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Carl Heastie

Carl Heastie

  • The 'Three Men in a Room' and Millions Outside

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan in 2015 (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    It’s the last week of March, which means the final stretch of New York State budget negotiations, and all are watching the “three men in a room,” an adage that has come to symbolize Albany’s opaque government processes and concentration of power.

    Each March, for as long as anyone can remember, the governor, the speaker of the Assembly and the majority leader of the Senate hold frequent, clandestine meetings to hammer out important policy decisions and

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  • 15 Questions for the Final Week of State Budget Negotiations

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    De Blasio & Cuomo in 2014 (photo: The Governor's Office)


    The New York State budget, which is expected to be delivered on time, is due April 1, but as state government leaders enter the final week of negotiations there are many questions left open for New York City.

    These include the fate of more than $100 millions in state-to-city funding cuts proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo; whether more than $1 billion in affordable housing funding will be released; final budgetary allocations toward

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  • In Albany, De Blasio and Democrats Push ‘Mansion Tax’

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    De Blasio in Albany (photo: Rachel Silberstein/Gotham Gazette)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio journeyed to Albany Wednesday to rally with Democratic legislators and activists for the extension of the “millionaires’ tax,” set to expire this year, as well as the “mansion tax,” a proposal the mayor has been pushing since 2015. De Blasio and his allies called for both to be part of the new state budget due by April 1.

    Citing the threats of deep federal budget cuts from President Donald Trump’s administration and a

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  • Adjusting to Albany: Senator Jamaal Bailey

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    Sen. Jamaal Bailey (photo via @jamaaltbailey)


    State Senator Jamaal Bailey knows his way around Albany. A University of Albany graduate, Bailey launched his legislative career as an intern for Assemblymember Carl Heastie, who is now Speaker of the Assembly and one of most powerful people in the state. Working for Heastie, Bailey was instrumental in pushing legislation to enact more stringent safety measures on

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  • With One-House Budgets Due, Key Points of Contention in Albany

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (photo: Governor's Office/Kevin P. Coughlin)


    With a new state budget due by the end of the month, the Senate and Assembly are finalizing their one-house budget resolutions. The one-house statements of priorities in the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate will be passed this week, and their passage signals the official start to the negotiations that will yield a state spending plan for the new fiscal year, which begins April 1.

    The one-house budgets are shaped, in part, by a

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  • Assembly Members Propose Changes to Cuomo's Free-Tuition Plan

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    Assemblymember James Skouis, right (photo: @JamesSkoufis)


    More than 30 members of the state Assembly have signed a budget letter to their Speaker, Carl Heastie, outlining an alternative version of the free college tuition proposal being championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo that they want Heastie to adopt for the chamber.

    The Assembly members, all Democrats, aim to make Cuomo’s plan more inclusive of the middle class and to ease proposed aid restrictions for the students at New York public universities who stand to benefit from the program.

    The

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  • As Con Con Debate Heats Up, Heastie Declares Opposition

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    Speaker Heastie, right, & Gov. Cuomo (photo: The Governor's Office)


    While it will be several months before the airwaves are flooded with special interest-backed ad campaigns warning of the potential “dangers” of a constitutional convention, in Albany, legislative leaders are beginning to speak out on the issue.

    On Saturday, February 18, at Black and Latino Caucus weekend, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, had one message for labor union leaders: make sure your members vote “no” on the upcoming ballot question. This November, New Yorkers will

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  • Beware of 'Common Sense' Arguments Against the Millionaire's Tax

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     Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Higher taxes on New York’s wealthy are on the table in three places for this year’s budget negotiations. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget for 2018 includes an extension of the so-called "millionaire’s tax”. The state Assembly has decided to see the governor

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  • Citing Trump Threat, Assembly Passes New Immigrant Protections Along With DREAM Act

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    Assembly Speaker Heastie (photo: @CarlHeastie) 


    The New York State Assembly passed a slew of bills on Monday aimed at protecting immigrant New Yorkers in the wake of the federal government’s anti-immigrant crackdown which sparked protests at airports around the country last week.

    The legislative package, called the New York State Liberty

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  • Tensions High as State Legislature Returns to Session

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan


    Several themes loomed as the New York State Legislature held its first day of its new session on Wednesday in Albany. The 2017 legislative calendar, and with it the 2017-2018 Legislature, began oaths of office and speeches by party leaders in both the state Senate and Assembly. The tone was set, priorities were announced or reaffirmed, tensions were evident, and the jog toward the next state budget -- due by April 1 -- began.

    The most important remarks were delivered by the two majority leaders: Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie,

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  • Top Ten Stories of 2016 in New York Politics

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    Bill Bratton departs (both photos: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)


    Gotham Gazette's Top Ten Storylines of 2016 in New York Politics:

    10. Bill Bratton Leaves ‘On Top’
    In an extraordinary send-off -- his own mini-parade -- Bill Bratton departed 1 Police Plaza on September 16, 2016 for the final time as NYPD commissioner. For about two-and-a-half years Bratton was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s police commissioner and the arrangement worked mostly well for both: Bratton had the job and power in it that he wanted, de Blasio had

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  • State Pay Commission Implodes as Cuomo Appointees Effectively Kill Salary Increases

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    State pay commission panelists at final meeting, Nov. 15, 2016


    The final meeting of the state commission tasked with recommending pay raises for executive branch employees and state legislators was marred by disagreement and accusations, and failed to produce any results on Tuesday. It appears that the panel will be disbanded without taking any substantive action.

    In a chamber at the New York City Bar Association in midtown, members of the New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial, & Executive

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  • 5 Things to Watch For at State ‘Water Contamination’ Hearings

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    photos via The Governor's Office on Flickr


    After months of refusal and delay, the state Legislature is set to begin a series of hearings on drinking water contamination in New York. It became clear many months ago that the water in Hoosick Fall had been contaminated by a chemical known as PFOA and the first of three scheduled hearings will take place Tuesday in the village.

    Tuesday’s hearing is a joint one by two state Senate committees, health and environmental conservation. The other two hearings are set to be joint Senate

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  • For Cuomo, Passing Ethics Bill was Urgent, Signing It is Not

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    Gov. Cuomo during his 2016 State of the State (via The Governor's Office)


    After nearly two months, Governor Andrew Cuomo requested on Friday that the Legislature send him an ethics reform package he personally designed and pushed the Legislature to pass in June with the assistance of a message of necessity he issued to speed the process. The governor now has 10 days to sign it, which he is expected to do.

    Announced by Cuomo late in the legislative session, the actual bill was then a mystery for days before being

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  • Public Outcry Leads to Hearings On Hoosick Falls Water Contamination

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    Cuomo tours Hoosick Falls water filtration system with Senator Marchione (Photo: The Governor's Office)


    Earlier this week Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced that the Assembly will hold public hearings on water quality in early September. The hearings are considered a long-overdue victory for environmental advocates and victims of water contamination emergencies across the state, such as in Suffolk County, Petersburgh, Newburgh, and most notably, in the village of Hoosick Falls. It was

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  • Assembly to Begin Implementation of Technology-Based Reforms

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    photo via The Governor's Office


    Earlier this year, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced he would implement a series of recommendations -- proposed by the Assembly Workgroup on Legislative Process, Operations and Public Participation -- designed to increase transparency, efficiency and participation in the chamber. Some of those changes were voted on as rules reforms, others were made as pledges. But many of them that deal with

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  • Assessing the Aftermath: Top Takeaways for NYC from 2016 Albany Session

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    De Blasio and Cuomo in 2014; photo via The Governor's Office


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has made it clear that he feels like he’s often fighting for New York City’s interests against both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Senate Republicans, with Assembly Democrats as his key allies. In his initial statement reacting to the recent end of the 2016 legislative session in Albany, de Blasio put a thank you to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and company at the forefront, never mentioned Cuomo, and gave his take on what he assessed as a mixed bag

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  • In Extended Session, Lawmakers Vote Through Variety of Bills with Little Public Review

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    The Capitol Building (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders finished protracted and messy end-of-session negotiations on Friday night -- one day after the scheduled end of legislative session -- not with the traditional celebratory press conference, but with a series of press releases. Sent to reporters as bills were still being negotiated, printed, and voted upon Friday night, Cuomo’s public schedule for Saturday put him in the New York City area with no events.

    A press release

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  • Deals Emerge as Albany Legislative Session Moves Toward Conclusion

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    photo via The Governor's Office


    After spending most of what was scheduled to be the last day of legislative session in stop-and-start negotiations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders appeared on Thursday to reach a framework deal on several big-ticket items, though legislators will continue to negotiate, debate, and vote on Friday.

    After a few issues had been decided on Wednesday, concept agreements emerged Thursday on the process of stripping corrupt lawmakers of their pensions; extending mayoral control of New York City schools for

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  • Much Undecided, Last-Minute Frenzy Starts in Albany

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    Albany leaders (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    The pace has picked up dramatically in Albany, where lawmakers had avoided any major legislative decisions since passing the budget in April. With three days left in session, dozens upon dozens of bills are being introduced, amended, and passed at a fever pace. And while a couple of deals among the governor and legislative leaders have been announced on somewhat high-profile matters, thornier issues still remain unsettled and many bills are likely to only

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  • Fate of $2 Billion in State Housing Funds Unclear as Session Nears End

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (l-r) (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature allocated $2 billion to spend on 100,000 units of affordable and supportive housing in this year’s budget, which was agreed to on April 1. But they failed to include specifics -- details of how that money would be spent -- kicking those decisions down the road. Now, two months later, they have yet to sort out the details and many stakeholders are worried no deal is in sight as the major negotiating parties face off over

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  • Bronx Council Member Preparing to Again Challenge Incumbent State Senator

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    City Council Member Cabrera (photo: William Alatriste)

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  • End of Session Menu Previews Next ‘Big Ugly’ in Albany

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan June 2015 (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Last week, the Senate came to standstill as the star of popular beer commercials came to the Capitol as a guest of Senate Republicans. Legislators of both parties fawned and snapped pictures with Jonathan Goldsmith, of Dos Equis fame. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s office proudly posted a picture of the two men together on Twitter; Democratic legislators quoted catchphrases of “the most interesting man in the world” on the Senate floor. While it's fairly

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  • 5 Things State Lawmakers Can Do To Prevent Another Silver

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    Silver, Cuomo, and others (photo via The Governor's Office, 2013)


    Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was perceived by many to be an institution of state government. Having served at the head of the Democrat-controlled Assembly for over a decade, Silver’s rule was iron-fisted and opaque - he could end a political career on a whim, kill a major policy initiative with a quiet grumble, and maneuver millions of dollars in state cash to recipients of his choice.

    That all ended last year when Silver was indicted by the U.S. Attorney on multiple

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  • Will for Water Contamination Hearings Nearly Vanishes

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    Cuomo tours a water filtration area in Hoosick Falls (photo: Governor's Office)


    A number of state legislators once eager to hold hearings into drinking water contamination by a cancer-causing chemical in the small town of Hoosick Falls now seem loathe to even discuss the matter. The change in tune by some seeking to hold the Cuomo administration accountable and ensure a public discussion of the issue appears to have accompanied the passage of the new state budget.

    The Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, announced in

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