Welcome back to The Weekly Wrap! As we get closer to the end of 2023, we’re also inching closer toward sending our Solutions of the Year magazine to your mailboxes. To get your copy, donate to Next City before the year ends.
Now… onto this week’s briefs!
New York’s Highest Court Says Search and Seizure Laws Apply to Bicyclists
Streetsblog reports that New York’s Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that bicyclists should have the same protections against search and seizure as people driving cars. It relates to the outcome of the 1976 case, People v DeBour, which created higher standards for police officers stopping people on the street.
These standards had long been applied to people in automobiles but did not apply to people on bicycles until this recent ruling. It was initially set into motion in 2014 when bicyclist Lance Rodriguez was stopped by police officers who noticed something “bulky” on his person, which turned out to be a gun. According to Streetsblog, 83% of tickets given to bicyclists in New York City last year went to Black and Latino people, who together comprise 50% of the population.
Baltimore Planners Address Lack of Public Bathrooms
After 40 years of advocacy for people experiencing homelessness, the city of Baltimore plans to install more public restrooms to address public urination sometime in 2025, the Baltimore Banner reports. The city added some public restrooms in public parks and a new visitor center, but their hours are limited. While details on the public restroom project are forthcoming, the Downtown Partnership is looking to the example of Portland Loo, a small public restroom system in Oregon.
Michigan Mandates Automatic Voter Registration For People Leaving Prison
Bolts reports that Michigan has become the first state to require automatic voter registration of everyone who leaves prison. House Bill 4983, signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday, requires the Department of Corrections to register the 8,000 people who leave prison in Michigan annually. People will also be registered to vote when they get a Native American tribal ID or register for Medicaid. Additionally, the new law will change the system so that workers providing an ID will not ask prospective voters if they want to opt out of the voter rolls; instead, they’ll get a mailer telling them how to opt-out and requiring them to send back a form, a system also used in New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, D.C.
Governor Hochul Abandons Housing Growth Mandate in 2024 Plans
City & State reports that New York Governor Kathy Hochul will abandon plans to mandate housing growth across the state as part of her 2024 agenda. The governor’s proposed 2023 Housing Compact would have mandated that regions, particularly those in suburbs surrounding New York City, build their fair share of housing. The plan would have given the state the power to override local zoning when towns were violating the plan. (The plan would have incentivized but not necessarily mandated that this housing be affordable.)
That plan was abandoned after Long Island lawmakers revolted. At the time, Hochul promised to try again but now seems to be abandoning the strategy. The governor will still pursue other strategies to incentivize housing production, including a new version of the 421a tax exemption that elapsed last year.
UAE Planned to Use COP 28 Conference for Fossil Fuel Deals
Documents revealed by the BBC show that the United Arab Emirates, the host of this year’s “COP” climate talks, planned to make fossil fuel deals during the gathering. The world’s most powerful nations gather each year to make commitments to curtail climate change, usually by making pledges to cut their use of fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions.
The documents include a proposed talking point for China saying that the UAE’s state oil company would explore natural gas deals in Mozambique, Canada and Australia. Another document would offer the country’s natural gas sales to Columbia. The conference is being held in Dubai this year with 167 world leaders and the Pope expected to attend. Advocates hope the conference will help limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which would require a 43% reduction in 2019 emission levels by 2030.
Curated by Deonna Anderson
Denver’s basic income pilot secured funding to continue for a second year. Vice
When it comes to solving homelessness, “smart policy matters far more than good intentions.” The New York Times
In San Diego, the city is hacking a state housing law to allow developers to build ADU ‘apartment buildings.’ CalMatters
Like other transit systems across the country, New York’s MTA could face a huge budget gap in 2026. Bloomberg CityLab
The Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley launched OBI University, which offers courses to “help changemakers build more vibrant, just and inclusive communities and structures.” Click here to learn more about the free courses.
- Next City has one more webinar this year. Join the discussion, sponsored by City Threads, on how cities can implement mobility projects in as little as 24 months, making mobility easier for all. Register here!
This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.
Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.