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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • ‘Zombie’ Charter School Agreement Rests on Interpretation of Ambiguous Law

    de blasio law interpretation

    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    A much talked-about provision of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 13th-hour deal to have his control over city schools extended was the agreement that 22 revoked or surrendered charter school charters could be reissued without counting towards the predetermined state cap on the number of charter schools.

    In exchange for a two-year extension of mayoral control of city

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  • Powerful Assembly Post May Be Vacant Sooner Than Expected

    farrell assembly floor

    Assemblymember Herman Farrell (photo: The Assembly)


    When Assemblymember Herman “Denny” Farrell, who heads the chamber’s Ways and Means Committee, announced he would not seek reelection next year, it set off a murmur about who might succeed him in the powerful -- and lucrative -- committee post.

    Farrell, a Democrat elected to the Assembly in 1974 and the third longest serving member of the body, is known for his diplomacy and good natured

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  • After Promising More, De Blasio Explains Limited Voting Reform Push

    de Blasio voting distance

    De Blasio voting (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    On May 31 Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he and partners were “about to launch a major effort” to change state laws governing elections and voting in New York. ”I think people really want electoral reform in this state,” de Blasio told Gotham Gazette at an unrelated press conference. “And there’s a chance to do it, and it’s about creating the pressure needed to achieve it. So, we’re going to be doing a lot in the next few weeks on it.”

    In the subsequent days, de Blasio led two telephone

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  • Mayoral Control Extended in Special Session with Usual Albany Process

    Cuomo special session

    Gov. Cuomo on Thursday (photo: Philip Kamrass/Governor’s Office)


    To prevent the impending lapse of mayoral control over New York City schools, the state Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo passed a two-year extension Thursday as part of a larger omnibus bill, which included a pension enhancement for certain uniformed workers, special recognition for former Governor Mario Cuomo, and several benefits for upstate areas.

    A special session was called Wednesday by Gov. Cuomo specifically to address mayoral leadership over city schools, which was set

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  • Calls for Vetoes as 'Benefit Sweeteners' Head to Governor's Desk

    cuomo pension reform

    (photo: The Governor's Office)


    As the dust settles on the scheduled legislative session in Albany and subsequent “extraordinary session” called by Governor Andrew Cuomo, much of the focus has been on the extension of mayoral control of city schools, finally passed Thursday after serious brinkmanship. There has also been plenty of talk centered on what didn’t happen: procurement, ethics, and electoral reform, the Child Victims Act, and more.

    The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC), a fiscal watchdog, is also calling for scrutiny of other items that

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  • How The Mayoral Control ‘Special Session’ Works

    de Blasio desk Albany

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    To prevent the lapse of mayoral control over New York City schools, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday called an “extraordinary session” of the state Legislature to convene on Wednesday at 1p.m. in Albany. Often referred to as a “special session,” details of how the day will unfold -- especially what legislation will pass -- are still unclear.

    Currently, the session has been called for just one day, with the only named purpose the extension of authority granted to the New York City Mayor, currently Bill

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  • 5 Reasons Mayoral Control is on the Verge of Lapsing

    de Blasio Albany dark

    Mayor de Blasio in Albany (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control of the New York City school system is only good for the rest of this week. The state Legislature ended its scheduled legislative session last Wednesday without a deal on an extension, something Governor Andrew Cuomo called “dereliction of duty,” and de Blasio has said puts the futures of 1.1 million schoolchildren at risk.

    The New York Times ...

  • What Moved and What Didn’t as State Session Ended

    Cuomo speaking tour

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    With both houses of the state Legislature gaveled out, signalling the end of the 2017 legislative session, there a several unsettled issues for New York City, starting with the annual saga of renewing mayoral control over city schools, a policy set to expire at the end of June.

    Deadlocked over mayoral control, legislative leaders were not able to come to an agreement by the end of the scheduled session on Wednesday evening, though on Thursday talks continued among legislative leaders,

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  • Albany on the Penultimate Day of Legislative Session

    albany capitol

    The Capitol (photo: Ben Max)


    The lobby was packed with lobbyists. The Dunkin Donuts was humming. Food trucks lined the sunny street and appeared to be doing better than average business. Reporters were hungry for any tidbit of news.

    Assembly members and Senators bounced in and out of their respective chambers, where dozens of bills were voted through with astonishing speed. Negotiations on major pieces of more contentious legislation were held behind closed doors by the four most powerful people in state government, all men.

    The state Capitol building on

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  • Establishing a Newborn Health and Safe Sleep Program in New York

    baby box

    a "baby box"


    As sponsors of legislation to establish a Newborn Health and Safe Sleep Pilot Program, we call on the Legislature to combat infant mortality in New York and pass the bill.

    This measure is an important step forward in our state’s ongoing efforts to support new parents and provide all children with the best possible start to life.

    According to the Department of Health, over 90 infants in New York die every year as a result of unsafe sleep

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  • More Than Mayoral Control: De Blasio’s End of Session Priorities

    De Blasio Heastie Albany

    De Blasio & Heastie (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    It is easy to mistakenly think there is only one thing Mayor Bill de Blasio wants from state lawmakers before they conclude the dwindling legislative session in Albany. Negotiations over an extension of soon-to-expire mayoral control of New York City schools have sucked most of the oxygen from the proverbial room -- though not the room, of ‘three men’ fame, which sat empty for months, until Monday -- leaving little time and attention for de Blasio’s other top priorities needing

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  • With Session Ending and Trial Looming, No Legislative Response to Bid-rigging Scandal

    Cuomo Flanagan Heastie

    Flanagan, Cuomo, Heastie (photo: The Governor's Office)


    With just three scheduled days left in the legislative session and the corruption trial of several close associates of Governor Andrew Cuomo for their roles in a bid-rigging scandal scheduled to commence in October, the Legislature has yet to pass any meaningful legislation to prevent such abuses of the procurement process.

    State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has introduced a comprehensive bill to address the issue, which is the basis for a Senate bill sponsored by Senator John DeFrancisco, a

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 19

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week all eyes are on Albany as the last three scheduled days of the legislative session are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The session could extend to the end of the week, but no one expects it to go beyond that. The most pressing issue for New York City and the de Blasio administration, among several top priorities, is an extension of mayoral control of city schools. The legislation allowing mayoral control is set to expire at the end of the month.

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 12

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall

    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    It's crunchtime in Albany, where there are just seven scheduled days of legislative session left: four this week and three the next. What will get done? It's still unclear, though a few high-profile bills have moved lately, including one through both houses that raises the age for marriage in New York. Both houses have also passed a bill related to the state's Freedom of Information Law. Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed similar legislation in 2015, but

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  • For Second Time, Legislature Sends FOIL Penalty Bill to Cuomo

    bill signing Cuomo

    (photo: Philip Kamrass/Governor's Office)


    A bill that would greatly strengthen New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), already vetoed once by Governor Andrew Cuomo, has again passed both houses of the Legislature -- with some minor adjustments.

    The bipartisan legislation, which passed the

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  • As Session Nears End, Electoral Reforms Mostly Stalled & Cuomo Quiet

    Cuomo voting 2015

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


    Governor Andrew Cuomo’s prediction that there is insufficient political will at the New York State Legislature to pass any significant voting reform measures this year may be coming to fruition.

    During the final weeks before the end of the legislative session, this year June 21 -- when lawmakers leave the Capitol and

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 5

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    A city budget deal was announced Friday night by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council. As the week begins we're digesting and dissecting that and awaiting full details.

    The City Council holds several committee hearings this week, and there is a full-body Council "Stated" meeting on Thursday at which new bills are introduced and bills that have been passed through committee voted through the full Council.

    Speaking of the

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  • 10 Bold or Bizarre Proposals for a New York Constitutional Convention

    voting constitutional convention


    When New York voters head to the polls on November 7, Election Day, printed on their ballots will be the question, “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?”

    A "yes" vote would trigger a state constitutional convention process that could lead to major changes to the New York constitution.

    While the first New York Constitution dates back to 1777, the version used today was adopted in 1894, with significant modifications made following the 1938 constitutional convention. Of those in support of a

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 30

    640px New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


     What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    It’s a fairly quiet post-holiday week in New York. The state Legislature is not in session in Albany this week. Legislators will return to the Capitol on Monday, June 5, with 11 sessions days to go over three weeks. For his part, Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to hold events around the state - he starts his week on Staten Island - see  below for details. 

    The City Council concluded budget hearings last week on Mayor Bill de

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

    rev ruben diaz sr town hall bdb crop

    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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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 22

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall

    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is in the Bronx this week for the second installment of “City Hall in Your Borough.” He was on Staten Island previously for a week of events, constituent office hours, and meetings. See below for his Monday schedule of events. We know of two other events thus far: the de Blasio administration is holding constituent hours and a resource fair on Tuesday morning and a town hall meeting Wednesday night. He's also said to be attending

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 15

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall

    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The state Legislature continues its post-budget session in Albany this week -- including Monday there are just 17 days of session left, it ends June 21. There are other events to watch in Albany this week, see below for details.

    In New York City, the City Council continues its hearings this week on Mayor Bill de Blasio's executive budget proposal. The Council and de Blasio must agree on a new city budget by the July 1 start of the new fiscal

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  • Adjusting to Albany: Assemblymember Brian Barnwell

    Brian Barnwell nyambb

    Assemblymember Brian Barnwell (photo via NY State Assembly District 30)


    If Queens voters were looking for fresh face to represent them in Albany, they found it in Assemblymember Brian Barnwell.

    The 30-year-old attorney beat out nine-time incumbent Assemblymember Margaret Markey during the September Democratic primary ...

  • Adjusting to Albany: Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa

    cndelarosa 5

    Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa (photo via @CnDelarosa)


    Born in the Dominican Republic, Carmen De La Rosa immigrated as a child to Inwood, in upper Manhattan, where she was raised and still lives, now with her fiance and daughter. She launched her legislative career in 2007, working for Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell on the Upper West Side. She later became Democratic female district leader for the 72nd Assembly District and chief of staff to City

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 8

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall

    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The state Legislature continues its post-budget session in Albany this week -- including Monday there are just 20 days of session left, it ends June 21. There are other hearings and events to watch in Albany this week, see below for details. Governor Andrew Cuomo has been spending little time in Albany since the new state budget passed, the governor has been touring the state celebrating the highlights of the budget deal.

    In New York

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