In the wake of some high-profile accidents in the city, some state lawmakers are pushing a bill aimed at increasing elevator safety. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
There are 60,000 elevators in New York City, and the overwhelming majority of trips New Yorkers take up and down inside skyscrapers and their own apartment buildings are without incident. But there have been problems, including one in 2011 when a woman was killed on her way upstairs to work on Madison Avenue.
Now, a bill would require state licensing of the mechanics and others who maintain the elevators many New Yorkers take for granted.
"It's a bill that's needed right now," said Assemblyman Keith Wright of Manhattan. "We've worked out, we've negotiated, we've compromised to a very, very large extent on this bill, and it has passed in the New York State Assembly."
The bill would establish standard licensing of mechanics which currently does not exist.
Normally, it's Democrats in the Assembly who get criticized for proposing more regulation, but the elevator safety bill is sponsored by Republican state Sen. John Bonacic in the Senate.
"In 2013 and 2014, the New York City Fire Department has responded to over 70,000 people that have been stuck in elevators," Bonacic said.
According to Bonacic, the opposition to state licensing is not coming from his conference.
"The city of New York has opposed this bill, and I don't understand why," Bonacic said. "That was under the Bloomberg administration. Maybe it'll be different with Mayor de Blasio."
But the city continues to oppose the bill. According to a de Blasio administration memo from last year obtained by NY1, the city wants to exert its own authority over who is responsible for elevator safety.
Critics say New York State should take the lead here.
"There's licensing in many other states," said Mike Halpin of the International Union of Elevator Constructors. "Right now, minimum education and training is required leading to a license in over 30 states right now. Yet the state with 10 percent of the elevators has no education and training."
Right now, lawmakers are really focused on the state budget, which is due April 1, so a bill like this, even with bipartisan support, is unlikely to get serious consideration until later in the session. It currently sits in the labor committees of both houses.