After the New York City Council adopted a budget that added 1,300 new positions within the New York Police Department, elected officials and community organizers have called for the passage of a new law to help the people. Last week, at a Council Public Safety Committee hearing on legislation related to the NYPD, council members called for a passage of what’s known as the Right to Know Act.

“When Mayor de Blasio announced that the city will be adding 1,300 new officers to the NYPD, he stressed a commitment to improving community-police relations,” said City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, lead sponsor of Intro 541. “Passing the Right to Know Act would be a major step toward this commitment, as it would dramatically improve the experience of those who are stopped by the police, who we know are disproportionately young people of color.”

According to Reynoso, this new piece of legislation would ensure all New Yorkers are aware of their right to consent to or refuse a search in the absence of a legal justification for the search. “Most New Yorkers are not aware that they have this constitutional right,” he said.

Introduced last November by Council Members Reynoso and Ritchie Torres, the Right to Know Act consists of two pieces of legislation designed to increase transparency and protect civilians’ rights during civilian and police interactions. The first bill would require officers to identify themselves and explain their reason for subjecting a civilian to law enforcement activity. The second bill would uphold a civilian’s constitutional right to refuse a search when the only legal basis for it is a person’s consent by requiring officers to convey that right and receive proof of consent. It’s modeled on similar requirements in other states.

Community activists around the five boroughs want the City Council to pass the Right to Know Act to protect New York City residents and improve accountability and transparency in police-community interactions. Activists, elected officials and union leaders want the Right to Know Act to be made a priority among the legislation proposals discussed at the hearing.

“The Right to Know Act will raise the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said 32BJ Secretary-Treasurer Kyle Bragg at the hearing. “32BJ supports this legislation because it will promote public safety while ensuring that our members, their families and neighbors are treated fairly and respectfully by the police.”

Torres said New Yorkers have a right to know why they’re being stopped.

“The upcoming anniversary of Eric Garner’s death brings renewed focus to improving the fractured relationship between communities and the NYPD,” said Torres in a statement. “The Right to Know Act, a common sense package of bills, will reinforce best practices around transparency and accountability while upholding basic civil and human rights. These bills already have strong support in the council and should be passed into law as swiftly as possible.”

New York City Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman added herself to the pro-Right to Know brigade, stating that the city can’t wait for another tragedy to try and improve relations between the police and the community.

“We cannot wait for another tragedy like Eric Garner or Akai Gurley to acknowledge how police encounters have the potential to escalate into tragedy,” said Lieberman. “New York City needs communication, transparency and accountability in everyday interactions between police officers and the people they are supposed to protect and serve.”