senate Bill S681

Requires certain business signs to be posted in English

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO CITIES
  • 30 / Apr / 2013
    • RECOMMIT, ENACTING CLAUSE STRICKEN

Summary

Requires certain business signs to be posted in English in cities with a population of one million or more where such information is also posted in another language; specifies penalties and cure periods for violations related to signage for merchandise establishments and services; makes such provisions applicable to lessees.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S681
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Cities
Law Section:
New York City Administrative Code
Laws Affected:
Amd §19-124, NYC Ad Cd; amd §131, Gen Bus L
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Cycle:
S5911B

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S681

TITLE OF BILL:

An act
to amend the administrative code of the city of New York and the general
business law, in relation to requiring certain business signs to be
posted in English

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

The legislation amends the administrative code of the city of New York
and the general business law to require that commercial and
merchandise establishments that erect canopies or other permitted
signs that are written in a foreign language must also be provided in
English and all languages used must be represented in equivalent size
and proportion.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends subdivisions f through i of section 19-124
of the administrative code of the city of New York by re-lettering
the subdivisions as g through j and adding a new subdivision f that
requires commercial establishments which erect or maintain a canopy
to display the firm name or duly filed trade name and the address of
the premises. When such information is provided in a foreign language
it must also be provided in English and all languages used must be
represented in equivalent size and proportion.

Section 2 of the bill amends section 131 of the general business law,
as amended by chapter 496 of the laws of 1973, by creating a new
subdivision 1 and by repealing the exceptions to this section for
leased premises, by amending the penalties for failure to comply from
a misdemeanor to a violation with specifically graduated fines and by
adding a new subdivision 2 that requires in cities of a million or
more, any permitted sign containing information imprinted or
displayed in a language other than English shall also contain the
same information in equivalent size and proportion in English.

Section 4 of the bill provides for this act to take effect immediately
and shall apply to each canopy or sign erected or replaced on or
after such date.

JUSTIFICATION:

The cultural diversity embodied by the city of New York is one of the
many characteristics that make it one of the greatest cities in the
world.

Over the past several decades, various neighborhoods throughout the
city have become cultural and commercial hubs for numerous
non-English speaking populations. As a result, a large proportion of
the commercial signage seen in these areas has been created in
languages other than English. While the success of these commercial
hubs is welcome and appreciated, there are certain safety and
community relations concerns that have arisen as an unexpected result.


In terms of safety issues, signs which are not printed in English
present difficulties for fire, police or other emergency service
providers in locating and responding to emergencies at such an
address. Minutes are crucial in responding to any type of emergency
and delays associated with trying to locate the site of an emergency
are a dangerous and unnecessary hazard which is likely to be caused
by an inability to read a commercial sign indicating the location of
a particular business. In addition, it is also crucial for first
responders to know the nature of a particular business in terms of
potential hazardous chemicals or products which may be stored at such
locations,
e.g. chemical manufacturers, hardware/paint stores, dry cleaning
establishments, chemical manufacturers, medical clinics, etc.

Community relations are also affected by signs printed solely in
languages other than English. This English language requirement would
serve to promote greater understanding amongst residents and
patronage of establishments by all members of a community
irrespective of a person's national heritage. Whereas, signs printed
solely in the language of a majority of residents in one particular
neighborhood serves only to isolate and intimidate other members of
that community who do not speak the language of the majority.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-12: S.5911-B

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:

To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to each canopy
or sign erected or replaced on or after such date.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   681

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Cities

AN ACT to amend the administrative code of the city of New York and  the
  general  business law, in relation to requiring certain business signs
  to be posted in English

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Subdivisions f, g, h and i of section 19-124 of the admin-
istrative code of the city of New York are relettered subdivisions g, h,
i and j and a new subdivision f is added to read as follows:
  F.  INFORMATION  REQUIRED.  1.     NOTWITHSTANDING  ANY   INCONSISTENT
PROVISION  OF  THIS  SECTION,  A COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENT THAT ERECTS OR
MAINTAINS A CANOPY SHALL  BE  REQUIRED  TO  PAINT,  IMPRINT  OR  STENCIL
DIRECTLY  UPON  THE  CANOPY,  WITHIN  THE  CHARACTER AND AREA LIMITATION
PRESCRIBED BY THE ZONING RESOLUTION OF THE CITY, THE FIRM NAME  OR  DULY
FILED TRADE NAME, AND THE ADDRESS OF THE PREMISES. WHEN SUCH INFORMATION
IS  PROVIDED  IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE IT MUST ALSO BE PROVIDED IN ENGLISH.
THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL APPLY TO ALL COMMERCIAL  ESTAB-
LISHMENTS  REGARDLESS  OF  WHETHER  THE ESTABLISHMENT OWNS OR LEASES THE
PREMISES WHERE IT IS LOCATED.
  2. NO LEASE OF A PREMISES TO A COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENT SUBJECT TO THE
PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL PROHIBIT THE DISPLAY OF ANY  INFOR-
MATION REQUIRED BY THIS SUBDIVISION.
  S  2.  Section  131 of the general business law, as amended by chapter
496 of the laws of 1973, is amended to read as follows:
  S 131. [Ownership of] INFORMATION REGARDING merchandise establishments
and services to be publicly revealed and displayed.   1.  Every  person,
partnership,  association  or corporation owning or conducting any shop,
store or other establishment or service wherein the sale of  merchandise
at  retail  or  wholesale  is  carried  on or transacted or a service is

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02956-01-3

S. 681                              2

performed as a business shall cause the true, full name,  including  the
full first name or legally registered trade name or names of the propri-
etor  or  owner  or  proprietors  or owners of such shop, store or other
establishment  or  service  to  be publicly revealed and prominently and
legibly displayed in the English language either upon a window  of  such
shop, store or other establishment or place where a service is performed
or  upon  a  sign conspicuously placed upon the exterior of the building
containing the same. [The foregoing provisions  shall  not  apply  to  a
person, partnership, association or corporation operating under a lease,
a department in a shop, store or other establishment or service as afor-
esaid  where  the  lessor  of such shop, store or other establishment or
service is liable to customers for merchandise sold  by  and  the  oper-
ations of such leased department.] Failure to comply with the provisions
of  this  section shall constitute a [misdemeanor] VIOLATION, PUNISHABLE
BY A FINE OF TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS FOR A FIRST OFFENSE; AND  A  FINE
OF  FIVE  HUNDRED  DOLLARS FOR A SECOND OFFENSE, PROVIDED THAT A PERSON,
PARTNERSHIP, ASSOCIATION OR CORPORATION MAY NOT BE CHARGED WITH A SECOND
OFFENSE WITHIN SIXTY DAYS OF  THE  DATE  OF  CONVICTION  FOR  THE  FIRST
OFFENSE;  AND A FINE OF FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A THIRD AND SUBSEQUENT
OFFENSE, PROVIDED THAT A PERSON, PARTNERSHIP, ASSOCIATION OR CORPORATION
MAY NOT BE CHARGED WITH A THIRD OFFENSE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF  THE  DATE
OF CONVICTION FOR THE SECOND OFFENSE.
  2.  NOTWITHSTANDING  ANY  INCONSISTENT PROVISION OF THIS SECTION, IN A
CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE, IN ALL DISTRICTS OF  SUCH
CITY,  ANY  PERMITTED SIGN CONTAINING INFORMATION IMPRINTED OR DISPLAYED
IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH SHALL ALSO CONTAIN THE SAME INFORMATION
IN ENGLISH.
  S 3.  The New York City department of consumer affairs  shall  promul-
gate  any  rules  and  regulations  necessary  to  give  effect  to  the
provisions of this act, including but not limited to rules pertaining to
the size and proportion of all English language signs  required  by  the
provisions of this act.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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