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State Legislature

State Legislature

  • Recommendations Near, State Pay Commission Constitutionality Questioned

    heastie cuomo flanagan

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (photo via Governor's Office)


    Recommendations on potential salary increases for Governor Cuomo and members of the state Legislature are due Tuesday, but constitutional questions hang over the effort to increase legislative and executive chamber pay.

    The New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial, & Executive Compensation is at the center of the issue and an ongoing legal battle over the validity of the process it was put in charge of through 2015 legislation. Created as

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, November 14

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Members of the media, people in politics, and many others continue to explain Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the Presidential race, and to monitor his transition efforts. There are many questions about the presidential race and the path ahead.

    New York leaders, mostly disappointed Democrats, regrouped in Puerto Rico this weekend for the annual SOMOS conference. Mayor Bill de Blasio was there on Saturday

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  • Fixing New York’s Broken Voting System

    gianaris vote better 1

    Senator Gianaris, the author


    When I went to cast my vote, in the same polling location I have voted all my life, the line was out the door. I’ve never seen it that crowded before. At other polling sites in my district, wait times lasted up to two hours, often scuttling voters' other plans for the day or causing upheaval for families. Observing the chaos, I thought about the 34 states that have already enacted early voting, a process proven to increase voter participation and enhance convenience.

    Why hasn't New York adopted this common-sense

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  • Donald Trump, New York Corruption & A Loss of Faith in Institutions

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    The 2016 Al Smith Dinner


    Public trust in Washington began diminishing under President Lyndon Johnson over the course of the 1964 presidential election and the escalation of war in Vietnam. Watergate ushered in a new era of distrust in government in the United States as the country’s top elected office was compromised. By 1974, public trust in government dipped below 40 percent for the first time since such records had been kept. 

    As with

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  • Donald Trump Elected President in Big Night for GOP

    Trump election night 2

    President-Elect Donald Trump


    On a huge Election Day for Republicans, Donald Trump won the presidential election, the GOP kept control of both houses of Congress, and, here in New York, Republicans have increased their margin in the state Senate, the party’s last stronghold of statewide power.

    With a stunning show of support across the country, Trump and his vice presidential running mate Mike Pence won more states than expected and Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. Reports came in around 2:40 a.m. that Hillary

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  • Cuomo and De Blasio Outline Priorities for a Democratic Senate, with A Lot In Common

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    Cuomo & de Blasio in Chelsea (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In typical fashion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are saying a lot of the same things, but doing so nowhere near each other and without mentioning the other.

    In a role reversal from 2014, during the current election season Cuomo is actively pushing for Democrats to win key swing seats and take control of the State Senate, Republicans’ last bastion of power in statewide government, while de Blasio is on the sideline.

    But if you listen closely,

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  • It's Time for Wholesale Ethics Reform

    Kaminsky1

    Sen. Todd Kaminsky, the author (photo: @toddkaminsky)


    The headline is the same. The names are interchangeable.

    And yet, the laws and attitudes stay the same.

    The most recent indictment of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto should serve as a wakeup call to elected officials and taxpayers alike. The corruption within our governments is pervasive and isn’t going anywhere until we implement comprehensive ethics reform. No one is above the law.

    Having put away both corrupt Democrats and Republicans as a former

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  • Key Congressional & State Senate Races in New York Will Shape Chamber Control

    Teachout Faso

    Zephyr Teachout (D), left, & John Faso (R), debate in NY19


    As Election Day draws near, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have debated three times and are in the home stretch of the campaign -- as are Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. This election has shaped up to be like none other. When another round of revelations about Trump’s past

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  • With Chamber Control at Stake, No Democratic Challenger to Republican Senator from Brooklyn

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    Sen. Marty Golden (photo: @NYPDAuxilary)


    With a great deal on the line for New York City, Democrats are trying to flip the State Senate and a handful of races across the state will make the difference. One Brooklyn district has a significant Democratic voter registration advantage and an incumbent Republican, yet no one is challenging Senator Martin Golden. In 2012, a Democratic challenger won 42% of the vote against Golden.

    In the overwhelmingly Blue state of New York, and an even Bluer New York City, a Democratic challenge to an incumbent

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  • New York’s Young Adult Unemployment Crisis Needs A Strategy

    NYCEDC pic students tour

    Students on a tour (photo via NYCEDC)


    Starting one’s adult life in poverty and without a job has serious long-term economic consequences that negatively impact future job prospects, earnings, and wealth. Young people are scaling one of the toughest jobs cliffs in recent memory, and the situation is a looming threat to economic growth in our state. We need to combat New York’s young adult unemployment crisis with a robust strategy, and now.

    One analysis found that a young person who is unemployed for six months can expect to

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  • Limited Down Ballot Choices for New Yorkers Come November 8

    Sample BK ballot for Nov 2016 short

    sample ballot


    When New Yorkers go to the polls November 8, they’ll be facing a big choice at the top of the ballot, with four presidential candidates to choose from. Further down the ballot, however, there will be much more limited choice for many given the number of uncontested general election races for state legislative seats.

    New York City residents are represented by 91 seats in the New York State Legislature. Of those, 26 are in the 63-seat Senate and 65 in the 150-seat Assembly.

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  • DiNapoli, Seeking Restored Power, Points Finger at Only the System

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    Comptroller DiNapoli (photo: @NYSComptroller)


    Comptroller Tom Dinapoli is not interested in pointing fingers at any of his fellow elected officials when it comes to the massive scheme alleged to have corrupted major state economic development programs under the noses of Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators.

    In the wake of corruption charges brought against nine individuals by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, DiNapoli was given multiple opportunities Friday during a radio interview, but he declined to criticize either Cuomo or the

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  • How Jeff Klein Became New York’s New Power Broker

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    State Sen. Jeff Klein, center-right & other Bronx electeds (@RepEliotEngle)


    In January 2011, State Senator Jeff Klein declared himself leader of a group of four breakaway Democrats who were united in their dissatisfaction with the recent dysfunction of their conference’s leadership. They created the Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, despite the fact that Klein had been deputy leader of the Senate Democrats and was in control of the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee during the 2010 elections, all through the now legendary strife

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  • Keeping a Republican State Senate Majority is Essential for New York

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    Senate Leader Flanagan & other GOP Senators (photo via NYS Senate)


    Whether it’s at the state or federal level, recent history has demonstrated that when one party controls government, checks and balances go out the window. Recent history has some important lessons as we approach this year’s crucial elections.

    In 2008 Democrats took control of Congress and along with the election of President Barack Obama, controlled the executive and legislative branches in Washington. In Albany, for the first time since 1964, Democrats gained a

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  • 2016 Again Highlights New York ‘Incumbency Protection Machine’

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    (photo via NYC Board of Elections)


    New York City residents are represented in the state Legislature by a total of 91 seats, 26 in the state Senate and 65 in the state Assembly. Among them, 60 are held by incumbents who were uncontested in their party primary elections that took place Tuesday, September 13.

    In these just-completed primaries, 66 percent -- or about two-thirds -- of the city’s state legislative seats saw no intra-party competition. Twenty-four New York City-based

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  • Democrats Must Control the State Senate

    ASC and other Sen Dems

    Sen. Stewart-Cousins and fellow Senate Democrats (photo: @AndreaSCousins)


    This November millions of New Yorkers will head to the polls on Election Day. While our state legislative races receive far less media attention than the Presidential race, they are still critically important. Today, much of the dysfunction in our state, and our government’s failure to address the real needs of working people, young and old, is a direct result of continued Republican control of the State Senate.

    Now that the primaries are over, it is essential

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  • New York State Legislative Primary Results

    Marisol Alcantara winner Lis Smith photo

    Marisol Alcantara and company celebrate (photo by Lis Smith on Twitter)


    On New York’s third primary night of this election year, state legislative races in New York City were almost all Democratic and many incumbents did not face intra-party challenges.

    In several state Senate and Assembly races across the city, Democratic primary winners were selected in fairly low voter turnout affairs and most will easily cruise to election in November - some won’t even have

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 12

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week Sunday was the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Mayor Bill de Blasio, his predecessors, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and many others remembered the victims, honored the first responders, and commemorated the day at the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony at the World Trade Center. De Blasio, Cuomo, and others also participated in other commemorative events, with Cuomo announcing

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  • Assembly Candidates Turn Down Televised Debates

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    NY1 Anchor Errol Louis (NY1 screenshot)


    New York City’s premiere political television news show, NY1’s Inside City Hall, has been hosting candidate debates in the weeks leading up to the September 13 state legislative primaries, as it has ahead of past elections.

    NY1 has been home to many debates over the years, including earlier this year, when it hosted seven Democratic candidates seeking to replace retiring Rep. Charles Rangel and the NY1-CNN presidential primary

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  • Crowded Assembly Field Looks to Quickly Unseat Silver Replacement

    AD65 panel Li mic

    AD65 candidates at a debate (photo: @FilAmDems)


    In a world where U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara hadn’t turned his eye toward public corruption in state government, Sheldon Silver would likely be running for his 21st term in the Assembly and easily extending by another two years his 40-year reign over Manhattan’s 65th Assembly District.

    In the real world, Silver, who had already resigned the powerful Assembly speakership he held for almost 20 years, was automatically stripped of

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  • Corruption in Albany: Will Anything Really Change?

    Cuomo 2016 State of the State side stage

    Gov. Cuomo (photo via The Governor's Office on Flickr)


    Can legal restrictions halt corruption in the state Legislature? History suggests that they are necessary but limited.

    A new ethics law, more of the same
    Several state legislators have been charged with corrupt practices in recent years and the leaders of both houses of the Legislature found guilty of violating federal laws. Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos are headed to prison unless their appeals succeed. The

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  • Races to Watch in State Legislative Primaries

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    State Senate candidate Marisol Alcantara & BX BP Diaz Jr. (photo: @NYAlcantara31)


    With state legislative party primaries rapidly approaching, there are several races New Yorkers should keep a close eye on, both in the city and across the state, including some that could play key roles in deciding majority power in the state Senate, which is currently under Republican leadership.

    The September 13 vote in some races, especially in Democrat-heavy New York City, will likely determine the winner in November. Still other races have little

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  • Two Very Different Democratic Assembly Primaries in Brooklyn

    Pam Harris voting via Facebook

    Assemblymember Harris votes (photo via Facebook)


    Among the upcoming legislative primary elections, two Brooklyn State Assembly races with very different storylines are intensifying. Unusual electoral circumstances in the 44th and 46th Assembly Districts make the contests races to watch. Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the 44th seat, which is opening up due to the retirement of the longtime incumbent, is home to a short, frenzied primary race among three Democrats. In the 46th, an embattled short-term incumbent and an

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  • Education-Focused Super PAC Spends on Additional Legislative Races

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    screenshot of CM Cabrera, left, & Sen. Rivera from NY1


    A Super PAC backed by the education reform lobby and a number of wealthy out-of-state donors has earned the enmity of establishment Democrats by pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into races in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Long Island in an effort to unseat Democrat incumbents. The group, New Yorkers for Independent Action, now appears to be adjusting its strategy by supporting some incumbents.

    The PAC is at least partially focused on

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  • 5 Things to Watch For at State ‘Water Contamination’ Hearings

    Cuomo DOH Hoosick Falls

    photos via The Governor's Office on Flickr


    After months of refusal and delay, the state Legislature is set to begin a series of hearings on drinking water contamination in New York. It became clear many months ago that the water in Hoosick Fall had been contaminated by a chemical known as PFOA and the first of three scheduled hearings will take place Tuesday in the village.

    Tuesday’s hearing is a joint one by two state Senate committees, health and environmental conservation. The other two hearings are set to be joint Senate

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