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Bill de Blasio signs bill on restrooms, shopping bag fees

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is seen during a bill signing ceremony at City Hall in Manhattan on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Credit: Charles Eckert

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation Tuesday ordering ticket hawkers to obtain government licenses, banning gender restrictions for single-occupant bathrooms and delaying a 5-cent fee on carryout bags.

No one spoke against any of the bills during public hearings in which the mayor is required by the city charter to solicit public feedback.

The bathroom law takes effect in 120 days, according to the mayor’s office. It bans establishments from reserving a single-occupancy bathroom for a certain gender. The law also amends the current plumbing code, which contains rules for male-only and female-only bathrooms.

“Any person can use them,” de Blasio said. “All can live in dignity, free from fear and free from judgment.”

The legislation requiring ticket hawkers to be licensed goes into effect August 1. The fee will be $45 a year and cover those selling tickets for entertainment, sightseeing tours and other businesses.

The bag law, which imposes the 5-cent fee on paper and plastic carryout bags, delays the rule until Feb. 15; it was supposed to have gone into effect Oct. 1 under earlier legislation.

Retailers must collect the fee, but in the first six months of the law there will be a grace period during which stores will not be fined for failing to charge customers for bags. The State Legislature has threatened to override the city’s authority by capping or banning the fee.

De Blasio hinted at the discord during his remarks before signing the bag bill.

“With this extension, we’ll have more time to educate the public — as well as other lawmakers,” he said, chuckling.

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