Salazar Talks Loft Laws, Evictions, and Netflix at Town Hall in Bushwick

Katy Golvala

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2019 has been a busy year for Julia Salazar.

On Tuesday night at the Mayday space, the state senator spoke about what she’s been working on this year and provided an update on the latest news out of Albany.

During the last session of the state senate, three of the bills that Salazar introduced were passed through the senate.

These included the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, which ensures that insurance companies cover FDA-approved contraception, a “zombie homes” bill, which calls for additional maintenance requirements for vacant and abandoned residential properties, and a kinship care bill, which makes it easier for family members to care for children in the event of a parent’s death.   

Once session resumes, Salazar has a few top legislative priorities.

One of the highest priority items is an update to New York housing laws. Current rent stabilization laws expire on June 15, and lawmakers are proposing a series of nine bills to strengthen the city’s housing laws.

The Good Cause Eviction Bill, a bill that Salazar sponsors and makes up one of the nine housing bills, would protect nearly all tenants from egregious rent increases, even those who aren’t protected by current rent stabilization laws.

“We see it in Bushwick, we see it throughout North Brooklyn, that families who have been living here for decades are being displaced and people just can’t afford to live here anymore… and it doesn’t have to be this way,” Salazar told the crowd.

Drawing of Salazar during the town hall, by Sofia Warren.

But, it won’t be easy to pass. The bill currently has 21 senate sponsors and needs 10 more.

During a Q&A that was as varied as it was specific, Salazar fielded questions on a range of topics, from whether New York City should be able to make its own tax laws to what the state senator had done to push for the decriminalization of sex work.

Not surprisingly, the two topics that came up most were housing and schools. On housing, loft tenants had a strong presence and the senator received questions on timing of expansion of the Loft Law.

With respect to schools, constituents wanted to know about funding to schools and how to make it easier for parents to get reimbursements when they have to pay out of pocket for special education programs.

The recent news that Netflix is coming to Bushwick also came up.

When asked whether residents should be worried about the arrival of the content giant, Salazar responded, “I think we should be critical of it… We also should be critical of the process. I found out about this about a week ago. Not cool.”

State senate is back in session next week.

Cover image courtesy of Julia Salazar.

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