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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • 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

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    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

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    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?

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    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

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    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

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    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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  • Much Undecided, Last-Minute Frenzy Starts in Albany

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    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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