Last month, Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the bill, which would make cell-phone use illegal "any place where members of the public assemble to witness cultural, recreational or educational activities." Bloomberg said that the bill would be too difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. In a letter to the city clerk, the Mayor wrote, "We do not hesitate to shush. Some standards of conduct, not directly affecting public health or safety, can best be enforced not through legislation but through less formal means.'' NY1 reported Feb. 6 that the City Council is expected to override the Mayor's veto at a vote on Thursday, Feb. 13. Thirty-six votes are needed to override the mayor's veto of the bill; violators of the measure would face a $50 fine as well as eviction from the particular venue.
The bill was originally introduced Aug. 15, 2002, by Councilman Phil Reed at New York's City Hall. Councilman Reed previously said, "A lot of people — most people, a majority of people — want to obey the law. It's like the penal code, the health code — there's no smoking in a restaurant, people don't do it. But right now, turning off a cell phone is a request; it's not a law. If it's helpful to the management of the theatre, that's a good thing — it's empowering to be able to say, 'You're violating the law, it's against the law to talk on the phone, turn it off.' And if you have somebody who's going to continue to talk and talk and talk, the management can insist they stop. They can say, 'I'm going to get a police officer.'"