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  • Anger, Protests & Potential Bellwether in Democratic Senate Primary Already Underway

    protest alcantara IDC

    (photos: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    “No fake Democrats! Take the New York Senate back!,” yelled the crowd of protestors huddled on the sidewalk outside 5030 Broadway in Inwood, near the northern tip of Manhattan. The demonstrators -- a cohort of about three dozen older New Yorkers, millennials, and one as young as 10 years old -- were one of a number of groups that had gathered at locations across the city on a recent Wednesday to protest at the offices of Democratic state Senators who the protesters believe have betrayed them. These senators are

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  • Potential Departure of Two Senate Democrats Poses Another Threat to Unity

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    Ruben Diaz Sr. (photo: @NYPD43Pct)


    While Democrats technically reclaimed a majority of state Senate seats through a special election Tuesday, a deeply fractured party picture remains. As different factions point fingers and call for unity, it seems likely that the headcount will drop down again by the end of the year.

    Two mainline Democratic senators have announced that they are running for other offices this year. Senator George Latimer, of Westchester County’s 37th District, is eying the county executive seat,

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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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  • How Jeff Klein Became New York’s New Power Broker

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    State Sen. Jeff Klein, center-right & other Bronx electeds (@RepEliotEngle)


    In January 2011, State Senator Jeff Klein declared himself leader of a group of four breakaway Democrats who were united in their dissatisfaction with the recent dysfunction of their conference’s leadership. They created the Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, despite the fact that Klein had been deputy leader of the Senate Democrats and was in control of the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee during the 2010 elections, all through the now legendary strife

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  • Everyone's Talking About Paid Family Leave, Only Compromise Will Yield a Deal

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    Cuomo's paid family leave rally (photo via The Governor's Office)


    Last week, the New York State Assembly passed a one-house bill creating a program that would allow workers to take time off to care for a new child or sick loved one while receiving a portion of their usual pay. It is the fifth year in a row the Assembly has done so. "It's appropriate we're here on Groundhog Day, since we've been coming back year after year for paid family leave," said Donna Dolan, head of the New York State Paid Family Leave Coalition, at a press

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  • New York One Signature Away from Calling for Overturn of Citizens United

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    (photo: nysenate.gov)


    In a landmark year for corruption in the state legislature, 2015 saw the arrest and conviction of two of the most powerful political leaders in New York. A crescendo of voices across the state -- from good government watchdogs to lawmakers -- expressed outrage and demanded stronger ethics laws and campaign finance reforms. In one sense, Albany now has the opportunity to put its money where its mouth is -- and all it needs is one signature.  

    New York is one signatory away from becoming the 17th state in the country to

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  • Corruption, Elections Loom Over Lengthy 2016 Legislative Agenda

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    Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Lawmakers returning to Albany this week to kick off the 2016 legislative session are faced with a litany of unresolved issues from last year and the spectre of the recent convictions of two former legislative leaders.

    Add to that impending elections for all 213 legislative seats, some of which will be critical for the future of state Senate control and the prospect of future indictments hinted at by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and you have a recipe for potential

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  • Klein's 'Newspaper' Touts His Ability to Bring Home the Bacon

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    Sen. Klein's "newspaper"


    The latest edition of the "newspaper" being published by state Senator Jeff Klein features frontpage news celebrating his ability to bring cash home to his Bronx district.

    "UFT, educators herald Klein's $1.5M support for community schools," reads one frontpage headline.

    Another: "Community applauds Klein for securing $250K for Hudson River Greenway study."

    The timing is interesting given that the latest edition of "Riverdale Record" - circulation 37,000 - hit mailboxes just as Klein and the large sums

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  • Dean Skelos Thwarted Reform and Maintained Power, Despite the Odds

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    Dean Skelos in 2012 (photo: The Governor's Office via flickr)


    In June 2008, after serving 23 years as the State Senator from Nassau County, Dean Skelos inherited the troubled Republican conference from retiring Majority Leader Joe Bruno. It wasn't exactly the most enviable position.

    Facing an aging conference and with Democrats enjoying a huge enrollment advantage across the state, 2009 saw

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