STATEN ISLAND – A hearing was conducted today, involving Assemblyman Ron Castorina (R,C,I,Ref-Staten Island) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref-Brooklyn, Staten Island) and their lawsuit against the City of New York to prevent the destruction of documents acquired through the IDNYC municipal identification card application process. The City was unsuccessful in its attempt to have the cause of action dismissed, and the Court kept its order against destroying the documents in place until a subsequent hearing, granted today, is held in early January.
“The safety and security of our citizenry and the integrity of our banking and financial services here in New York especially after 9/11, is paramount to any political agenda perpetrated by the Mayor and his administration. Today’s win ensures that safety and security, going forward, until at least the hearing date,” said Assemblyman Castorina.
“As much as the City may try to play politics with this and paint it as an immigration issue – it is not. This is an issue concerning public safety and government transparency. We believe the statutory text and case law support our case and we are very pleased that the court granted a full hearing on this important issue. I hope that the Mayor and Council Speaker will both be in attendance, as urged by the judge, to defend their misguided policy,” said Assemblywoman Malliotakis.
The temporary restraining order had been issued upon the commencement of legal action by the two lawmakers to strike a clause in the IDNYC program’s enacting statute that authorizes destruction of the records by city agents.
§3-115 (e) (2) of the New York City Administrative Code, as enacted by Int. No. 253-A (2014) states that, “On or before December 31, 2016, the administering agency shall review data collected … and make a determination regarding the continuing need to retain records … and shall make any appropriate modifications to the policy for retention of records related to the New York city identity card program.”
This provision orders the administering agency to ascertain, by the end of 2016, whether the records obtained through the program’s administration should be retained or destroyed.
Subsection (e) (3) reads, subsequently, “In the event that: (i) the administering agency fails to make a determination on or before December 31, 2016 pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subdivision, or (ii) the administering agency determines that records retention is no longer necessary, then the city shall not retain originals or copies of records provided by an applicant to prove identity or residency for a New York city identity card for longer than the time needed to review the application, and any such records in the city’s possession prior to such date shall be destroyed on or before December 31, 2016 or, in the case of an application pending on such date, as soon as practicable after a final determination has been made regarding the application.”
When questioned about this specific clause, one of the bill’s authors stated that its purpose was, “in case a Tea Party Republican comes into office and says, ‘We want all of the data from all of the municipal ID programs in the country,’ we’re going to take the data.”
A hearing was also held yesterday, December 20th, with regard to a motion entered by the City to change the venue of the proceeding from Richmond County to New York County. The Court dismissed the motion, keeping the case in Staten Island.
The next hearing has been tentatively scheduled for January 5, 2017.