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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • Much Undecided, Last-Minute Frenzy Starts in Albany

    albany leaders cuomo heastie flanagan et al

    Albany leaders (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    The pace has picked up dramatically in Albany, where lawmakers had avoided any major legislative decisions since passing the budget in April. With three days left in session, dozens upon dozens of bills are being introduced, amended, and passed at a fever pace. And while a couple of deals among the governor and legislative leaders have been announced on somewhat high-profile matters, thornier issues still remain unsettled and many bills are likely to only

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  • Hoosick Falls Residents, and All New Yorkers, Deserve Water Contamination Hearings

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    Hoosick Falls (photo via The Governor's Office on Flickr)


    Just imagine knowing that the water you are drinking is quietly making you sick. That it gave you or someone you love kidney cancer. That it took years to get your government to listen, then when you got its attention, ...

  • Increasingly Popular, Design-Build for City Relies on Albany

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    New NY Bridge Construction (photo: New York State Transit Authority)


    Every day, approximately 140,000 vehicles travel an elevated stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that runs through Brooklyn Heights between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street. In addition to being one of New York’s busiest roads, one

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  • Fate of $2 Billion in State Housing Funds Unclear as Session Nears End

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (l-r) (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature allocated $2 billion to spend on 100,000 units of affordable and supportive housing in this year’s budget, which was agreed to on April 1. But they failed to include specifics -- details of how that money would be spent -- kicking those decisions down the road. Now, two months later, they have yet to sort out the details and many stakeholders are worried no deal is in sight as the major negotiating parties face off over

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 13

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    New York, the United States, and the world are focused on Orlando, Florida as the week begins after a gunman there killed at least 50 people and injured at least 53 more. In the late night hours of Saturday into Sunday, Omar Mateen opened fire at The Pulse nightclub, known to be a centerpiece of the city’s LGBT community. At this point the attack is being investigated as an act of terrorism and as motivated by hate

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  • Cuomo Launches End-of-Session Addition to Stagnant Ethics Agenda

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    Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Last year, with ten days remaining in legislative session and confronted with a major ethics reform proposal from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters, "Let me make this as a blanket statement: It is late in the day for anything.”

    On Wednesday, with only four days remaining of this

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  • Former Government Informant to Run for Old Assembly Seat

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    Current Assembly Member Victor Pichardo


    Former Bronx Assemblymember Nelson Castro wants his seat back. Standing in the way, along with the rigors of a campaign and the incumbent, is the fact that Castro served as a government informant for years - to avoid perjury charges.

    In April 2013 Castro abruptly resigned his Bronx Assembly seat, shocking his colleagues and constituents by announcing that he had worked for the U.S. Attorney’s office and that his role as an informant was key to convicting former Assemblymember Eric Stevenson for taking $20,000 in bribes from businesspeople

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 6

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week we're watching the end of the legislative session in Albany - seven scheduled days left! - and the final city budget negotiations here in New York City.

    There are seven legislative session days left in Albany, if lawmakers use all of them, including this week’s four meetings Monday through Thursday. Mayoral control of New York City schools must be dealt with - it is due to expire at the end of June.

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  • End of Session Menu Previews Next ‘Big Ugly’ in Albany

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan June 2015 (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Last week, the Senate came to standstill as the star of popular beer commercials came to the Capitol as a guest of Senate Republicans. Legislators of both parties fawned and snapped pictures with Jonathan Goldsmith, of Dos Equis fame. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s office proudly posted a picture of the two men together on Twitter; Democratic legislators quoted catchphrases of “the most interesting man in the world” on the Senate floor. While it's fairly

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  • Players in 2009 Mayoral Control Fight Take Different Positions in 2016

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    De Blasio testifies in Albany, May 4 (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    In 2009, then rank-and-file Assembly Member Carl Heastie was the lead sponsor of a bill designed to weaken then Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ability to determine education policy in New York City. Seven years later, Assembly Speaker Heastie is thought to be Mayor Bill de Blasio’s greatest ally in the fight to renew the system of mayoral control of city schools as is.

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 23

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As the week begins we're continuing to look at the various investigations and controversy surrounding Mayor Bill de Blasio. The New York Post reported over the weekend about yet another aspect of inquiry into city action under de Blasio, this over the deal to sell the Brooklyn Heights library, which

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  • Senate Holds Second Mayoral Control Hearing, Without the Mayor

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    De Blasio at City Hall on Wednesday (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared at City Hall with a bevy of business leaders to push for extending mayoral control of New York City schools, the state Senate education committee held its second hearing on the issue right across the street. Administration officials, education professionals and advocates testified to make their case for and against mayoral control (mostly for) as state Senators demanded answers on a wide range of educational

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  • Concerns Over Proceedings as De Blasio Administration Faces Second Mayoral Control Hearing

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    De Blasio testifying in Albany (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    It was supposed to be the grilling to end all grillings: Mayor Bill de Blasio seated at a small table, staring up at glowering Republican state Senators carrying major grudges for his work to oust them from power in the 2014 elections, all carrying the fate of his ability to enact education policy in the palm of their hands. That wasn’t what took place.

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  • Should Everything Silver and Skelos Touched Be Reviewed?

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    Skelos, Cuomo, Silver (l-r) (photo via The Governor's Office, Jan. 2015)


    Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos were each told by their judge during recent prison sentencing that their corrupt actions have increased public cynicism around state government. Their corrupt actions, they were told, make people question what might have been different in the budgets and policy deals they negotiated, government decision-making that impacted millions. Judge Kimba Wood told Skelos we “can’t know” how his budget advocacy would

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  • Wright Runs for Congress as Tenants Champion, to Mixed Reviews

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    Keith Wright, Charles Rangel, and others (photo via Wright's campaign)


    New York Assemblymember Keith Wright’s congressional campaign has flooded inboxes declaring him a “champion” for tenants. Many see it as an appropriate description for the housing committee chair - his campaign touts the support of “100 tenant leaders” and he has a long history of advocating for renters, starting in the 1980s as the head of the tenant association in Harlem’s Riverton Houses, where he still lives. Wright and his fellow tenants recently settled a lawsuit with their landlord for $2 million after

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 16

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    As has been the case for weeks, we enter this week looking for more information on the investigations into Mayor de Blasio, his administration and allies, and into Governor Cuomo's administration and allies. [Read: Buffalo Billion Probe: Bad Apples or Broken System?]

    On Thursday, de

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  • Sponsor Says Deal Reached to Eliminate 'Tampon Tax'

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    Assembly Member Rosenthal, right, and Council Member Ferreras-Copeland (photo)


    A difference of a few words is all that stands in the way of New York State becoming the sixth in the nation to exempt feminine hygiene products from state sales tax, though that could soon change. The Assembly sponsor of the bill, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, told Gotham Gazette on Thursday that she and state Senator Sue Serino, the Senate

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  • Major City Issues at Play in Politically Charged, Post-Budget Legislative Session

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    Gov. Cuomo announces the budget deal (photo via The Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed the idea of extending state government's legislative session this year to tackle ethics reform during an appearance in Binghamton on Wednesday. "We have a relatively light agenda because we did so much work in the budget," the governor said. "We passed the minimum wage increase, we passed paid family leave, we passed a great package for the middle class, we passed a great package for upstate New York, more education

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    We're about two weeks from New York's April 19 presidential primary vote. The three remaining Republican candidates and two remaining Democrats have been campaigning in New York, which is more in play than it has been in several cycles. Hillary Clinton is set to hold events in New York City and Albany Monday, including a rally with Gov. Cuomo and a meeting with state Assembly Democrats, and while the candidates are

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  • Criminal Justice Reform Again Given Little Attention in Budget Negotiations

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    Gov. Cuomo in Dannemora (photo via The Governor's Office)


    As Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders rush to deliver an on-time budget, criminal justice reform advocates aren't holding out hope that any of their major legislative priorities will be included in the final document. Advocates are resigned that many of their priorities, which are backed by Cuomo and included in his executive budget, will be pushed to the post-budget legislative session.

    A budget is due by midnight Thursday, with the new fiscal year beginning on Friday, April 1,

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  • Democrats and Republicans Run Parallel Races in Special Elections Created by Corruption

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    Chris McGrath, Republican candidate for state Senate (photo: @McGrath4Senate) 


    Both groups are accustomed to scrapping for power and attention. With two recent federal corruption convictions, each saw an opportunity to grab more. And now, in downtown Manhattan and Nassau County Long Island, Republicans and Democrats are running parallel campaigns to seize upon a chance to flip one seat in each of the two houses of the New York State Legislature. 

    Assembly Republicans and Senate Democrats again find themselves in similar

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 14

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Mayor Bill de Blasio has reason to smile as this week begins. Through negotiations with the City Council and outside critics, de Blasio appears to have gotten just about everyone on board with his citywide zoning changes and they are all-but-certain to be passed through the City Council over the next two weeks - first through committee this week, then the full Council on March 22. The City Planning Commission has to

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  • Next Steps the State Must Make to Create and Maintain Affordable Housing

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    photo: a groundbreaking, via the Governor's Office


    As the Legislature moves ahead with its 2016 session in Albany, a top priority must be creating and maintaining affordable housing across the state. We cannot be content with fellow New Yorkers sleeping in three-quarter houses, with too many to a room, because it’s the only alternative. It is only so long until the next severely rent burdened tenant - spending more than 50 percent of their earnings on rent - ends up homeless because they cannot afford their

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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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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 4

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    Happy New Year!

    So far, New York politics in 2016 looks a lot like 2015. On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new Executive Order related to homelessness that appears to be the opening salvo in his plan to take aim at the issue, most pressingly in New York City, where he's criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio's handling of the crisis that includes about 60,000 homeless people. Cuomo's order notes that homelessness is a problem around the state and says that when

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