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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, August 29

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This pre-Labor Day weekend week is looking like a fairly quiet one in New York politics, though there are a few things to watch for. Mayor Bill de Blasio is due to return Sunday evening from a vacation week traveling throughout New England with his family and could have an active week. The mayor starts the week with one public event on his schedule: he'll be in Queens Monday evening to deliver remarks at the

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  • Manhattan GOP Sees Hope on Upper East Side

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    Rebecca Harary with supporters (photo via @TeamHarary)


    When it comes to the New York State Legislature, most electoral attention is paid to the Senate, which Republicans control by a thin majority and only because an elected Democrat caucuses with them and they have a power-sharing agreement with a five-member faction of breakaway “independent” Democrats. This November’s elections will determine control of the chamber.

    In the State Assembly, however, the balance of power is not close. Republicans have been at a massive

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  • In Race to Replace Espaillat, Ramifications for Senate Control, His Power, and More

    Espaillat Alcantara

    Espaillat, center, & Alcantara, right of center (photo: @Espaillat4NY)


    Marisol Alcantara, a labor organizer who ran a successful insurgent campaign for district leader in 2010, is seen by many in her Uptown district as a liberal firebrand. As Alcantara now pursues election to the New York State Senate, she is also fighting a proxy war for Senator Adriano Espaillat, who is about to be elected to Congress and Alcantara hopes to replace. The hotly contested Democratic primary for Espaillat’s Senate seat is becoming a test of his power and that

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  • New Study is Latest Salvo in Airbnb Lobbying Fight as Governor Weighs Bill

    apartment bronx airbnb story

    photo: Sofie Hecht for Gotham Gazette


    As Governor Andrew Cuomo weighs whether to sign it, a high-stakes fight continues over legislation to regulate Airbnb, the popular home-sharing service. Before and since the state Legislature passed the bill this Spring, the related lobbying battle has touched on various socioeconomic factors including tech entrepreneurship, the sharing economy, affordable housing, organized labor, and more.

    Airbnb is now entering into the fray ...

  • Trump Could Tip Key Races for State Senate Control

    Trump NY GOP

    photo: @NewYorkGOP


    New York State Senate Democrats have picked up seats in every presidential year in the past two decades. They’ve been chomping at the bit for Hillary Clinton, a former New York Senator, to head the presidential ticket, telling anyone who would listen that she would bolster turnout for them and win them swing districts, thereby securing them control of the chamber, perhaps for good.

    What the Senate minority didn’t count on was the Republican presidential candidate being toxic to black and Hispanic voters and alienating a

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  • Misguided Political Attack on Airbnb Can't Be Taken Lightly

    apartment sky muir

    photo: Brandon Muir


    New York should never have reached the point where Ashton Kutcher cares more about the economic future and personal freedom of New Yorkers than the state Legislature does.

    Yet, that’s exactly where we find ourselves as the actor is one of a number of tech investors who sent a letter urging Governor Cuomo to veto a bill that would crush temporary home-sharing service Airbnb.

    Lawmakers in Albany and New York City began an assault on Airbnb with a 2010 bill that placed arbitrary time limits on short-term

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

    cuomo state of the state ethics podium

    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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  • Reevaluating New York Economic Development Programs

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    Gov. Cuomo at a jobs announcement (photo: Philip Kamrass, Governor's Office)


    Over the last few weeks, several reports and legislative hearings have once again cast an unflattering light on New York’s economic development policies. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. In my 14 years serving in the State Senate, I’ve seen the names of the programs change, but the results remain the same – huge giveaways to a select group of companies that don’t live up to their job creation promises.

    On the Friday before the

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  • With Proposal, Advocates Attempt to Jumpstart State Affordable Housing Spending

    housing rally

    Advocates outside Gov. Cuomo's office Wednesday (photo via Coalition for the Homeless)


    Housing advocates have done a job shirked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders this session and crafted a plan for how the state should spend $1.9 billion on affordable and supportive housing over the next five years.

    The governor and Legislature agreed to dedicate $1.9 billion in the April 1 budget, but negotiations on how to

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  • 2016 A Far Different Election Year for Independent Democrats

    John Nilson

    Sen. Jeff Klein (photo: John Nilsen/Governor's Office)


    The five-member Independent Democratic Conference was under siege. Mainstream Democrats, liberal activists, and the Working Families Party were out to punish IDC members for having empowered Senate Republicans and for preventing a progressive agenda from advancing in the New York State Senate. In 2014, the groups fielded candidates to challenge Bronx Senator Jeff Klein, head of the IDC, and newly-minted IDC member Tony Avella, senator of Queens, in party primaries. It began as an aggressive attempt to oust two of the five members of the IDC,

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  • Senate Republicans Face Departures with Battle for Control Looming

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    Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, second from right (photo via Facebook)


    New York State Senate Republicans are headed into a fight for their survival, dealing with the departure of veteran lawmakers, top staff, and one rising star.

    The impending fall elections for all 63 Senate seats will test control of the chamber by Senate Republicans, the party’s only check on Democratic strongholds in the state

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  • Does the State have the Conviction and Commitment to End Homelessness?

    homelessness
    Affordable Housing in East Harlem (Sophie Hecht)


    The week of June 26, over 70 San Francisco media outlets came together to report on homelessness in the Bay Area. The collaboration, the San Francisco Homeless Project, produced over 300 local articles, videos, and radio and television segments, as well as similar collaborations in cities across the U.S. and internationally.

    Within this much deserved media coverage is the sentiment of a former San Francisco mayor, which may describe what ails our approach to the homelessness crisis here in New York State.

    The San Francisco

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  • Former Informant, Out; Candidate Indicted on Voter Fraud, In

    Hector Ramirez petitioning

    Hector Ramirez petitioning in the Bronx (photo via Facebook)


    Bronx Assemblymember Victor Pichardo will no longer be facing former Assemblymember Nelson Castro, a onetime federal informant who helped dig up dirt on fellow electeds in an attempt to reduce charges he was facing for election-related perjury, in the upcoming Democratic primary.

    Instead, Pichardo will again be

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  • Cuomo is Keeping New York from Emulating California, De Blasio Says

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    De Blasio & Cuomo in 2014 (photo: Rob Bennett, Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly voiced his frustration with his fellow Democrat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who he says has worked with Senate Republicans in the state Legislature to stymie his agenda and major progressive legislation. In an interview with Harry Siegel of the Daily News late last month, the mayor said Cuomo could have “done a lot more to

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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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  • With Controversy Brewing, State Pay Commission Moves Toward Recommendations

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    The state pay commission (photo by Meg O'Connor)


    A commission tasked with examining the compensation of state lawmakers and executive branch officials met for the fifth time Tuesday, and all seven commissioners agreed that heads of state agencies deserve a significant raise. However, the meeting was adjourned without the commissioners examining the salaries of statewide elected officials, and nothing was agreed upon during the brief and heated discussion of pay for Assembly members and state Senators.

    The commission's recommendations are due

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  • Fixing City's 'Non-Functioning' Board of Elections Relies on State

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


    Many eyes will be on the New York City Board of Elections come Tuesday as New Yorkers head to the polls for the second time this year, casting their votes in congressional primaries. The first election, April’s presidential primaries, was so problematic it prompted multiple city and state authorities to launch investigations into

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  • Required in Some Cases, Home Rule Sheds Light on City-State Power Dynamic

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    At The City Council (photo: Sofie Hecht for Gotham Gazette)


    Late last Friday night, many New Yorkers—especially elected officials—looked on as lawmakers in Albany made a frenzied effort to pass legislation hours after their session had been scheduled to end. Although most of the legislation classified as statewide, or “general” laws, several bills would impact a select few regions or New York City specifically, most notably, perhaps, mayoral control of New York City schools.

    While

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  • Cuomo Appears to Give Up on Legislature Closing LLC Loophole

    cuomo budget mujica

    Gov. Cuomo & his budget director, Robert Mujica (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo appears to have given up on the state Legislature taking action to close the notorious LLC loophole, which allows wealthy donors to subvert campaign finance laws by creating multiple limited liability corporations that can each give more than $60,000 to a candidate’s campaign.

    According to The New York Times, Cuomo said this weekend that it would be up to the public to close the loophole through a constitutional convention.

    In

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  • Advocates, Providers Keep Pressure on Cuomo Over Housing Funds

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


    While the 2016 legislative session may be finished, the battle over how the state will allocate $1.9 billion in funds earmarked for supportive and affordable housing is not. Neither is the feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, which includes a front over the housing funds.

    After the end-of-session deal-making among Cuomo and legislative leaders yielded an agreement to release only $150 million of the $1.9 billion pledged in this year’s budget, housing

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  • Despite Expectations, Design-Build for New York City Not Approved in Albany

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    a rendering of the New NY Bridge, via The Governor's Office


    It is bipartisan legislation that steadily built momentum since its introduction a year ago, gaining support from state legislators, New York City Hall, labor unions, good government groups, and the private sector along the way. But despite proponents’ expectations, the ...

  • 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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  • New York Becomes 17th State to Call for Constitutional Overturn of Citizens United

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    Sen. Squadron and "Demand Democracy" ralliers (photo: @DanielSquadron)


    Amid increasing calls for New York to pass bold government ethics reform and minimize the role of money in elections, a bipartisan majority of state lawmakers has taken a symbolic but somewhat significant step in calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case.

    In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court

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  • Deals Emerge as Albany Legislative Session Moves Toward Conclusion

    hall cuomo address

    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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  • As Albany Fiddles on 421-A, New York City Suffers

    donovan richards podium

    Council Member Donovan Richards, the author (photo: William Alatriste)


    With officials in Albany about to pack up and head home, there is still some serious unfinished business.

    Thanks to Albany’s failure to deliver a compromise between real estate and labor interests, it’s clear that we’ll see no movement on one of the most critical tools we have to build affordable housing: 421-A, the tax incentive program.

    What a lot of us hoped was just a six-month pause in adding to the pipeline of new rental housing is at serious risk of

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