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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

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Brennan Center for Justice

Brennan Center for Justice

  • Voting Reform Advocates Say Cuomo Can Do More Through Executive Order

    Cuomo podium

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Monday expanding the list of New York State agencies required to provide voter registration assistance and creating a task force to oversee implementation of the program.

    While current state and federal law requires the forms to be available at the Department of Motor Vehicles and certain social service agencies, Cuomo’s

    Cuomo Embraces Voting Reform Agenda, But Implementation Poses Challenges

    Cuomo voting 2015

    Gov. Cuomo voting (photo: The Governor's Office on flickr)


    During his State of the State tour early this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a trio of major reforms hailed as important steps toward modernizing New York’s antiquated electoral system and increasing the state’s paltry voter turnout. While they are long-called for proposals that many are pleased to see Cuomo promote, implementing these goals could be more complicated than it may seem.

    Two of the three reforms, early voting and automatic voter registration, were outlined in Cuomo’s 2016

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  • Assembly Reform Group Nears Release of 49-Recommendation Report

    Heastie laughing

    Assembly Speaker Heastie photo: (Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    The long wait for recommendations from a group of Democrats charged with finding ways to improve the transparency and democratization of the state Assembly may soon be over. According to Assembly Member Gary Pretlow, co-chair of The Assembly Working Group on Operations, Participation and Transparency, the release of a 49-point report is imminent.

    Pretlow told Gotham Gazette that the the committee's report will be made available after a press release is written

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  • Commission Considers Raises, Reforms for Elected Compensation

    de blasio mark-viverito council members

    The Mayor, Speaker, & Council members (Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Attendance was notably sparse at the first public hearing of the commission charged with making recommendations around compensation for city elected officials.

    Fewer than fifteen people, about half of whom were journalists, went to Brooklyn Law School on November 23 for the Quadrennial Advisory Commission hearing to collect input from the public. Four people testified to urge

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  • Conference Keys to Restore Voter Confidence Start with Campaign Finance Reform

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    Ann Ravel, Jared DeMarinis & Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, from left (photo: @NYCCFB)


    Ninety-six percent of Americans are concerned by the role of money in politics. Ninety-one percent think there's nothing they can do to change it.

    Federal Election Commission Chair Ann Ravel presented these statistics during her keynote address at a conference - "American Elections at the Crossroads: How do we restore

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  • In End of Session 'Scorecard,' Plenty for Next Year's Albany Agenda

    Cuomo Heastie Flanagan

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (L-R) (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    In the Democrat-controlled Assembly, it was 122-13; in the Republican-controlled Senate, 47-12. With those votes and a Governor Andrew Cuomo signature, a final policy package brought an underwhelming end to a tumultuous 2015 legislative session in New York's capital. 

    Look at ...

  • Overwhelmingly Passed Again by Assembly, Bill to Close LLC Loophole Appears Iced by Senate

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    Sen. Daniel Squadron (photo: @DanielSquadron)


    On Tuesday the state Assembly passed a bill to close the controversial LLC loophole at the center of the federal corruption cases against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Both men - a Democrat and a Republican, respectively - were recently arrested and subsequently stepped down from their powerful leadership posts. Later in the evening Tuesday, the Senate’s version of the bill to close the loophole that allows money

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  • Left Out of Ethics Deal, LLC Loophole Faces Renewed Scrutiny

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    Gov. Cuomo & Speaker Heastie shake on an ethics deal (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    The New York State Board of Elections opened up a floodgate in 1996, allowing cash to flow virtually unabated to political candidates. The BOE issued a ruling that allowed limited liability corporations, or LLCs, to be treated as individual donors and individuals to donate unlimited funds to candidates for state-level offices by creating multiple LLCs. Efforts to change the law in the Legislature have failed miserably and

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