Legislature Champions Police Reform and Female Community Leaders, Cracks Down on Grubhub

On March 16, the Rockland County Legislature met to vote on new legislation and approve the Police Reform Bill that was discussed in their previous meeting.

The legislature voted unanimously to adopt the County’s proposed police reform bill and “reinvention collaboration plan” as required by Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203. The bill’s main focus is implementing evidence-based policing strategies after careful review of county law enforcement divisions.

In honor of International Women’s Day, the legislature recognized three prominent women in the community who received Distinguished Service Awards, the highest award given by the County. Lisa Kaess is known best for starting residential community gardens throughout the county, and spearheading fundraising campaigns for children and community groups in need. Mamta Arya was recognized for founding Jeevan Jyoti, a support group for Indian-American seniors, and Anita Adler was acknowledged for her support in COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

A new County bill was introduced called the Emergency Restaurant Protection Act. This law would prevent third-party apps such as Grubhub and Doordash from implementing fees on the restaurants they serve. These fees cut into the profits of an already-struggling industry, sometimes accounting for up to 30% of an order. With this new law, third-party apps would only be allowed to charge 15% for a delivery service fee and no more than a 5% fee per order for other charges. This bill would also protect delivery drivers by ensuring they receive full compensation from the order.

Restaurants have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic; the New York State Restaurant Association has reported that sales have decreased 44% last year, with no signs of returning to normal business. These conditions have led to 54% of business reporting that they’ve had to lay off employees. Third party delivery apps have taken advantage of the lack of in person dinning by introducing surge pricing and similar fees to delivery orders. This new bill, introduced by Rep. Harriet Cornell, has already been implemented in four other counties; New York, Albany, Westchester, and Schenectady.

A public hearing for the Restaurant Protection Act will be held on April 6.

The Legislature appointed Matthew Castelluccio to a vacancy on the Rockland County Disability Advisory Council, leaving two more vacancies on the board. Castelluccio is the Director of Independent Living at BRIDGES- Rockland Independent Living Center. Ysenia Polanco was appointed to the newly-created Human Rights Council, leaving one vacancy. Professional geologist Kevin McGuinness was appointed to the Rockland County Park Commission.