization of adultery in New York State.
Several of the new bills center on crime reform and police accountability, with decarceration listed as his top priority if elected. Bill A00099, for example, concerns the “use of force” reports that police are required to submit when operating a firearm against an individual. Quart’s bill attempts to specify which actions constitute “use of force,” maintaining that “when an officer holds a person at gunpoint or aims or points a firearm at or in the direction of another person,” it is imperative that this be included in the report. Here, Quart is putting into action his promise to hold law enforcement officials accountable and create some semblance of transparency with regards to the police department.
In a similar vein, Bill A00047 seeks to suspend the issuance of fines or criminal charges to fare evaders on subway or bus routes. Currently, if a New Yorker jumps over a turnstile they face either a $100 penalty or incarceration, with the decision at the discretion of the arresting officer. Over 25 percent of those caught jumping turnstiles were reportedly arrested, almost 92% of them people of color. The bill argues that, as it stands, “the punishment does not fit the crime… We are not arguing that this act be overlooked, but that a justifiable penalty be considered.”
Another portion of his bills focus on voting regulations. Bill A00038 attempts to amend the election law, requiring the board of elections to notify absentee voters of the status of their ballot and giving them the opportunity to correct a ballot that was rejected. The justification for this bill is the current lack of transparency when it comes to absentee voting, as absentee voters are unable to find out whether their ballot has been accepted or if it arrived safely at the Board’s office.
Environmental protection was yet another topic tackled in Quart’s bundle of legislation. Bill A00105 sets a goal of 30 percent renewable energy in New York State from 2023 to 2027 and 40 percent renewable energy in 2028 and thereafter. Meanwhile, Bill A00075 launches a community solar power program that would allow New Yorkers to invest in off-site solar energy installations, “offsetting their energy consumption and creating an ongoing funding stream for new installations.”
Quart’s legislative work thus far, combined with his comprehensive campaign promises, makes him a leading candidate for the democratic primary in June.