In a final stated meeting replete of emotional goodbyes, the New York City Council passed legislation banning the use of e-cigarettes indoors, as well as the use of styrofoam citywide.
The styrofoam ban passed unanimously, with 51 votes in favor.
“The only thing in the world that lives longer than cockroaches and Cher is styrofoam,” Speaker Christine Quinn said, highlighting the importance of not allowing landfills to fill up with a substance that can’t biodegrade.
Quinn noted there was a provision to study the feasibility of recycling styrofoam before a ban is put in place, but there is a time limit on how long the study can last before a ban is enforced.
Answering criticism that the styrofoam ban is hard on small businesses, the bill’s sponsor, Councilmember Lew Fidler was emphatic.
“This Council has had a very, very long record of standing up for small businesses,” Fidler insisted.
The e-cig ban passed 43 to 8.
Councilman Jumaane Williams was one of the members who voted against the e-cig bill.
“I think there is just too much information that I don’t have on the e-cigs,” Williams said. “I think it’s a good bill, and I think it’s being rushed.”
Councilman Lew Fidler noted they “did everything precisely the same as we did with tobacco.”
The smoking ban allowed for cigar bars and tobacco shops, Fidler pointed out, so long as 50 percent or more of the establishment’s sales comes from smoking products.
“We’re going to have an analog,” he said.
A prolific body
The Council considered more legislation in this meeting than in any other Council meeting in history, Speaker Christine Quinn said.
She also noted that this council has passed more legislation in the past year than any other council previously did in a 12-month period.
“I love this place in a way that most people might not think of people loving local legislative bodies,” Quinn said. “I am humbled and extraordinarily grateful for being able to lead it for eight years.”
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