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Name of Council Member: Mark Weprin Name and Title of Person Completing Questionnaire: Campaign Website (if applicable):

2013 CITY COUNCIL HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONNAIRE


1. Many in the United States think of international affairs when they think of human rights. Our work emphasizes the applicability of the human rights framework here in the United States. Please share your thoughts on the domestic applicability of human rights, and discuss why human rights are important to you in the context of New York City and the City Council. Human rights are very important here in New York City. New York has long been a destination for those seeking liberty and freedom. The City Council has a responsibility to maintain the freedoms so many come here specifically to enjoy. In addition to that, the Council must safeguard the rights of residents in this city's constantly changing landscape. 2. Please share briefly how you have used your role in Council to advance human rights. A great way to advance human rights as a Council Member is to keep an ear to the ground with focused and accessible constituent services. In many instances, that's how council members become aware of systemic problems. My office staff is multilingual, offering services in English, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish, so that we can provide assistance in a meaningful way to our diverse community. The needs of that community also prompted me to author the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which expands religious freedoms in the workplace and protects workers from religious discrimination. As a parent of public school students, I am aptly situated to understand the issues plaguing our schools today. I take a proactive approach to addressing educational concerns by working closely with local schools and monitoring the city budget to ensure that vital programs continue to be funded by the city. As social networking has increased, I have fought for mandated anti-bullying training for all students citywide, focusing especially on cyber bullying. 3. Legislative priorities: Please list your top 3 legislative priorities for 2013 [you may include legislation that has passed]: 1. The Community Safety Act

2. Paid Sick Leave 3. Immigrant Voting Rights What will be your top 3 legislative priorities as a Council Member in the upcoming legislative session? 1. A bill to combat unsafe driving on sidewalks 2. Mandated anti-bullying training for all public school students 3. Increasing public transportation options in Queens 4. Budget priorities: Please list your top three budget priorities of 2013: 1. The Autism Initiative 2. Capital funding for every school that applies in my district 3. Participatory budgeting What will your top 3 budget priorities be as a Council member in the upcoming legislative session? 1. Expand the Autism Initiative to serve more New Yorkers with special needs 2. Continue the participatory budgeting process 3. Baseline funding for afterschool programs 5. Have you used participatory budgeting to allocate your discretionary funds? Why or why not? I have used the participatory budget process to allocate discretionary funds in my district and wholeheartedly support the process. One reason for my enthusiasm is that the process engages our youth in an unprecedented way, increasing their understanding of city government while developing an engaged electorate. Last year, over one thousand residents voted in my district for a number of exciting projects, including a back-up generator for an emergency services organization and a music stage in Cunningham Park. 6. Please provide examples of recent legislation in Council that you believe promotes human rights. A major piece of legislation that passed this year that will promote human rights is the Community Safety Act. The two-part act will reduce illegal and unconstitutional stops and install an inspector general over the NYPD. While I remain a strong supporter of law enforcement, I believe we must free the NYPD from an unfair quota system, which has unfairly targeted minorities while yielding no significant results.

7. Legislation is only one of many ways in which Council Members can work to advance human rights. What ways other than through legislation will you advance the human rights of New Yorkers as a City Council Member? I believe that the budgeting process is a significant way that the Council can work to advance human rights of New Yorkers. Through passionate advocacy during budget negotiations with the Mayor, members can direct funding to progressive causes, such as the funding of free immigration services citywide. Another way City Council Members can promote human rights is by using their position and access to the media to spotlight issues and apply pressure to wrongdoers. 8. Some advocates contend that the position of the Council Speaker has too much power over the progression of legislation. Please use this space to respond to that critique. The power of the speaker over the progress of legislation must be used to support members in their efforts to represent their communities, without fear of reprisal. The legislative process must fully involve members at all stages.