City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Wednesday the Council would still take up a proposal to ban on Central Park’s horse-drawn carriages, though its legislative path is still being worked out.
Her remarks came after the leader of a key council committee, formerly undecided Councilman Rafael Espinal, declared his opposition to a ban.
“Once the bill is introduced, we will discuss … what committee it falls under,” Mark-Viverito said at City Hall. “Right now, I can’t tell you, because we have to determine all the language of the bill and who has the oversight.”
She was peppered with questions about the ban effort’s progress, and said only that is “inaccurate” to say legislation has not been drafted but she is “not at liberty” to discuss the contents.
“Some action will be taken at some point,” she said.
Espinal (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the consumer affairs committee where past carriage-related bills have originated, said outside City Hall that he believes the horses are well-treated and the industry well-regulated. He said his next task is to persuade what he estimates are 26 undecided colleagues on the 51-member Council “because that’s where the battle lies” to stop a ban.
No bill has yet been introduced in the Council. Depending on the language, a bill could go through the transportation, health or another committee.
Espinal stood with about two dozen carriage horse drivers. Several animal rights activists were nearby with signs accusing him of supporting animal abuse. Allie Feldman, director of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets, or NYCLASS, called Espinal’s stance “disgraceful.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has called the industry inhumane, has said he wants a ban enacted legislatively.