RESTORE. REBUILD. RESPECT. REPRESENT.
Peter Hatzipetros, a 32-year Native of Howard Beach, is running for New York State Assembly to Represent the 23rd District of Queens.
As a former criminal defense attorney, Peter understands the fear and concerns across our communities as the crime rate throughout New York continues to increase as a direct result of the dangerously ill-conceived “Bail Elimination Act of 2019.” This poorly crafted piece of legislation jeopardizes the health, safety and well-being of communities across the State. The removal of the cash bail system is just one of many examples demonstrating the arrogance and apathy of the New York’s current lawmakers. It is clear that the public servants of the New York legislature have completely disregarded the public who elected them into office. Since the passing of the new law, crime in New York has increased by 21% year to date compared to this time in 2019. Even more troubling, however, is the reality that law-abiding citizens of our New York communities aren't the only collateral damage of this disastrous bail reform law- as the brave men and women of the New York Police Department have been directly impacted by these laws as well.
In 2016, Peter founded the Petros Law Group- a boutique financial-technology law firm that focuses on working with startup companies, entrepreneurs, and traditional businesses seeking to integrate technology into their business infrastructure. As an ambassador of the industry, Peter has an in-depth understanding of the significant impact and influence of emerging technologies and how they are shaping the world of finance, data privacy and the job market. In 2020, there is a tremendous demand for talented and well-qualified individuals educated in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Therefore, we have a responsibility to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter this technology-driven world by educating New York students in computer sciences and other vital technologies utilized in our everyday lives.
Peter’s vision is not limited to improving the quality of life for Queens residents alone— but rather, his agenda will be to work across party lines to secure legislation that benefit the Empire State as a whole— because, as a true New Yorker, Peter understands that the whole City just is greater than the sum of the parts.
The agenda is simple:
- Repeal the dangerously flawed Bail Elimination Act;
- Develop more efficient and purposeful educational programs in the Public-School system;
- Restore support and protection of New York law enforcement;
- Mitigate New York State’s governmental attempt to control privately owned real estate and properties;
- Reduce taxes;
- Keep Rikers Island open; and
- Take necessary steps to solidify New York as a tech-hub of innovation for the future of blockchain technologies
Keep Our Communities Safe. On January 22, 2019, New York Senator Michael Gianaris introduced Senate Bill 201.A, also known as the “Bail Elimination Act of 2019.” The Bill, which was hastily passed and introduced into law in an unprecedented manner, was designed to mitigate the alleged systematic prejudices inherent to New York Criminal Justice System. Unfortunately, the removal of cash bail has proximately caused a rise in criminal offenses from repeat offenders who have been arrested by NYPD officers only to be released back into the streets to recommit more crimes. The new law also strips New York Judges from using the wisdom of the Judicial Branch to remand these same criminals in the interests of public safety.
When elected Assemblyman, the first priority is to propose and fight for the passing of legislation which allow judges more options for when to impose bail or, where appropriate, remand a criminal in the interests of public safety. Additionally, more legislation to amend the Bill must be adopted to prevent the release of criminals whom, as the law currently stands, are released on their own recognizance despite committing the following crimes:
- Manslaughter in the Second Degree
- Aggravated vehicular homicide
- Criminally Negligent homicide
- Assault in the Third Degree
- Aggravated Vehicular Assault
- Making a terroristic threat
- Criminal Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds
- Criminal Sale of a Firearm to a Minor
- Arson in the Third & Fourth Degree
- Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Third & Fourth Degree
- Promoting or Possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child
- Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals,
- Animal Fighting
- Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree
- Coercion in the First Degree
- Grand Larceny in the First Degree
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First & Second Degree
- Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in First & Second Degree or Near/On School Grounds
- Felony Drug Offenses Involving the Use of Children to Commit a Controlled Substance Offense and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance to a Child
- Criminal Solicitation in the First Degree and Criminal Facilitation in the First
- Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in a School Zone
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
- And more...
Public School Education
Educate the Educators. At many New York City-run public schools, a majority of students are not passing state-wide tests. In fact, recently released data for 2019 shows that only 47.4% of New York City students in grades 3-8 are proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) and sadly, only 45.6% of New York City students in the same grade level are proficient in mathematics.
In many instances, blame can justifiably be cast upon New York City School Chancellor Richard Carranza. In other instances, the curriculum itself has proven to be the common denominator which continues to generate these failing statistics in our City's youth. But rather than place blame, it is more important that we view the underlying issues that continue to yield these results. We must examine what is being taught in our public schools and whether or not it reflects the future needs of young pupils as they grow into a world governed by technology.
As Assemblyman, my primary initiative is to determine how and where funds can be redirected away from failing D.O.E. programs in order to create a budget designed to bring our tools of education into the modern era of technology. This includes software, operating systems, programming, and hardware (such as iPads, Smart Boards, etc.). But above all, we must learn from the mistakes made with the infamously flawed "Common-Core Curriculum." We must invest in the time and effort to hire qualified personnel to train our teachers in the most efficient ways of structuring and developing a computer-science curriculum that promotes a more hands-on, project-based learning environment for children. It is not enough to just demand our teachers to implement a new technology-based curriculum and hope they just learn as they go along. Rather, the D.O.E. must invest in our teachers, teach them how to incorporate the fundamentals of STEM field concepts into their respective lesson plans. Only then, can we can expect students to acquire the knowledge and skills of computer science in a way that will foster an understanding of its importance.
Public school teachers are the gatekeepers to our children's capacity for learning. And by developing authentic, real-world learning tasks through which children can apply knowledge from core academic subjects to make relevant connections, and to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, it will promote collaboration and communication among peers while introducing students to the latest technologies currently utilized by business and industry, and help prepare students via hands-on experiences in working with these technologies.
Protect Our Protectors. It’s no secret that the growing disdain and disrespect for New York’s Law Enforcement Officers has been promoted and acquiesced by lawmakers in our City. The once lauded and praised brave men and women of the NYPD are now the target of lawless criminals and apathetic bureaucrats. NYPD officers risk their lives each day on the job to ensure the safety of our communities; and with the passage of recent bail laws, the NYPD are required to do work twice as harder- as it is now prevalent that after arresting a criminal, it is more likely than not that the same offender will return to the streets only to reoffend.
In the Summer of 2019, everyone saw the news footage of NYPD officers being doused with water while in the line of the duty, When elected Assemblyman, legislation shall be introduced to make it a felony to engage in conduct that obstructs a police officer in the line of duty by way of spitting, throwing or spilling items, liquid, or otherwise, at or on an officer.
On June 14, 2019, when the New York State legislature passed historic rent regulations in the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, landlords and developers have been weighing its potential effects on their operations and profitability. Clearly favoring the interests of tenants, the new regulations will have far-reaching implications on the real estate industry.
Property Improvements. The Act implemented a multitude of significant changes ownership and operations of real property, felt mostly by Landlords and property owners-- as well as land developers. Among the changes, two (2) are already showing to be the most impactful: (1) Changes made to Major Capital Improvements (“MCIs”) and (2) Changes regarding Individual Apartment Improvements (“IAIs”). Prior to the Act, Landlords were permitted to defer on to their tenants up to six percent (6%) of those costs which a Landlord incurred in-connection with MCIs (e.g. building-wide improvements). Now, “MCI increases” are capped at no more than two percent (2%) and twenty-five percent (25%) of them are required to be inspected and audited. MCI increases will be eliminated entirely in 30 years.
The ability to pass on the costs of IAIs (physical improvements made to vacant apartments) has also been dramatically limited. The new law allows only $15,000 of the renovations to be passed on to tenants over 15 years. On average, the costs of obtaining the necessary work permits alone are around $6,000-- and that is before the renovation can even begin.
The new law, clearly intended to benefit tenants, is already showing to work against tenants throughout the City; as Tenants themselves are losing out, as landlords have far less motivation and financially incentivized to invest in improving these properties. Businesses who depend on this work, such as carpenters, plumbers, contractors and suppliers, have also started to feel these negative effects as well.
Good-Cause Eviction. These changes are just a portion of the sweeping reform that was introduced in 2019. In February 2019, Assembly Bill 5030, known as the “Good Cause Eviction” Law, would create a rebuttable presumption that rent rates for a dwelling, not protected by rent stabilization, is unconscionable if said rent has been increased in any calendar year by a percentage that exceeds 3% of the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for the region in which the housing accommodation is located. Good Cause Eviction prohibits a Landlord of residential properties with 12 or less units (which do not qualify for NY’s rent stabilization protections) from the right and desire to convert middle-income housing into luxury rentals. Under Good Cause Eviction, they’d have to wait until tenants either move out willingly, fail to pay rent, or exhibit nuisance-like behavior.
Commercial Rent Stabilization. Most concerning of all the newly proposed legislation concerning real estate in New York City was introduced in November of 2019. This bill, known only as “Intro 1796,” is designed to implement commercial rent stabilization citywide. Under this legislation, a City Council-appointed board will set annual lease increases on retail, professional service, and manufacturing storefront space instead of landlords. This catastrophic proposal will, over time, cause Landlords and Property Owners to suffer the economic pitfalls of being incapable of offsetting commercial property depreciation by increasing store-front rent space accordingly.
Solution. To remedy is simple: pass legislation that reduces governmental control over privately owned real estate.
Appropriate the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget to Update the “A” Train Line of the MTA Subway. The “A” Train is the longest line in the system— 31 miles, from Far Rockaway in Queens through Brooklyn to Northern Manhattan. Of the $175 Billion FY Budget, $365 Million has been appropriated to the Department of Transportation. This money needs to be used to renovate, repair, and upgrade New York City’s furthest traveling Subway Line that is the sole railway for Assembly District 23.
Lower Rx Drug Costs
In the late 1980s, prescription drug middlemen— known as “PBMs”— were perceived by regulators to be the solution to a growing problem of rapidly rising prescription drug prices. Initially, PBMs were tasked to work with self-insured companies and government programs to develop and maintain the Formulary (a system which identifies the medications that are both medically appropriate and cost effective to serve members of insurance plans), contracting with pharmacies, negotiating discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers, and processing and paying prescription drug claims.
Unfortunately, however, these independent third-parties have grown far too powerful and have remained unchecked for far too long. PBMs have been rigging drug prices, eliminating patient choice, ripping off taxpayers and destroying community pharmacies.
It is therefore vital that New York pass effective legislation to end the unmitigated abuse by these prescription drug middlemen. If they remain unchecked, protections for patients, taxpayers and pharmacies will exist only on paper, not in practice.
Blockchain Industry & Technology
Whether or not you've used it, you've almost certainly heard of bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that's currently trading at around $9,000 U.S. dollars per unit. Bitcoin, a revolutionary new form of digital money, has taken the world by storm; including investors of main street and Wall Street in New York City- the financial capital of the World.
As an emerging asset class, what’s revolutionary about digital currency is that anyone can invest any value of money to become an investor. Often referred to as “fractional ownership” of “digital shares of stocks” bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are advancing at a pace faster than New York legislators anticipated. As means of establishing economic autonomy and financial freedom, unlike other asset classes (i.e. gold, silver, stocks, bonds, etc.), investing in digital currencies has a less invasive and less expensive barrier to entry. That is why adopting progressive and technologically favorable legislation is essential to making New York City a “tech-hub” of innovation. We have already seen companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google invest hundreds of millions of dollars in setting up headquarters in New York City.
For these reasons, the following pieces of legislation, if adopted by New York, will solidify our place in the world of financial technology and innovation:
- Create a “Fintech Sandbox” Within New York State. Establish guidelines to provide regulatory relief to financial innovators in the blockchain/cryptocurrency industry from existing laws for up to three (3) years.
- Allow NYS Taxes to Be Paid in Digital Currency. Establish a legally compliant means to allow businesses and NYS residents to pay a wide array of state taxes with digital currencies such as bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum;
- Exempting Certain Blockchain Tokens from NYS Securities Regulations and Money Transmission Laws. Propose legislative bill to exempt specific cryptocurrencies (e.g. “utility tokens”). The bill set out to exclude “developers or sellers” of blockchain tokens from securities laws with the condition that they meet certain legal prerequisites. In order to meet these requirements, the token must not be offered as an investment and must be a vehicle for exchange as a utility token.
- Exempting Crypto-to-Crypto Transactions as Property Transactions for Purposes of New York State Income Tax. Establish an exemption for New York State residents that will not treat a crypto-to-crypto transaction as a taxable event — but rather, as a “like-kind exchange.”</li