Throughout his career, Councilman Greenlee has worked on legislative issues that affect everyday people. Councilman Greenlee believes in finding real solutions to real problems. He has strived throughout his career to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Philadelphia. He has been a champion of requiring employers to give their employees paid sick leave, protecting domestic violence victims, protecting unsuspecting property owners from deed theft, extending civil rights protections to all Philadelphians, protecting children from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes as well as the risk associated with indoor tanning. The Councilman was the first to recognize the importance of transit-oriented development as well as the danger of drivers texting and driving. He also advocated for reducing blight and trash across the city by placing regulations on dumpsters and holding mortgage companies responsible for maintaining properties upon foreclosure.
Paid Sick Leave
The Councilman has sponsored “The Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces” bill. The Councilman has three times introduced bills in Council to provide earned paid sick leave to workers in the City. Twice the bills passed Council but there were not enough votes to sustain an override of the Mayor’s veto. More than 200,000 workers in Philadelphia don’t have the chance to take one sick day without the risk of losing their job. More than 41 percent of workers who have no paid sick time are low-income and cannot afford to lose a days pay. The legislation not only effects workers, but is also an important public health issue. Most of the 210,000 workers in Philadelphia who do not have paid sick leave are often the ones who are in contact the most with the public. Philadelphia would join a growing number of cities to pass an earned paid sick days bill. The current bill, 141026 would require employers to give their employees a minimum number of paid sick days to its employees. Employees would earn one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked, which is the equivalent of 5 paid sick days. Businesses with 9 employees or less are exempt but must provide unpaid leave. Businesses with 10 or more employees must provide paid leave.
Protecting Domestic Violence Victims
Councilman Greenlee was the prime sponsor of a bill that mandates employers to give unpaid leave to victims of domestic or sexual violence to deal with issues arising from abuse.
The Councilman also sponsored a bill that requires every lease provide that a landlord be prohibited from terminating a lease based upon a tenant’s status as a domestic violence victim. The landlord is also required to terminate or bifurcate the lease upon the request of a tenant victim of domestic violence.
Until last year, the City had only one hundred bed shelter to house and protect domestic violence victims. Each year thousands of domestic violence victims are turned away and risk harm to themselves and family by not being able to get the treatment they need. Councilman Greenlee recognized the importance of having another domestic violence shelter. During the budget process the Councilman along with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson secured the funding to open a second domestic violence shelter which opened in October 2014.
Expanding Civil Rights to all Philadelphians
Councilman Greenlee was the proud sponsor of the law which modernized the City’s Fair Practices Ordinance, the City’s Civil Rights Laws. The Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing had not been updated in 60 years. The amendments to the ordinance expanded protection from discrimination to new classes of Philadelphians including, people with disabilities, the LGBT community and victims of domestic violence. The amendments gave greater enforcement power to the Human Relations Commission, expanded the legal remedies available to victims and increased the penalties for discrimination. The rewrite of the Fair Practices Ordinance makes it consistent with State and Federal law.
In 2013 the Councilman also amended the Fair Practices ordinance to require businesses to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, including rest breaks, bathroom breaks, water breaks, help lifting heavy items, help with manual labor and re-assignment of duties. Businesses must prove a hardship not to provide these accommodations. A woman should never have to choose between her unborn child and her job.
Curbing The Number of Stolen Properties
Councilman Greenlee has worked tirelessly to protect homeowners and reduce the number of properties stolen right out from under them by thieves who prey mainly on the sick, elderly, and poor. The Councilman introduced three bills to reduce the number of stolen properties by requiring the Records Department to perform a records check and determine whether the required documentation for the deed has been presented. If there is no discrepancy, the Department will record the deed pursuant to state law. If there is a discrepancy and the Department is satisfied with the purchaser’s explanation, the deed will be recorded. If there is no reasonable explanation, the deed will be stamped “Not Certified,” and be recorded. The Department must then notify the proper governmental agency of the suspected fraud. The law also requires a purchaser of a property who foregoes title insurance to sign a statement acknowledging the risks and benefits of not purchasing it.
Protecting Teens and Children
The Councilman saw early on the danger and evidence of the harmful effects of e-cigarettes. E-cigarette use has steadily increased in the last few years among youth and adults in the U.S. From 2011 to 2012, the percentage of 6th to 12th graders who have ever used an e-cigarette doubled from 3.3% to 6.8%. E-cigarettes were being marketed to youth and are available in a variety of flavors including fruit and candy. Because there are no regulations on e-cigarettes they are easily marketed to youth and are found in stores and gas stations in close proximity to schools. The Councilman introduced a bill to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and unauthorized nicotine delivery products to minors.
The health of teens and children is something important to Councilman Greenlee. Studies show that young people who tanned in indoor facilities had a 69 percent increased chance of getting early-onset basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer. That is why he sponsored a bill to regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors and to ensure tanning facilities to inform their customers of the risks associated with tanning. The law requires minors to have the permission of a parent or legal guardian prior to the use of a tanning bed. The tanning facility also must provide the parent or legal guardian with a written warning statement as to the risks of indoor tanning and must have their signature before a minor is allowed to tan. Under the ordinance, no one under 14 is permitted to tan without a note from a licensed doctor.
Transit-Oriented Development District
The District is intended to promote development that supports the use of public transit and less reliance on automobiles by creating a new zoning overlay that encourages mixed-use, higher-density development near key public rail, elevated and subway transit stations. The District is also intended to enhance and revitalize existing commercial corridors located close to transit stations, by providing amenities that encourage pedestrian traffic, thereby making an attractive area to live, work and shop.
Overflowing and smelly dumpsters on our streets and driveways create blight all over our City. Council approved and the Mayor signed substantial regulations on dumpsters that will greatly improve this situation and enhance our environment. I was proud to co-sponsor this bill.
The current economic climate has lead to an increasing number of vacant and financially distressed properties in the City. Recognizing that the increase in foreclosures and vacant properties have a negative impact on the surrounding community, the Councilman sponsored a bill that requires lenders to inspect properties upon foreclosure and if the property is vacant at the time, to obtain a vacant property license. The lender must maintain the property up to code and if the lender is located outside the city, it must contract with a local managing agent to conduct property inspections to ensure code compliance and perform all maintenance. The public can also report problems as the mortgagee must post the contact information for the property manager. The law is designated to hold mortgage companies responsible just as the general public is expected to do.