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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 11

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week starts a two-week sprint to what amounts to the end of the political year: Friday, December 22. Though there will be some political business Christmas week, and a deal to crown the next Speaker of the City Council could be announced any time before the January 3 vote, most of the rest of the political activity for the year (and thus the four-year city term) will take place this week and next. That includes a

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will start with Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD celebrating low crime in New York City, especially the incredibly low number of murders and shootings in the city thus far this year, looking at data through November.

    For his part, Governor Andrew Cuomo took a quick trip to Puerto Rico on Saturday to recognize New Yorkers who have been on the ground there, many helping to restore power on the island, and

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  • After Hacking Revelations, Assembly Examines New York Election Security

    Cuomo voting election integrity

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


    Is New York ready for an election cyber-attack? Are the state’s voting systems vulnerable to hacking?

    The New York State Assembly’s Election Law Committee heard testimony on Tuesday from state and local election board officials and cybersecurity experts on the systems in place to protect the state’s election processes from the types of coordinated cyberattacks that were carried out by Russian actors who sought to influence the 2016 presidential

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  • Assembly Takes Stock of State Economic Development Programs Ahead of Next Negotiations

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    Howard Zemsky in Buffalo (via Governor's Office)


    Ahead of the 2018 legislative session, the New York State Assembly’s Economic Development Committee held a hearing Monday in Albany to evaluate the progress of the state’s multitude of economic development programs and hear testimony from companies and organizations that have benefited from state grants.

    Taking center stage was Howard Zemsky, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s economic development czar as president and CEO of Empire State Development, who defended the state’s jobs programs and was

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  • As New York Votes, a Push to Allow 17-Year-Olds the Ballot Next

    bobbt carroll presser

    Assemblymember Robert Carroll at Monday's rally


    On the eve of Election Day 2017, a state Assembly member from Brooklyn held a press conference focused on voter engagement and turnout, but it wasn’t in support of his own candidacy -- he’s not up for reelection until next year -- or anyone else’s. Instead, Assemblymember Robert Carroll was talking about his push to allow 17-year-olds to vote.

    In the state capital of Albany, Carroll recently introduced a bill, the Young Voter Act, that would

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  • Amid Larger Moment, Will Albany Face Another Sexual Misconduct Reckoning?

    Cuomo Sheldon Silver Skelos Albany

    Gov. Cuomo, Sheldon Silver & Dean Skelos in 2012 (photo via The Governor's Office)


    As allegations of sexual harassment and assault against disgraced movie producer and major Democratic political donor Harvey Weinstein piled up earlier this month, women around the world took to social media to share stories of abusive behavior using the hashtag #MeToo.

    The light being shone on the predatory behavior of Weinstein and

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  • Meet The Three State Legislators Likely Heading To The City Council

    gjonaj election night crop 

    Mark Gjonaj & Bronx Democratic leadership (photo: @MarkGjonajNY)


    With the New York City primary election behind us, it appears that at least three state legislators are likely to be leaving behind the trips to Albany for plush City Council seats.

    Following the path of former State Senator Bill Perkins, who was elected to the City Council in a special election earlier this year, two Assembly members and one state senator are likely to be making the same jump come January: State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr, Assemblymember Mark

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  • ‘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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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