Public Hearing Set Monday on Proposed Taxi Law

OSWEGO, NY – Prior to Monday night’s Common Council meeting, a public hearing shall be held at 7:10 p.m.

It will give the public an opportunity to speak regarding proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2013 – a local law amending Chapter 228 (Taxicabs) of the Code of the City of Oswego.

The council proposed the local law last fall in an effort to ensure the public’s safety.

Each applicant for a taxi driver’s license in the city must submit to a background investigation conducted by the police department, and state whether they have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.

An applicant’s prior criminal convictions will be considered in accordance with New York State Corrections Law Section 752.

An applicant may be denied  a license on the basis of his or her criminal record in accordance with state and federal laws, including but not limited to New York Human Rights Law Section 296 and New York Correction Law Article 23-A.

In November, Workforce Advocacy Center filed a lawsuit against the city to challenge the local law as it was originally created, which bans everyone with a felony less than 10 years old from driving a taxi.

The lawsuit, filed in Oswego County Supreme Court, accused the city of violating the U.S. and New York State constitutions and Article 23-A of the NY Correction Law, which protects people with criminal records from discrimination.

“The council is scheduled to vote tonight on Proposed Local Law 1 of the Year 2013, which will repeal the provisions the city enacted last September (in Local Law 2 of the Year 2012) that barred persons with felony convictions from driving taxis,” said Jeremy Zielinski, founder / CEO of Workforce Advocacy Center. “The changes made by Local Law 2 are the subject of Workforce Advocacy Center Inc.’s pending lawsuit against the city.”

The provisions barring persons with felonies have been removed and replaced with requirements to comply with state and federal anti-discrimination law, he pointed out.

Also, all provisions in Chapter 228 that required disclosure of arrests not leading to conviction will be removed, he added.

Zielinski  said he would be encouraging the city to pass new local law.